Blog :: 2019

Save The Date! Single Parent Program Celebration!

 
 

Be a part of the ripple effect

 

Please join us for the annual celebration of the 

Champlain College Single Parents Program, 

now in its 32nd year.

 

The Single Parents Program lifts up single parents in our community by providing exceptional advocacy and support to its participants through workshops, access to resources and services designed to help students reach their educational and professional dreams.  

Graduates gain relevant skills through post-secondary education to become financially independent which has a multi-generational impact.

Hosted by Diana McCargo & Peter Swift, 

Liz & Jim Foster, and Betsy Rich 

 

Thursday, October 3, 2019
5:30-7:30 PM

Cocktails & hors d' oeuvres

Philo Ridge Farm, 2766 Mt Philo Road,
Charlotte, Vermont 05445

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    First Half 2019 Stats

    We are pleased to provide our noteworthy stats for the first half of 2019. We've accomplished some great results with our new website, paid search ads, print advertising, and social media. Click on the image below to view the full report from Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty. 

    Contact the Kathy O'Brien Team for all of your Vermont real estate needs. We're happy to share our expertise with you!

    1st Half 2019 Stats: Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty

    Union Station in Burlington

    Final Report Recommends Union Station for Amtrak Train Storage

    By Seven Days, Sarah Tabin

    click to enlargeThe Union Station site, facing south - CHITTENDEN COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION

    • CHITTENDEN COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
    • The Union Station site, facing south

    A report has named Burlington's Union Station as the best place to store trains overnight once Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express begins service to the Queen City in 2021 or 2022.�

    Union Station, at 1 Main Street, scored highest among five potential sites in a final report released by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission on July 17. The report considered costs, noise and impacts on current rail operations, among other factors.�

    The report is the final draft of a study released last summer that also�endorsed Union Station, according to Eleni Churchill, the commission's transportation program manager. The commission beefed up its data collection on noise and air quality�after�neighbors voiced concerns at a public meeting�in June 2018, she said.�

    Study Suggests Burlington's Union Station for Overnight Train Storage

    BY SARA TABIN

    "Understandably, there are people who are concerned with having the train parked overnight in front of certain sites," Churchill said. "Theres going to be some impacts, but were going to see the benefits of this train coming into Burlington."�

    The commission studied four other locations to store the 680-foot-long train: The Northern Urban Reserve, a parkland north of Waterfront Park along the bike path; Southern Urban Reserve, an area immediately north of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center; Vermont Rail System's railyard near Perkins Pier; and Flynn Avenue, adjacent to the new City Market, Onion River Co-op store.�

    The Vermont Agency of Transportation will make the final decision, but it isn't bound by the report's recommendations or to any particular timeline, according to Dan Delabruere, the rail program director at VTrans.�

    We are actually going to look at that study and even other options," he said. We really need to look at everything to make this decision. I don't know that were close to making a decision at this point.�

    The Ethan Allen Express train shuttles passengers between Rutland and New York City. Once other upgrades are complete, it will include northern stops in Middlebury and Vergennes before overnighting in Burlington from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
    click to enlargeThe proposed train storage sites - CHITTENDEN COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION

    • CHITTENDEN COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
    • The proposed train storage sites


    All potential sites would need some upgrades to accommodate the trains.�

    At $300,000, Union Station is the least expensive option. The costliest is the railyard: It would cost upward of $50 million to relocate the existing railyard to make room for the passenger train, according to the study. Both Urban Reserve sites are in the $2.2 million range, where Flynn Avenue would cost about $1.5 million.�

    The station scored high for its existing electrical infrastructure and low impacts to both natural resources and existing train travel. But it was the only site of the five to score a zero, the lowest possible rating, for both its proximity to residences and air quality impacts.�

    Union Station is located closest to residences the nearest is just 50 feet away compared to a nearly 530-foot buffer at all the other sites. But it impacts the fewest homes overall just 26, about half as many at either Urban Reserve, according to the report.�

    While Delabruere didn't want to comment much on citizens' concerns, he�did�dispel the notion that the trains would idle overnight. The trains�would be outfitted with "hot start" equipment, he said, which only require a 20- to 40-minute warm up and cool down. They'd only idle for longer periods if the outside temperature is -20 degrees or colder, he said.�

    Amtrak service can't start in Burlington, however, until Middlebury finishes its own massive rail project. The Addison County town is in the midst of replacing two century-old rail bridges with a new tunnel,�Delabruere said.�

    "There's some time between now and when the Middlebury tunnel project will be complete, he said.�We have some time to think about this, and I don't know that we're forced into making a decision.�

    Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the city hasn't taken a formal position on the issue, noting it's "in conversations" with VTrans as the agency deliberates.�

    We dont have control, but we definitely have a voice," Weinberger said. "This is something weve fought for and wanted to see happen for a long time, so its exciting that were getting to the point where were actually talking about the details.�
    �

    �

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      Changes in South Burlington

      Changes at the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington

      9:38 a.m. EDT July 31, 2019

        

      "Hillside," a single- and multi-family housing development is envisioned for the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington, as seen in this aerial rendering by Russ DeSantis Photography and Lincoln Brown Illustration. The view is from the south west, with Burlington International Airport and Kennedy Drive at left; Mt. Mansfield in the center distance. The light-colored multi-story buildings in the foreground are older properties that were built on portions of the farm: Lancaster at O’Brien Farm and Stonington Circle at O’Brien Farm.

      COURTESY NEIL DIXON, O'BRIEN BROTHERS

      A site map for Hillside at the O'Brien Farm, a housing development under construction in South Burlington. Future phases of building are planned for parcels at the left and top of this image created for O'Brien Brothers, the development firm.

      A site map for Hillside at the O'Brien Farm, a housing development under construction in South Burlington. Future phases of building are planned for parcels at the left and top of this image created for O'Brien Brothers,

      New homes, constructed and in the works, redefine a portion of the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019. 

      New homes, constructed and in the works, redefine a portion of the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019.

      JOEL BANNER BAIRD/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. 

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. 

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. The map shows the area a few years ago. 

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. The map shows the area a few years ago.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Leo O'Brien, Jr., 85, and brother Daniel J. O'Brien, 82, look out over farmstead land on Old Farm Road in South Burlington their family has owned since 1944. The farm work stopped decades ago and the land is one of the last open parcels left in the city. Buy Photo

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      Leo O'Brien, Jr., 85, and brother Daniel J. O'Brien, 82, look out over farmstead land on Old Farm Road in South Burlington their family has owned since 1944. The farm work stopped decades ago and the land is one of the last open parcels left in the city.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of O'Brien Brother Agency, Inc., says current plans for development of the O'Brien family property off Old Farm Road in South Burlington include preserving the barn for public use. Buy Photo

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       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of O'Brien Brother Agency, Inc., says current plans for development of the O'Brien family property off Old Farm Road in South Burlington include preserving the barn for public use.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      From left, brother Daniel J. O'Brien and Leo O'Brien, Jr., grew up on the farmstead on Old Farm Road in South Burlington that they now want to turn into affordable, middle-class housing. Buy Photo

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       Share

      From left, brother Daniel J. O'Brien and Leo O'Brien, Jr., grew up on the farmstead on Old Farm Road in South Burlington that they now want to turn into affordable, middle-class housing.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      The barn on the O'Brien property on Old Farm Road in South Burlington. Buy Photo

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      The barn on the O'Brien property on Old Farm Road in South Burlington.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      Boulders, gravel and topsoil are stockpiled at the edge of a housing development under construction at the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019. Buy Photo

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      Boulders, gravel and topsoil are stockpiled at the edge of a housing development under construction at the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019.

      JOEL BANNER BAIRD/FREE PRESS

       

       

      Changes at the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington


      12 PHOTOS

      9:38 a.m. EDT July 31, 2019

        

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       Share

      "Hillside," a single- and multi-family housig development is envisioned for the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington, as seen in this aerial rendering by Russ DeSantis Photography and Lincoln Brown Illustration. The view is from the south west, with Burlington International Airport and Kennedy Drive at left; Mt. Mansfield in the center distance. The light-colored multi-story buildings in the foreground are older properties that were built on portions of the farm: Lancaster at O’Brien Farm and Stonington Circle at O’Brien Farm.

      COURTESY NEIL DIXON, O'BRIEN BROTHERS

      A site map for Hillside at the O'Brien Farm, a housing development under construction in South Burlington. Future phases of building are planned for parcels at the left and top of this image created for O'Brien Brothers, the development firm.

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      A site map for Hillside at the O'Brien Farm, a housing development under construction in South Burlington. Future phases of building are planned for parcels at the left and top of this image created for O'Brien Brothers, the development firm.

      COURTESY O'BRIEN BROTHERS

      New homes, constructed and in the works, redefine a portion of the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      New homes, constructed and in the works, redefine a portion of the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019.

