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Monday, May 20, 2019

New Marina to Open Saturday on the Burlington Waterfront

Posted By on Mon, May 20, 2019 at 4:04 PM

Workers finish a building that will house showers. - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • Workers finish a building that will house showers.
The 160-slip Burlington Harbor Marina is set to open on Saturday, May 25 — six years after it was first proposed.

It will have showers, public bathrooms, and a store, and will add boat slips to a waterfront where they are in short supply. The facility will entice more of the boaters who visit the area to stick around, said Burlington Harbor Marina co-owner and codeveloper Jack Wallace.

"There's a lot of boaters from Canada that cruise the lake," Wallace said at the site on Friday, as a crane lifted sections of floating dock into place.

The Lake Champlain marina is near the U.S. Coast Guard Station and the Burlington fishing pier. About 60 slips will be available for "transient" boaters who want to drop by for a day or a weekend. Of the remaining 100 slips, about 70 are booked for the season, which will run roughly from mid-May to mid-October.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Winooski Mansion to Remain on Historic Register, Complicating Demolition Plan

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2019 at 4:43 PM

Devin Colman, state architectural historian, at the meeting Thursday - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • Devin Colman, state architectural historian, at the meeting Thursday
The Winooski property known as "the mansion" will remain on the Vermont State Register of Historic Places after all, which could complicate a plan to tear it down.

A 4-1 vote Thursday by the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation likely means a development planned for the property will be reevaluated, according to an architect on the project. Owner Jeff Mongeon wants to demolish the circa 1803 building to make way for a 75-unit apartment building.

About 20 people attended the meeting in Montpelier, almost all of whom urged the council to keep the Main Street house listed on the register.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

State Council to Again Consider Significance of Winooski Mansion

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2019 at 6:28 PM

The house at 109 Main Street in Winooski, known as 'the mansion' - FILE: MOLLY WALSH
  • File: Molly Walsh
  • The house at 109 Main Street in Winooski, known as 'the mansion'
Critics of a plan to demolish one of the oldest houses in Winooski are hoping a procedural error will help them keep "the mansion" on the Vermont State Register of Historic Places.

The designation could slow or block a proposal to tear down the early 19th-century home on Main Street and replace it with a four-story, 75-unit apartment building.

The Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday to consider the delisting question. 

The fate of the white house for which Mansion Street was named has captured local attention since news broke last month that it could be torn down.

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Monday, May 6, 2019

142-Room Hotel Proposed for Burlington YMCA Building

Posted By on Mon, May 6, 2019 at 6:18 PM

  • Courtesy of Smith Buckley Architects
  • The proposed hotel
A Florida-based investment firm has submitted sketch plans to build a hotel at the current Greater Burlington YMCA location on College Street.

Hospitality Funding, under the business name Hotel Y Burlington, is planning a six-story, 142-room Cambria hotel, one of 10 brands owned by Choice Hotels. The company also operates Comfort Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge and others, according to its website.

But Hospitality Funding's chairman and CEO has Queen City ties, according to Nicole Ravlin, a spokesperson for the hotel. Scott Silver attended the University of Vermont as an undergrad, and his son lives in BTV, she said. Silver will serve as the Burlington project's managing partner.

“Vermont is kind of his home away from home, and this is why he was interested in doing something with the community here,” Ravlin said.

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Monday, April 29, 2019

Burlington Council Hears Updates on Kilburn Case, Mall Development

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2019 at 11:55 PM

City attorney Eileen Blackwood, left, and Mayor Miro Weinberger - COURTNEY LAMDIN
  • Courtney Lamdin
  • City attorney Eileen Blackwood, left, and Mayor Miro Weinberger
Burlington city attorney Eileen Blackwood made it clear Monday night: The mayor and police chief would not say more than they already have about their attempts to dispute the autopsy report for a man who died after a confrontation with a cop last month.

City councilors had hoped to get answers from Mayor Miro Weinberger and Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo about their intervention efforts but heard more of the same during the discussion hosted in a packed City Hall conference room.

“The chief and I have been questioned again and again by members of the media … about the actions that took place here. We have shared as much as we can about that,” Weinberger said. “The attorney general does not want the facts of the case discussed any further.”

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Resident Alleges Burlington City Council Violated Open Meeting Law

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Burlington City Council - FILE: KATIE JICKLING
  • File: Katie Jickling
  • Burlington City Council
A Queen City resident is asking that the Burlington City Council vote again on the renovation of City Hall Park, contending that the council violated the state's open meeting law when it approved the project on Monday.

Wayne Senville, who has publicly voiced opposition to the park project, filed a complaint with the city attorney's office on Tuesday, saying that documents related to the project weren't available in time for members of the public to read and respond to them.

Under state law, the city has 10 days to respond to the complaint, according to City Council President Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4), so the council will hold a special meeting on Friday at 1 p.m. to vote on whether a violation occurred.

If councilors decide they did violate the law, they'd have to revote on appropriating money for the City Hall Park project. If the council rejects the complaint by voting that it followed proper procedure, Senville can file a suit in court.

City attorneys are sure that the city did not violate open meeting law and Monday's decision should stand, according to Wright. “We believe, according to our legal advice, we’re on very, very solid ground," he said. "We feel pretty strongly this is a frivolous complaint."

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Burlington City Council Approves Funding for City Hall Park Renovation

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 12:58 AM

CIty Hall Park design - SUISMAN URBAN DESIGN
  • Suisman Urban Design
  • CIty Hall Park design
The Burlington City Council voted resoundingly on Monday night to use millions of dollars to renovate City Hall Park, a decision that paves the way for the controversial project to begin this spring.

Ahead of the 10-2 vote, dozens of people who oppose the park renovation turned out to try to convince councilors to vote down the $5.8 million in financing. The opponents, part of a group called Keep the Park Green, say the renovation will result in the removal of healthy trees and is too expensive.

The renovation will, in fact, cost more than previously expected. The lowest bid came in at $4.9 million, significantly higher than the initial estimate of $4 million. Mayor Miro Weinberger attributed the higher price tag to increased cost for soil remediation and the plan to protect existing trees during construction. He also blamed the opposition group and delays in the process for causing the cost to spike.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Burlington to Move Forward With Moran Plant Redesign

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 10:48 PM

  • Courtesy of Lincoln Brown Illustration
  • A Moran plant design
It may finally happen.

On Tuesday night, the Burlington City Council gave its blessing to a plan to redesign the Moran building, the most significant progress toward remodeling the old coal-fired power plant since it was decommissioned in 1986.

The unanimous vote gave Mayor Miro Weinberger's administration permission to move forward with the project and to borrow the cash to fund it. The plan, which the city's Community Economic Development Office presented in December, proposes filling in the basement of the old structure and removing the brick exterior.

It would leave in place a steel skeleton. The open-air space would include public restrooms and space for vendors and concerts. Additional walkways, public art, a performance venue, a viewing deck or outdoor areas could also be added to the project in the future, pending additional funding.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Winooski Voters to Consider Another Downtown Parking Garage

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM

A rendering showing the proposed parking garage and hotel next to the existing Community College of Vermont building - CITY OF WINOOSKI
  • City of Winooski
  • A rendering showing the proposed parking garage and hotel next to the existing Community College of Vermont building
Winooski voters will decide on Town Meeting Day whether to invest in a second municipal parking garage to reduce competition for spots in the city’s $200 million redeveloped downtown.

The new five-level garage would cost $9.7 million and accommodate roughly 300 vehicles. It would be built on what is now a dirt parking area along Abenaki Way, adjacent to the Community College of Vermont building. The city-owned lot is just seven-tenths of an acre.

The city is also proposing a land swap that would allow developer Adam Dubroff to build a roughly 90-room hotel on the lower part of the same lot. He had previously proposed building a boutique hotel on a 0.18-acre parcel two blocks away, wedged between the historic Champlain Mill and the Main Street bridge that spans the Winooski River.

That proposal hit a buzzsaw of opposition from neighbors, though. Some feared it would crowd the historic mill and block downtown views of the Winooski River falls while taking over what is now a sliver of green space.

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Pilots Withdraw Application for Private North Hero Airstrip

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 1:13 PM

The proposed runway - FILE: SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • File: Sasha Goldstein
  • The proposed runway
A proposal for a private airstrip in North Hero has officially been grounded.

Larry Dupont and Glenn Cotton have withdrawn their application for the runway at 89 Macomb Bay Lane, according to a brief letter the pilots’ attorney sent to the Vermont Transportation Board on Friday.

The plan for a private, 2,000-foot-long grass airstrip rattled the neighborhood along Lake Champlain. At an October 31 public hearing held by the Transportation Board, dozens of residents voiced their opposition to the proposal.

About a week later, the board filed a "recess memo" ordering Cotton and Dupont to refile their request with "the appropriate municipal panel" and gave them until February 7 to do so.
Friday’s letter appears to have put an end to the proposal. Scott Richardson, a neighbor who’d spoken against the plan, hadn’t heard about the decision before a reporter reached him Monday.

His response to the news? "Awesome!"

Neither Cotton nor Dupont immediately returned calls for comment.

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