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Regarding financial viability of the project, here's what Sinex tells his Devonwood investors: "During the next 10-12 years, provided general economic conditions remain sound, the tenants remain intact, the financial market remain as they exist today, and Burlington CBD continues to prosper, grow and improve, the property could achieve a future gross value of approximately $400 million, representing $150 million of value over the project’s cost at the end of the 12th year after completion. This is an optimistic financial projection that should not be relied on as a forecast of actual results or expected performance." http://www.devonwoodinvestors.com/project/…
Already too big to fail to fail -- requiring a Pre-development Agreement with the developer, including a massive downtown zone-busting overlay district, public TIF funds, and a rushed timeline that bypassed due diligence by the Planning Commission and the Ordinance Committee, and councilors scared that they would miss a deal too good to be true. Well, we've heard all that before -- remember the Alden waterfront project?
Drinking the Kool Aid is now defined thus: demonstrating unquestioning obedience or loyalty to someone, or something [like an idea]. "his real ire is directed at the news media for drinking the Kool-Aid and not being tougher on the [mayor]."
Regarding the proposed downtown overlay district, not only are decision makers not asking the tough questions, they are perpetuating myths that have been debunked by experts: ~average renter in Burlington pays 44% of income for housing, market rates will decline if more housing is built, ~carbon footprint of cities is less than suburban areas, ~dense high-rise downtown development will bring prosperity to Burlington.
If incremental taxes are such a sure thing, why has Burlington required three extensions on our TIFs? Voters approved a 20 year TIF (using incrememtal taxes to pay off debt) that has now been extended to 36 years. Meanwhile, there are costs associated with growth that burden municipal budgets, and sidewalks crumble, raw sewage is dumped into the lake, public buildings are neglected. Wake up Burlington! Height, density, and TIFs are not the answer.
Olmos was a good friend of Dan Bonfigli, a tennis pro who died of cancer a few years ago. I talked with Olmos at Danny's funeral. Dan's brothers Mark and Andy each started local businesses, Earth Cars and Dealer.com. So it is quite likely that Olmos strolled down Church Street and bought a cigar in Garcia's Tobacco Shop.
Open letter to Planning Commission:
I urge you to review the duties of PC members and ask you to consider the phenomena of the tail wagging the dog: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/PZ/PC/Positio…
~Prepare municipal bylaws governing land use and development (e.g. zoning, subdivision, official map, etc), and any necessary amendments, for consideration by the City Council.
I urge you to fully exercise your options in regard to the zoning changes demanded by the Sinex pre-development agreement. It's not only about height! It's about process, and "land development, transportation, economic and social development, urban beautification and design improvements, capital improvement plans, historic and scenic preservation, the conservation of energy, the development of renewable energy resources, and natural resource protection."
I urge you to take a step back from the Sinex proposal and undertake an independent survey of current housing stock so we know exactly how much housing we have (built and permitted) in each category, and commercial, and other property, taxable and non-taxable. This would include all institutional housing and properties. By now you have seen Art Wolfe's correction of the data used by Burlington to determine need for housing.
Related to building height, of course we need a physical model of the zoning changes, and an independent feasibility study of the massive $200 million (value $400 million?) Sinex project as a potential outcome of those zoning changes.
Bottom line is you do not have the information you need to guide City Council regarding the zoning changes. If the Sinex deal is a good as he says it is, it will wait while you do your due diligence. We depend on you to do that. Your independence is unique, and wise judgement draws from that.
I knew what he was when he hopped right up and saluted HRC. If he had supported our native son, he could have been an asset and a local hero. Leahy has been in Washington too long.
Go to Facebook. Search for: Pine Street Coalition: Let's Do it Right
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