The Coalition for a Livable City is a an alliance of Burlington, Vermont community groups working together to restore threatened public processes in defense of the environment, quality of life, transparency in governance, and democratic participation to our city.
Coalition for a Livable City Position on the Town Center Project
for a Livable City Position on the Town Center Project
developer wants to wrap his project in a specially-designed zoning district;
this is spot zoning. We demand that the City reject spot zoning.
do not know anything about this developer and no agreement should be signed
with him before his viability and credentials have been responsibly vetted.
requested zoning change, up from 65 feet from the absolute highest allowable
with bonuses, allows 160 foot buildings, twice the height of the Hotel Vermont
and eleven stories above much of the downtown. The City must reject this height
explosion and retain the heights established by Plan BTV just two years ago, 65
to 105 feet.
new structures should be 100% Healthy Building/LEED/Platinum certified green,
and meet the 2030 energy challenge.
views, and shadow patterns affect the sunlit streets that pedestrians and
retailers desire. The developer must present a physical scale model of his plan
prior to any City action that shows these values are protected. 3-5 stories is
the optimal height for downtown buildings to maintain quality of life and
developer, and Plan BTV, admit the present configuration of the mall is a
failure. Before the City supports a new configuration, the public needs to see
market studies that support the viability of any proposed design.
rationale for City support of this project rests on the affordable units of
housing it will bring--a mere 20% of the total, with the possibility that he
will default and just pay a fine. A better project would have every unit be
pre-lease agreement with Champlain College puts 80 units and as many as 160 or
more students into tiny apartments on a segregated floor. Student housing
downtown should be treated like all other housing with annual leases at
comparable rates in any portion of the housing complex.
Town Center “superblock” includes two street footprints obtained through
federal Urban Renewal funding and transferred to the mall. Now the mall owner
wants taxpayers to give him millions of dollars via a TIF bond for the public
use of these still-private streets which he will use for retail frontage and
access to his apartment blocks and office. The City must reject this outrageous
developer is able to avoid undergoing Act 250 environmental review because he
is planning 274 units—one unit below the 275 threshold. This is an avoidance in
bad faith and should not be allowed, especially considering the fact that this
development would be the highest building in the state of Vermont, with a mass
of 300 feet x 300 feet by 160 feet high.
city planning begins with a definition of Burlington as pedestrian friendly,
architecturally-interesting, and view-maximizing, a sunlit city of street cafés
and locally-owned businesses. To get there we must preserve lower building
heights, expand pedestrian streets, reduce cars and visible parking lots, and
add more mass transit. Planning fails when it is a knee-jerk embrace of
developer mega-proposals.If the City
won’t change course, the public must step in, demand change, and vote down any
public subsidy for this behemoth!
Here is the Pre-Development Agreement entered into by the City Council and Donald Sinex