Kathy O'Brien

155 Spear Street Charlotte - Land


Listed by Kathy O'Brien and Patrick O'Connell of Four Seasons Sotheby's Int'l Realty

This 130.9 Acre Parcel is located in a prime location in Charlotte Vermont with elevated 180 degree views to the Green Mountains. With clearing there will be strategic views west to Adirondacks. This rare piece of land has good soils for septic capability. Meadows, woodlands, streams and a beautiful pine forest. Build your dream home and have land to create a sustainable lifestyle or simply enjoy. The build sites are high on the ridge while the incredible low areas are stunning as quoted by a Vermont Naturalist that has been on site: "The multiple sunny meadows on the south and north side are beautiful. The wetlands that surround the streams running through the center of the property are gorgeous with a mix of sedge meadows and shallow marshes. The hemlock dominated forest on the east side of the stream is majestic dotted with pools of water- these tracks of land used more by wildlife then people are the exception to the norm in Charlotte. The forested streams and intact wetlands also protect water quality and support the health of the Laplatte River which runs nearby" - end quote from the naturalist. Currently the owners have the Laplatte Organic Beef Cattle grazing a portion of the land for Vermont Current Use Tax Benefits. The land may be subdivided into three lots only per the family wishes. A once in a lifetime property and 20 minutes to downtown Burlington Vermont. With a subdivided lot - this will facilitate infra structure expenses.



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    33 McGregor Point - One of a kind Lakefront property

    33 McGregor Point- Listing for Sale


    Listed by Kathy O'Brien of Four Seasons Sotheby's Int'l Realty

    Need an inspirational world to live in? This 10 acre private setting on Lake Champlain is the answer. Sun drenched rolling lawn to 500 feet of direct easy access lakefront is a rare commodity on the lake. The beach is terrific for swimming, kayaking and docks for boating. The southeast exposure is stunning with views that go on forever. The west sun in the evening on this land is serene and beautiful. Be sure to watch the video online!.McGregor Point is a private enclave on a broad section of Lake Champlain only 45 minutes to Burlington Vermont. The owners have taken pride in enhancing the property with quality architectural details. The great room has a wall of glass to the view and an open floor plan to the kitchen. Warm wood trim finishes add to the mix of handsome stone/granite fireplaces, tiles & wood flooring throughout the home. The first floor master suite is complete with a custom built loft/office and spa bathroom. Porch with hot tub opens to expansive mahogany deck facing the views. Two additional bedrooms are upstairs with private balcony, bath and open hallway with overlook to lake views! A full walk out lower level with full floor to ceiling windows facing the lake has a family room with fireplace, bar, bath and two rooms. The newer built attached 3 car garage has a perfect space above to finish as a guest area or in-law suite. The radiant floor heat and central air conditioning was designed per smart energy audit. Vermont lake living at it's best!




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      One Loan for Purchase and Renovation


      One Loan for Purchase & Renovations

      The FNMA HomeStyle conventional mortgage allows a buyer to purchase a home that needs renovations and include them in the financing.  This facilitates the purchase of the home and the renovations in one loan rather than getting a separate second mortgage or home equity line of credit.

      The combination of these loans should save closing costs as well as interest rates which would typically be higher on a home improvement loan.

      The borrower will need to have an itemized, written bid from a contractor covering the scope of the improvements.  Any type of renovation or repair is eligible if it is a permanent part of the property.  Improvements must be completed within 12 months from the date the mortgage loan is delivered.

      • 15 and 30-year fixed rate and eligible adjustable rate loans are available.
      • Typical FNMA down payments are available starting as low as 3% for a one-unit principal residence to 25% for three and four-unit principal residence and one-unit investment properties.
      • Borrower must choose his or her own contractor to perform the renovation.
      • Lender must review the contractor hired by the borrower to determine if they are adequately qualified and experienced for the work being performed. The Contractor Profile Report (Form 1202) can be used to assist the lender in making this determination.
      • Borrowers must have a construction contract with their contractor. Fannie Mae has a model Construction Contract (Form 3734) that may be used to document the construction contract between the borrower and the contractor.
      • Plans and specifications must be prepared by a registered, licensed, or certified general contractor, renovation consultant, or architect. The plans and specifications should fully describe all work to be done and provide an indication of when various jobs or stages of completion will be scheduled (including both the start and job completion dates)

      Up to 50% of the renovation funds may be advanced for the cost of materials after the closing of the loan.

      This mortgage does have a provision for the borrower to do a portion of the work themselves if it doesn't exceed 10% of the total project and it must pass inspection on completion just as the contractor's work.

      It is recommended that borrowers thoroughly research this program before they commit to a loan.  For detailed information, see FNMA HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage and Selling Guide Announcement SEL-2017-02.   It is important to work with a mortgage officer who is familiar with these loans who can guide you through the process.

      Contact me, Kathy O'Brien, to talk about renovation and purchase loans.


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        Spring To Do List for Homeowners

        To-Do List for Better Homeowners

        Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done.  They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us about things we didn't consider.  Periodic attention to these areas can protect the investment in your home.

        1. Change HVAC filters regularly.  Consider purchasing a supply of the correct sizes needed online and they'll even remind you when it's time to order them again.
        2. Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually.
        3. Create and regularly update a Home Inventory to keep track of personal belongings in case of burglary or casualty loss.
        4. Keep track of capital improvements, with a Homeowners Tax Guide, made to your home throughout the year that increases your basis and lowers gain.
        5. Order free credit reports from all three bureaus once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
        6. Challenge your property tax assessment when you receive that year's assessment when you feel that the value is too high.  We can supply the comparable sales and you can handle the rest.
        7. Establish a family emergency plan identifying the best escape routes and where family members should meet after leaving the home.
        8. If you have a mortgage, verify the unpaid balance and if additional principal payments were applied properly.  Use a Equity Accelerator to estimate how long it will take to retire your mortgage.
        9. Keep trees pruned and shrubs trimmed away from house to enhance visual appeal, increase security and prevent damage.
        10. Have heating and cooling professionally serviced annually.
        11. Check toilets periodically to see if they're leaking water and repair if necessary.
        12. Clean gutters twice a year to control rainwater away from your home to protect roof, siding and foundation.
        13. To identify indications of foundation issues, periodically, check around perimeter of home for cracks in walls or concrete.  Do doors and windows open properly? 
        14. Peeling or chipping paint can lead to wood and interior damage.  Small areas can be touched-up but multiple areas may indicate that the whole exterior needs painting.
        15. If there is a chimney and fires are burned in the fireplace, it will need to be inspected and possibly cleaned.
        16. If the home has a sprinkler system, manually turn the sprinklers on, one station at a time to determine if they are working and aimed properly.  Evaluate if the timers are set properly.  Look for pooling water that could indicate a leak underground.
        17. Have your home inspected for termites.

        Instead of remembering when you need to do these different things, use your calendar to create a system.  As an example, make a new appointment with "change the HVAC filters" in the subject line.  Select the recurring event button and decide the pattern.  For instance, set this one for monthly, every two months with no end date.  You can schedule a time or just an all-day event will show at the top of your calendar that day.

        By scheduling as many of these items as you can, you won't forget that they need to be done.  If you don't delete them from the calendar, you'll continue to be "nagged" until you finally do them.

        If you have questions or need a recommendation of a service provider, give us a call at (802) 862-3540.  We deal with issues like this regularly and have experience with workers who are reputable and reasonable.




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          Woonpioniers is an eco-friendly, prefabricated cabin with bent wooden walls.

          A Dutch Sculptor’s Prefab Cabin Has Curved Pinewood Walls

          From Dwell Magazine

          By Michele Koh Morollo – 

          A Dutch Sculptors Prefab Cabin Has Curved Pinewood Walls

          View Photos


          Built as a live/work space for a sculptor, Indigo by Dutch practice Woonpioniers is an eco-friendly, prefabricated cabin with bent wooden walls.

          In the Dutch hamlet of Giethmen, Amsterdam–based practice Woonpioniers has completed Indigo, a prefabricated home and studio, for sculptor Lia Harmsen. The custom, 861-square-foot, modular home has fully glazed walls on the front and back, allowing natural light to fill the entire space. A central wooden volume contains the kitchenette, bathroom, and shower, and a set of steps with built-in drawers lead up to a spacious sleeping loft. 

          Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Prefab Building Type, House Building Type, and Gable RoofLine Sculptor Lia Harmsen rents the dwelling to guests whenever she travels.�

          View PhotosExterior, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Prefab Building Type, House Building Type, and Gable RoofLine Sculptor Lia Harmsen rents the dwelling to guests whenever she travels.�

          Sculptor Lia Harmsen rents the dwelling to guests whenever she travels. 

          Photo by Henny van Belkom

          Photo Categories: exteriorwood siding materialmetal roof materialprefab building typehouse building typegable roofline

          Exterior, Gable RoofLine, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, and Prefab Building Type Chosen for their climatically self-regulating properties, the materials used for Indigo are eco-friendly and non-toxic.�

          View PhotosExterior, Gable RoofLine, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, and Prefab Building Type Chosen for their climatically self-regulating properties, the materials used for Indigo are eco-friendly and non-toxic.�

          Chosen for their climatically self-regulating properties, the materials used for Indigo are eco-friendly and non-toxic. 

          Photo by Henny van Belkom

          Photo Categories: exteriorgable rooflinewood siding materialmetal roof materialprefab building type

          Exterior, House Building Type, Metal Roof Material, Wood Siding Material, and Gable RoofLine A sky-lit window brightens the sleeping loft.

          View PhotosExterior, House Building Type, Metal Roof Material, Wood Siding Material, and Gable RoofLine A sky-lit window brightens the sleeping loft.

          A sky-lit window brightens the sleeping loft.

          Photo by Henny van Belkom

          Photo Categories: exteriorhouse building typemetal roof materialwood siding materialgable roofline

          On the studio side to the north, the wooden volume provides space for stonework tools and a kitchen countertop. In the living room to the south, the volume accommodates a small kitchen and leads to the bathroom, which sits under the lofted bedroom.

          Exterior, Cabin Building Type, Wood Siding Material, Gable RoofLine, and Metal Roof Material The back of the volume acts as a wall that separates the living spaces from the sculpture studio.�

          View PhotosExterior, Cabin Building Type, Wood Siding Material, Gable RoofLine, and Metal Roof Material The back of the volume acts as a wall that separates the living spaces from the sculpture studio.�

          The back of the volume acts as a wall that separates the living spaces from the sculpture studio. 

          Photo by Henny van Belkom

          Photo Categories: exteriorcabin building typewood siding materialgable rooflinemetal roof material

          Dining Room, Concrete Floor, Chair, Table, and Wood Burning Fireplace All the interior woodwork, including the bed and staircase drawers, was custom-made by Blind Interieur.

          View PhotosDining Room, Concrete Floor, Chair, Table, and Wood Burning Fireplace All the interior woodwork, including the bed and staircase drawers, was custom-made by Blind Interieur.

          All the interior woodwork, including the bed and staircase drawers, was custom-made by Blind Interieur.

          Photo by Henny van Belkom

          Photo Categories: dining roomconcrete floorschairtablewood burning fireplac




          Staircase, Metal Railing, and Wood Tread A hearth by de Vogelsangh warms the live/work prefab.�


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            Earn $10,000 by moving and working to Vermont!



            Work From Home? Vermont Will Pay You Up to $10,000 to Move There

            BY EMILY PETSKO




            Do you work remotely, like cold winters, and have the freedom to pack your bags and move whenever you’d like? If you answered yes to all three questions, Vermont wants to claim you as one of its own.

            On May 30, Governor Phil Scott of Vermont signed a bill into law that will award up to $10,000 to remote workers who move to Vermont beginning in 2019, Quartz reports. To be considered for a grant, you must be a full-time employee of a business based outside of Vermont and primarily work from home or out of a co-working space. The unorthodox measure is aimed at countering the state’s aging population and giving the tax base a much-needed boos The grants, intended to offset the cost of relocation and work expenses, will be awarded to 100 new workers each year from 2019 to 2021, and 20 new workers will be supported each subsequent year, according to The Hill. The grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis to those who move to Vermont on or after January 1, 2019.

            Grant recipients will receive up to $5000 per year, based on their individual expenses, and up to $10,000 total throughout the course of the program.

            Not quite ready to book that one-way ticket to the Green Mountain State? You can try another one of Vermont’s programs called “Stay to Stay Weekends,” which connects visitors with local employers and realtors to give them a feel for the neighborhood. June 1-4, August 10-13, and October 19-22 are the next upcoming weekends, and three communities—Brattleboro, Manchester, and Rutland—are participating.


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              What is going on with the Burlington Mall Redevelopment?

              Hole in the Mall: It's a 'Precarious Moment' for Burlington's CityPlace Project 

              By  @KATIEJ7D

              click to enlargeCityPlace Burlington project - JAMES BUCK

              • JAMES BUCK
              • CityPlace Burlington project

              A series of construction deadlines for the downtown CityPlace Burlington project have come and gone without any real progress, and city officials appear to be losing patience with the developer. 

              Don Sinex vowed two years ago that the 14-story mall redevelopment would be open and occupied by January 2019. Later he said that the foundation would be poured by that date. The construction financing and tenant commitments have not come through, either. 

              Last week, as snowflakes drifted into the gaping dirt hole in downtown Burlington, Sinex declined to make any more time-specific promises. He has been evasive with city officials for two months, according to emails obtained as part of a public records request, and would not provide Seven Days with an updated time line. If erected, CityPlace would be the tallest building in Vermont, with 288 apartments, 230,000 square feet of office space, and parking for hundreds of cars, plus a grocery store, a preschool and retail space. 

              Now city officials are considering new ways to prod the New York City-based developer to get shovels in the ground. On Tuesday, Neale Lunderville, interim director of the Community & Economic Development Office, and a city consultant, Jeff Glassberg, will update the city council on the project. Their recap could determine next steps. 

              The city's development agreement with Sinex and his company, Devonwood Investors, offers Burlington some leverage, including the opportunity to take the developer to court if he does not get going. The 46-page legal document required that the work "continue without interruption" once Sinex started demolishing the former mall. That work finished in early August, and the construction site has been inactive since. 

              There's a "high degree of concern," said Glassberg, who was hired by the city to oversee the project. "We're at a precarious moment." 

              Sinex insists nothing is amiss. "We are in full compliance with all our agreements with the City," he wrote in an email. 

              Within the next few weeks, Glassberg said, the future of CityPlace will likely be determined: Either the financing will come through or the antagonism between the developer and the city will amp up and any remaining goodwill could disintegrate. Sinex owns the property and is the ultimate arbiter of its future. 

              Some smell blood in the water. 

              Two separate developers have informally approached the city, wondering about the standstill and expressing interest in purchasing the property, according to Lunderville. 

              He refused to identify the developers but said both were locals. 

              Erik Hoekstra, a managing partner at the Burlington development company Redstone, acknowledged he might have been one of them. When construction stalled, he told the city to keep him apprised if things went south. "If we can help somehow, let us know," he recalled saying during one of multiple recent conversations with city officials. 

              If he owned the site, Hoekstra said, he would build a substantially smaller project than the one Sinex has proposed. There's little demand for office space in Burlington, and the parking is expensive to build, Hoekstra said. 

              "There's a financial feasibility limitation, and there's a market demand limitation," he said of the CityPlace project. 

              Sinex maintained that he's not selling and remains "completely dedicated to the completion of the project." 

              "Devonwood will work tirelessly to insure that the benefits of this transformative project come to fruition to benefit all project stakeholders as well as the City of Burlington," he wrote in an email to Seven Days

              But, he added, "I get everyone's frustration." 

              Sinex has attributed the delays to a series of factors beyond his control. In January, workers found asbestos in an old roof of the mall. In March, a citizens' group challenged the project in court. Those two issues set the schedule back several months, he said, though the mall was demolished over the summer. 

              In August, when foundation work was supposed to begin, Sinex blamed the city for slowing the pace of construction. He said Burlington had been late in handing over the plans for Pine and St. Paul streets, which would be reconfigured as part of the development and paid for with $21.8 million in tax-increment financing. Burlingtonians approved the TIF money at the ballot box in 2016. 

              At Sinex's urging, the city council agreed on August 27 to amend the development agreement so he could get a foundation permit without a contract for the rest of the project. 

              He vowed to restart work immediately, but it has yet to commence. 

              The longer a project languishes, the more risky it becomes, according to Glassberg. Construction delays increase the chances that something will go wrong and can lead financiers, contractors and potential tenants to question their commitments. 

              Sinex has no financing to construct the $222 million project. Instead, he has paid for the work thus far with $56 million in equity financing out of his own pocket and from Brookfield Asset Management, a Toronto-based financier that owns 51 percent of the project and is one of the largest real estate developers in the world. 

              A bank may be reluctant to fork over so much money with a lawsuit looming over the project, according to Burlington-based municipal and real estate attorney Brian Monaghan. The suit, filed by a contingent of city residents represented by attorney John Franco, alleges that the city didn't properly notify the group about amendments to the project and violated the settlement agreement from a previous lawsuit

              Sinex hasn't endeared himself to the construction industry, either. Several people familiar with the project said he had fractured relationships with the contractors who work for him, further slowing progress. All refused to speak on the record, though VTDigger.org reported last month that Sinex planned in August to fire the contract manager, PC Construction, but never followed through. Sinex confirmed that PC is still in his employ. 

              Now there's also a danger of losing tenants. Sinex only has one committed to leasing the space, according to Lunderville: The University of Vermont Medical Center, which signed an agreement last year to lease 100,000 square feet of office space — nearly half of the total. The hospital originally planned to move into the building in January 2019

              Those at the hospital "share concerns about the unexpected delays and are hopeful for progress," according to Michael Carrese, a medical center spokesperson. 

              The hospital recently revised its contract with Sinex to reflect a December 2020 move-in, another medical center spokesperson said in a follow-up email. 

              The hospital is a key part of the redevelopment plan, according to Lunderville. "If they are not part of the project, it becomes harder to do the project in its entirety," he said. 

              Lunderville and Glassberg have asked Sinex for updates and a specific time line regularly since September, according to emails obtained by Seven Days

              On September 26, Lunderville, Glassberg and Mayor Miro Weinberger flew to New York City to meet with an executive vice president from Brookfield Asset Management. Lunderville wanted to discuss the status of financing, the foundation permit and a work plan, he wrote in an email. 

              At that meeting, "the mayor pressed them to continue construction as they said they planned to do," Lunderville said in an interview with Seven Days last week. Weinberger asked that foundation work begin immediately, Lunderville said: "The mayor was very clear. He wants this project to go forward." 

              After a flurry of press inquiries in early October, Sinex wrote that he was "mobilizing for foundation work" and urged the press to "be patient." 

              A month later, nothing has changed, and he's blaming the majority partner in the project for the silent cement mixers. "Once Brookfield authorizes Devonwood to do so, Devonwood will pull the foundation permit and restart the construction work," he said. 

              Sinex would not explain why he had not yet received that authorization. Brookfield Asset Management did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

              The city can take more concrete steps. The development agreement gives it the right to ask a judge to enforce a time line if Sinex does not hold up his end of the deal. The agreement doesn't offer specifics, but according to Monaghan, the Burlington attorney, that's intentional. City attorneys "can ask the court what they want," Monaghan said, calling it a "pretty good relief clause." 

              More importantly, the agreement is effectively "protecting the city [and] protecting public resources," Weinberger said in a recent interview. It will continue to serve its purpose "either by helping push this project back on track, which I think is a real possibility here, or through the city taking an escalating series of steps in the months ahead," he said. 

              Neither Weinberger nor Lunderville would specify what, exactly, the city is considering — or when. "We don't want to broadcast" our strategy, Lunderville said. 

              Most immediately — and easily — the city could revoke Sinex's encumbrance permit, which allows him to block about 30 parking spaces and other public areas around the construction site. 

              Meanwhile, elected officials who once supported CityPlace have started distancing themselves from the project. City Councilor Dave Hartnett (D-North District) recalled how in 2016 he knocked on doors and made videos on Church Street advocating for the redevelopment. 

              "Seems like we put so much trust and faith into Don Sinex and got nothing in return," he said. "It leaves me bitter." 

              Hartnett recently proposed turning the construction site into a seasonal parking lot. 

              Councilor Jane Knodell (P-Central District) said she hadn't "given up hope" of completing the project without enforcement action from the city. "I'm sure we will redevelop that site," she said, adding, "It may not be exactly the project that got permitted." 

              City Councilor Adam Roof (I-Ward 8) is "advocating for patience." 

              "We can act hastily, we can act aggressively, but where is that going to get us?" he said. "It would be inappropriate; it would be unwise; it would put the city at a disadvantage." 

              Glassberg is cognizant that things could change quickly, but he sees the city as well positioned for whatever happens next. "Strictly from a real estate value, what sits there today is more valuable than it was six months ago," he said, noting that an empty site downtown is much more appealing to developers than "an aging, decrepit mall." 

              The city has one last-ditch option: It can withhold the $21.8 million in TIF dollars for the redeveloped streets around the project. That bill is due upon the project's completion. 

              If Sinex doesn't "meet the city's requirements," Glassberg warned, "the city's not paying for it." 

              Correction, November 9, 2018: A previous version of this story reported the wrong day of the city council meeting.


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                Downtown Burlington's Cathedral For Sale!

                Downtown Burlington Catholic church headed for the real estate market

                Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Burlington hosted its last Mass on Saturday as the parish plans to sell its prominent downtown property.

                The property has received substantial interest from developers and will likely be listed for sale in January, Steve Donahue, principal of Donahue & Associates real estate firm, said.

                The parish has contracted the firm to sell the property, which is located on Pine Street between Cherry and Pearl streets, across from the ongoing CityPlace development and near the Church Street Marketplace.

                Declining attendance and financial difficulty has lead the Immaculate Conception parish to merge with St. Joseph’s parish in the Old North End. Immaculate Conception had been the Burlington Diocese’s cathedral for more than 100 years, until 2001 when it became a co-cathedral with St. Joseph’s. It was downgraded to a parish earlier this year.

                Donahue said his firm is currently examining zoning and density regulations and is planning on listing the property in early January. He said the property will likely become a high-density multi-use development.

                “It’s going to be a very highly desired, sought-after large-scale development that is going to have interest from locals and folks outside the area, and many of those have already surfaced and reached out,” Donahue said. “There’s a long list of folks waiting to get more details on the offering.”

                The city of Burlington has assessed the total property value at just under $4.5 million. It is too early to estimate what the asking price might be, Donahue said.

                Immaculate Conception was designated as a cathedral in 1867. But the old cathedral was destroyed by arson in March 1972 and was replaced by the modern-style building.

                Donahue said that whoever buys the property will likely pursue a project similar to the CityPlace project.

                “The entire Cherry Street area is getting a tremendous facelift, an infusion of a lot of development,” he said. “I think anyone who is looking at the Immaculate parish property is looking at the quality of development that is happening across the street and will probably mimic that with something similar.”

                The bell tower at Immaculate Conception. Wikimedia Commons photo

                The Rev. Lance Harlow, who was the pastor of Immaculate Conception and now is at St. Joseph’s, said the parish was unable to recover many of the parishioners who left during the five-year period it took to rebuild the church in the 1970s.

                Harlow said church attendance at Immaculate Conception also decreased over time, in partbecause of the city’s urban renewal efforts, which replaced housing with commercial buildings downtown.

                “Without the people, there’s no money, and without the money, there’s no parish,” Harlow said.

                Harlow said an influx of immigrants from African countries and Vietnam into the Old North End has help bolster St. Joseph’s, and the money acquired from the sale will help ensure that St. Joseph’s remains financially stable.

                “We realized we have a church a block away, we need to close Immaculate Conception and focus on building it up,” he said. “St. Joseph is being built up because we have these immigrant communities coming in.”

