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Request for Proposals: Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance Evaluation

Posted March 25, 2016

The City of Burlington’s Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) seeks
the services of qualified consultants to conduct an assessment of the current
Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Ordinance and to evaluate its impact on the provision of
housing opportunities for all Vermont’s citizens, particularly low-to moderateincome
households. This analysis should examine whether inclusionary zoning has
led to inclusion and the creation of economically integrated communities that allow
households of modest means access to a range of opportunities, the underlying
principles of the ordinance. Based on findings, if applicable, recommendations
should be made on how to render the ordinance a more effective tool.

To read more, click here for the full RFP. All questions pertaining to the RFP must be submitted to Gillian Nanton by email (gnanton@burlingtonvt.gov) by noon on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016. All answers to any questions received by the above date and time will be emailed to the qualified consultants who received the RFP by Friday, April 1st, 2016. Consultants shall prepare a proposal and budget and send it via email to Gillian Nanton by 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016. To read more about Burlington’s current Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, click here.

 



Burlington City Council Passes Housing Action Plan

Posted October 22, 2015

Last week the Burlington City Council approved a Housing Action Plan to address the city’s housing crisis. To view the final draft of the plan as well as public comments made on previous drafts, click here. to read more about the plan view the WAMC report below as listen to the audio here:

The Burlington City Council has unanimously approved a Housing Action Plan that includes 22 initiatives to create new housing and reduce costs in Vermont’s largest city.

The Housing Action plan adopted by the city council on Tuesday had been drafted over 16 months. In 2014, a study commissioned by the city found that 58 percent of city residents rent and spend an average of 44 percent of their income on housing. It also found the city lagging in production of new housing particularly for low and moderate income sectors. Following the release of the Downtown Housing Strategy Report city officials engaged the public and business sectors to create the Housing Action Plan.

City councilor Sharon Foley Bushor, a Ward 1 Independent, says the plan is a necessary step and a good start for the city. “The plan brings to the forefront housing as a priority for the community, which has been established for years and years, but it also identifies 22 specific points that need focus and attention in order to address the needs of everyone in the community. So it not only targets and looks at low and moderate income people but it also looks at establishing a good mix of housing in our community so there’ll be some market rate housing.. It looks to establish really housing for a diverse community. So it’s a go to plan.”

Central District Progressive Jane Knodell is president of the city council. She says input from residents, developers and advocates was gathered to create a strong consensus document. “I think it is absolutely crucial that we start to build housing in the city of Burlington. And this plan lays out some strategies that will hopefully help break through whatever it is that’s really blocking significant investment in housing in Burlington.”

The 22 proposals include prioritizing affordable housing, expanding the Housing Trust Fund, reducing regulatory barriers, exploring transportation options and parking, building code reform, reviewing college housing, and creating new approaches to homelessness. It also establishes targets for different household types, addresses regulations, land use and quality of life issues.

Knodell adds the plan reinforces a number of challenges the city of about 42,000 residents faces. “It either is or it is certainly perceived to be very difficult to get a permit to build in the city of Burlington. That really inhibits investment because the developers are thinking I can’t invest all this money and end up maybe not even getting a permit. Because they have to hire architects and lawyers and there’s a lot of work that goes into a project before you even start to dig into the ground. And in Burlington the perception is that it’s just too risky to put all this money in and then maybe not get the permit. And so form based code, which is a new way of zoning the downtown, is being advanced as a possible solution to that problem.”

 



Burlington Mayor’s Office Presents Housing Action Plan

Posted April 14, 2015

Last night, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger presented his Housing Action Plan to the City Council and members of the public. The article below from the Burlington Free Press discusses this presentation of the plan and challenges that lie ahead:

A far-reaching plan to improve housing in Burlington will likely get more public input before it gets City Council approval.

Public comment and discussion among councilors Monday night tilted toward extending a final decision by at least a month — an inclination recognized by Council President Jane Knodell, P-Central District.

The proposed Housing Action Plan addresses challenges in affordability, accessibility, financing, parking and the impact of college and university students.

In his written introduction to the plan, Mayor Miro Weinberger termed the policy as “a re-commitment” to housing, a re-framing of long-standing goals; and an outline of goals that does not bind the city to any specific actions or expenditures.

