Mayor’s Office

BTV Housing Policy Reform

Housing is one of the most important topics facing our city.

By getting it right, we have the opportunity to structure our land use in a way that benefits our climate and natural areas, makes it possible for our community to be more diverse, spreads the costs of our public services over a larger tax base, and much more.

In recent years, Burlington has made progress with a two-pronged approach to housing policy: Both strengthening the City’s proud legacy of investing in permanently affordable housing, and also examining our land use policies with an eye toward how they restrict the creation of new housing. But we have more work to do. In April, Mayor Weinberger announced in his State of the City address a plan to bring focus, urgency, and resolution to five key areas of unfinished business from the City’s Housing Action Plan. In June, we kicked off the public discussion with the BTV Housing Summit to gather community and stakeholder input about each of these five areas, and, knowing that there will be more work to do beyond this, to start generating a list of what other work should come next. In September, we hosted a second public meeting to share initial recommendations for policy reform in each of the five areas and ask for more input. The Administration is working to deliver draft ordinances for housing policy reforms to the Planning Commission and City Council for formal vetting and action in fall 2019.

In each of these areas, we have the opportunity to make structural fixes that will help address the availability and affordability of housing in Burlington. These five areas are:

  • Energy efficiency in rental housing: Updating our standards for energy efficiency in rental housing in order to support our climate goals and protect renters from unreasonably high utility costs.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units: Making it easier for people to create Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which offer more flexibility for families to age in place, offset housing costs for homeowners, and create additional neighborhood-scale housing options throughout the City.
  • Short-term rentals: Implementing new regulations for short-term rentals like Airbnb that help us reduce impacts on long-term housing availability and neighborhoods, while balancing the economic benefit for Burlingtonians who are hosts.
  • Parking minimums: Reforming our requirements for building new parking in residential developments in our downtown and along key transportation corridors, in order to reduce a major cost driver of housing, give people more choices when it comes to the cost of car ownership, and take a step toward aligning our land use policies with our climate goals.
  • Housing Trust Fund: Continuing Burlington’s legacy of supporting affordable housing by restoring and increasing the level of funding for the City’s Housing Trust Fund.

Read more about each of these five areas and the City’s initial recommendation for policy reform below.

About the Policies

While there will be more work to do on housing policy reform, the focus in summer-fall 2019 is on the below five areas, which are remaining, unfinished business from the City's 2015 Housing Action Plan. These policies are all aimed at increasing housing affordability and creating housing supply. The policies are:

1. Housing Trust Fund: Restoring and increasing funding to the City's Housing Trust Fund, which provides grants and loans for the promotion, retention and creation of long-term affordable housing. Click on the poster below to enlarge.

2. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs): Rule changes to make it easier to create small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lot as a single-family residence, which are known as Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUsClick on the poster below to enlarge.

3. Short-term rentals: Regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb in order to balance the economic benefit for Burlingtonians with potential impacts on renters and neighborhoods. Click on  the poster below to enlarge.

4. Minimum parking requirements: Changing the parking that the City requires for new homes in certain areas of the City. Click on the poster below to enlarge.

5. Energy efficiency in rental housing: Updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs.

Want to know more about the policies and the process?

Want to tell us what you think?

  • We have a feedback form in the works! For now, please email your thoughts to Olivia at olavecchia [at] burlingtonvt.gov.