Councilor's Corner

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Thursday December 13, 2012

Thanks to the generosity of Judy Kearns, the editor of The Other Paper, your City Councilors will now have this space each month to speak with you directly.  Some of us may tell you what’s happening at the City Council.  Some may offer their personal observations on issues. Some may do a bit of both, which is what I intend to do.

I’ll start with a general overview of the Council’s activities.  In addition to the routine work of approving expenditures, grant applications, entertainment permits and liquor licenses; serving on the Boards of Civil Authority and Abatement and the City-School Steering Committee; reviewing applications under Interim Zoning; working at the polls and participating on city and county committees; and representing our city at civic functions; since March, the Council has been doing the following:

• Identified our priorities for the coming year (we’re now conducting a 6-month assessment of our progress)
• Established procedures on how we conduct ourselves
• Implemented “Complete Streets” for a portion of Williston Road
• Completed a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district application to continue progress on City Center, including design and permitting for Market Street
• Created four committees to work toward the goals for which Interim Zoning was enacted:  Affordable Housing, Form-Based Codes, Open Space, and Sustainable Agriculture/Food Security
• Approved renovations for city spaces—physical (interior of city hall) and virtual (website)
• Working with residents of Holmes Road, state agencies, legislators, and others to solve land title and financing issues
• Reviewed and commented on the basing of the F-35A in South Burlington
• Worked with the countywide Environment, Community, Opportunity, and Sustainability (ECOS) project.  (And we received a $50,000 grant from them because of our innovative approach to city and countywide issues!)
Initiated dialogue with City of Burlington and airport officials on airport impacts on our residents

And now, for some personal comments.

First of all, I am truly sorry if I have offended anyone by my style.  Sometimes the ‘Colonel’ comes out unawares (I was in the military for almost 30 years).  I have listened to my critics, and am determined to be more respectful and polite.  Please email me to let me know if I ever behave unkindly or unfairly.

Secondly, I am truly proud of my passions for protecting the natural environment, of which we are all a part, and for speaking on behalf of those residents whose voices are rarely heard.  Flowing from this, I have been working tirelessly on the goals for which Interim Zoning was enacted (protecting open space, using arable land for small-scale agriculture, insuring we have affordable housing, and designing future structures that look like the Vermont we love).  I also have spent a lot of time working to preserve the quality of life for those living around the airport by opposing the basing of the F-35A.  Both issues (preserving the environment and protecting the people) are social justice issues for me.

It’s clear not everyone feels the same way about these issues.  But I sense that most South Burlington folks—especially those who are directly affected—agree that these are values we cherish and are worth pursuing.  If I am out-of-step with the majority, then the voters will choose someone else to represent their wishes.

We are extremely fortunate that right here in South Burlington we have a vibrant commercial/industrial presence to help fill our pocketbooks; rich fertile soil to grow healthy food to fill our bodies; and glorious vistas and open green space to fill our souls. 

However, we must be vigilant to preserve the balance among these.  We are taking time now to think, plan, and work toward fulfilling all of our needs.  It’s exciting to see more and more people getting involved.  I’m confident that with an open attitude and positive energy, together we can accomplish just about anything—even doing what others say cannot be done.     

Rosanne Greco, Chair, SB City Council
rgreco@sburl.com