      JOEL BANNER BAIRD/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, near the site of a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. The map shows the area a few years ago. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. The map shows the area a few years ago.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Leo O'Brien, Jr., 85, and brother Daniel J. O'Brien, 82, look out over farmstead land on Old Farm Road in South Burlington their family has owned since 1944. The farm work stopped decades ago and the land is one of the last open parcels left in the city. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Leo O'Brien, Jr., 85, and brother Daniel J. O'Brien, 82, look out over farmstead land on Old Farm Road in South Burlington their family has owned since 1944. The farm work stopped decades ago and the land is one of the last open parcels left in the city.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of the O'Brien Brothers Agency, describes a planned residential development in South Burlington on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The project is between Old Farm Road, Kimball Avenue and Route 116.

      GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of O'Brien Brother Agency, Inc., says current plans for development of the O'Brien family property off Old Farm Road in South Burlington include preserving the barn for public use. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Evan Langfeldt, CEO of O'Brien Brother Agency, Inc., says current plans for development of the O'Brien family property off Old Farm Road in South Burlington include preserving the barn for public use.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      From left, brother Daniel J. O'Brien and Leo O'Brien, Jr., grew up on the farmstead on Old Farm Road in South Burlington that they now want to turn into affordable, middle-class housing. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      From left, brother Daniel J. O'Brien and Leo O'Brien, Jr., grew up on the farmstead on Old Farm Road in South Burlington that they now want to turn into affordable, middle-class housing.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      The barn on the O'Brien property on Old Farm Road in South Burlington. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      The barn on the O'Brien property on Old Farm Road in South Burlington.

      RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

      Boulders, gravel and topsoil are stockpiled at the edge of a housing development under construction at the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019. Buy Photo

       Email Twitter Facebook

       Share

      Boulders, gravel and topsoil are stockpiled at the edge of a housing development under construction at the O'Brien Farm in South Burlington on July 14, 2019.

      JOEL BANNER BAIRD/FREE PRESS

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        June 2019 Market Statistics in Chittenden County

        June 2019 Market Statistics

        The Northwestern Vermont Board of REALTORS® (NVBR) has released its market statistics for June 2019. The information is derived from data contained in the New England Real Estate Network and covers Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties.

        Changes for June over last year at this time include:

        • New Listings increased 1.8 percent for Single Family homes but decreased 9.5 percent for Townhouse-Condo properties.
        • Pending sales increased 28.6 percent for Single Family homes and increased 13.0 percent for Townhouse-Condo properties.
        • Inventory decreased 13.1 percent for single-family homes and 31.7 percent for Townhouse-Condo properties.
        • The median sales price was up 10.6 percent to $330,000 for Single Family homes and increased 9.7 percent to $252,500 for townhouse-condo properties.
        • Closed sales increased 8.4 percent for Single Family properties but decreased 25.2 percent for townhouse-condo properties.
        • Days on market increased 9.7 percent or to 68 days for Single Family homes but decreased 4.3 percent or to 67 days for the townhouse-condo market.
        • Month’s supply of inventory decreased 18 percent for Single Family units and decreased 30.3 percent for townhouse-condo units.

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          What's Happening with City Place?

          Miro Weinberger

          Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger reacts after an executive session briefing on the stalled CityPlace development project on Monday. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

          BURLINGTON — Brookfield Asset Management is considering an “extensive” redesign of the major downtown CityPlace development project, an architect working on the project told a group of city officials outside of a City Council executive session within earshot of reporters Monday.

          Architect Will Fellows of PKSB Architects told a group that included consultant Jeff Glassberg and former interim CEDO director David White that the planned changes were “quite radical” and could delay the project further. Developer Don Sinex told Fellows about the changes after Sinex learned about them from Brookfield.

          Approached afterward by a reporter, Fellows, who has worked with Sinex on the project, said that his statements were not meant to be overheard.

          “It’s all hearsay,” he said. “I really can’t talk about it.”

          The site of the $220 million development has sat empty as projected construction start dates have come and gone. The one-year mark since construction stalled approaches in August.

          With the exception of the removal of the billboards featuring Sinex surrounding the site last month, the site looks the same as it did following the conclusion of the demolition of the former mall last summer.

          Mayor Miro Weinberger said the city expected Brookfield to make a statement later this week updating the public on the status of the project.

          “The core of this is the private development, and I think it’s critical that Brookfield be the one to update the public on the status,” he said.

          The city is planning on using $22 million in tax increment financing for public improvements, primarily to pay to connect Pine and St. Paul streets from Cherry to Bank streets, which would go through the development project.

          Glassberg, the consultant hired by the city to manage their end of the project, gave the update to the council in executive session. After the meeting, he said “change” was going to be the theme of Brookfield’s communication.

          “Our effort is to get construction underway, and we’re trying to figure out the shortest path to get there,” he said

          Weinberger would not confirm or deny if Brookfield was considering major design changes.

