CNAPC Focuses on Vitality of Neighborhood’s Future

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Thursday December 03, 2015

A week following the long awaited Noise Exposure Map presentation by the Burlington International Airport, the Chamberlin Neighborhood Planning Committee (CNAPC) assembled November 19 to move on its next action items.

The scope of the committee’s work is to envision the future of the neighborhood and strengthen the relationship between the affected community and the airport. The committee’s duties include identifying short and long term solutions to carrying out that vision and presenting its recommendations to city council and the Burlington International Airport in spring 2016.

After the culmination of hearing feedback at meetings and at the two public workshops since the committee’s inception in April 2015, members decided it was time to push forth an action plan for the city.

Member John Simson said the committee should hone in on the land use of the newly-acquired noise land buffer and seize the opportunity before them.
“I think we have an opportunity to do some preliminary planning, lay out blueprinting and long term planning for the benefit of the citizens,” he said.

Chair Carmine Sargent suggested using the space to build character with an airport museum, art, or something of a similar nature.

The committee has also discussed utilizing a community survey in order to gauge the opinion of everyone in the neighborhood. There are caveats with this path, members agreed.

Tracey Harrington asked if the consultants had any experience with crafting such a survey. Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Senior Planner Lee Krohn said that staff plans on meeting with the committee’s consultant as well as the airport and then subsequently the airport’s consultant, regarding this discussion.

Patrick Clemins mentioned that some community members said they felt they didn’t have enough information to participate well enough for the survey.

“What might be more useful is some kind of output from the committee, whether that’s a preliminary draft and letting the community respond to that, he said. “I get a feeling they want to hear from us. I think we need to put something out there about what we’ve been thinking beyond just a conversation, something more concrete,” he said.

Resident Bernie Paquette, who is contemplating whether or not to stay in the area, expressed a similar concern.

“I want to make an informed decision when I answer these survey questions, and I don’t feel like I’m going to know much more than the emotional things I’ve heard at these meetings,” he said.

“As citizens, who do we look to [for facts]? FAA? The state? Airport? Who’s the advocate for us?” he asked. Paquette suggested finding a way to create a database of all the inquiries that have been answered. “Otherwise you’re spinning your wheels on items that have already been answered.”

“A lot of people in the community feel that there’s been a concerted effort to keep the facts from coming out, and so we need to be careful about who’s generating the facts,” Marc Companion said. “It’s not that people don’t want facts--they’ve been asking for them for a long time….I  think it would be helpful for everyone if our governing bodies were able to add some level of integrity to this pursuit of knowledge that can then be shared throughout the community.”

Most of the questions that arose from the November 9 meeting revolved around sound generated by the Air National Guard, which could not be answered by Burlington International Airport since they’re separate entities. There will be a city council meeting on Monday, December 7 where BIA officials and members of the Air National Guard have been invited for a discussion.

Even so, BIA does have a plan in place to address noise, as it’s currently pursuing funds for the Sound Mitigation Program that will help insulate qualifying homes within the 65 dBA DNL (decibel Day-Night Average Sound Level) contour. Director of Aviation Gene Richards said that this will also make homes more energy efficient and help with the housing stock. The airport does not plan on buying more houses.

In reference to this program, Harrington said, “We’ve identified options for prioritization. Take sound mitigation as one of the items. What are the options for the airport? What are the options for homes? What are the options for natural or man-made noise mitigation on the open space-- and then taking that one step farther, what is the potential cost breakdown of those items per home per lot per acre and what are the funding mechanisms for that, private, state and federal?”

South Burlington Director of Planning and Zoning Paul Conner said that staff will meet with the airport to see “how these work efforts will line up.” The committee is aiming for another meeting in December.

For more information, visit www.ccrpcvt.org/transportation/corridors/chamberlin/, contact Lee Krohn, CCRPC senior planner, at 802-733-7788 or lkrohn@ccrpcvt.org, or contact Paul Conner, AICP, director of planning and Zoning at 802-846-4106 or pconner@sburl.com.