The city will have a say in what happens to several properties in the Stonegate development.
The city already owns a number of undeveloped lots in Stonegate, claimed through tax sale, which Zoning Administrator Tara Kelly said gives the city votes on the development’s homeowners association. Kelly went to the Board of Aldermen on Monday asking for direction on an upcoming vote regarding the removal of several properties from the development.
Rutland attorney Brandon Sample said he plans to buy 13 lots in the area — 11 were the site of the former Griswold Masonry Co. and two are part of Stonegate despite not being connected to the subdivision — and use them for a remodeling business he owns before redeveloping it.
“I want to use the space initially to keep my equipment — no retail or anything,” Sample said Tuesday. “The long-term plan is to build housing.”
None of the lots are among those claimed by the city.
The Board of Aldermen voted Monday to authorize Kelly to vote in favor of removing the properties from the homeowners association. Kelly said the properties had been vacant for some time, and Sample’s proposal seemed to be the best chance to see something productive done with them.
Kelly told the board she wasn’t sure what sort of vote to recommend on a second request by Sample for the HOA to forgive all outstanding fees and liens on the property. None of the board members had much of an opinion either, and Alderman Thomas Depoy suggested the board instruct Kelly to remain neutral.
“I don’t want her to stay neutral,” replied Alderman William Gillam, noting that the city owned four properties, giving it four votes. “I want her to be able to negotiate if we have to.”
The board approved a motion by Alderwoman Rebecca Mattis authorizing Kelly to vote as she saw fit for the benefit of the city. The HOA meeting takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hickory Street community meeting room.
Sample said he also bought a multi-family unit at the corner of River and Forest streets that he plans to convert into an office for his law practice. Sample represents defendants in the federal court system around the country.
“I’m a transplant,” he said. “I kind of fell in love with Vermont. I like the slow pace. People talk down about Rutland and how bad it is. I see opportunity. People who come from out of town and out of state, they see opportunity. ... This could be the next Colchester in terms of development if it had the right kind of planning and resource commitment.”