          “I’ll have a lot more to say when they have done what is really their job, which is to update the public and everyone who’s been involved in this bidding process,” Weinberger said.

          Glassberg said he did not know if there were going to be major design changes.

          “We’ve got a whole lot of issues in the air with the project developer,” he said. “It’s the third week of July and they’re not under construction. Something is likely to change.”

          While concerns from the public and city officials about the lack of construction progress on the project continues to grow, Brookfield has vowed that the company was completely committed to the project and working toward starting construction.

          Neither Sinex nor representatives of Brookfield were present at Monday’s meeting.

          Voegele, the senior vice president for development of Brookfield Properties, did not respond to calls and emails requesting an update on the project. Sinex replied to an email only to say that questions should be directed to Voegele.

          In May Brookfield was working on finalizing the project’s financing after securing a term sheet from the Bank of the Ozarks. Voegele said Brookfield was also evaluating the project’s design, reviewing construction bids, working with the city on utilizing tax increment funding, or TIF, for public improvements and fighting a lawsuit filed by project opponents.

          These steps were laid out in a check-list of “milestones” that the developers had to accomplish before the restart of construction, according to a memo Brookfield provided to the City Council. It’s unclear how much progress has been made on the steps laid out in that memo.

          City attorney Eileen Blackwood recommended Monday’s update be held in executive session as it related to the city’s development agreement with the developers. Progressive councilors Max Tracy and Perri Freeman voted against holding the executive session.

          Brookfield’s last appearance before the City Council was April 30, when Voegele said that Brookfield could not specify a date for the restart of construction. Brookfield said they were aiming for a June 1 restart after Sinex told VTDigger in March that construction would restart May 6.

          While Sinex had been the public face of the project, Brookfield increased its involvement last fall and told the council in January that Brookfield was now involved in the day-to-day management of the project.

          By 

          Aidan Quigley / VTDigger's Burlington and Chittenden County reporter. 

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            Burton to add a Music Venue

            Zoning Change Will Allow Burton to Move Forward With Music Venue

             

            The proposed concert venue space at Burton - FILE: SASHA GOLDSTEIN

            • The proposed concert venue space at Burton

            The Burlington City Council on Monday night approved a controversial zoning change that will allow Burton Snowboards to move forward with a conceptual plan to build out its Industrial Parkway facility with music venue Higher Ground as an anchor tenant. 

            A large council majority approved an amendment to the Enterprise-Light Manufacturing District, a South End area that previously limited performing arts centers to Pine Street and capped them at 5,000 square feet. Under certain conditions, the amendment will allow for such venues to be built up to 15,000 square feet on Industrial Parkway, where Burton owns 155,000 square feet of space between two buildings.

            RELATED

            Councilor Joan Shannon, a Democrat whose South District contains the affected area, was the lone no in the 10-1 roll call vote. Councilor Chip Mason (D-Ward 5) recused himself. 

            Now that the amendment has passed, Burton can begin the process of relocating Higher Ground from South Burlington. It also intends to lease space to Talent Skatepark, which closed its indoor park in South Burlington last summer. 

            Additionally, Burton wants to create a food hall at the complex. Mad Taco co-owner Wes Hamilton said Monday that his restaurant is eager to open there, as is Misery Loves Company. 

            The vote came after impassioned testimony on both sides of the issue. Proponents said the project aligns with the South End’s vitality as an arts hub while opponents expressed worries over increased noise and traffic in what is largely a quiet residential area. 

            Justin Worthley, Burton’s senior vice president of human resources, said the company will fully participate in the permitting process, during which time such issues will be addressed. He said Burton has envisioned this build-out for at least 12 years. The company  has hosted dozens of public tours, Worthley said, and representatives have attended a handful of Neighborhood Planning Assembly meetings to explain the plans. 

            While Burton may have good intentions, neighbor Ben Traverse said, the company won't be able to build better city infrastructure around the facility. That is up to officials, who Traverse said should wait until the area is better equipped to handle the increased traffic before allowing the zoning change to go forward. 

            Some concerned citizens noted that there were more than 100 police calls to Higher Ground in a year’s time. Alan Newman, a part-owner of the music venue, clarified that only two of those calls resulted in arrests. 

            “It's only reasonable to determine that if this venue takes place in Burlington and it’s larger, the police will be called even more,” resident Gail Asbury said. 

            Others suggested the council delay the vote until the Champlain Parkway is built. 

             

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              Housing Summit on Tuesday in Burlington VT

              Image: Burlington Housing Summit.

