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In the March 6 issue of the Journal, the editor penned an opinion piece titled, "Let's put away the pitchforks.”

He seems to imply that all the arguments and opinions not in support of the “Depot Street Project" are nothing more than misguided anger and outrage?

He claims to know the exact kind of people who will move into a three- or four-story apartment building on Depot Street. Wow, what a super power he has, to know the future, and dismiss others as medieval locals carrying pitchforks and torches.

Here are the facts: 

1. Current local zoning regulations do not allow for four-story buildings, and have strict parking requirements, so local zoning regulation changes would have to take place for this proposed, and not yet permitted, building.

2. The town had looked into moving the town offices to this location, only to discover that this would put the town records at risk, since the property is in a flood plain.

3. Vermont legislators passed a law to allow for affordable homes to be built in flood plains. The legislators are considering changes to allow for housing built in downtowns to avoid Act 250 review.

4. Rep. Bongartz has drafted a bill to impose statewide zoning in downtowns, to allow for more apt buildings and denser housing, only in downtowns. He has touted this as a bill to help the housing crisis. However it is just another obstacle, to prevent any working folks, from an opportunity to buy and build homes, as this would scar the pristine landscape of Vermont.

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5. The proposed solution to the flood plain is to have parking under the building. Is this so only the cars of the poor folks get wet?

Housing has been a problem since I moved here in 1974. Housing has only been made worse by the influx of folks during COVID. Recent changes to Manchester's zoning regulations, increased lot sizes outside of downtown, these also increased density only in downtown Manchester.

Now there are 5- and 10-acre building lot zones around Manchester, so only the wealthy can afford to buy a lot to build one home.

I still don't think building a three- or four-story apartment building in downtown Manchester, without parking requirements and in a flood plain, is any kind of opportunity for anyone.

The editor should not compare honest local opinions, to a pitchfork-and-torch mentality.

Andrew J. Tarantino



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