Hinesburg decides against eminent domain for Hannaford site

Local News

The Hinesburg Selectboard voted against using eminent domain to acquire a parcel of land for a potential grocery store.

The town has been in litigation with Hannaford’s over the site, and dozens of residents have shared their concerns over the potential for increased traffic and stormwater runoff, which have already delayed the project.

At Monday’s selectboard meeting, Matt Giroux, whose family has owned the land for years, said the area was originally meant to be a commercial center for Hinesburg. He said claiming it through eminent domain seemed excessive.

“The space is a commerce street. It’s a commerce park, it’s made for commerical spaces, and as everyone in Vermont knows, it’s hard to live here. It’s expensive, and to take such a big tax base off the tax roll seems crazy,” Giroux said.

Others were on the fence about using eminent domain, but shared the selectboard’s concerns about stormwater.

“I really think they’re proposing things that haven’t been tested around stormwater,” said Paul Ambersan, a Hinesburg resident. “I hope regardless of the decision you make you continue to fight like hell to protect the stormwater regs that are in place.”

Local action group Responsible Growth Hinesburg said on their website that if Hannaford’s is built, the local grocery store Lantman’s “will close, reducing the access to many local food products from small Vermont producers.” They’re also concerned about increased traffic in the town.

Before the vote, Selectboard Chair Phil Pouech said “eminent domain is serious business.”

The future of the lot is still up in the air as it moves through the legal process.

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