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Mayor’s Office

City Releases Draft Development Agreement with Project Partners on Former Burlington College Land

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 3, 2015
Contact:  Jennifer Kaulius
                 802.324.2505

City Releases Draft Development Agreement with
Project Partners on Former Burlington College Land
Twelve Acres of Parkland to be Preserved;
Enables Creation of Affordable, Senior, and Workforce Housing

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that a development agreement on the future of the former Burlington College land has been reached between project partners, which include Vermont Land Trust (VLT), Champlain Housing Trust (CHT), property owner BC Community Housing (BCCH), and the City of Burlington. This agreement reflects a collaborative planning process regarding the future of this land and its possible uses, including conservation, public access, and much-needed housing, and the agreement codifies the conceptual plan that was presented last summer.

The major principles of the development agreement include:

  • The City, in partnership with VLT, will acquire 12 acres of the property as City parkland, including Texaco Beach, space for enlarged community gardens, the existing path from North Avenue to the bike path, the wooded bluff overlooking Lake Champlain, and a large playfield. The future park will be purchased for $2,000,000 using a portion of the City’s dedicated land conservation acquisition fund and leveraging other conservation financing to be secured by VLT. The City also will waive $300,000 of park impact fees, and the builder will complete site improvements in the new park as part of the agreement. This parcel, valued at $2.9 million by an independent appraisal, includes protection and expansion of community gardens, natural corridors, and the beach. 
  • CHT will purchase property for a deeply discounted price in order to enable the development of affordable housing.
    • 160 units of affordable housing will satisfy the project’s inclusionary zoning requirements for multi-family rental units (25%).
    • Multiple partners are working with CHT, including Cathedral Square, to develop affordable senior housing on-site.
    • Additional workforce housing is conceptualized, targeting households with incomes between 80% and 120% of median income, approximately 80 units of for sale property.
  • Zoning changes are required to make the conceptual site plan possible.
    • Current zoning allows for increased height and density closest to Lake Champlain; new zoning should move density and height towards North Avenue and away from the lake.
    • To maximize open space, the majority of parking is moved under buildings; a reduction in the parking minimum from 2 spaces per unit to 1.5 eliminates extra surface parking, preserves green space, and helps reduce stormwater runoff.
    • Phasing of inclusionary zoning needs to be addressed to support CHT’s efforts to build affordable housing.
    • Current zoning allows for 840 units across the property; new zoning should allow for no more than 770 (including affordable) units on the remaining 15.65 acre development parcel and six acre college parcel.

“I am pleased that the concepts announced by the project partners last summer have now been converted into a multi-party agreement that, when completed, will achieve many of the City’s long-defined goals for this important property,” said Mayor Weinberger. “The agreement responds to goals expressed by citizens in balancing substantial new public waterfront park space with the creation of much needed homes, and I look forward to the City’s continued engagement as this project is refined and becomes a reality.”

“Access to the outdoors and the lake is so important to City residents, especially underserved residents in the Old North End. The Vermont Land Trust is gratified to actively support the City’s effort to create a new urban park, especially in the context of also helping fill the need for affordable, workforce, and market-rate housing,” said Gil Livingston, VLT President.

"This development agreement represents a significant opportunity to provide much needed housing to a wide range of households and incomes while preserving open space. Champlain Housing Trust looks forward to working closely with the City, the developer, and with our partners Housing Vermont and Cathedral Square to accomplish these goals," said Michael Monte, CHT Chief Operations & Financial Officer.

This development agreement is the result of months of significant discussions by the project partners, including the initial public process on the conceptual site framework. The City’s work on this project has been led by Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director Jesse Bridges. The development agreement is expected to be reviewed by the Board of Finance on December 14, 2015 and then appear on the City Council’s December 21, 2015 meeting agenda for approval. Approval of the development agreement is only one step in the process by which the proposed project can be built. The project will also require a zoning amendment process and full land use permitting.

*Please see attached documents:

 

 

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Press Release Date: 
12/03/2015
City Department: 
Mayor's Office