News In Brief

Vermont officials battle colossal wooden dinosaur

Melissa Kaplan Jul 12, 2010

It started as an idea to turn a pile of wooden planks into a place for the community. And in many ways, Vermont man Brian Boland succeeded: What was once a collection of splintered debris became a 25-foot-tall, 122-foot-long sculpture of a dinosaur — a piece a Boston tourist dubbed “Vermontasaurus“. But some locals find the beast a burden, and safety and resource boards are saying Boland must acquire a permit or risk having to tear the structure down.

Those weighing in on the colossal piece include officials from the Town of Thetford, who told Boland his sculpture was a structure akin to a shed or a gazebo and needed a $272 permit for it. Vermont’s Division of Fire Safety is requiring Boland to assert that the wooden creature is safe enough for people to congregate beneath without collapsing. And the Vermont Natural Resources Board says since the beast is a substantial change to an existing development, it may need another permit under a Vermont land law, which would come to $150 on the low end.

Neighbors have garnered mixed reactions to the piece, from having a general distaste for the beast to lauding it as ingenious. Boland, meanwhile, is rightfully protective of his work. “They should leave me alone,” he says, “It’s a piece of artwork.”

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