              Burlington Housing Summit
              June 11, 2019 at Contois Auditorium in City Hall

              For many years, Burlington has faced a housing crisis. Meanwhile, right now, progressive cities around the country are looking to housing policy as a solution to many of our central challenges, and reforming outdated land use policies that increase income inequality, promote sprawl, and drive up rents. Here in Burlington, we can do the same. 

              Please join us on June 11 for the Burlington Housing Summit, where we will delve into our housing challenges, opportunities, and key policy reforms. We plan to emerge from this summit with a list of priority housing initiatives that the Administration will spearhead in consultation with the City Council, the Planning Commission, housing stakeholders, and the public in the coming months. Our goal will be to deliver draft ordinances for these priority reforms to the City Council for action this fall.

              We know that beyond the next few months, there will be more work to do. To this end, the Summit will also include space to hear from the community about other ideas we should consider in the future.

              We need all of your voices at the Burlington Housing Summit. Together, we can take a step toward a future where housing is a human right and where Burlington is the sustainable, vibrant, affordable, inclusive, and equitable place that we strive to be.

              Burlington Housing Summit schedule:

              Noon-5pm          Working Meeting

              • 11:30am          Check-in and lunch
              • Noon               Welcome
              • 12:05pm          Keynote from Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender
              • 12:30                Questions with President Bender
              • 12:45                Address from Mayor Miro Weinberger
              • 1:00                  Presentations on 5 Specific Housing Policy Reforms
              • 1:30                  Break
              • 1:45                  Break-outs to Workshop 2 Policy Reforms:
                                                Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Parking minimums
              • 2:30                  Break
              • 2:40                  Break-outs to Workshop 3 Policy Reforms:
                                                Housing Trust Fund, Short-term rentals, and Energy efficiency in rental housing
              • 3:25                   Break
              • 3:35                  Open Space: Self-organized, small group discussion
                                                What other housing policy reforms should be on the City’s list for the future?
              • 4:40                   Close and next steps

              6-8pm                   Town Hall Meeting

              • 6:00                        Welcome
              • 6:05                        Keynote from Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender
              • 6:20                        Address from Mayor Miro Weinberger
              • 6:30                        Questions with President Bender and Mayor Weinberger
              • 6:40                        Overview of 5 Specific Housing Policy Reforms
              • 6:50                        Overview of following hour
              • 7:00                        Open House on 5 Housing Policy Reforms
                                                          Attendees talk with City subject matter experts about these 5 areas
              • 7:25                        Open Space: Self-organized, small group discussion
                                                          What other housing policy reforms should be on the City’s list for the future?
              • 7:55                        Close and next steps

              Exact schedule and timing subject to change.

              *** The noon-5pm working meeting is open to all but free advanced registration is required through Eventbrite. For the 6-8pm Town Hall Meeting, no registration required, though RSVP through the Facebook event is helpful. See you there! ***

              For a preview of the Summit, see this video with Mayor Weinberger and the City's Meagan Tuttle and David White:

              Keynote Speaker:

              Lisa Bender is the President of the Minneapolis City Council, where her housing policy achievements include leading the City Council’s adoption of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, a comprehensive plan to guide growth, prioritize racial equity, and fight climate change; authoring the City’s Inclusionary Zoning policy; and writing the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance.

              First elected in 2013, President Bender has also championed the implementation of the City’s Complete Streets policy, including securing $400 million for investment in complete streets; led the adoption of the Midwest’s first $15 local minimum wage; and advocated for community-led approaches to public safety. President Bender earned a Master's Degree in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and has over a decade of experience in shaping transportation and land use choices to make cities more equitable and sustainable.

              Lisa will be the keynote speaker at both the working meeting and the Town Hall.

              About the Policies:

              At the Burlington Housing Summit, we will workshop several key housing policy reforms, and hear from partners and the community about how to get these right. The Summit will prioritize remaining, unfinished business from the City's 2015 Housing Action Plan. These policies include:

              Housing Trust Fund –                                   restoring and increasing funding to the City's Housing Trust Fund, which provides grants and loans for the promotion, retention and creation of long-term affordable housing
              Learn more about the Housing Trust Fund: "Housing Trust Fund," City of Burlington, last updated May 2019.

              Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) –           rule changes to make it easier to create small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lot as a single-family residence, which are known as Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs
              Learn more about ADUs: 1) "The ABCs of ADUs: A guide to Accessory Dwelling Units and how they expand housing options for people of all ages," AARP, 2019 [PDF], and 2) "Accessory Dwelling Units in Burlington," CEDO, February 2019 [PDF].

