Anger boiled over in Berlin Monday night as residents grappled with Friday's news of imminent plans to house offenders in this residential neighborhood. Advocates say offenders have served their time - and are ready to transition back into the community.
"Their programs don't work and we don't need them in that neighborhood," said resident Kenneth Partlow.
Resident Brian Divelbliss agreed, "Regardless of how you explain it, this community will not accept this program, if the philosophy of the program is to reintroduce their clients back into the community, they they need to find another community."
Selectboard members say neither the county justice center - nor property lessee, former police chief Bill Jennings - informed them of the plan.
They say they'll determine if they can do anything to stop it Tuesday morning.
"It's our initial opinion that the selectboard does not have the authority to definitively stop this project," said Jeff Schulz, Town Administrator.
In the Department of Corrections' original request for proposals, it states the housing must conform to local zoning ordinances, and "to the degree possible grantees should seek the support and buy-in of host communities."
Those in attendance say the Montpelier and Greater Barre Community Justice Center has failed in that regard.
"I'm not going to have the state people come in here and tell us 'we'll do what we want to do and if you can't do if for us, we'll find another means to do it,'" said Partlow.
That means could be as simple as convincing the property owner - and their former police chief - to reconsider.