2016 City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Tim Barritt

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Thursday February 18, 2016

Tim Barritt

3 Year Term

Education: B.S.E.E.

Occupation: I.T. Engineer with Globalfoundries

Years as SB Resident: 24 Years

What is the city’s most pressing concern, and what actions/solutions are required? What is your own top priority for the city; how will this goal be accomplished?

Our City Council needs a better balance of residential representation vs. business. I decided to run to help improve that balance. This became quite clear to me when Central School was offered as the sacrificial lamb for City Center. After 6 years on the Library Board of Trustees and 4 ½ on the DRB, I realized that I had to get personally involved. I hope this sentiment resonates with voters because I need your votes to get the City off this track. City Center is another development; it is not a panacea for a missing “downtown”. Vote for REAL change.

What is the right balance and rate of residential and commercial growth throughout the city? How does the preservation/acquisition of open space fit with your views of growth and development?

The right balance of growth is really governed by 2 things: our Land Development Regulations and the economy. We control the LDR’s but we don’t control the economy. Businesses only invest in new projects when there is a return on that investment. Our growth now is good. There are hundreds of new housing units approved and five commercial projects in Meadowland Park and Trader Joe’s and Pier1. We have the Wheeler and Underwood open spaces. We need housing, commercial development, parks and great neighborhood schools to attract people to our city’s special quality of life.

What is your vision for City Center, taking into account the complex components of TIF financing and bonds, zoning, municipal and/or civic use, residential development, commercial interests of local and national businesses, citizen and stakeholder needs, and proposed plans for University Mall?

Form Based Codes and ‘Complete Streets’ design for Market and Garden streets will set the template for what developers build in City Center. Do we really need a new city hall? The only land the city ‘owns’ is the Central School property. Why not leave that alone. A library and recreation resource would fit there nicely but we have to listen to the residents first. Open space and educational/rec facilities are complimentary to the residential component in City Center. The UMall might benefit from a redrawing of the TIF district line but we need to know the tax burden.

Do you think the city would be best served by the Rick Marcotte Central School property being retained by the school district, sold or traded to the city, or sold to a developer?

That parcel has been owned by the school district since the 1890’s. It should be retained for now. We have three great neighborhood schools in our district. I would hate to see the city make too hasty a decision on where our kids attend elementary school solely because a developer made an offer for the land. If indeed we need to reduce from 3 schools to 2, it would be necessary to work thoroughly with the community to create that transition plan, which of course, is the school board’s job.

What are your priorities for the airport, the surrounding airport owned properties and the Chamberlin neighborhood? What is the councilor’s role?

There is dissatisfaction in the Chamberlin neighborhood. 100 affordable homes (25% of its housing) have been torn down. Property values are under pressure. What is important is to not ignore the community. BIA, the neighborhood, and City Council need to work on an outcome that protects property owners but also ensures BIA is economically robust. Noise mitigation is at the top of the list. Of course City Council’s job is to promote this improvement and help mediate for the best outcome.

How should the city address requests by citizens for increased public transportation, and safe pedestrian and bike accessibility throughout
the city?

New development is bike and pedestrian friendly. South Village 2, Cider Mill 2 and Spear Meadows designs use rec paths extensively. The problem is older streets and how to retrofit. The road ‘diet’ changes on Williston Rd. are a good start. I tried commuting on that stretch but gave up years ago. Now it’s better but there are still challenges. The proposed designs recently shown for Williston Rd (from White St. to 116) will clearly help bikers and pedestrians in a dense traffic area. Design for the future to travel safely between neighborhoods and work piecemeal, now, on the problems.

Closing Statement

I am a grassroots candidate financed by donations from myself, friends and supporters. I don’t have a PAC. I know voters in South Burlington are smart and recognize the same issues I have highlighted above and that is why I decided to get directly involved and run for City Council. We need more common sense in balancing our growth initiatives. I offer that through my experience of 4 ½ years on the DRB (and as its current chair) and 6 years on the Library Board of Trustees. I love SB and want to help keep it on the right path.