City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

Department of Planning & Zoning
City Hall, Ā Burlington, Vermont 05401
Phone: 802-865-7188 Fax: 802-865-7195

 

Planning Your Project

Having a successful development project requires planning - planning what you want to do, planning for the time and money it will take to get all your permits, planning the construction schedule, and finally planning for the time it will take to button everything up at the end. Below is a description of several ways we can help you plan your project before you've invested alot of time and money and before you have applied for your Zoning Permit, and a quick head's-up about fees and timelines so you can plan your budget and schedule.

Pre-Application Staff Review

Applicants for all types of development are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposals with zoning staff prior to the submission of an application. This gives us an opportunity to have an informal conversation with you about your project before you've invested a lot of time and money, offer suggestions that may make the project easier to accomplish, tell you what information you will need when you are ready to apply for your permit, and to help you understand what you might expect from the application review process. This can be done by simply stopping in our office during business hours, or better yet calling ahead to make an appointment with one of our planners. We are more than happy to meet for a pre-application meeting as this generally makes the process easier for everybody!

Pre-Application Neighborhood Public Meeting

Major Impact applications are required to complete an additional step prior to application per Section 3.2.1(d) of the CDO. Pre-Application Neighborhood Public Meetings are intended to provide an opportunity for:

  • Residents to become aware of new development projects proposed in their neighborhood at an early stage of its coneptual design;
  • Residents and applicants to meet and discuss proposed developments; and,
  • The applicant to take into consideration neighborhood feedback on a proposed development.

This community dialogue takes place entirely outside of the formal public hearing process and well in advance of incurring major detailed design and engineering expenses. While feedback from the neighborhood is not binding on the applicant, an open and collaborative dialogue is expected. A clear understanding of the project and of potential issues and opportunities will benefit both applicant and neighbors alike during the application review process. For more details on this process, please review Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting Guide.

Sketch Plan Review

Upon request (and required under Article 10 - Subdivision or Article 11 - Planned Development of the Comprehensive Development Ordinance) a Sketch Plan Review may be scheduled before the Development Review Board and/or the Design Advisory Board prior to the submission of an application. Like the pre-application staff review above this gives the DRB and DAB an opportunity to have an informal conversation with you about your project before you've invested a lot of time and money, and offer suggestions that may make the project easier to accomplish.

Technical Review Committee

Finally, at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator, a pre-application review may be scheduled before the City's Technical Review Committee (TRC) for any projects that will require review under the Major Impact (Article 3, Part 5), Subdivision (Article 10) and/or Planned Development (Article 11) provisions of the CDO, or for any project that, in the opinion of the Zoning Administrator due to its size and/or complexity, would benefit from an informal review by a cross-section of City Departments. Representatives from Planning & Zoning, Public Works, Code Enforcement, Burlington Electric, CEDO Burlington Fire, and Parks & Recreation participate. This is a great opportunity to share information about large and more complex project across several City departments, and can be a huge help to you in navigating the permitting process.

Fees

Keep in mind there are a variety of fees that are required including when you :

  1. Apply for the Zoning Permit | Zoning Permit Fees |,
  2. Apply for the Construction Permit (from DPW - Inspection Services),
  3. Pick up your final Zoning Permit (applicable only for larger projects),
  4. Request a Final Certificate of Occupancy Inspection the project to confirm that the project was built as permitted | Code Enforcement Fees |, and
  5. Require any additional Certificate of Occupancy Inspections (because the initial inspection found your project incomplete or not in compliance with your Zoning Permit).

Timing

  1. Zoning Permit applications that are reviewed by staff can take up to 30-days, but usually take only a few days, depending on the complexity of the project and staff workloads.
  2. Zoning Permit applications that are reviewed by the Development Review Board can take 8 weeks or longer depending on the complexity of the project and the DRB's schedule.
  3. Once a decision has been made on any Zoning Permit application, there is a state-mandated appeal period (15-days for staff decisions, 30-days for DRB decisions) before you can receive your permit and apply for your Construction Permit.
  4. Work under a Zoning Permit must be started within 1 year of the permit decision.
  5. Work under a Zoning Permit must be completed and a Final Certificate of Occupancy issued within 2 years of the permit decision.