Airport Neighborhood Homes For Sale

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Thursday October 30, 2014

Ninety-one long vacant houses in the airport neighborhood will soon be offered for sale. But don’t plan to move in yet – these homes will be sold with the purpose of moving them out.

Burlington is officially advertising the sale of homes that were purchased under the Burlington International Airport’s voluntary Land Acquisition Program. After years of purchasing homes adjacent to the airport through the FAA Buyout Program and waiting for the 54 disputed zoning permits under litigation to be dismissed, the next part of the plan is in place. Homes that are purchased will be relocated to other sites; homes that are not purchased will be either deconstructed or demolished through a separate bidding process.

The Details

In an advertisement listing 57 homes in Group A and 34 homes in Group B, BIA states the terms and process of the home purchase plan, which starts with mandatory attendance at a conference later this month. Interested buyers must submit a performance surety in the amount of $1,000, which will be returned after the house removal Buyer’s Agreement is complete; buyers will only have ownership of the building, not the land.

The houses, which will be sold in “AS IS” condition, must be removed and the sites must be cleaned up between April 15, 2015 and July 15, 2015. Site cleanup involves specific installation and removal regulations. Protective fencing must be installed around the open foundation after removing the house. Removal of foundation walls and basement slab is required, and projects are to be completed by filling the excavation site, grading, and adding topsoil, seed and mulch. Buyers are required to remove and dispose of all items found in the basements, such as furnaces, appliances, ducts, pipes and debris prior to backfilling. Driveways and walkways will remain in place.

What about asbestos and lead paint? Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments for the 57 houses in Group A have been completed and disclose any trace of hazardous materials. Buyers interested in houses that reveal hazardous materials must take the necessary steps to comply with federal, state and local environmental laws. Jon Leinwohl, P.E. of Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. will be following through to ensure these laws are enforced, according to Burlington International Airport Director of Aviation Gene Richards. Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments for Group B will take place before April 1, 2015. Group A assessments are available online at

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 is the date set for the mandatory pre-bid conference at the Burlington International Airport in Conference Room #1. Site visits will be conducted after the conference; those interested in attending must inform Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. by Nov. 14. Bidders are unable to withdraw their bid for 60 days after the bid opening.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 is the date by which all forms--Buyer’s Agreement Form, Schedule of Prices Form, and Surety for Buyer’s performance--must be received.

The Background

65 Day-Night Average Levels of decibels (DNL) is the range the FAA considers “incompatible for residential use.” Homes in the residential neighborhoods adjacent to the airport that were identified as falling inside that DNL noise contour were automatically eligible for the FAA Buyout Program, a federal buyout program aimed at purchasing those homes and either relocating or demolishing them.

In 2008, Burlington International Airport introduced the City of South Burlington to the Noise Exposure Map (with the DNL noise contours), Noise Compatibility Program, and Land Acquisition Program. The following year, the airport made the agreement with the South Burlington City Council to conduct a noise-monitoring plan and reveal the results to determine proper steps toward noise mitigation. Burlington International Airport would in turn be granted the opportunity to accelerate the number of houses it buys out per year, from 10 a year to 20 a year, using FAA funding. The noise assessment took place that fall in ten, 24-hour studies, with the baseline study completed in front of and behind existing houses.

Before any of the purchased homes could be relocated or demolished, the Burlington International Airport was required to obtain zoning permits. In 2012, George Maille, a resident of Logwood Street for nearly 40 years, appealed the administrative officer’s decision to grant 54 zoning permits for demolition. He challenged that the process would result in a change in use, one that would require further scrutiny based on the city’s Land Development Regulations. Maille lost the case in Environmental Court, and the Vermont Supreme Court dismissed the case in July 2014, granting the airport approval to demolish or remove the homes they had purchased with federal money.

A Working Relationship Between the Airport and South Burlington

“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the administration of South Burlington every step of the way,” Richards said. “We’ve had a really good relationship. The decisions that we’ve been making are being made together with the City of South Burlington as far as dates and placement and how to provide the best possible experience for the neighborhood during this time of transition.”

Pat Nowak, the acting chair of the South Burlington City Council and member of the Airport Commission, affirmed this relationship between the airport and the City of South Burlington.

“We’re in good standing with the airport,” she said. “We’re looking forward to working through all of these pieces with the housing, and our new committee will be forming shortly, too.”

“We appreciate Stantec [Consulting Services, Inc.] I met with Jon [Leinwohl, P.E.] who is the lead for this,” Nowak added. ‘“I met him through the Airport Commission, and they will stay in contact with us through the commission, and then from the commission I will relay things to the city, as well as the direct contact with Gene.”

“I’m very happy with the efforts that both sides have made,” Richards said. “It’s been a real pleasure to work with folks on both sides in an effort to keep a healthy relationship. We’re certainly committed to it.”

What’s next for the neighborhood?

In anticipation of the changing nature of the neighborhood, the City of South Burlington secured planning grants, developed a vision statement, identified objectives, and facilitated the formation of a project team and The Chamberlin Neighborhood Airport Planning Committee (CNAPC). The CNAPC will look to strengthen the neighborhood and help develop a vision and strategy for long term co-existence of the airport and adjacent areas. The current goal is to have a final report to the council with any land use recommendations sent to the planning commission by December 31, 2014.

SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent