The Burlington Town Center is ready to have its permits reviewed by the city. First, part of Burlington's zoning ordinance needs to change.
Planning commissioners met Tuesday to discuss their proposed Downtown Mixed Use Core Overlay. It encompasses the area immediately surrounding the Burlington Town Center. The DMUC would allow the new building to be built as tall as proposed. It also makes recommendations for parking. Commissioners want underground parking wherever possible.
The overlay highlights the importance of connectivity between St. Paul Street and Pine Street.
"That is for them a big deal, what they want to convey to City Council is even if the city doesn't immediately take back those streets and rebuild them, they want to ensure the city has the option to do that in the future," says City Attorney Eileen Blackwood.
Blackwood and Planning Commission Chair Yves Bradley say commissioners have not agreed, particularly on what height the new building should be. Blackwood says there has been a lot of discussion about this amendment in part, because commissioners must consider the entire zoning district.
"You can't look at one particular property and change the zoning ordinance to just fit them, and If the Town Center project doesn't go forward for some reason, these zoning ordinance changes stay," says Blackwood. "Other developers and owners of other property can propose other projects that fit within these rules, so everyone wants to be sure that they really want to make these rules that are more general for this zoning district."
Burlington has an existing overlay around UVM Medical Center. Burlington City Council has voted to send the proposed amendment to its Ordinance Committee. Committee members will discuss it Thursday.
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