Town seeks Harbor Place talk

By Mark Kobzik

After an attempted murder last Friday at Harbor Place, Shelburne Town Manager Joe Colangelo is pressuring Champlain Housing Trust for a meeting to discuss ongoing issues at the motel.

On Tuesday Colangelo shared his frustration with the news media after he said the housing nonprofit brushed him off when he contacted them asking for an in-person meeting.

The motel provides temporary lodging for people with no other place to turn, including the homeless and people with mental health issues. A former Econo Lodge on Shelburne Road, Harbor Place is a site of frequent calls to Shelburne Police and Rescue.

Town officials at Tuesday’s Shelburne selectboard meeting discussed how last week’s incident with a machete-wielding man who seriously injured a visitor to the complex brought the situation to a more serious and dangerous level.

Colangelo expressed his frustration with attempts to communicate with Harbor Place management. “I’ve been trying to set up a meeting with (Champlain Housing Trust) for over six months now without success,” Colangelo said.

“I get calls all the time from people in the neighborhood,” he added, but he’s unable to tell residents that the town is helping resolve problems. “I’m not getting a face-to-face meeting.”

Chris Donnelly, spokesman for Champlain Housing Trust, told the Shelburne News Wednesday housing officials felt Colangelo didn’t give his office time to reply on Tuesday before Colangelo turned to news reporters. “We’re not stonewalling him,” Donnely said. “We will get back to him.”

It’s unclear when any conversation will happen. Selectboard Chair Gary von Stange suggested Tuesday night that Colangelo invite Champlain Housing representatives to an upcoming board meeting to discuss Harbor Place.

Colangelo made a point to note to selectboard members that there is a good working relationship between Shelburne Police and Rescue and the Harbor Place on-site staff.

Disagreements between the town manager and officials at the housing organization go back to October 2015 when the town put the operator on notice for an alleged permit violation. The Shelburne Development Review Board ruled in favor of Harbor Place, saying it had the proper permits.

In recent months, Colangelo said he was unsuccessful in trying to discuss public safety issues with Harbor Place management. In attempting to set up a meeting with Champlain Housing Trust officials, he said he discovered an apparent misunderstanding about litigation.

Colangelo said he received word from Dawn Francis, Colchester town manager and CHT Board Member, that housing officials had been advised not to speak with Colangelo due to ongoing litigation. Donnelly said he did not know where that concern came from.

Colangelo said that no such litigation existed at the time nor does it now. He told the selectboard that the past permitting dispute was settled. “I’m over it,” he said. “I certainly hope CHT is over it.”

3 Responses to "Town seeks Harbor Place talk"

  1. Sharon Palady   January 12, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Must be horrible to get the ‘brush-off’! I’m feelingvits similar as to how some hard working folks who pay taxes feel with responses from the Town hierarchy lately.

    Easy to say he’s over it!

    Reply
  2. Morris Sanetorello   January 13, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Pity the Town of Shelburne – a community full of rich liberals who support mass immigration, revile “racists and racism” and virtue signal on these and other issues day and night. How could they have guessed their safe little fortress and the economic apartheid that protects it would be threatened by a Econolodge being converted to house the homeless and mentally ill? These are the same class of people who will complain that AirBNB is ‘changing the character of their neighborhoods’ – how do you expect them to respond to a Sudanese refugee attacking someone with a machete? That’s what Burlington’s Old North End is for! Park this dirty business in the traditionally White, working-class neighborhoods where it belongs! NOT OUR BACKYARDS!

    Reply
  3. Steven Longe   January 16, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Violence..Attacking Defenseless Elderly who are trying to help those in need with a Machete.. C’Mon… ENOUGH.

    I purchased a home in Shelburne in 1995 in a Safe community. This aspect of Shelburne is no longer present with the Transient Issues at Harbor Place.

    This is not a Political Issue… This is A COMMUNITY SAFTEY ISSUE and OUR COMMUNITY CONCERN.

    Harbor Place needs to be staffed with Security PERIOD.
    Our community is at risk if it cannot meet this commitment to the residents in its area.

    If Harbor Place cannot Police itself – then its time for this RISK to relocate to a more secluded area away from Families that require peace and safety to maintain a quality of life.

    Reply

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