On February 7, 2019

Dollar General opposition charges harassment

By Lani Duke

Poultney Properties LLC has been harassing Poultney resident Neil Vreeland and his wife, Vreeland complained in a motion for protective order and extraordinary relief filed in Environmental Court Jan. 14, according to meeting minutes. Vreeland believes he is targeted for his opposition to the property owner’s planned Dollar General development.

The property owner has been keeping a floodlight beaming from the top floor of the Vemas building day and night, to the annoyance of the Vreelands and their neighbors.

Vreeland described the light as a worksite floodlight, raised enough to shine over his nine-foot-tall fence and illuminating his dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and the rear of his house.

Vreeland said he had spoken with attorneys representing property owner, Leonard Knappmiller, asking relief from the lights but has gotten no cooperation.

Installing the light inside the building bypasses Poultney’s bylaws, according to Select Board chair Jeff King. The town attorney has spoken with Knappmiller’s lawyer more than once, Poultney Town Manager Paul Donaldson said, continuing with the statement that the town hopes to resolve the conflict without litigation.

Vreeland feels that the night-long light is an attempt to intimidate him so that he ceases his opposition to the planned development. The light has more recently been turned off during the day.

The conflict between Vreeland and Poultney Properties LLC began when  the company submitted a zoning permit application to approve a retail business at 61 Beaman St. in February 2017.

The town Development Review Board denied the permit June 28.

Knappmiller filed an appeal in July. Summary judgments are pending in environmental court and Knappmiller petitioned to change the property’s zoning, Donaldson said in October.

Opponents say that adding a Dollar General to the town of Poultney would cause already existing local stores to lose sales but provide only a few low-paying jobs.

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