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Together For Progress Building Burlington’s Future

Who We Are: A collective of stakeholders engaged in continuing Burlington’s evolution as one of America’s most livable small cities. A group who envisions a Burlington as an inclusive community with a strong economy, a diverse housing mix, a vibrant job market, safe transportation options, and well-maintained infrastructure. 

What we Believe: That Burlington can evolve into an ever more vibrant city -- thus enhancing the quality of life of residents and the economic prospects of businesses. A place where our children and future generations can find real opportunity to live, work and play, and where older adults can successfully age in place. 

What we Support: We support projects and initiatives for Burlington, Vermont that create: 
More Housing: create enough housing to achieve healthy long term vacancy rates that support affordability for all. Create diverse types of housing located in proximity to transportation options.
Compact Downtown Development: well-designed projects which bring a mix of uses including residential, commercial and services to Burlington’s downtown district. 
Job Growth: retain and attract employees with good paying job and business opportunities for Vermonters of all ages and skill sets.
Solid Infrastructure: increase the resources available to improve, repair and maintain Burlington’s municipal capital infrastructure
Transportation Choices: improve and increase the range of transportation options located in close proximity to all Burlington and Chittenden County residents.
Walkable/Bikeable Network: rethink and redesign Burlington to respond to the demand for walkable, bikeable neighborhoods and provide walk and bike connectivity to every day locations.
Positive Education Outcomes: utilize community tax dollars in a reasonable and effective manner to create the best education outcomes for our youth.
Healthy Communities: provide access to reliable, safe and affordable community health services and to healthy lifestyle choices.
Clean Lake Champlain: programs and investments that will help reduce the phosphorous going into Lake Champlain.

What we Do: We educate and inform the public and community leaders with factual information to help inform decision making. We speak to our community and our constituencies about the importance of enacting initiatives outlined in the following adopted plans:
  • The ECOS Plan 
  • PlanBTV Downtown and Waterfront 
  • Plan BTV Walk/Bike 
  • Downtown Parking and Transportation Plan 

Anchor Partners:

SIGN THE PETITION

Together For Progress
We, the undersigned, petition the City of Burlington leadership (including the Burlington City Council, Mayor Miro Weinberger, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Design Advisory Board and Design Review Board) to take all necessary steps to advance and approve the proposed redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center. The proposed redevelopment will help ensure economic vitality for our downtown through affordable housing and business space. The redevelopment will close an outdated and failing suburban mall, and replace it with mixed-use space that creates prosperity for all and adheres to the environmentally responsible principles of smart growth. The redevelopment will strengthen an already vibrant community and make Burlington and even better place to live, work and visit.

BENEFITS

The Burlington Town Center redevelopment will result in the following benefits for the city:
  • Affordable housing, which will attract middle class and young professionals and help keep a qualified and talented workforce in town. 
  • Modern and affordable retail and commercial space that will attract business and grow jobs. 
  • Reopening of Pine and St. Paul Street.
  • Provide much needed additional property tax revenue. 
  • Environmentally sound, smart-growth development. 
  • Building up will reduce urban sprawl and concentrate economic revitalization right in the center of Burlington. 
  • Reduction in crime. 

GET INVOLVED

If you want to help build Burlington’s future please get involved!
Host A House Party – Invite your family, friends and coworkers to learn about the Burlington Town Center Redevelopment. Together For Progress will provide updates on the benefits of the redevelopment as well as the development plans and financing proposals. 
 • Write a Letter to the Editor or Testimonial – Share why you support the Burlington Town Center Redevelopment with the community! 
 • Sign the Petition!

Rumor vs Fact

Zoning

RUMOR  
“The zoning changes for the overlay district were rushed through” 
FACT 
The City Council met more than 10 times to discuss the zoning changes, and the planning commission met more than half a dozen times to review the changes over a 5-month period. Each meeting had a public comment session.

RUMOR
 “The proposed zoning district gives fewer benefits to the community and city” FACT 
The proposed zoning in FACT provides more benefits than current zoning. It includes the affordable housing, jobs and public parking of the current zoning. It adds improved design standards, LEED Gold certification, revitalized streetscapes on Cherry & Bank, solar panels, a roof top deck, 20% affordable housing, two reclaimed streets, mixed use, and an activated streetscape. 

RUMOR 
 “The proposed zoning district will allow too tall buildings in downtown Burlington.” 
 FACT 
The difference between what could be built - 105 ft. mixed use/residential - and what will be built under new zoning - 160 ft., - is actually about the equivalent of 4 extra stories. There are 6 buildings in this section of downtown over 100’ tall, with the highest at 133’. The highest buildings will be residential and cover less than 20% of the entire 3.5 acre project site.  

