The first phase of the airport removal project, depicted as Contract 1, is set to begin April 15. 

Airport Demolition to Begin

Home » City » Airport Demolition to Begin

Thursday April 02, 2015

In just two weeks, Burlington International Airport will break ground on its house removal project with grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Improvement Program. In an effort to inform neighbors affected by the process, the city and school hosted a public neighborhood meeting Thursday, March 26 at Chamberlin School. The meeting was well attended by residents eager to learn the plan for the work ahead. Airport officials, along with Stantec Consulting, provided details for the demolition program.

The Project Scope

Jon Leinwohl, the senior project manager of Stantec Consulting Services, explained that the 94-home project is divided into three contracts: the first and second contracts each consist of 37 homes, and the third contract includes 20 homes. Dividing the work this way will be a more efficient use of time and resources, Leinwohl explained. Bernie Gagnon, a resident of the neighborhood, and also a member of the South Burlington Planning Commission, will be Stantec’s resident engineer overseeing the entire project. Work will begin April 15, continue through summer and fall, and be completed by October.

With a PowerPoint slide of a typical site plan as a visual aid, Leinwohl provided a breakdown of what residents can expect in their neighborhood.

• The contract allows for the removal of homes by either demolishing, deconstructing or relocating them
• Contractors will remove additional structures such as driveways, walkways, pools, and fencing
• All disturbed areas will be topsoiled and seeded within seven days of the disturbance
• Curb cuts will be removed and replaced with new curb
• Utilities will be removed
• Cellar foundations will be demolished and backfilled
• Existing storm and drain systems will remain
• Contractors will manage two-way traffic on site for the duration of the project
• Work will be done between the hours of 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. on weekdays, 8:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and work days before holidays will be completed before 3 p.m.

Hazardous materials, dust, recycling, and disposal: Contractors are responsible for the proper waste disposal and recycling of all materials from the homes being deconstructed. Hazardous materials inspections have been conducted on the properties, but contractors will still be responsible for hiring an abatement specialist as required for further assessment. Asbestos and lead paint are some of the hazardous materials found in older homes (built 1970s or prior), and--according to local, state, and federal regulations--all hazardous materials will be brought to a waste facility before deconstruction.

Residents asked questions about air quality; Stefani Us, a resident of Logwood St. shared her apprehension with The Other Paper about how hazardous materials could affect her asthma.

Leinwol explained that additional safety measures are in place. Contractors will spray water on structures for dust control, and wind conditions will be taken into account. Non-hazardous, recyclable materials, such as roof trusses, asphalt shingles, plywood sheathing, and concrete masonry will go to an off-site recycler; non-recyclable, non-hazardous materials will go to a landfill.

Noise: The project is at a 90 percent compaction requirement, meaning that there will not be heavy rollers or other high-vibration compaction equipment used. There will still be trucks coming in and out, with limited vibrations, but not to the extent that a 100 percent compaction requirement would bring, Leinwohl said.

One resident inquired about plans for noise mitigation measures such as an extension of the living wall which is in place on a short section of Airport Drive. Airport Director Gene Richards said that there were no current plans, but that the airport and the newly formed Chamberlin Airport Planning Committee will investigate options and assess resources. For the duration of the project, neighbors are welcome to use a quiet, private lounge at the airport, with free wi-fi, TV and airport parking, he added.

Richards also encouraged communication. He extended an invitation to residents to reach out to him directly with questions and concerns at any time.

“We don’t want to sit here and tell you tonight that we have all the answers, because we don’t actually have all the answers,” he said. “What we’re really doing is communicating a lot, and if there is a need, we’re going to meet it.”

What’s Next?

The next two public meeting sessions are Thursday, April 2, at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m., in Conference Room 3 at the Burlington International Airport.
City Manager Kevin Dorn provided more information and gave voice to an unasked question. “After the demolition project, what is going to happen next?” he queried. “The airport has a plan for the area, and we’ve been able to secure funding from the Regional Planning Commission, from the state of Vermont, and South Burlington resources to begin a very significant planning project….This will go on in parallel with the demolition project,” he said.

This planning project will be in the hands of the newly-formed Chamberlin Airport Neighborhood Committee, a 15-member committee who will work with staff and the project’s consultant to help strengthen the relationship between the neighbors and the airport, retain affordability of housing, and to devise a long-term strategy that will weigh the needs of both parties. The first meeting is Thursday, April 9. To be included in the project’s email list, contact the South Burlington Planning and Zoning department at or 802-846-4106.

To access the project map and general information, visit,, or the city site,

SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent