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Great to see coverage of 05401PLUS, but I'd like to add that it also acts as a public forum, albeit written, for all the things we should be seeing discussed in the media, in public forums, and in our neighborhood NPAs... and aren't. We need a venue and leadership for discussing public investment issues, civic development, housing and commercial enterprises that change and form the city, direction of our school, transportation impacts, etc. that aren't held by one voice and with the intent of one outcome. We need more than hearings, we need a public conversation and the media has a role in this. To think that journalism is only investigative (re. VTDiggers presentation on Tuesday this week) or current events misses the point.
05401PLUS may be hard to read for some and one-sided at times, but I believe it is the only publication that is addressing our human and social impact on the physical environment and questioning our habits of place-making. We need this sometimes awkward, sometimes beautiful endeavor. Too bad more people aren't reading it.
Burlington Telecom is a critical asset to the future of Burlington. It is equal to our owning BED. This means we need to be responsible for the decision-making associated with owning a utility, hold important the control of an infrastructure service that is a key element of the city's future market place viablity, and acknowledge that actual physical investment is something we the City (ie people of) ALREADY own... Why pay for it twice? We've written off the investment and now its our to profit from... Let us reap the benefits of controlling our destiny (even in small ways!)... We need long-term income generating elements to the City... We cannot rely on solely on property taxes!
Time to get someone who cares about Burlington and its future in the leadership role of CEDO... Perhaps we could even imagine a "green" Burlington if given half a chance! Doing things right can work for all of us. Can "we" the public have a voice in "our" next CEDO director?
A note about the TIF:
"when they [City Council] vote on whether to approve $21.8 million in tax-increment financing to pay for public infrastructure" -- how much public discussion and notice will this actually get? or will the discussion already have taken place by the time "we the public" are supposed to weigh in? City Council decisions-in-committee followed by a public vote do NOT count as public process and open decision-making!
It does appear that the motto of the moment is whether Burlington is “for sale” or not. And it is not just BT that may be sold out from under the Burlington community. With the Miro Admin pushing for Form-based Code (FBC) across our Downtown, Waterfront, and South End, it is walkable urban density that’s at risk. Building 8-story structures across the cityscape will preclude winter sun from reaching the street, diminish the visibility of historic building features such as steeples or rooflines, and provide a doubling of the square footage of leasable space when we are just barely filling the existing buildings. FBC doesn’t care what goes into a building as long as the building fits a formula. …What does this say about our pride of place and our rootedness in Vermont?
The Urban Reserve is also on the chopping block, sorry, planning block. This 40-acres, once saved for Future Generations, is now being considered for development by those in power. Those of us out of power still think it belongs to us. Are we wrong?
Other cities are leading the way by planning for Climate Change and Resiliency. Why aren’t we? Why are we trying to fill a remnant sandplain forest and historic bluff from the Champlain Sea with houses? Why are we, who own an electric utility company, not leading the charge for a 2030 Energy District? And why are we not using Stormwater Mitigation as the leading design criteria for how we redesign the city instead of the FBC pattern-book?
There’s innovation and investment that comes when a city opens its doors. There’s a strength and trust that comes when a city recognizes the leadership role of its citizens. We want civic-minded voices back in City Hall; we want a Burlington that’s “not for sale.”
The Land at Burlington College/Catholic Diocese: What Next?
Diane Elliott Gayer
January 23, 2015
The Save Open Space-Burlington (SOS-B) Public Forum on Wednesday January 21 was meant to open up the dialogue about Open Space in Burlington. The meeting focused on the Burlington College/Catholic Diocese property currently under contract to EF Farrell. With the full-on mayoral backing for building additional housing across Burlington, for raising the height limits from 3 to 8 stories via Form-based Code, and for intensifying the development on the waterfront; it is only logical that we must stand up to protect the natural environment. This biome of sky, water, field, and mountain that sustains us, both literally and figuratively, is why Burlington is nationally designated a “most livable city”.
We have not historically pitted housing against open space/conserved land. We have both an open space plan and housing policies; we have both a conservation commission and housing agencies. We have been able to juggle the needs of both, but not all land is equal. Learning to understand what is the appropriate use for a specific site is important and critical to our future. For example, we are going to need ecosystems services from land in a way not yet understood by current planning and development.
Our city is becoming denser. Taller buildings, bigger projects, infill housing are occurring across town. The critical question is how do we create a parallel conversation about open space. Increasing density necessitates increasing open space; they go together. We need our elected officials to represent both sides.
We established the Conservation Fund for just such properties. We can use the Fund to instigate the preservation of the bluff, the sandplain forest, and the open parkland. We ask our city official to follow through with this charge.