Parking

RUMOR 
 “PlanBTV requires underground parking” 
FACT 
PlanBTV does not require underground parking. The time, cost, and volume of excavating and transporting potentially contaminated soils would be tremendous. The process would require soils to be trucked out every day for months and would be far too expensive and disruptive to work. A well screened, above ground garage, not at street level, will work well for the project – an underground project will not. 

RUMOR 
“Parking should be built below ground.” 
 FACT 
Parking on any project could be built above or below ground. In this project the above ground brings an important added benefit. The parking floors can be converted to housing units in the future. For that reason it benefits our community to have the parking above ground. It helps support our communities goals of transportation choice.

Public Process

RUMOR 
 “The project is not in conformity with PlanBTV” 
FACT
 The entire process has been designed to ensure the redevelopment DOES FULFILL the City’s long-stated need for more housing, greater connectivity and revitalized retail & services. The City explicitly found this project in keeping with PlanBTV. 

RUMOR 
“The public process began in January 2015 but then almost an entire year went by without effective public engagement…” 
FACT 
There have been more than two-dozen public meetings to date, including more than 12 public City-sponsored meetings in 2015 alone. In 2016, the city council held 10 meetings with public input as well as an information session in January. The November 8th vote is NOT the final step. The project will still need approvals from the City Council, the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board. There will be additional time for public input. 

Housing

RUMOR 
 “The Sinex project does not include moderately-priced housing, senior housing, public parks, green space, parking below ground, true street connectivity or livability in its 14-story three-towered mega-block. Very few of the guidelines set forth by PlanBTV for the mall redevelopment are actualized in the current proposal.” 
FACT 
 The project will allow over 130 apartments at market rents, not “luxury units” as some have claimed. Pine Street and St. Paul Street will be reconnected after being closed for more than 50 years. The project will also incorporate best management practices for storm water – where none exist now – Gold LEED certification as well as many and other green improvements. 

RUMOR 
Recently, two private surveys show a 2.5 rental vacancy rate and a ‘healthy’ 3% rental housing vacancy rate likely by year end,” citing a July snapshot of available apartments. 
FACT 
Anyone living in or looking for housing in Burlington can tell you the facts – there are too few decent quality affordable and market rate units available. More housing, particularly in downtowns where people can live, work, and play, is critically needed, as the entire Building Homes Together coalition has stated and as PlanBTV and the City’s own Housing Action Plan both urge. 

RUMOR 
 “The developer will be tempted by the opportunity for larger profits by not building the affordable units, paying the City a fine and selling the 55 units that were supposed to be affordable as high-priced condos.”
FACT 
 This totally ignores the signed Predevelopment Agreement that requires the developer - under state law - to build this as a Priority Housing Project where affordable units ~ 20% of the total ~ will actually be built and delivered. The developer has stated many times that this project will include rental apartments and few, if any, condos for sale.

Open Streets & TIF

RUMOR 
“The two streets will be unworkable and steep, claiming Pine Street will “tunnel down . . . then up a 9% grade.” St. Paul Street “requires a 12% grade” that will make it inaccessible to persons with a handicap and too steep for cyclists.” 
FACT
 There is NO tunnel at Pine Street proposed at all. There will not be a nine or 12 percent grade for either of the streets that will be reopened. The new streets will be two full 60-foot rights of way, publicly accessible and ADA compliant, built for all modes of transportation. 

RUMOR 
TIF, Tax Increment Financing, is a form of corporate welfare. 
FACT 
First, the City's TIF investment will be only spent on public streets that the City will own. Second, the City will reimburse the developer for these costs only after the streets and sidewalks are actually built and turned over to the City. None of the TIF money is going to the developer's project itself, and all of it will be used for the direct costs of constructing the streets and sidewalks only after the developer has delivered. Third, the TIF bond costs will be paid for by the development itself - not City taxpayers - and the City has required the developer to guarantee the payments. Fourth, the City has required a number of financial protections to be put in place such as: bonding for the public improvements; contracting through guaranteed price construction; demonstration of financial sureties and all financing capacity in place before the private development can begin; requiring all of those pieces to be in place before the developer can even begin demolition. Reasonable disagreements about the project are understandable - but it is really out of bounds to accuse the developer of some kind of Wall Street investment scam. 

RUMOR 
The project should have to pay for its own streets just like… 
 FACT
 Projects do pay for new streets and parking that are necessary to make the project work. A good example is streets that lead to housing. In this case the project does not need St. Paul and Pine Streets open to build on the site. It is the city, lead by PlanBTV who is asking for the streets back and to reopen them. It’s a win for the city and the community. 

RUMOR
 “The TIF money that will be used for public streets could be better used instead for repairs to our schools” 
 FACT 
Taxed paid by downtown redevelopments cannot be used to repair schools. School taxes are separate from municipal taxes. They appear as separate line items on our tax bills. School taxes go to the State of Vermont. Any funding for school repairs would come from the School Board and its budget. Another option would be a special bond for school repairs paid for by all Burlington property tax payers. 

 RUMOR 
 “It will take decades to pay for the TIF so we won’t see any benefit from the BTC redevelopment.” 
 FACT 
Starting on DAY ONE, the project will add to the City’s tax rolls and help fund other infrastructure now and in the future. The BTC redevelopment will generate new revenue to the City greater than the amount needed to pay for the 15-year TIF bond.

supporters of the Burlington Town Center Development

Burlington Area Businesses, Non-Profits, and Organizations:  
A Cuisine 
AARP Vermont 
Ake’s Place 
Aristelle 
 Asiana Noodle 
Ben & Jerry’s 
Bertha Church 
Boloco 
Brandthropology 
Burlington Paint & Sip 
Burlington Records 
Burlington Town Center 
Burlington Violin Shop 
Burton Snowboards 
Champlain College 
Champlain Housing Trust 
Church & Main Restaurant 
Church Street Tavern 
Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty 
Courtyard Marriott and Hotel Vermont 
Crow Bookshop 
Cynthea’s Spa 
Danforth Pewter 
Dealer.Com 
Dear Lucy 
Designer’s Circle Jewelers 
Downtown Danform Shoes 
Dreamlike Pictures 
E.B. Strong’s 
Ecco Clothes 
Expressions 
Fjallraven
Fremeau Jewelers 
Frog Hollow on the Marketplace  
Full Tank 
Gaku Ramen 
Garcia’s Tobacco Shop 
Global Pathways Jewelry 
Good Times Gallery 
Green Life, Cherry St. 
Halvorson’s Upstreet Café 
Hatley Boutique 
Homeport 
Jess Boutique 
Ken’s Pizza and Pub 
Kiss the Cook 
KL Mountain Sports / The North Face 
Lake Champlain Chocolates 
Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce 
Leunig’s Bistro 
Liebling, College St. 
Lippa’s Jewelers 
Local Motion 
Lole 
Marketplace Fitness Center 
Maven Michael Kehoe, Ltd. 
Monelle 
Next Level Barber Shop 
North Star Leasing 
One Half Lounge 
Optical Center, Ltd. 
Patagonia 
Pawprint & Mail 
Red Square 
Ri Ra Irish Pub
Saratoga Olive Oil 
Scuffer Steak & Ale House 
Select 
Seventh Generation 
SkiRack Sox Market 
Soyo 
Speeder & Earl’s 
Spellbound 
SR South LLC 
Stella Mae 
Stephen & Burns Salon & Spa 
 Sweet Lady Jane 
Sweet Thing 
Sweetwaters 
The Body Shop
The Spot 
Tina’s Home Design
Top of the Block Sandwich Shop
Tradewinds 
Trinket 
TruexCullins Vermont Architecture and Interior Design 
Turning Point Center 
Uncommon Grounds Coffee & Tea 
United Way of Northwest Vermont 
University of Vermont 
University of Vermont Medical Center 
Vermont Chamber of Commerce 
Vermont Distillers 
Vermont Interfaith Action 
Vermont Natural Resources Council 
Von Bargen’s Fine Diamonds & Jewelry 
Warner 
WHIM Boutique 
Whiskey Room 
Wilsuzan Associates Inc. 
WND&WVS 
Yoga Vermont 
 Zinnia 
CHURCH STREET MARKETPLACE DISTRICT PROPERTY OWNERS
One Church Street Partnership, LLC
Wright Preston, Prelco 
Jeff Davis, Two Church Street Properties
Gregoire Family (Tina’s Home Design) 
Charles and Janet Perkins 
Harold Read 
Billy Mauer, Grandview Farms and Furst Management Ventures, LLC 
Jeff Nick and Dan Morrissey, Nick & Morrissey 
Joseph E. Frank 
Frank & Betty Bouchett (Homeport) 
Dot Real Estate, Dorothy Wolcoff 
Myer Dana & Sons 
Wood Family (Fremeau Jewelers) 
Deb & Tom Miller, Miller Properties, LLC (Ken’s Pizza & Pub) 
Howard Opera House Associates 
William “Billy” Kiendl, V/t Commercial 
Fred & Terry Palatino, 97 Church Street LLC, (Garcia’s Tobacco) 
Pomerleau Family 
Berger Family (Lippa’s Jewelers) 
Gary King (The Optical Center) 
Robert Fuller, Leunig’s Building LLC 
Stephanie Pape, 131 Church Street LLC 
Steve Donahue Associates, Steve Donahue and Meg McGovern 
Dave and Cormac Walsh, Ormer Group, LLC
 Josh Markle (Ake’s Place) 
Tim Pratt, (Global Pathways) 
 Mike Williams, One Forty Six Realty, LLC