Motel Owners Ask Permission To Continue Skirting Zoning Bylaws

The owners of the former Changing Seasons Motel on Route 5 in Lyndon came under criticism during a Development Review Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. (File Photo)

LYNDON — It should be simple.

Developers must complete work, then obtain a certificate of occupancy from the town, before allowing people to occupy a building.

However, that process has been unusually complicated at the former Changing Seasons motel.

Two years ago owners Chad and Kristina Roy began unpermitted work to convert the motel located at 4492 Memorial Drive into efficiency apartments while people were still living in the building.

The Development Review Board in November 2019 grudgingly issued a temporary certificate of occupancy, to avoid throwing more than a dozen low-income tenants into homelessness.

However, the certificate of occupancy expired in the fall and the project remains incomplete.

So the Roys returned to the DRB on Thursday seeking another temporary certificate, to avoid daily fines of $200 and allow tenants to remain in the building while work continues.

Finding themselves in the same predicament, board members were unhappy.

“It’s really unfair to be put in this situation once, let alone twice,” said DRB chair John Prue.

The DRB already granted a retroactive permit for the project itself on Oct. 26.

They will issue a decision on the certificate of occupancy application within 45 days.

The Roys took over the Route 5 property in 2014. They changed the use from a motel to an apartment building in the summer of 2019, without a permit.

They want to convert 22 motel rooms into 8 one-bedroom apartments. They are combining units by cutting doorways between them. To date, only four of those apartments have been completed.

Kristina Roy explained that the project had been delayed by COVID-19 but added that work had resumed and should be finished within six months.

“It’s almost finished,” she said.

Board members questioned how COVID explained the lack of progress and worried that issuing another certificate of occupancy would simply allow the situation to continue.

Frustrated, Vice-Chair Brandon Carpenter called for the Roys to speed up their progress and resolve the matter.

“We need an escape hatch from this. We’re all down a path that none of us want to be on,” he said. “We’ve got to figure this out.”

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