              Short-term rentals –                                     regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb in order to balance the economic benefit for Burlingtonians with potential impacts on renters and neighborhoods
              Learn more about short-term rentals and cities:

              Parking minimums –                                     changing the parking we require for new homes, especially in the downtown
              Learn more about parking minimums: 1) "People Over Parking," Planning, October 2018, and 2) "How Parking Requirements Hurt the Poor," The Washington Post, March 2016.

              Energy efficiency in rental housing –         updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs
              Learn more about energy efficiency in rental housing: 1) "Cities Hold the Keys to Greener, More Efficient Homes," Rocky Mountain Institute, April 2019, and 2) "Time of Sale Energy Efficiency Ordinance," Burlington Electric Department.

              The Administration's goal is to deliver draft ordinances for reforms in each of these areas to the City Council for action this fall. We also know that there is more work to do. Along with discussion of these five areas, the Housing Summit will also include space to generate a list of additional policies that the City should consider for the future.

              Background:

              When we create more homes in our urban centers, we fight climate change by structuring our land use in a way that requires less energy to meet our heating, cooling, and ground transportation needs. Downtown residents produce half or less of the climate emissions of their suburban counterparts.

              When we create more homes, we strengthen our local businesses by addressing their top concern: that our shortage of housing makes it tough to attract and retain workers and create new jobs.

              When we create more homes, we share the costs of our high-quality public services and amenities over a larger tax base.

              When we create more homes, we open up the opportunity for welcoming new Burlingtonians into our neighborhoods, and becoming a more racially diverse and inclusive community.

              When we create more homes, we fight income inequality in the most potent way we can as local officials. Indeed, President Obama released a report just before he left office citing local regulations that stifle housing creation as one of the country’s major drivers of income inequality.

              When we create more resources for those experiencing homelessness, we make good on our deeply-held value of caring for the most vulnerable in our community.

              In short, when we create more homes, we are taking a step toward a future where housing is a human right and where Burlington is the sustainable, vibrant, affordable, inclusive, and equitable place that we strive to be.

              Other progressive cities around the country are taking up the mantle of housing reform. In Minneapolis, a grassroots group Neighbors for More Neighbors just successfully advocated to upzone large swaths of the city to address its history of redlining and exclusion. In Seattle, Boston, Madison, and other cities, progressive activist groups are pushing the forces of the status quo to say yes to more housing, with the goal of creating truly walkable, affordable, and diverse cities.

              Burlington faces a similar, long-simmering challenge. For decades, well-intentioned but highly restrictive land use rules have kept housing supply from keeping up with dramatically rising demand. As a result, the average Burlingtonian spends more than 40 percent of their income on rent, making us one of the most expensive communities in the country to live in.

              For the last seven years we have been charting a different course with a two-part strategy: 1) We have continued Burlington’s proud legacy of building as much permanently affordable housing as possible; and 2) We also have pursued policies and proactive efforts to create more homes for households of all backgrounds. This second strategy recognizes that there will never be enough subsidies to solve our housing problems with traditional affordable housing solutions alone, and both permanently affordable homes and all new homes are important.

              This effort to increase more homes for all – more housing supply – is working. There has been anecdotal evidence of this for a while, including last spring when Seven Days reported that the 300 new beds in Champlain College’s 194 St. Paul Street building were “spurring competition to fill student rentals that once could practically lease themselves... In response, some landlords are cutting rents. Others are waiving deposits.”

              We are now starting to see this progress in the data. The City recently commissioned a study of vacancy trends in the apartment market. We studied vacancy rates because very low vacancy rates drive rent increases and often other problems for tenants and the City. The report findings are clear. During the years 2006 to 2011 the city produced only 67 new apartments and had an average vacancy rate of just .7 percent during that period. Over the past seven years housing production jumped to 579 new homes and the average vacancy rate more than doubled to 1.5 percent.

              Now, 1.5 percent is still too low. We will need to see sustained vacancy rates of twice that or more to get to our affordability and inclusion goals. However, these trends of increased new homes and rising vacancy rates refute the idea that new housing supply doesn’t matter, and should be seen as a call to more action.

              There is much more for us to do. For years, we have had consensus that numerous local regulations were getting in the way of creating new homes, but progress to reform them is not happening quickly enough. In order to make more timely progress, we need to bring focus and urgency to this effort.

              To that end, the Mayor’s Office will host the Burlington Housing Summit on June 11 in order to review a range of key housing policies that we first outlined in our 2015 Housing Action Plan, including: Our downtown parking policies, rule changes to create more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) throughout the City, increased funding to our local Housing Trust Fund, policies to regulate short-term rentals, and updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs. The Summit will also include space to hear from the community about other ideas we should consider in the future.

              We plan to emerge from this summit with a list of priority housing initiatives that the Administration will spearhead in consultation with the City Council, the Planning Commission, housing stakeholders, and the public in the coming months. Our goal will be to deliver draft ordinances for these priority reforms to the Council for formal vetting and action this fall.

              For decades, our community has struggled with the cost of housing. Let us resolve together that 2019 will be the year we accomplish the structural fixes needed to make housing for all a reality.

              - Adapted from Mayor Miro Weinberger’s annual State of the City address, April 1, 2019

               

               

              Contact the Mayor

              Miro Weinberger, Mayor
              City Hall, Room 34
              149 Church Street
              Burlington, VT 05401

              Phone: 802-865-7272
              Email: mayor@burlingtonvt.gov

               

               

               

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                Mortgage Rates Drop encourages more home buying

                Drop in Mortgage Rates Could Put Market in 2005 Territory

                The recent plunge in mortgage rates may help the market for home loans surge to a 14-year high, according to recent housing forecasts. In the past month, mortgage rates have posted their biggest drop in a decade, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.08 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey.

                The rate decline has enticed more home buyers to enter the market, prompting mortgage demand to reach its highest level since the fall of 2016. Mortgage applications jumped 18.6 percent last week as borrowers rushed to lock in lower financing costs. Mark Watson, director of forecasting for mortgage advisory firm iEmergent, predicts $1.2 trillion in home lending this year, which would be the best year since 2005. “We think the lower mortgage rates will create a huge push, partly from millennial buyers,” Watson told HousingWire. “That is going to support strong growth in home sales over the next several years.”

                iEmergent projects a 3.9 percent increase in total home loan volume this year. That’s more optimistic than other forecasters, such as Freddie Mac, which is predicting a 1.5 percent increase in total mortgage lending for 2019, and the Mortgage Bankers Association, which predicts a 1 percent gain.

                But the threat of higher mortgage rates is diminishing. The Federal Reserve announced at its January meeting that due to a slowing economy, it does not plan to raise its short-term key interest rates again this year. Therefore, mortgage rates will likely stay low for a while, which will bode well for the housing market, Watson says. “The benefits of the decline in mortgage rates that we’ve seen this year will continue to unfold over the next few months due to the lag from changes in mortgage rates to market sentiment and ultimately home sales,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

                iEmergent predictions. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

                © iEmergent

                 

                Source:

                Low Mortgage Rates May Drive Home Purchase Lending to 14-Year High,” HousingWire (April 8, 2019) and “iEmergent’s Mortgage Forecast Update: Why We’re Staying Put for 2019,” iEmergent (April 3, 2019)

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                  The "Burlington " Bike Path

                  Some interesting information from the City of Burlington about the "Bike Path".

                  �

                  �

                  family friendly biking with kidsromantic bike getawayshistoric rail trailswildlife trailshistoric rail trailsbike northeast waterfallsbike and beaches

                  Island Line Trail : Burlington Waterfront Bike Path

                  Vermont Rail Trails
                  Northern Vermont�

                  Urban Legend, Waterfront Parks, Beaches, Bike Ferry, Family Friendly, Wildlife Watch
                  Trail Description

                  Location:�Along the shore of Lake Champlain. City of Burlington to Colchester, Vermont in Chittenden County.

                  Trail Length:�12.5 miles

                  7.5 miles to Winooski River, 8.2 miles to Airport Park and an additional 5 unpaved miles on Colchester Causeway section of the Island Line Trail.�

                  Trail Surface:�Asphalt�

                  Trail Difficulty:�Easy

                  Trail Use:�Bicycling, runners, walkers and in-line skaters.

                  Trail Features:�Lake Champlain vistas,, 0.5 mile elevated bike trail bridge over the Winooski River, waterfront parks and beaches.�

                  Caution:�Multi-use recreational trail. Ride responsibly.�

                  Mountain Bike Trails Near Burlington, VT
                  Colchester - South Hero Trail�
                  Mobbs Farm Mountain Bike Trails
                  Hinesburg Town Forest Mountain Bike Trails
                  Lake Champlain Bikeway Network

                  �

                  Island Line Trail - Burlington Bike Path Map

                  Note:�The free trail maps on this website have been simplified to provide an overview with approximate locations of trails and special features.�Read Full Disclaimer.

