The Neighborhood Project

The Neighborhood Project

On May 8, CEDO was requested to provide an update of The Neighborhood Project (TNP) to the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies - Wards 1 & 8.

Please find Presentation Slides HERE.

On April 29, the City Council unanimously accepted The Neighborhood Project (TNP) report and referred it to the Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization (CDNR) Committee.  The CDNR Committee has been requested to review the Report's recommendations and to prioritize actions and develop a plan and timeframe for taking these forward. The CDNR Committee is to report back to the City Council by the end of July 2019.

Please find Consulting Team's presentation to Burlington City Council HERE

The Neighborhood Project (TNP) was created as neighbors were concerned about quality of life issues in near-campus neighborhoods; purchasing of single family homes was out of reach for many families, as they were priced out of the market; and the housing stock in these neighborhoods was becoming more dilapidated. So, neighbors called for a pro-active initiative, specifically focused on these concerns, to accompany the other strategies set out in Burlington’s Housing Action Plan (HAP), which aims to build a more affordable, inclusive, livable, sustainable and vibrant community for all. TNP is one of 22 projects contained in Burlington's Housing Action Plan (HAP), adopted by the City Council in October 2015. The Neighborhood Project is a partnership between the City of Burlington, the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Preservation Burlington.  

Specifically, TNP aims to identify potential strategies and tools for neighborhood stabilization efforts which will create opportunities for a diversity of housing choices in near-campus neighborhoods, improve the quality of housing stock for a wide range of residents and identify quality of life initiatives to support residents. The HAP called for hiring consultants to help create the strategy and toolkit of policies and programs, based on national best practices for enhancing neighborhood quality of life in the City's historic neighborhoods. 

The Neighborhood Project utilized a mix of qualitative and quantitative information to understand current conditions and trends, as well as devise a set of potential strategies. Beginning in September 2017, over the course of one year, Ninigret Partners, the consulting team undertook several tasks, including neighborhood tours of the focus wards of the study (guided tours of Wards 1, 2 and 8 and unguided tours in Wards 3 and 6), interviews of 60 persons from a variety of perspectives and data analysis. In December 2017, a Community OpenHouse was held, providing an opportunity for community members to learn about the neighborhood findings and weigh-in on potential strategies. During December 2017 to February 2018, TNP used an online presentation and survey to mirror the Open House experience, providing another avenue for residents to provide feedback on the initial tools and strategies. In June 2018, the consulting team conducted two community workshops to garner additional input from residents who had an opportunity to review the TNP findings and recommendations and begin the process of identifying priorities for action. Various drafts of TNP seeking comments have been published online. The overall effort was guided by TNP's funding partners/steering committee. 

The consulting team has now finalized The Neighborhood Project Report. The Report is expected to be presented to the City Council on April 29, 2019.

Please see The Neighborhood Project - Final Report HERE. 



The Neighborhood Project Community Workshops (June 25 & 26) Presentation Slides HERE

The Neighborhood Project Community Workshops (2)

Date: June 25, 2018

Time: 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m.

Location: SD Irelance Family Center
                391 Maple Street
                Champlain College

Date: June 26, 2018

Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Location: Contois Auditorium, City Hall

See presentation slides (used at NPA Wards 1 & 8 in June) on May 2018 Draft Report of The Neighborhood Project  HERE    

Please see (updated) May 2018 draft report of The Neighborhood Project HERE 

Comments on The Neighborhood Project draft report may be sent via email to Gillian Nanton, Assistant Director, Sustainability, Housing & Economic Development, CEDO at gnanton@burlingtonvt.gov or Ian Jakus, Projects & Policy Specialist, CEDO, at ijakus@burlingtonvt.gov

See April 2018 draft report of The Neighborhood Project HERE

We Heard You

Thanks to all who have engaged with The Neighborhood Project (TNP), participated in the Open House on December 12th or provided input through the survey. We’ve heard feedback that elements of the TNP presentation and survey were confusing. We’re refining the presentation to take your feedback into account and work to provide and clarify information. We’d like you to know that the survey is now closed. Between the Open House last December, which proposed a number of strategies, concepts and ideas and the survey, an electronic version of the Open House materials, more than 230 persons have participated.

Next Steps

We’ve gathered a lot of information and we’re incorporating your feedback with the aim of refining the range of strategies and tools that will be recommended for your consideration. As we refine these over the next month, there will be additional outreach efforts. Nothing has been decided and nothing will be implemented without a full community engagement process.  

We’re quite a long way off from implementing any recommendations that emerge from TNP. Any recommendation to be taken forward will require many steps and residents will have a further opportunity to provide input. For example, any changes or amendments to the city’s ordinance that pertain to quality-of-life must go to the city council for a first reading, then referred to the ordinance committee and back to the full council, before it can be approved. So, at each step in the process, you’ll have additional opportunities to weigh in.

We look forward to working with you on this important initiative and determining the best options for improving the quality of life and preserving the neighborhoods in near-campus areas.

From the feedback received, you’ve raised concerns and there’re some mis-conceptions we’d like to clear up. For full list of FAQs go HERE.

I’m concerned that a ‘balanced’ neighborhood means 50% students and 50% non students

No, the term ‘neighborhood balance’ has been used repeatedly throughout the HAP and was used in the presentation materials of the consultants. Some have interpreted ‘balance’ as meaning that where less than half of residents were students renters, the city and its partners would be seeking to relocate students into those neighborhoods. That’s inaccurate. Also, we recognized that ‘balance’ was not well defined and means different things to different people. And, that’s why at the Open House and in the survey we asked you to help define ‘balance.’ There is nothing in the materials that say a balanced neighborhood is one with 50% students and 50% non-students.

How TNP relates to the conversion of family homes to student housing

During the interviews and tours it was pointed out to the consulting team that a number of the conversions from single family homes to student housing had occurred as people either retired and moved away or wanted to downsize. We learned during the process that landlords looking to convert homes to student rentals were able to offer cash purchases, with no contingencies and a quick close. Families looking for single family homes in these campus adjacent neighborhoods simply could not compete. The proposed actions in the TNP on this topic, for example the creation of a fund that could purchase these homes, are intended to help maintain these homes as single family homes.

Interactive Community Open House
Date: December 12, 2017
Location: Contois Auditorium
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Neighborhood Project Presentation 12.12.17


Request for Proposals

The Neighborhood Project is one of 22 proposals contained in Burlington's Housing Action Plan (HAP), adopted by the City Council in October 2015. The overarching goal of The Neighborhood Project is to develop an actionable strategy and toolkit of policies and programs for neighborhood stabilization in near-campus neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Project is a partnership between the City of Burlington, the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Preservation Burlington.

The HAP called for hiring consultants to create the strategy and toolkit of policies and programs and a Request for Proposals was issued in March 2017. Seven (7) proposals were received and following a thorough vetting process, a contract was awarded to Ninigret Partners in August 2017. For more background information on The Neighborhood Project, contract award process, activities to date, current project status and upcoming activities, please go HERE.   

As called for in the RFP, the proposals were thoroughly vetted by a selection committee comprised of the Chair of the CDNR Committee, a representative of City Council from an affected neighborhood, two representatives from CEDO, one representative from Planning & Zoning, one representative from the Planning Commission, and one representative each from UVM, Champlain and Preservation Burlington. On August  th, the Board of Finance approved the award of a contract to Ninigret Partners to provide services under The Neighborhood Project.

The Neighborhood Project - Request for Proposals