                Immaculate Conception’s last Mass was attended by around 240 people, and the building was officially declassified as a church Saturday.

                Immaculate Conception’s altar is being moved to St. Joseph’s, Harlow said, and some of the other objects inside the church are being moved to local Catholic schools.

                CityPlace developer Don Sinex, who has butted headswith city officials as his project has hit delays, said via email that he had inquired to the parish about the property in the past.

                “I have spoken to the Church about this property a few times in the past (a few years ago) but I have not heard much about it for the past year,” Sinex said. “I am unsure whether I will have any interest, however until I see the offering material, which I have not seen as yet.”

                Donahue said that he did not think the opposition to the CityPlace project would discourage developers from pursuing the Immaculate Conception property, since CityPlace was able to successfully acquire the permits it needs to move forward.

                State architectural historian Devin Colman said that the current building and landscape have historical value, though it appears likely, due to the location and interest in the property, that it will be substantially redeveloped.

                Colman said the building and landscape were designed in a very intentional way. The trees line up with angles of the building and the colors of the building’s brick mimic the brown tree trunks and other foliage in the landscape.

                “It’s very unusual in a rural state like Vermont to have a designed landscape as part of a project like this,” Colman said.

                The landscape is also significant because it is the work of Daniel Kiley, who, Colman said, is the leading landscape architect of the 20th century and was based in Charlotte.

                Colman said if the building and landscape were replaced, it would be a significant loss for Vermont’s modernist architectural heritage.

                “We don’t have a lot of modernist buildings, and each time we lose one, it’s a shrinking pool that we are looking at,” he said. “It’s important to remind people the 20th century happened in Vermont, and these are the buildings that reflect what people wanted at that time.”

                While the architecture of the era has fallen out of favor, Colman said, every era of architecture goes through a similar process of being loved when built, disliked 30 to 40 years later and then appreciated more in following decades.

                Colman, who lives in Burlington, said he felt like the property is often overlooked. He said losing the green space downtown would be a loss.

                “I would encourage folks to stop and really look at it and think about what it would be like to have a big block of buildings there, losing that green space,” he said. “I think every city needs places to pause and take a step out of the urban hustle and bustle.”

                Donahue said developing the block lines up with the city’s vision for downtown.

                “With the encouragement of growing the city as far as folks living in the downtown and working in the downtown and growing the tax base, I think it’s yet another opportunity for the city to grow in ways that are consistent with the mayor’s vision and others folks’ visions,” he said.


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                  Understanding Vermont Property Taxes


                  Education Tax Rate
                  Land Gains Tax
                  Land Gains Withholding Tax
                  Property Tax Adjustment
                  Property Transfer Tax
                  Real Estate Withholding Tax
                  Use Value Appraisal Program or Current Use

                  A property tax is a levy on property that the owner is required to pay, with rates set as a percentage of the home value. Property assessments include two components-the improvement or building value, and the land or site value. Your property taxes help to fund local programs such as schools, fire stations, and municipal governments like select boards.

                  Additional information to help you with understanding property taxes, including�how to appeal your property taxes�can be found on the�Secretary of State's website.

                  EDUCATION TAX RATE

                  The Homestead Education Tax Rate is based primarily�on the education spending per equalized pupil of all the pupils residing in your town. Many town districts are also members of union school districts. Each town and union school district will have a tax rate based on its spending per pupil. For towns with multiple school districts, the tax rate is a combination of those rates.

                  Visit our�Education Tax Rate FAQs�or�view the�Education Property Tax Rate Table�for more information.

                  LAND GAINS TAX

                  This tax applies on gains made from the sale or exchange of Vermont land held by the seller less than six years. The land gains tax rate is inversely proportionate to holding period. The tax applies to only the gain attributed to land (not buildings or structures). This tax is not imposed on land which is part of the first ten acres beneath or contiguous to the sellers principal residence, or land purchased to build buyers principal residence (some conditions apply). Land may include timber and timer rights sold providing the underlying land is also sold within six years (some conditions apply).