                  Directions :�Burlington Waterfront Bike Path trailheads with parking.

                  mile 0: Oakledge Park (2 Flynn Avenue)
                  mile 2.1: Union Station (1 King Street)
                  mile 3.4: North Beach (9 Institute Road)
                  mile 5.1: Leddy Park (290 Leddy Park Road)
                  mile 8.2: Airport Park (201 Colchester Point Road)

                  Island Line Trail - Burlington Waterfront Bike Path Description

                  Both the 7.5 mile paved Burlington Bike Path and the 5 mile Colchester Causeway Trail are part of the spectacular Island line Trail. The southern section of the Island Line, The Burlington Waterfront Bike Path, is the pride of Burlington, Vermont's largest city. It's urban riding at it's best with its bicycle and pedestrian friendly downtown.

                  The Burlington Bike Path runs north and south on the former railbed of the Rutland Rutland-Canadian Railroad along Lake Champlain from the southern end of Burlington at Oakledge Park to the northern end at the mouth of the Winooski River. There it meets up with the 5 mile unpaved�Colchester-South Hero Trail, the northern section of the Island Line Trail. A new 0.5 mile long elevated trail bridge now connects the two trails.�

                  The route runs along Burlington's Waterfront, offering gorgeous Adirondack mountain views and Lake Champlain vistas the entire way. It connects 6 waterfront parks and parallels an active rail line for about two miles. Explore the many historic and cultural sites along or near the bicycle path, stop for a picnic and swim at North Beach, one of several waterfront parks along the route, or just relax on a bench to admire the sunset.

                  The best place to start is from the historic Union Station located at the western end of Main Street in the heart of Burlingtons waterfront, where showers, a health club and bicycle lockers and racks are available. Located next to the station is the Local Motion Trailside Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote safe bicycling and other recreational activities on the bike path.�

                  Cycling maps, air, info and advice are available as well as snacks. Outside the Center are trailside tables where you can relax and watch the world go by. While you are there, pick up the "Cycle the City" brochure for a 10-mile, self-guided historic loop tour which passes the historic Ethan Allen Homestead.

                  North Beach

                  Located right off the Burlington Bike Path at the end of Institute Road off North Avenue. Facilties include swimming, picnic areas with grills, a full service snack bar and playground. A lifeguard is available from the end of June to August 22 and weekends up until Labor Day, weather permitting. An outfitter set up at the south end of the beach, offers kayak and canoe rentals as well as a variety of kayaking classes and expeditions on the lake. Hey! There is even a foot shower to wash your feet before putting your cycling shoes back on.

                  Other beaches along the path are�Leddy Park�and�Oakledge Park. Both offer a swimming beach (no lifeguards), grills and picnic tables and restrooms. Access is free to walkers, runners, bikers, and roller bladers via the Burlington Bike Path.

                  North Beach Campground

                  Camp right along Lake Champlain. Operated by the Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation, it offers a premier municipal sand beach, shaded campsites and picnic grounds. The Burlington Bike Path goes right through the campground, making it a very convenient overnight stop on a longer trip or a weekend cycling getaway.

                  Reservations: 1-800-571-1198

                  Urban Reserve

                  An industrial site until the 1960s, the Urban Reserve was purchased and cleaned up by the city of Burlington to preserve forty-five acres of prime waterfront property as a "land bank" for future generations. Residents have the challenge and opportunity to participate in planning for it's future. The reserve is open to the public for walking, fishing, birdwatching, biking and offers nice lake views.

                  Ethan Allen Homestead

                  Situated in an idyllic setting overlooking a quiet stretch of the Winooski River. Learn about Vermont's most unusual and flamboyant folk hero and life in the 18th century. The homestead and grounds are open from sunrise to sunset. Enjoy the spectacular scenery, riverside picnic areas and walking trails. (no restrooms available).�

                  Phone: 802-865-4556 / Website: www.ethanallenhomestead.org

                  Getting there by Bus

                  The CCTA 11, the FREE College Street shuttle is a primary link from the Bike Path to downtown Burlington and the University of Vermont. All CCTA buses are equipped with easy to use bike racks, which hold 2 bikes.�

                  See www.cctaride.org for schedules.

                  ��

                  Historical Notes

                  In 1899 the 3.5 mile causeway was built by the Rutland-Canada Railroad to connect the New England seacoast with the Great Lakes region crossing this stretch of Lake Champlain. The line included 41 miles of track, six miles of marble causeways and trestles, and four drawbridges. Built in only one year, the Rutland and Canadian was a spectacularly scenic railroad.

                  Rail operations ceased by 1961. The conversion from Rails-To-Trails began in 1973. With the help of State and federal funding, Burlington's Bike Path was completed in 1986.

                  �

                  �

                  For More Information

                  Burlington Parks and Recreation

                  Phone:�(802) 864-0123
                  TTY:�(802) 863-0450

                  Website:�Burlington Parks & Recreation

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