I am sad to see plans calling for more housing within the downtown center of the Village of Essex Jct. for two reasons.
First, I honestly feel that most village residents were shocked to see the four-story skyscraper that was built at the corner of Pearl Sreet and Park Street. It totally destroyed the village character that I as a village trustee for nine years attempted to protect.
Now there are plans to add more of these structures on both sides of Park Street, adding to the congestion within the village and Five Corners with up to 500 apartment reisdents. Supposedly 350 cars will be parked under the buildings, but where will the other 150 cars be parked?
In 2006 while I was a Village of Essex Jct. Trustee, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commsision informed us of a traffic study that said that by the year 2025, the traffic on Route 2 would be 50-75 percent higher than what it was in 2006. Nothing has been done to reduce this congestion since that study came out. Sure there are plans for a Crescent Connector, but that will only alleviate a little of the local traffic that this plan will create.
Have you seen the traffic that is sometimes backed up for one to one-and-a-half miles that meanders very slowly from Williston into Essex Jct. during rush hour? Sometimes it takes me 20 to 30 minutes to travel from Taft Corners to the Five Corners. Now add the potential for 500 more vehicles that will be created by locating more housing right smack dab in the middle of the Five Corners. Talk about a quagmire!
I am not against building more apartments in the village. Just build them on a side street away from the most travelled set of streets in the state of Vermont traffic wise. Also please consider the village residents who have been paying taxes on their hoimes for years only to see a four-story building rising directly in front of their homes. Will they ever see a sunrise or sunset from their front porches again?