Tracey Harrington, Three-Year City Council Candidate

Three Year Term City Council Candidate: Tracey Harrington

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Thursday February 27, 2014

Tracey Harrington

Education:Bachelor of Science, Computer Information Systems, Castleton State College

Occupation:Systems Developer, Vermont Department of Corrections

South Burlington Resident 10 Years


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

I am a member of a demographic who has not historically had direct representation on our Council. I can bridge the age gap that exists between our aging and younger populations. As an Information Technology professional, I look forward to sharing my insights and experience with new innovative technologies so we can make further progress with planning and outreach.  I have experience with contracts, negotiations, policy, and collaborating with groups from diverse backgrounds in order to reach consensus when working toward common goals.  I am a planner and am very detail-oriented as well as being an effective communicator.  


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

My top priority for the council is to represent the residents’ wishes in a transparent, open, and democratic way. I feel as though not enough time has been spent on finding balance. There is almost always a balance between competing priorities if one is willing to take the time to find that balance. For instance, development and open space are not mutually exclusive of one another. They can and should co-exist and, as part of the Planning Commission, I am having those conversations on how to strike this balance in the City Center Form Based code. 

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?

I am excited to be working on the Form Based Code with the Planning Commission to alter the tenor of how our regulations are written and make them based on the positives that our community wishes to see.  I hope we can expand this exciting, resident-based code to other areas outside of City Center.The rate of residential and commercial growth should be based on what the community wants and needs, and this can differ in various areas of our City.  There needs to be balance and that balance can shift and change over time.  There are also various market factors that will drive this balance.I believe the Councilor’s role is to listen to the Development Review Board, Planning Commission, and to the expert advice of our Staff.  We are not the only community going through these issues and our Staff has a wealth of knowledge in these areas.  


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?

I have friends, family, and neighbors who are Guard members and I also have working relationships with Burlington City Councilors and representatives from Burlington International Airport.  There needs to be an open and honest dialogue with all parties involved in order to fully define differences, similarities, and what each party envisions for the future. I am excited to participate in planning for this area and personally envision the continuation of a vibrant neighborhood with affordable housing. As with any issue, the important outcome is a balance that portrays the main goals of each party without being detrimental to the other.  Overall, the Council exists to represent the residents but also to protect the economic vitality of our City.  Balancing those two with a solution everyone can live with is the key to success.  However, I do believe that everyone can come to that balance together through honest communication. 


5. Closing Statement

As a Planning Commissioner, we are collaborating with UVM and other partners, engaging many residents to participate in Form Based Code planning efforts, and have submitted planning grants to the Chittenden Regional Planning Commission such as the Chamberlin area planning study for $150k. I believe that a person’s character and values are more important than the issues they face as these will ultimately guide that person’s approach of each issue. I believe in transparency, seeking citizen input, making decisions based on facts, and collaboration.  Transparency and seeking citizen input are the foundation of our democracy. Personally and professionally, I routinely gather all relevant facts before making a decision. Making decisions without having the necessary information is irresponsible and poorly serves our City. I welcome differing opinions and always strive to see things from a different perspective – this is where collaboration begins. I humbly ask for your vote on March 4.