Developer eyes abandoned Shelburne motel for new housing

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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) Could more housing be coming to Chittenden County? As our Ike Bendavid learned, a developer is looking at land in Shelburne along one of Vermont's busiest roads.

Just off of Route 7 is Winter Haven Road. The private street hosts a small community which has tried to stay hidden.

"A lot of people don't know that this neighborhood is actually back here. They come and say, 'Oh, I never knew this was here,'" resident Dave Whittle said.

But out front, along Route 7, is an abandoned hotel. In its glory days, the Yankee Doodle Motel had more than a dozen rooms. It's been shut down for years, leaving neighbors to ask, "What's next?"

"It's an eyesore," Whittle said.

"It's for sure a hazard the way it is now," said Brianna Kim, a neighbor.

"There is obviously a need for housing in Vermont," said Dean Pierce, the director of planning and zoning in Shelburne.

Pierce says a developer is in the early steps of an application to turn the property into housing. It would be two buildings, each with 24 units for residents 55 and up, as well as a third building with 15 units.

"These are the two buildings that have age restrictions. The middle one does not," Pierce said.

The development would also create dozens of underground parking spots.

"I'm not aware of any other location with beneath building parking in Shelburne," Pierce said.

Although the development is months away from approval, those who live nearby are concerned about the possibility of the extensive construction and the traffic the new property could bring.

"A majority of the houses have small children or school-age children, so it's definitely a concern," Kim said.

But the town is in favor of the project and they are working with the developers to make sure concerns are met.

"What I have heard so far is encouraging that they are willing to work with the community, so it's something that works for everyone," Kim said.

The next meeting will be on July 17. That is open to the public. If all goes well, the project could continue moving forward.