Airport Expansion Considered by DRB

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Thursday April 12, 2012

The South Burlington Development Review Board kicked off its preliminary review of a sketch plan submitted by Burlington International Airport as it seeks to expand some of its property.

The review, which lasted about an hour, included parking and building plans for the property. Plans include building structures to house Burlington Aviation Technical Center and the Vermont Flight Academy. Currently, the technical program is located at Burlington Technical Center, which is on Burlington High School’s campus. Airport officials said the center would offer a four-year degree program, accommodating about 100 students, and that the project would be built in two phases, reducing pressure on budget costs.

Airport officials first appeared before the Board eight or nine months ago. After receiving input, they re-worked some of the project’s plans. The building’s height was dropped by 8 feet, from 50 to 42 feet, and the structure’s footprint also decreased by 1,500-square feet.

Developers showed Board members and the audience a slide presentation, showcasing the building and parking areas. Public access will be on Williston Road to Aviation Avenue and then to Eagle Drive.

Additionally, a 66-spot parking lot is also included in a later phase of the plan. Project developers also noted they have already received state stormwater and general construction permits. They also made efforts to achieve sufficient green space in the plan.  Additionally, a traffic study was also completed and was expected to be discussed during preliminary review level.

The Board did question the applicant about why barbed wire is needed. According to the developers, the wire is needed as a security measure for a border.

As the Board’s questions wrapped up, a South Burlington resident asked if the project was subject to interim zoning. Planning & Zoning Administrative Officer Ray Belair replied that it was not, citing the district in which the airport is built isn’t affected by the regulations. The resident further noted the apparent significant amount of commercial development at the airport and wondered how that impacts property value. DRB Chair Mark Behr said that question couldn’t be answered by the DRB.
The project moves on to Preliminary Review by the DRB.

SOURCE: Gail Callahan, Correspondent