Katie Langrock 

2017 City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Katie Langrock

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Thursday February 23, 2017

Katie Langrock
3 year term

Bachelor of Science in Personnel & Industrial
Relations from
Syracuse University

Occupation: Chief Operating Officer

Years as SB Resident: 23.5

1.What do you see as the single most pressing concern for the City of South Burlington, and how would you address that issue? (100 words)

Affordable and workforce housing shortages are an area of concern and are a regional issue faced throughout our county. The loss of homes in the Chamberlin neighborhood has increased our need for housing. Affordable housing is included as an element of our City Center, and our Affordable Housing Committee & Housing Trust Fund Committees work to include a range of housing in new developments. However, we have to continue to be creative to keep South Burlington as a city where the workforce can live. Ongoing partnerships with housing agencies and non-profits will be instrumental in doing so.  

2.Voter approval for the Market Street and Dumont Park Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) projects marked the start of City Center. What project(s) would you put forward as the next step in the development of City Center? What are the benefits/challenges of this project?(150 words)

The development of the City Center will include both public and private projects. The city has the ability to plan and time the public build out, but for the City Center to truly succeed we need developers and businesses to bring their business to our center. There are currently projects centered around housing in the planning stage. The next step in the public development phase is the Library. Also of interest, the South Burlington City Center for the Arts, a non-profit group, is currently working on a feasibility study with the hope to build a world class creative arts center.  This is such an exciting project for South Burlington!

3.South Burlington has a unique relationship with Burlington International Airport (BIA), The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG), and the airport’s owner – the City of Burlington.
A) What is the councilor’s role as these competing interests grapple with governance, taxes, expansion, land use, noise, and home buy-outs/ demolition? What is your vision for the future of the airport?
B) If you are elected, how would you balance the needs of airport neighborhood homeowners with the needs of the City of South Burlington ? (400 words total)

A. City councilors have a fiduciary responsibility to the current and future residents of our fair city. That responsibility requires we balance competing interests to develop sustainable solutions that meet our quality of life, economic and environmental desires. The challenge is that our vision for the airport does not have authoritative influence in the decision making over this public asset, because the airport is owned and managed by the City of Burlington. BIA is a vital economic public asset for the region enjoying tax benefits as such yet is being governed by the interests of one city in which the asset does not reside. Because of this ownership structure, the interests of the Queen City voters heavily influence airport decisions. This leads to the planning and communication friction that we continue to see today. Our role as city councilors is to advocate for the interests of our city and our residents by asserting our authority over land use within our borders. For these reasons, my vision for the airport is one where representatives appointed by the City of South Burlington, Winooski, Williston, Colchester, Essex and Burlington have governing authority over a municipal entity not entwined with the City of Burlington.

B. By pursuing the regionalization of decision making over the airport. If a separate municipal authority were created to govern this critically important regional asset, we could separate the governance of the airport from ownership of the asset. The City of Burlington could lease the airport to the authority securing a stable cash flow from their asset which would improve their bonding authority and allow them to focus on matters within their borders. The Mayor of Burlington has plenty to work on and disentangling BIA from the municipality of Burlington would allow him to concentrate on those issues. Having an authoritative board of regionally appointed representatives accountable to the communities in which the public asset serves would reduce communication and planning friction by finding a better balance for the airport neighborhood homeowners and the needs of the airport located within our city. This type of change has happened elsewhere in the country and would align our municipal interests. Changing the governance structure of the airport won’t fix today’s problems but I believe it will fix tomorrow’s. If re-elected, I will work with our neighboring communities to advance this notion.

4.What are your views on growth in South Burlington regarding commercial and residential development, affordable housing, city services and infrastructure, and open space? (200 words)

South Burlington is a city that has wonderful open spaces, big box retailers, local businesses, vacant buildings, great senior housing, fantastic recreation/transportation paths along with some of the busiest intersections in the state. We literally have it all!  

We need to continue to identify and protect important land within the city that can be maintained as open spaces for our residents to enjoy for years to come. Keeping Vermont in South Burlington is important to me! However, we need a balance of open space, commercial businesses, retailers and housing to maintain a city that truly thrives. I believe that we can build a City Center that welcomes businesses and retailers, entities that will help to contribute to our tax base. We can continue to create dense housing that will allow our city to grow while also keeping our open spaces open.

I fully support the exploration of sharing services with other municipalities such as we have done with storm water permitting and the current discussion about consolidating 911 dispatch services. The initial research indicates that this consolidation could potentially provide an ongoing savings for the city while also reducing the response time in emergencies.

5. What is your long-term vision for the South Burlington community? If elected, what steps would you take in this direction?(100 words)

A city connected with paths where citizens can walk, run, bike from their homes to their places of work, retail shops and our City Center. An energy efficient center that is a vibrant meeting place hosting cultural events, and a destination for all of our residents. We need to move carefully forward with our city center to ensure that it is not “Generica” but instead becomes truly something special. I support the great work that our planning commission and other committees have done to bring the City Center concept to life.  

6. Closing Statement (100 words)

South Burlington is a wonderful city that I am proud to call home. I am confident that my business expertise will help bring balance and stability to the city council. Our city needs the reasonable, thoughtful, and respectful leadership that I can provide. I encourage residents to review the city’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan and to think about how they can help contribute to our future of our city. I look forward to continuing conversations with residents learning how they envision the future of our city.