Council Update: October 28th 2019

Monday’s meeting began with the Council taking a site visit to the proposed Shelburne Roundabout to learn about how it would impact adjacent properties if constructed.

We then unanimously passed a resolution supporting the BHS girls soccer team in their efforts to fight for closing the gender pay gap.

After many months of being totally in the dark, we finally received an update from Brookfield on their proposed downtown redevelopment. They presented a new plan for the development. It is substantially lower in height than the original proposal, and now includes a hotel. They plan to build the same amount or more units of housing than the original plan. They couldn’t commit to using the waste heat from the McNeil Biomass plant to heat the development (“district heating”). They said they would begin construction in 2020. It is important that we stay on top of this developer and continue to hold them accountable on all of the issues above and many more.

We later unanimously approved updates to Inclusionary Zoning (IZ), a City policy that requires new housing developments larger than 5 units to include perpetually affordable units. The changes included impact fee waivers for developments that included affordable housing beyond what IZ requires. They reduced minimum parking requirements for developments with inclusionary units. They extended IZ requirements to off-campus student housing. They also, for developments in neighborhoods that are majority low-income, allow developers to build the required IZ units off-site, or provide a payment to the housing trust fund en lieu of building the inclusionary units.

We unanimously passed a resolution asking the Department of Permitting and Inspections and the Office of City Planning to bring a proposal to the Council that would require, for new construction, electric or other renewable fuel technologies for space heating and domestic hot water systems, where technically and economically feasible.

On another note, I hope that many of you will join me on Sunday for the Burlington Tenant Summit. This is an opportunity for renters to come together and discuss the issues facing us and build collective power to advocate for ourselves. There will be childcare and food. See you there!

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