Saturday, September 24, 2016
CLC Press Conference, Monday, September 26th, at 11 A.M. Please Join Us!
Who: The Coalition for a Livable City
What: A press conference to announce our vision for a “better town center” and referendum petition plan
When: Monday, September 26th at 11 a.m.
Where: In front of the mall entrance on Church Street
The Coalition for a Livable City will be announcing its vision for a “Better Town Center” and ways to better engage the citizens of Burlington on the proposed, sweeping changes to downtown zoning.
Although proponents of the Town Center Plan and the radical rezoning which enables it have said that opponents do not have a Plan B, the Coalition for a Livable City has a great Plan B—rooted in Plan B -T-V.
This vision of a “Better Town Center” would honor existing zoning, democratic processes, and due diligence, while allowing for a new development within what PlanBTV calls “the permitted development envelope” of 65 feet by right, or 105 feet with benefits. Utilizing the incentive amendment for underground parking approved at a recent City Council meeting, and in keeping with the city’s recent Parking Study and commitment to fewer cars downtown, the “Better Town Center” project would eliminate the three floors of above-ground parking. Details will be revealed at the Press Conference, but you can expect recommendations for affordable housing, green building practices, bike and walk best practices, the fostering of local businesses, livable wage jobs, and more.
The CLC will use neck-craning elements to illustrate just how out-of-scale this proposed center is with existing zoning regulations. What will they use? Well, bring your cameras, measuring tapes, and binoculars to find out.
In addition to this vision, the CLC is planning a petition campaign to put the downtown mixed use overlay district zoning on the ballot in March if the City Council votes to approve it on Thursday, the 29th. This Public disapproval referendum may be unprecedented in Vermont history.
Should the City Council vote to approve the rezoning of the overlay district on Thursday, the 29th, the Coalition for a Livable City is ready for its campaign to petition the city to put the zoning change on the ballot for a binding referendum. We will have 20 days only to get more than 1600 valid signatures of local residents and stand prepared to begin petitioning on September 30th, with over 60 eager volunteers.
Although it is our belief that the citizens of Burlington have already said NO to this zoning change, most recently two years ago in Plan BTV, the city’s push to pass this zoning change has ignored the public consensus. The Coalition believes that a zoning change of this magnitude, increasing the by right height allowance from 65 to 160+ feet, increasing by right Floor Area Ratio from 5.5 to 9.5, and eliminating bonuses for affordable housing or other public benefits, is something all citizens should have a chance to vote on.