South Burlington officials have spent much of the year working on a new way of describing the city’s values, its goals and suggested means of meeting those goals.
The South Burlington Planning Commission submitted a draft of a new city plan last month. The City Council needs to approve it, and the group is getting close to doing so.
The document, dubbed City Plan 2024, delineates dozens of goals. One is to support plans for new renewable energy projects on “existing impervious surface”. That will effectively mean solar arrays in South Burlington’s case, with many such arrays likely to be mounted on rooftops.
“Potentially — you can’t really do wind in South Burlington because we’re limited by statue to 40 feet (in elevation),” Councilor said. “And you really need to get up to 100 feet.”
Another goal is to add to local bicycle and pedestrian trail networks by connecting existing shared-use paths and building new ones. Kathleen Easton told the council one such planned path appears to run across her property on Holmes Road.
“The staff and the (planning) commissioners have been very responsive to this concern,” Easton said. “They have introduced language to the City Plan 2024 maps to indicate which actions are only planned or proposed.”
Nevertheless, Easton said she’s concerned that an aspiration to develop new paths or trails may give way to acquisition of property from landowners like herself.
“If I left here tonight and I saw your nice, shiny car in the parking lot and I liked it and I said, ‘I want that someday’, and I took a big sticker and stuck it across the back of your car, and you had to drive around with it and it said, ‘someday I’m going to have this car’ — that’s kind of like what I feel is on our property,” she said.
The maps included with the draft city plan don’t show any property lines. South Burlington Planning & Zoning Director Paul Conner noted it’s because the included maps are not binding, official documents.
“It’s not intending to show that it’s any individual properties,” Conner said. “This is really a concept.”
The council will take up City Plan 2024 again on Monday, December 4. If the existing verbiage is amended thoroughly enough, it might not come up for passage until the January 2 meeting.