City Planning

planBTV: Downtown and Waterfront


The City Council unanimously adopted the planBTV: Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan at their June 10, 2013 meeting!

Congratulations and thanks to all who provided their input and participated in the planning process!

You can see the final adopted version of the plan here.

What's been done so far, and what's next?

NOW we are all hard at work implementing this great team effort! As recommended in planBTV, check out planBTV In The Works so far:

  • We have a new downtown parking management strategy and system in place in collaboration with the Burlington Business Association. (adopted 10/2015) . Learn more by visiting the Park Burlington website.
  • We adopted a form-based code encompassing the downtown and waterfront area that implements the vision of the plan and modernizes the regulatory review process (adopted 11/2017). You can learn more by visiting the Downtown Form Based Code webpage.
  • New downtown street design standards have been adopted (adopted 3/2018); we are working on the reconstruction of more than 6 blocks of downtown streets (2 blocks currently under construction); and have a final plan for the rehabilitation of historic City Hall Park (permitted 5/2018). You can learn more by visiting the Great Streets BTV webpage.
  • Champlain Colleges Eagles Landing Project has been completed - it's a 104 unit, 6-story apartment building with 4,200 sf of ground-level retail space and 66 space garage. (permitted 12/2013, opened 8/2018). You can learn more by visiting the 194 Saint Paul Street webpage.
  • CityPlace Burlington is under construction! This is the ~$200 million redevelopment of the former Burlington Town Center into a multi-story mixed use development with retail, office, parking, and 270 residential units with 20% affordable. (groundbreaking 10/2017, anticipated completion 2020). You can learn more by visiting the CityPlace Burlington webpage.
  • The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center has a new home! You can learn more by visiting the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center webpage.
  • The new Burlington Harbor Marina is under construction - a 106-slip private marina with associated seasonal and transient marina facilities. (groundbreaking 5/2018, 5/2019 anticipated opening). 

For more about how this work connects directly with the recommendations in planBTV, check out this list of completed and ongoing initiatives to bring our community vision into focus.

Why did we do this?

Long recognized as one of America’s most livable and sustainable small cities, Burlington struggles to address complex urban challenges in a small New England community with big ideas and even bigger ideals.

The City is challenged to build upon past successes, while not assuming that success will continue without ongoing innovation and investment. The development of a land use and development plan for Burlington's Downtown and Waterfront had been a long-standing action item in the City Municipal Development Plan since at least 1996, and with the help of a 2010 HUD Sustainable Communities Challenge Planning Grant, City planners began a strategic look at how to sustain and enhance the economic vitality of the city’s downtown and waterfront area.

What emerged – branded as “planBTV” - was an ambitious plan that refined broad city-wide goals for sustainable development into focused, actionable, area-specific strategies to ensure the vitality of the central core of the community. This project was the most comprehensive planning process, and most inclusive and extensive community engagement effort, the community had ever seen. It reached thousands of people through dozens of meetings and events, both online and in-person. The process emphasized action and advancing good ideas quickly – even before the plan itself was finished. After more than 3 years, the planBTV: Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan was unanimously adopted in June 2013.

Bold in its recommendations, the Plan has proven to be catalytic to bringing new thinking about what’s possible, and spawned transformative changes throughout the downtown area that will benefit generations to come. It has also reshaped how Burlingtonians think about planning, and become the gold-standard for all subsequent planning initiatives undertaken by the City.


planBTV-Downtown & Waterfront Plan ADOPTED

planBTV-Downtown & Waterfront Plan Adopted June 10, 2013

Phase 1 Reports

Land Use Inventory and Buildout Analysis Executive Summary
Climate, Energy and Green Infrastructure Analysis - Executive Summary
Climate, Energy and Green Infrastructure Analysis - Task 1
Climate, Energy and Green Infrastructure Analysis - Task 2
Climate, Energy and Green Infrastructure Analysis - Task 3
Climate, Energy and Green Infrastructure Analysis - Task 3 Appendix
Climate, Energy and Green Infrastructure Analysis - Task 4
Transportation Study - Final Full Report
Retail Market Analysis Complete Report
Downtown and Waterfront Parks Assessment
Arts and Entertainment Facilities Assessment
Cultural & Historical Resources Assessment
Housing Needs in Burlington's Downtown
Waterfront Progress Report