On Monday night, the plan received kudos and criticism from about a dozen speakers.

Kirby Dunn, executive director of HomeShare Vermont, praised the initiatives breadth, and its sense of urgency.

“I think we should move on the plan and move on it quickly,” Dunn said. “I’m thrilled that it’s moving forward.”

Kelly Devine, executive director of the Burlington Business Association, likewise called for its passage — which until Monday, had been scheduled for City Council’s meeting on April 27.

“There isn’t enough housing stock for pretty much every segment of our community. It’s hurting our ability to thrive and grow,” Devine said.

Knodell recommended the council wait until after a public information meeting scheduled for May 7 at Contois Auditorium by the All Wards Neighborhood Planning Assembly (NPA).

That deadline extension suited Charles Simpson, among those who spoke against early adoption.

In an email to city councilors, the Ward-6 resident said the housing plan reduced the problem to a question of supply and demand.

Instead, Simpson said, the city should focus on “building community rather than incentivizing opportunities for speculative development.”

Lifting restrictions for on-site parking, he added, “is simply a gift to developers and a punishment to neighborhoods that will have to absorb much of this parking at a social and practical cost.”

Simpson and others questioned some of the plan’s presentation of statistics, including the number of off-campus university students.

The plan’s draft form was drawn up over the past six month with administrators and with the council’s Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, then chaired by Knodell.

Housing hurdles:

Still in-progress, Burlington’s “Housing Action Plan” compiles an ambitious list of goals for a city noted for old and highly priced housing stock.

A summary of those goals:

  • Re-examine regulations that have slowed development and redevelopment of housing (including rules that dictate parking, restrict designs and use; and impose high building fees).
  • Firm up policies that would expand support (financial and regulatory) for low- and moderate-income housing.
  • Reduce impact of college and university students on housing in the city.
  • Support measures to reduce chronic homelessness (by prioritizing housing as a platform for addressing other economic and health issues); and explore a “low-barrier” shelter that would accommodate people under the influence.
  • Increase housing options for the elderly, through new accessibility standards and “accessory dwellings” on a property (often termed “mother-in-law apartments).

Upcoming:

  • City Council will again disucss the Housing Action Plan at its meeting on April 27.
  • An All-Wards Neighborhood Planning Assembly “Housing Summit” is planned for May 7.

To view the entire article, click here. For further coverage, including video, visit WPTZ News here and Seven Days here. To view the entire draft of the Housing Action Plan, click here.

 



100K Homes Community Briefing to Be Held on October 29th

Posted October 24, 2014

Organizers of the 100,000 Homes Campaign in Burlington are excited to share what they learned during the three day registry event that took place earlier this week at a community briefing next Wednesday, October 29 at 5 pm at Contois Auditorium, City Hall, Burlington. They will have preliminary tallies of how many folks we registered, what they know about their housing needs, and will discuss their next steps.

Seven Days profiled the 100,000 Homes Campaign in an article published this week. Below is an excerpt:

As an alternative, the 100,000 Homes initiative aims to collect nuanced information about the chronically homeless. Their goal is not necessarily numbers, but people’s stories, in order to assist the most vulnerable members of the homeless population.

As part of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, people get a score based on their confidential survey answers, which is used to gauge the likelihood that they’ll die on the streets. The goal is to use that information to house them, prioritizing the neediest. The resulting database is not public.

The initiative falls under what’s called the Housing First model — which advocates providing shelter immediately, rather than requiring substance abuse, mental health or other treatment. According to the model’s proponents, it often costs less to subsidize apartments than to pay the medical expenses for those left out in the cold.

After the surveys, organizers encourage cities to “cut through red tape” and find ways to house 2.5 percent of the chronically homeless each month. The campaign, which started four years ago, recently surpassed its goal of housing 100,000 people.

To read the entire article click here.

100khomesbtv

 



VCIL hosts celebration in honor of ADA anniversary – TONIGHT

Posted July 26, 2013

The Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) is hosting a celebration tonight to honor the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There will be a raffle and art show featuring artists from the Brandon Training School, and a performance by Tom Sullivan, a blind entertainer, author, and inspirational speaker. A VIP reception with Sullivan will be held following the performance. American Sign Language interpreters and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), a word-for-word speech-to-text interpreting service, will be available at the event.

When: Friday, July 26, 2013
WhereMain Street Landing Black Box Theater, Main Street, Burlington 

To reserve tickets, call VCIL at 229-0501 or 1-800-639-1522 or visit www.flynntix.orgTickets to see Tom Sullivan perform are $20, and tickets that include both the performance and the VIP reception are $50. Visit www.vcil.org for more information.

Link to Full Burlington Free Press article for more information 

 

 



Vermont’s housing authorities feel the impacts of sequestration

Posted June 17, 2013

Public housing authorities in Vermont are feeling the effects of sequestration on already stressed budgets. This results in fewer issued vouchers, reducing access to housing for low-income Vermonters. Representatives from several housing authorities across the state comment on limited funding and losing vouchers in articles from VTDigger and The Commons Online.

Link to VTDigger article 

Link to PDF of Full VTDigger.org article

Link to Full Commons Online Article

Update, 6/26/2013: VPR transcript and audio recording of “Housing Assistance Cuts Affect Low-Income Vermonters”, June 25, 2013

Update, 7/12/2013: St. Albans Messenger, June 20, 2013

 



Fair Market Rents revised upward by 24% for Burlington-S. Burlington metro area

Posted May 3, 2013

By Leslie Black-Plumeau. Reposted from Housing Matters, April 30, 2013.

“HUD announced…that a recent in-depth survey revealed that rents for modest units in the greater Burlington area are 24% higher than originally estimated.  In October 2013, HUD set the monthly fair market rent for a one bedroom apartment in the greater Burlington area at $788, a surprising drop of more than $100 from the prior year’s level.

Since this decline was inconsistent with local data indicating rising–not declining–rents, VHFA and partner housing agencies encouraged HUD to conduct an intensive rent survey of the area.

This revision affects Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties…”

 



AmeriCorps and other service members honored during first ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service

Posted April 10, 2013

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger honored AmeriCorps and other national service members on Tuesday, April 9, at a ceremony in Burlington’s City Hall. The event was held to observe the first ever Day of Recognition for National Service. Weinberger thanked members for their commitment to improving their communities, “National service demonstrates the best of the American spirit – people turning toward problems instead of away, working together to find community solutions,” said Weinberger. “Today, as we thank national service members for their commitment, let us all pledge to do our part to strengthen our City through service and volunteering.”

Weinberger joined Montpelier Mayor John Hollar, and over 800 mayors from all 50 states in celebrating service members in their local communities. The event was spearheaded by the Corporation for Community and National Service, the National League of Cities, Cities of Service, and the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Mayor or Philadelphia, Michael Nutter.

“My colleagues and I agree that there are few resources more cost effective than America’s national service programs,” Nutter remarked. “…In these challenging economic times, their service is essential to the current and future success of our city and our nation.”

 



Vermont Interfaith Action workshop: Action on Banking Practices

Posted March 12, 2013

Join Vermont Interfaith Action as they present information on which local banks are most responsive to customer needs and most invested in local communities. Help challenge our own congregations to consider moving funds if better choices are available, and think about where you most want to put your money.

When: Sunday, March 17, 2013, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Where: The First United Methodist Church, 21 Buell St, Burlington (corner of Buell and S. Winooski Ave.)

For more information about the event, call (802) 651-8889. Child care is available – please call to request.

View event flier

 



Street vocation: Reaching out to those who struggle

Posted February 21, 2013

By John Herrick. Reposted from the Burlington Free Press, February 19, 2013.

The Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team provide direct service to those in need.

“The Fletcher Free Library, an elevated doorway, or an ATM booth can sometimes be the nearest shelter for the homeless in Burlington.

Matt Young, supervisor for the Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team, doesn’t just find the homeless shelter. He wants to show them the way to a home. Young coordinates access to social services for those with mental and drug-related health issues, the homeless, and those struggling to rebuild their life in Burlington.

However, Young said that he has his own pathology: his urge to provide services to those in need…”

Link to Burlington Free Press article 

PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article

 



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