Dino extinction in Vermont…again!


Alden Pellett, AP
Brian Boland stands in front of his 25-foot-tall “Vermontasaurus” in Thetford, Vt. Some of his neighbors are sore about the dino-scuplture.The Associated Press reports the dinosaur has drawn the ire of some of Boland’s neighbors and state officials, who say the structure could be dangerous and complain that the artist never sought a $272 permit.

Could Bureaucracy Make ‘Vermontasaurus’ Extinct?

Mara Gay, Contributor

AOL Online
(July 12) — When Brian Boland looked at the pile of scrap wood, he says, he couldn’t help but see dinosaur bones, growing ancient and gray in the Vermont weather.

But when the Thetford, Vt., artist and inventor indulged his imagination and built a brontosaurus-like sculpture out of the discarded pieces of wood on his property, some people in his town saw it as something very different: a 122-foot-long eyesore with no permit.

Boland, a 61-year-old retired high school art teacher who runs a hot-air balloon company, said the piece of art was supposed to help bring the town together, not create a bureaucratic mess.

“It’s a form of creative expression,” he told AOL News today. “To me, it is an inspirational thing.”

Boland said schoolchildren and other volunteers from the community helped him build the sculpture, which took just 10 days to complete last month. “There’s a lot of time and love that a lot of people put into it,” he said.

But the “Vermontasaurus,” as it has been affectionately dubbed by passing tourists, has become the very large subject of a small-town zoning fight.

State fire officials feared the dinosaur could be dangerous, so Boland cordoned off the bottom of it to deter people from walking inside the colossal structure.

“There’s enough weight there that if it collapsed, somebody would probably be hurt,” Michael Desrochers, regional manager for the Division of Fire Safety, told AP.

Worse, Boland’s sculpture may be in violation of a strict land-use law in Vermont, Act 250, which includes the stipulation that no structure can “have an undue adverse effect on scenic beauty, aesthetics, historic sites, or rare and irreplaceable natural areas.”

According to AP, Boolie Sluka, District 2 assistant coordinator for the Vermont Board of Natural Resources, will decide this week whether the Vermontasaurus can live on or must come down.

But Boland is fighting to keep the quirky creature standing, and seems to think it was just a few grumpy neighbors and officials who want it gone.

“If there was a consensus that the entire world would be a better place that the thing didn’t exist, I’d [take it down], but this seems to be a thing that many more people like it than dislike,” he said.

Lisa Keegan, the daughter of one of Thetford’s justices of the peace, agreed.

“I think people just spend too much time thinking about what their neighbors are doing,” she told AOL News in a phone interview today. “I think most people are pretty OK with it. It sits on his own property.”

Keegan, 24, who just returned to her hometown after teaching English in France, called the Vermontasaurus “awesome.”

“I think it’s a really fun thing to drive by. It kind of brightens my day a little bit,” she said. Keegan said Boland “has a history” of coming up with creative things on his property.

But other neighbors don’t like the way it looks.

“It’s an interesting piece of art, but personally, I don’t find it all that appealing,” Mary Wilson, 54, told AP. Wilson said the dinosaur “looks like a messy piece of art.”

Boland said he’ll take the Vermontasaurus down if he’s forced to apply for a permit — that would diminish the entire point of the free-spirited art project, he said.

“Everybody thought it was a burn pile,” he said. “I said, ‘No no, this is going to live on in the form of a dinosaur.’ I saw old shards of wood and they started to walk in funny ways. They got gray … it got so I saw the pile as nothing but dinosaur bones,” he said.

Sluka did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.