Thursday July 23, 2015
On July 7, at the Burlington International Airport, Chamberlin Neighborhood Airport Planning Committee members reviewed the analysis of mobility as well as the topic of affordability & community.
These are two of the four topics the CNAPC identified at its previous meeting, as a result of the May community outreach forum. The committee was to discuss noise and land use at the July 13 meeting.
Director of Planning and Zoning Paul Conner and Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Senior Transportation Planner Christina Forde facilitated the conversation. Before jumping into new ideas, Conner filled an easel’s page with printed-out discussion points previously outlined by the consultant at the last meeting.
Starting with mobility, the group listed known desires: the need for additional traffic calming, the need for improved and safer connections from the neighborhood to the south side of Williston Road, potential changes to White Street (complete streets on both sides and on-street bike lanes), walk-able connections to open spaces both within and outside of the Chamberlin neighborhood, complete bike/pedestrian facilities within Airport Drive cross-section, an established plan for city streets located on ‘noise’ land, having “overland” public path connections between residential streets (requiring easements), bus shelters, and a discussion of White Street’s functionality, should a new Airport Drive be constructed.
Burlington International Airport Director of Aviation Gene Richards was in attendance for preliminary stages of the brainstorming process. Committee member George Maille asked Richards about the I-89 Interchange (14N) and Airport Connector Link, as recommended in the 2030 Airport Master Plan.
In response to Maille’s question, Richards said that, after consulting with Jon Leinwohl of Stantec Consulting, the project would cost an estimated $71 million.
“It may be more realistic to extend Airport Drive along the edge of the airport property through some of the neighborhoods that have been abandoned and connect it to Kirby Road,” committee Chair Carmen Sargent suggested.
Richards and his crew will be available to answer questions at the next meeting.
The group returned to the brainstorming session working off the points Connor noted during the discussion. Maille commented that mass transit, Greyhound, should be prohibited from traveling on Airport Road.
Sargent commented that the sidewalks should be upgraded to be ADA compliant. She also put her petition back on the table.
Resident Steve Marriott, on behalf of another neighbor, asked about the possibility of connecting Patrick Street to Elizabeth Street with at least a one-way exit, to not impede emergency response time.
Committee members also discussed the need for increased crosswalks at particularly congested areas such as Williston Road by the Windjammer and between Hinesburg Road and Kennedy Drive. In terms of improved connections, having a bike/pedestrian connection to Winooski on Patchen Road and/or on Lime Kiln Road were a couple of ideas.
Managing parking to prevent increased parking violations was also added to the list.
Affordability & Community
The next topic on the list was affordability & community. Talking points from earlier discussions include affordable housing and supporting housing values, adding trees and gardens, addressing street lights/lighting, developing a civic space or place for pre-school, teens and seniors (especially if Chamberlin School closes), having an airplane observation area, improving signage, having front porches, passive and active open spaces, and access to vistas.
Expanding the list, committee member John Simson, former member of the Affordable Housing Committee, brought up the topic of accessory units. Under current LDRs, an accessory unit cannot be more than 30% the size of the property. However, for homes that are small to begin with, this could leave the size of the accessory unit unsuitable for living. Therefore, a recommendation to change the relationship between the size of the house to the size of the add-on could resolve the issue.
Sargent expressed concern over what that would mean in terms of renting. Parking and taxes were also raised as concerns.
“That’s the problem when you decide to have a neighborhood go entirely rental,” Simson said. “On the other hand, there are some neighborhoods where it might be something people want as a way of adding to their income or a property for their mother-in-law.”
Conner said it would be a topic worth looking into in the context of all the other factors involved.
Segueing into another topic, Simson shifted the conversation to one of the impacts of senior housing.
“In many communities, if there’s a viable senior housing alternative . . . it’s a draw for people as an alternative to staying in their house.”
According to South Burlington School District, VT Demographic Study Report, the occupancy rate is one or two people per household. Airport Commission representative Pat Nowak said that 70 percent of the city’s homes have no children in the household. Therefore, a senior center may attract an older demographic and open up their housing to younger families.
Co-Chair Patrick Clemins noted that there is a one percent vacancy rate for young families and that smaller homes might be attractive to them as well.
Art projects/events, parks, discussion of tax breaks for the noise land, and strengthening the relationship between the airport and neighborhood were other points added to the list.
The topical discussions are part of the information collection stage of the committee’s process, Conner said. Depending on what is discussed, the research stage will follow and the consultant will develop a few different alternatives and scenarios based on what the committee asks. This will all be available before the next community outreach meeting.
SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent