Demolition of airport neighborhood homes is on schedule. On average, one home is leveled each day. 

Airport Home Demolition Continues

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Thursday June 11, 2015

A lot can change over the course of six weeks: just look at Picard Circle, Dumont Ave., North Henry Court, South Henry Court, and Airport Parkway.

Burlington International Airport broke ground on its house removal project in mid-April with grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Improvement Program. Properties have already been demolished, cleaned up, backfilled, top soiled, and seeded.

Over the past decade, the airport has received federal funding for the purchase and removal of homes within the 65-decibel sound area around the airport. Under this voluntary program, the airport has a total of 94 homes to be demolished, under three separate contracts.
The airport has partnered with Stantec Consulting Services to assist and manage the project. Bernie Gagnon, a South Burlington resident and also a member of the planning commission, is the engineer overseeing the entire project. Stantec has been hard at work demolishing, on average, one home each day in the Contract 1 region, northwest of the airport. The first contract, which consists of 37 homes, will be completed in early July. Contract 3 will take place next, followed by Contract 2.

Demolition for Contract 3, which includes 20 homes, is scheduled to begin around the 15th of June, starting with homes between Elizabeth and Patrick Drive. Asbestos abatement has already begun.

Last week, the airport had its preconstruction meeting for the second contract, which has 37 homes within its region. Demolition for the second contract is estimated to begin July 6 and asbestos abatement should begin on June 22. The overall project is scheduled to be completed by mid-October.

Burlington International Airport Director of Aviation Gene Richards reports that the airport hired SD Ireland and R. Parker Enterprises for Contracts 2 and 3, respectively.

For all homes being deconstructed, contractors are responsible for the proper waste disposal and recycling of all materials. ReSOURCE, a nonprofit program that fixes and re-sells household materials, will be removing and recycling materials that are in good/fair condition such as hardwood flooring, windows, doors, cabinets, appliances, decking, sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Through May 20, about 60 percent of the houses had been recycled.

The airport keeps tabs on this via a daily inventory of what’s being saved, Richards said.

Some of the neighbors have asked for specific things like sheds, fences, or front porches, and those items have been sold directly to local residents.

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.

While homes are being torn down, the neighborhood-airport relationship appears to be building. Prior to the project’s start, on March 26, the City of South Burlington and the airport held an awareness meeting at Chamberlin School and there were smaller informational meetings at the airport leading up to the project.

“I’m really glad we reached out,” Richards said. “By listening and talking and bringing in different perspectives, we’ve covered many more people’s areas [of concern], so we’re meeting more people’s needs. So by introducing those to the project, the project’s going much better.”

“I check on it three times a day: the morning, lunch, and on my way home, and every day I am happy. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Richards said that, thus far, the airport has not received complaints from neighbors regarding traffic or noise.

“Things are looking good out on Dumont. I see Picard’s looking real good, too!" commented Logwood Street resident George Maille to Richards at the May 27 Chamberlin neighborhood community outreach meeting. Maille is also a member of the Chamberlin Neighborhood Airport Planning Committee (CNAPC). “The guys are taking things down in a good manner and they’re becoming more efficient at what they’re doing,” he said.

The May 27 meeting revealed more instances of the relationship at work.

“They should be commended for the way they took those houses down,” resident Richard Bice said.” The job that they did--you couldn’t ask for anything better.”

“The people in my neighborhood took the initiative and had meetings with officials from Burlington, and I think they realized that we’re talking about people when we’re talking about buying houses,” said Carmine Sargent, resident and chair of the CNAPC.

“I’m not so sure that process would have gone as well as it had without the input of your neighborhood,” replied Burlington City Councilor David Harnett, also a member of the CNAPC. “It just goes to show you, for the people who say, ‘Forget it, we’re not going to get involved. It doesn’t make a difference,’ it makes a big difference.”

“They’re doing a good job right now, not to be confused with how they did it initially, years ago,” Sargent said. “They’re being considerate of the neighbors and it’s going as smoothly as something like this could have gone.”

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SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent