The development of a land use and development plan for Burlington's Downtown and Waterfront has been a long-standing action item in the City Municipal Development Plan since at least 1996. (See 2006 Burlington Municipal Development Plan, Page I-31). In September 2009, the City Planning Commission and Department of Planning and Zoning were directed by the City Council to develop a scope of work, timeline, and budget for such a project. While many other planning efforts involving the downtown or waterfront have taken place over the years, none have been as comprehensive in scope and strategic in design.
In the Fall 2010, the City of Burlington was awarded a Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provides a unique opportunity to invest in the future, and advance Burlington's place as one of America's most livable and sustainable communities. Burlington struggles to address complex urban challenges in a small, under-resourced New England community with big ideas and even bigger ideals. We struggle with how to really become the community we say we want to be.
The plan will refine broad city-wide goals for sustainable development into focused, actionable, area-specific strategies to ensure the vitality of the central core of our community and enable us to achieve our community vision. The planning process will place an emphasis on ways to promote and improve mixed uses and quality urban design, affordable and workforce housing, transportation and parking management, and the quality and capacity of public infrastructure. Our intent is to identify, understand, and address current barriers to the creation of new infill development. At the same time we need to make the hard decisions necessary to facilitate the continued evolution and maturation of this vital and dynamic mixed use district.
The planning process we are about to undertake will help us address many questions regarding the future of Burlington's Downtown and Waterfront including: