Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
September 4, 2010
Brian Boland built his scrap lumber “Vermontasaurus” this past June, and imagined it as a way to bring his small town of Thetford, Vermont together.
It didn’t quite turn out that way, at least not at first.
Unhappy neighbors complained that Brian’s dinosaur — 25 feet tall and 122 feet long — was messy, inappropriate, even unsafe. This drew the attention of local and state authorities. Brian quickly found himself mired in a morass of rules and regulations, seeking to ensnare and extinguish Vermontasaurus like modern day Tar Pits.
Vermontasaurus may yet be killed by the state’s Natural Resources Board, sunk in bottomless permit fees. But that seems a little less likely today, because locally the dinosaur appears to have survived with its wooden head held high.
The town’s Zoning Review Board held a special meeting in August to decide Vermontasaurus’s fate. “They normally have maybe three people show up,” Brian said, “but this time they had a hundred” (that’s 1/26th of Thetford’s entire population). “People got up and gave speeches, one guy showed up dressed as Paul Revere. It was a hoot!
“Someone asked for a show of hands, ‘How many people in this room think this is a great concept?'” Brian recalled. “And everybody but two people raised their hands. It made me kinda cry.”
The board approved Vermontasaurus — barely, 3 to 2 — and Brian then got a phone call from the town’s governing Selectboard. “We had a meeting last night,” Brian remembered the conversation, “and we just wanted you to know that the entire Selectboard thinks Vermontasaurus is terrific.” Brian was then told that the Selectboard had decided to name the town’s last remaining street “Vermontasaurus Lane” in its honor.
Brian is grateful for the support shown to Vermontasaurus, and wiser from its struggle for survival. “I’ve got lots of other ideas,” he said, “but from now on I think I gotta go build them on someone else’s property.”
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