*North Bennington VT trustees fight homeless shelter FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 10 Apr 1998 01:34:50 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  04/08/98  Boston Globe


NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Village trustees are pushing ahead with their
fight to keep a 13-bed homeless shelter from opening, or to force it to
comply with regulations if it does open.

That's despite a warning from a Montpelier lawyer the trustees are
considering hiring that the case may be difficult.

Opponents of the Coalition for the Homeless shelter urged the board Tuesday
to hire Paul Gillies, a former deputy secretary of state with considerable
experience in municipal law, over other suggested representation.

Trustee Ronald Pembroke told his fellow board members that Gillies
``indicated the case is not as open and shut as we might like it to be.''

Pembroke said Gillies mentioned the fact that an appeal of the shelter's
permit to operate was not filed within 30 days of the court's final
decision on the permit as a potential problem with the board's case.

The shelter received a permit after the coalition appealed denials from
village boards to the state Environmental Court and won a favorable ruling.

The trustees then hammered out an agreement with the coalition with 33
stipulations attached to the permit. That agreement was certified by the
court. Before the shelter could open, however, a live-in caretaker
allegedly invited a woman to the shelter building March 11, struck her in
the head with a hammer and stole her car. He faces several charges,
including attempted murder. That led to calls from many residents for legal
action to overturn the shelter's permit in Environmental  Court. The
trustees had agreed to seek counsel during a prior meeting.


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