Permit flap over Vermontosaurus--Vermont's scrap-wood dinosaur--making news

Standing 25 ft. tall and 122 ft. long, a dinosaur made of scrap wood--called the "Vermontasaurus"--may be more reviled in Green Mountain State than even Barney. And because neighbors and regulators don't like it much, this intended piece of art might need a permit--or else go extinct.

Brian Boland, the artist behind the Vermontasaurus, is a 62-year-old former teacher who now manages the Port Mills Airport. He is also a hot air balloon designer and pilot. But he's also a dreamer, and Boland hatched idea to create this massive sculpture last month, gathering broken wooden planks and piling them into a sculptural design shaped like a dinosaur. The idea was to place create a community gathering place free of admission; volunteers even helped Boland erect his scrap raptor.

But the artwork received mixed reactions from fellow residents in Thetford, a rural town in eastern Vermont. Some neighbors love it, while others view it as unappealing--monstrous, if you will.

Meanwhile, dinosaurs of a different sort--local officials--told Boland his artwork looms large enough to be considered a structure and thus requires a $272 permit. The Division of Fire Safety, apparently not thrilled with the prospect of a three-alarm dino, added that people cannot congregate underneath the structure unless Boland can get a structural engineer to confirm the safety of the Vermontasaurus.

The Vermont Natural Resources Board also pointed out other problems with the materials used, as cited under a new law called Act 250, which can result in a minimum permit fee of $150.

With all of these regulations, Bolland might end up dismantling the sculpture altogether, thus ending another era in dinosaur history. So much, then, for using the Vermontasaurus to promote community bonding--though it might make a great community bonfire. After all, if real dinosaurs gave us petroleum, why shouldn't a sculpture of one provide some fuel, too?

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