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Staples debate continues

MIDDLEBURY The Middlebury Development Review Board is giving its members until October to consider approvingor rejecting a detailed plan to build a micro version of a big box Staples store along Route 7 South. While a minority of town residents oppose the projectonly 1,000 signed an opposition petition out of 6,252 residentsthey are vocal and appear to be in the drivers seat in the effort to stop the store. According to several published news reports, developers at Middlebury Associates have designed a tasteful 14,000-square-foot Staples store at the site of the former Jaimie Hutchins car-wash which is located next to McDonalds Restaurant, just south of Hannafords Supermarket. The plan includes several needed improvements to the current, dilapidated car wash site. Opposition to the Staples store was called good old fashioned, negative knee-jerk reaction by pro-Staples resident and Middlebury entrepreneur Kyle Loftus. We sure have some stubborn old goats in this town; they would probably oppose building an orphanage or convent for fear they might do some good in the community. Staples will create badly needed local jobs, Loftus said. Sadly, Middlebury has a growing reputation for being unfriendly to businesses that dont fit the snobbish, downtown view of things. Even though the planned Middlebury Staples is well below the typical big box footprint, vocal opposition remains strong. Middlebury does not permit stores larger than 50,000 square feet in size. Fears expressed at a recent DRB meeting stemmed from the fact that the presence of Staples in Middlebury would harm the towns character and downtown businesses.

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