City Planning

February 2019 Update

This is the monthly update from BTVStat, a performance management system implemented by the Mayor in 2016 to track and improve the City’s operations. Every month, BTVStat brings together Department Heads to review operational and equity performance metrics for three or more City Departments and discuss how City teams can collectively identify challenges, make operations more transparent, track progress, control costs, and promote accountability, learning, and collaboration.

Highlights from the February BTVStat meeting are outlined below. Additional information on these issues and others are available on the City's BTVStat Dashboard.

Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront (BPRW) growing trees and volunteerism: BPRW’s, Tree and Greenways Team, manages and maintains 8,500 street trees, 3,100 park trees, and 150 acres of forested parkland. The Trees and Greenway Program’s goal is to provide a healthy and safe community forest throughout Burlington. An urban forest provides great value in many different ways, such as increased property values, savings from decreased heating and cooling costs, reduction of air pollution, and erosion control. The University of Vermont (UVM) Spatial Analysis Lab in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service and the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program, has conducted an analysis to estimate Burlington’s urban tree canopy or the layer of tree leaves, branches, and stems that provide tree coverage of the ground when viewed from above. The analysis conducted using various types of imagery (LiDAR and ortho-imagery), found that in 2016 42% of Burlington is covered by existing tree canopy (a 2% increase from 2004), which according to Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, Director of the UMV Spatial Analysis Lab,” is a positive sign that natural growth is offsetting some of the loss we see from construction and other natural losses” Another 33% of space is available for possible tree canopy. The full report should be available in later this summer. For more details please contact Nina Safavi, Parks Comprehensive Planner at

BPRW also used BTVStat to report out on stewardship and volunteerism. In 2018 volunteers completed a total of 13,939 hours of support to BPRW programs or the equivalent of seven full time staff members. Stewardship in the form of donations and volunteers not only supports the work we do, while reducing the need to use budget and tax dollars, it also helps build community by strengthening relationships with businesses, organizations and individuals. For more information see BPRW volunteer opportunities.


Church Street Marketplace (CSM) examines the State of the Downtown: Each year, CSM conducts an annual census as part of the reporting requirements for its downtown designation status with the State of Vermont. As part of the annual survey, data is collected on every building and business in the downtown area (1304 distinct business units and residential spaces). This year’s census estimates a net loss of 8 businesses in the downtown area during 2018. Overall, retail businesses in the downtown area make of approximately 16% of all businesses (out of 896), whereas close to 68% of all businesses on Church Street are retail and 71% of those are locally-owned (versus national chains). 

Despite modest 5.8% decrease in retail sales tax since 2016, retail sales for Burlington were on trend with years past compared to other regional cities.