Paul Engels, Three-Year Term City Council Candidate

Three Year Term City Council Candidate: Paul Engels

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Thursday February 27, 2014

Paul Engels 

Education: BA, MS Syracuse University 

Occupation: Retired and Shared Living Provider 

South Burlington Resident 25 Years

1. What skills uniquely qualify you for the position of City Councilor?

I have the ability to bring together people from different walks of life and different political persuasions to work on a common goal and to reach a consensus. I am able to overcome obstacles and to keep going. I am persistent and focused. I am able to envision an outcome and work toward that outcome and bring others along with me. I am a communicator both interpersonally and at a mass communication level. I pick things up quickly and see the big picture. I am a visionary and can see what needs to be done now for the future. 

2. If elected, what is your top priority for council and for the city? What action will be required? 

I want to see form based code implemented correctly in City Center and city wide. Form based code is a unique opportunity for the citizens of South Burlington to take control of planning and development and to decide exactly what we want our city to be. It is the alternative to suburban sprawl. It allows us to set strict rules for development but gives developers who are willing to follow our rules the right to build without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on permitting and it allows homeowners to make changes in their homes without convoluted permitting. 


3. What are your thoughts on post Interim Zoning development? What do you believe is the right balance and rate of residential and commercial growth? How will that be determined? What is the councilor’s role?

A comprehensive rewrite of the land development regulations was supposed to have come out of interim zoning. The possibility that it might still exists with the form based code that was written for City Center and the form based code that we might write for the rest of the city. The current system of planned unit developments and the transfer of development rights has not worked and is not going to work. If we write code that defines what we want our city to be and then allow private developers to develop within that vision, the market place itself will determine the balance and rate of growth. Right now developers are building residential properties because that is where the money is. It is projected that 75% of City Center will be residential. The city council’s role is to set policy that determines the future of the city. 


4. South Burlington has a unique relationship with Burlington International Airport, the City of Burlington, and VTANG. The topics of finance, expansion, noise and loss of housing pose recurring questions. As the planning process begins, what is your vision for airport neighborhood redevelopment? What is the council’s role in the outcome if there are competing interests and consensus can’t be reached ?

The City of Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington and the City of South Burlington receives very little in the way of revenue from Burlington either in payment in lieu of taxes or from stormwater, sewer and water fees. This means that we South Burlington taxpayers subsidize the airport to the benefit of the City of Burlington. At the same time Burlington is using federal money to buy our affordable housing stock in that area and is taking little or no responsibility for the surrounding neighborhood. I want South Burlington to become a partner in the airport. I want the airport to take responsibility for developing a transitional zone around the airport that integrates the airport into the neighborhood perhaps with parks or recreational fields. Our city council’s role is to have the last word on what happens in our city. 

5. Closing Statement

I will be an independent voice on the Council. There currently are two factions competing for power in South Burlington, the pro growth and development faction led by Pam MacKenzie and the anti growth and development faction led by Rosanne Greco. I am not a part of either of these factions. I feel passionately about South Burlington’s future. I feel we have it within our grasp to determine that future but I am concerned about the infusion of big money interests into our local election. I have spent $233.44 of my own money on my campaign and that is all I will spend. I believe the council needs a vision for City Center and for the rest of the city. I want us to have a beautiful city with a unique, innovative, upscale downtown with stores, homes, parks and restaurants that will attract people from all over the world.