City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

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Downtown & Waterfront


The City Council unanimously adopted planBTV: Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan at their June 10, 2013 meeting! Congratulations and thanks to all who have provided their input and participated in the planning process for the past 2 years. You can see the final adopted version of the plan here.

NOW let's all get to work on implementation together!

What's New?

  • As prescribed in planBTV, we are now working on a new set of zoning regulations for the downtown and waterfront. You can learn more about this project by visiting the Downtown Form Based Code webpage.
  • Also as recommended in planBTV, major changes are underway in how we manage parking throughout the Downtown, and the City Council just adopted a new Downtown Parking Plan on Dec 21st. Learn more by visiting the Park Burlington website.



Why did We Do This?

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. In September 2009, the City Planning Commission and Department of Planning and Zoning were directed by the City Council to develop a scope of work, timeline, and budget for such a project. While many other planning efforts involving the downtown or waterfront have taken place over the years, none had been as comprehensive in scope and strategic in design.

In the Fall 2010, the City of Burlington was awarded a Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provided a unique opportunity to invest in the future, and advance Burlington's place as one of America's most livable and sustainable communities. Burlington struggled to address complex urban challenges in a small, under-resourced New England community with big ideas and even bigger ideals. We struggled with how to really become the community we say we want to be.

The plan refines broad city-wide goals for sustainable development into focused, actionable, area-specific strategies to ensure the vitality of the central core of our community and enable us to achieve our community vision. The planning process placed an emphasis on ways to promote and improve mixed uses and quality urban design, affordable and workforce housing, transportation and parking management, and the quality and capacity of public infrastructure.