The owners of two businesses in Colchester say the Vermont Department of Transportation wants to condemn part of their property as part of the redesign of the I-89 Exit 16 interchange.
The Faour brothers, owners of Three Brothers Pizza and Sunny Hollow Quick Stop on Roosevelt Highway, say VTrans served them with condemnation paperwork Wednesday.
“They want to take away 40 feet of our driveway in what they deem are safety reasons,” Rami Faour said. “This is all tied to the Exit 16 traffic issues.”
The $10 million redesign of the interchange, paid for with federal funding, is tied up in the courts. But construction is still scheduled to begin next spring and continue into spring 2022.
Rami Faour says VTrans wants ownership of the 15-foot-long traffic island out front and to replace it with one 50 feet long. Faour says that will reduce the width of driveways into and out of the parking lot, making it difficult for his customers.
“It’ll actually create more issues and more accidents, and it would gravely impact our businesses and our livelihoods,” he said.
Rami claims VTrans has offered to pay $500 for the land that it would condemn.
“It’s peanuts compared to what our family has had to spend on legal fees and engineering fees, not even close,” he added.
Faour would like VTrans to explain why his businesses got wrapped into the project in the first place considering how far they are from Exit 16.
“This property’s been here for over 30-plus years,” he said. “We’ve never had a single issue, and all of a sudden, they’re trying to build something almost a mile down the road and they’re saying, ‘this is what we have to do for the safety of the public’.
“I don’t get it, I don’t see it, and I feel like a rational person can look at this and say for themselves, ‘this doesn’t add up’.”
The Faour brothers could not provide us with a copy of the condemnation paperwork Thursday; they tell us they should be able to do so on Friday.
We’ve also been in contact with VTrans, but no one there with knowledge of the situation has been available for comment so far.