                  Anyone who purchases Vermont property that was held by the seller for less than six years is required to withhold 10% of the purchase price of the land from the seller and remit it to the Department of Taxes immediately after the sale on Form LGT-177, Vermont Land Gains Withholding Tax Return To Be Completed By Buyer (Transferee).��If a seller is a nonresident of Vermont, the buyer is required to withhold Vermont income tax, and the Vermont Withholding Tax Return for Transfer of Real Property must also be filed with the Department on�Form RW-171, Vermont Withholding Tax Return for Transfer of Real Property.

                  A purchaser who fails to withhold or remit the tax is personally liable for the amount required to be withheld, plus statutory interest and penalty.


                  Property Tax Adjustments assist many Vermont homeowners with paying their property taxes. You may be eligible for a property tax adjustment if you meet these eligibility requirements:

                  • Your property is declared as your homestead
                  • You were�domiciled�in Vermont for the full prior calendar year
                  • You were not claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer
                  • You own the property as your principle residence as of April 1; and
                  • Your household meets the household income�criteria

                  The�homestead declaration,�property tax adjustment claim, and household income form, are generally submitted together with an income tax return. The credit is calculated by comparing property taxes paid based on property value to the amount allowed based on household income.�The difference (if any) is applied as a credit to the property tax bill in the following tax year as State Payments. The maximum credit amount is $8,000. ��

                  PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX

                  This is a tax on the transfer of title to real property based on the purchase price paid by the buyer. A Property Transfer Tax Return must be filed with a town clerk�whenever a deed(s) showing the transfer of title to real property is delivered to a town clerk for recording. A town clerk cannot record any deed unless it is accompanied by a completed Property Transfer Tax Return. �You may use�myVTax�to file your return. Tax preparers who file more than five returns or certificate requests per calendar year are required to use myVTax for filing.�If you file fewer than five returns, you may�order a specific form online�or by contacting us at�(802) 828-2515.


                  This tax requires taxpayers withhold 2.5% of the consideration for real property being sold by a non-resident of Vermont. The withholding is required to insure that the appropriate amount of taxes on any gain resulting from the transfer is paid when the non-resident seller files a Vermont income tax return.�

                  (Property Valuation and Review staff examine�the income tax returns associated with withholding to determine final tax liabilities relative to the withheld amounts).


                  The�Use Value Appraisal Program�(Current Use) is the valuation and taxation of farm and forest land based on its remaining in agricultural or forest use, instead of its value in the market place. �This program keeps Vermont's agricultural and forest land in production, slows the development of these lands, and achieves greater equity in property taxation on undeveloped land.

                  This program includes conservation land owned by qualifying nonprofit organizations and the exemption from all property taxes of eligible farm buildings. When an application is approved and recorded in the municipal land records, a lien is established on the enrolled land to recover a land use change tax should all or any portion of the enrolled land become developed. �Currently, more than 18,000 properties are enrolled, totaling more than 2.3 million acres which represents approximately 1/3 of Vermont's total land area.


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                    Mortgage Free

                    Mortgage Free

                    It may be an all too common belief that a person will have a house payment and a car payment for the rest of their lives.  However, with a plan and some determination, you can be mortgage free.

                    Planning for retirement is obviously important and many times, an activity plagued by procrastination.  Some homeowners' goal is to have their home paid for by retirement, so they won't have payments.  It makes sense to eliminate a sizable recurring expense before they quit working.

                    By making regular principal contributions in addition to the payments, the debt can be eliminated by the target retirement date.

                    Assume a homeowner refinanced their $300,000 mortgage at 4% last year for 30 years with the first payment due on May 1, 2017.  With normal amortization, the home will be paid for at the end of the term.  

                    Additional principal contributions with each payment will save interest, build equity and of course, accelerate the payoff on the home.  An extra $250.00 a month would pay off the mortgage 7.5 years sooner.  $786.81 extra with each payment would pay off the loan in 15 years.

                    Having a home paid for at retirement has the apparent benefit of no house payment.  A debt-free home is also a substantial asset that could be borrowed against or sold if unanticipated events should occur.  

                    To make some projections to pay off your own mortgage, use this use the Equity Accelerator calculator.

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