Chamberlin Neighborhood Planning Begins

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Thursday April 16, 2015

The Chamberlin Neighborhood-Airport Planning Committee (CNAPC) held its first meeting at City Hall Wednesday, April 8, exactly one week prior to the start of the airport demolition project.

The committee consists of 15 members, a mix of neighbors from three affected regions of the neighborhood, a South Burlington Planning Commissioner, a South Burlington Airport Commissioner, a Burlington Airport Commissioner, two at-large community members appointed by city council, one city council/Burlington Mayoral appointment, and one school district appointed member.

The committee is charged with a handful of objectives which include strengthening the relationship between the Chamberlin neighborhood and the Burlington International Airport (BIA), strengthening the neighborhood, retaining affordability of housing, and devising a strategy that will weigh the needs of both parties. This vision includes a noise abatement strategy (such as guidance to the next Part 150 plan), a land use plan/development regulations within Quadrants 1 and 2, land use plan/development regulations within remainder of the Chamberlin area, a transportation plan for neighborhood and airport access, and a plan to improve parks, streetscape, and other public amenities.

The committee will collaborate with a project team, which consists of city staff (planning and zoning, public works, and city manager staff), airport staff, Burlington City staff, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC), a school district administrator, and the consultant team.

To kick off the first meeting, Lee Krohn, a CCRPC senior planner, asked committee members to introduce themselves and to identify what is most important to them in the study process.

Committee member Carmine Sargent, a resident in the neighborhood area 3 region, said her interest stemmed from talking with her neighbors and then speaking with the Burlington City Council, the Mayor of Burlington, and the BIA aviation director to talk about the neighborhood concerns.

“We [neighbors] sort of developed an awareness with Burlington and the director of the airport and learned that they really wanted to rehab our neighborhood, not encroach on it. So I wanted to be on this to hold them to that truth,” she said.

“I have kids in school--one at Chamberlin and one in middle school,” said Greg Severance, a resident of neighborhood area 1. Airport Parkway is a main connection to his neighborhood. “Maintaining that corridor and sense of community is important to me...In addition to seeing it improved, I’d like to see potential pedestrian paths or bike paths from the Lime Kiln Bridge.”

For Lisa LaRock of Valley Ridge Rd. (neighborhood area 2), traffic and overall safety is a main issue. Her 13-year-old son, who went to Chamberlin School, has friends in the area. “Once things start changing, I want to make sure that the safety is still there and that it maintains the neighborhood-feel.”

After hearing from everyone, Bob Chamberlin of Resource Systems Group, Inc. provided a high-level overview of the study area, the City Comprehensive Plan and zoning in the study area, the Future Land Use map, the City Center/TIF, the Airport Vision 2030, Part 150 Noise Land Inventory and Re-Use Plan 2009, South Burlington Schools planning, and planned transportation improvements. The planned transportation improvements consist of the Airport Drive Extension to Airport Parkway, the Garden Street Study (White St./Midas Dr. intersection improvements), and the Williston Road Network Study--the latter of which will be presented at the April 14 Planning Commission meeting.

Airport Commissioner and South Burlington City Council Chair Pat Nowak said this process reminded her of the City and School Master Planning Task Force and encouraged committee members about its potential.

“To have that availability to show what could happen to an area has been a wonderful process that we’ve used,” she said. “I think seeing the vision of what could take place with proper funding and collaboration--I think that will just go so far to help the residents to see that this is not devastation. This is opportunity,” Nowak said.

In addition to the CNAPC meetings, all of which are open to the public, there will be three larger community outreach workshops. Committee members agreed on having an additional meeting before the first community outreach workshop projected for late May in order to appoint a committee chair and to review items for the workshop. The planning project outline states that the committee will meet every six weeks, but committee members said they were willing to increase the meeting frequency as necessary.

When the project reaches completion, the committee will create a report and provide their recommendations to the South Burlington City Council and the South Burlington Planning Commission to review and process by February 2016. The report and recommendations will also be shared with the Mayor of Burlington, Burlington City Council and the Director of Aviation at Burlington International Airport.

Steps toward the neighborhood-airport planning project began in December 2013, when South Burlington was awarded a $17,000 Municipal Planning Grant by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant was to assist with the initial planning process focused on the future uses for the properties adjacent to the Burlington International Airport left vacant by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) home buyout program. The City of South Burlington provided a $4,500 match. Additionally, the project received funding from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) with a $150,000 grant.

Members: Neighborhood Area 1 residents: Walden Rooney and Greg Severance; Neighborhood Area 2 residents: Linda Brakel, Marc Companion, and Lisa LaRock; Neighborhood Area 3 residents: Carmine Sargent, George\Maille, and Kim Robison; at-large community residents: John Simson and Patrick Clemins; South Burlington Planning Commission representative: Tracey Harrington; South Burlington District Appointee: Karsten Schlenter; Airport Commissioner: Bill Keogh; City of Burlington Appointee: Burlington City Councilor (North District) David Harnett.

Consultants approved by the CCRPC: Resource Systems Group, Inc.; Crosby, Schlessinger and Smallridge; Birchline Planning, LLC.; Third Sector Associates; Hoyle Tanner Associates

All information can be found on the CCRPC website,

SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent