CHESTER, Vt. – During the recent Chester Town Selectboard meeting a citizen raised a concern about a building permit that was issued for a place on Elm Street that’s apparently become an unauthorized dog kennel.
The 40-foot-by-26-foot building is being used as an animal kennel, the unidentified resident said, but animal kennels are not allowed under conditional use in the current zoning bylaws. The permit stated the building was to be used for storage. The granting of this permit by the town zoning administrator also did not allow for a public hearing or rebuttal by neighbors. The Selectboard took the complaint under advisement.
One major item on the evening’s agenda was the proposed content for the Chester Academy historical marker. Some time ago, the Selectboard had agreed the Chester Academy would be the next building to receive a historical marker. Since then, plenty of research has gone into the learning the historical significance of the building. The text that was drafted by Hugh Henry contained an abundance of architectural information, but was lacking a few key factual details, such as the 1814 build date and when the academy was no longer used.
This historical marker is an opportunity to deliver the information to travelers allowing them to discover the Chester everyone holds dear, board members said, and should be accurate.
Ron Patch said the marker should be done correctly. “When tourists stop at the Chester Historical Society, they ask, ‘what makes Chester special?’ or ‘are there any famous people that came from Chester?’” Patch said. “I want to see this marker done right, with the right historical information.”
Patch brought in an 1866 Academy catalogue which listed all the teachers and faculty, along with male and female students. Upon further investigation of the catalogs the Chester Historical Society has on file, it was discovered that the academy produced three governors, three Civil War generals, and the founder of Whiting Library, Dr. Lauren Whiting.
A suggestion was made that instead of using the limited character space on the sign to describe the building, a 3-D protected image with full information should be printed and placed next to the marker in a kiosk.
Peter Farrar and Patch proposed this would be a project that the Green Mountain Union High School students could participate in, by taking one catalog per student and investing time in researching the lives of the people listed in each academy catalog.
The Selectboard decided to hold off on voting about the proposed historical marker text until Hugh Henry, Patch and Farrar can meet to create a revised description that would contain important and interesting information.
Watch the video of Ron Patch’s comments on the academy on the Journal’s Facebook page: @vermontjournal.