Mayor Weinberger Announced his plan to improve Lake Champlain water quality.

Mayor Unveils Clean Water Resiliency Plan for Lake Champlain

Yesterday, Thursday September 20th, Mayor Weinberger announced the Clean Water Resiliency Plan. The plan is a seven-point, $30 million initiative to stabilize, modernize, and upgrade Burlington’s wastewater and stormwater infrastructure in an effort to protect Lake Champlain. Voters will have their say on the plan in November.

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces 7-Point Clean Water Resiliency Plan

The water quality of the lake has been a high profile issue this summer after numerous wastewater overflows and beach closures. This issue is critical to the BBA as its effect extends to the enjoyment of the lake by both Burlingtonians and visitors, has broad environmental and ecological implications, and impacts vitality of waterfront business and commerce. As such, the BBA’s Waterfront Action Group (WAG) has made lake water quality a core issue of its advocacy work.

MEMO: Proposal for a Resilient City – Reinvesting in Burlington’s Wastewater & Stormwater Infrastructure

Mayor Weinberger Announces Funds to upgrade Burlington wastewater treatment facilities to help protect Lake Champlain. Mayor’s Clean Water Resiliency Plan will accelerates some existing plans around stormwater and wastewater as a result of the high number of unplanned discharges the City has seen this summer. The plan includes investments and updates to the City’s wastewater treatment plants, pump stations, sewer and stormwater pipes, and stormwater outfalls in addition to pollution prevention programs, green infrastructure and integrated planning. Investments outlined in the plan are proposed to be funded by a $30 million bond approved by ballot item. If the ballot item is passed by voters, investments will begin as soon as this winter. More information can be found via the Mayor’s press release or memo from DPW.

On Monday night, City Councilors will vote on a measure to put the bond question on the November election ballot. The council meeting will include a public forum beginning at 7pm inside Contois Auditorium. The City will also be hosting a town hall event with community members on September 27th at 6pm inside Contois Auditorium.

Parklet Currently Under Construction on College Street in Burlington, VT

Pop Up Parklet Debuts on College Street

Crew from Wade Joyce Design Constructs Parklet on College Street in BurlingtonA new type of tactical urbanism will be on display in Burlington this week, with the installation of a parklet on College Street outside of Onyx Tonics and Deli 126. The pop up project is a collaboration between the BBA and AARP Vermont.

Pop up Parklets are becoming a popular feature of communities around the world. The aim is to add street vibrancy and create welcoming environments for pedestrians in spots that had previously been reserved for vehicle parking. These sites provide passers by a place to sit, relax and enjoy the environment around them. Parklets typically extend out from the permanent sidewalk and create a communal space for people to enjoy.

This type of design is particularly helpful in places where sidewalks are not wide enough to accommodate street life activities. In major cities like Montreal, parklets are key ingredient in designing sidewalkscapes that support a wide variety of uses.

The College Street project will feature a total area of 6′ x 16′ and include benches, tables, planters and even overhead string lighting. All of this will exist in an area normally occupied by two parking spaces. Tactical urbanism projects like this one, are low cost, temporary builds that highlight different potential uses for a space while promoting local businesses. The site will be fully deconstructed on September 27th.

Crews from Ward Joyce Design were hard at work on Thursday building the outdoor deck and seating area. Ward Joyce Design has previously completed parklet projects in Montpelier and Brattleboro. For more information about materials used on the parklet project head to betterblock.org/wikiblock/.

Associated costs for the project are being paid by AARP Vermont and the Burlington Business Association.  No Burlington taxpayer funds are involved with the project.

BBA Online Auction Begins Sept. 25th

“Best of Burlington” Online Auction Returns Sept. 25th

Find Great Deals at Burlington Businesses Beginning 9/25The Auction Returns Sept. 25th

The 2018 “Best of Burlington” Online Auction goes LIVE on Tuesday, September 25th and runs through October 16th. This event is the BBA’s annual fundraiser that broadcasts all of the great things Burlington has to offer, while offering bidders the chance to win great deals on fantastic items.

SEE THE ITEMS AND BID NOW

This event is possible through the support of presenting sponsor Parkmobile. Last year’s auction featured nearly 500 bids from 12 states and provinces, and was the most successful auction in the history of the BBA!

Another Year of Can’t Miss Items

Highlights of this year’s event include: an autographed Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtic’s jersey; two winter jackets from Burton Snowboard; two $100 Gift Certificates to The Spot. Also featured are overnight stays at Burlington hotels like the Hilton, Courtyard by Marriott, Hotel Vermont and Hilton Garden Inn.

Donations are currently being solicited as we hope to be collecting nearly 100 items from local businesses. If your business is interested in connecting with a wide audience through our auction please reach out to [email protected] for more information. Last year saw the “Best of Burlington” Online Auction reach a wide audience. Showcasing our donating businesses to customers located both here in Chittenden County and across the northeast U.S. and Canada.

In addition to scoring great deals on some of Burlington’s favorite shops, restaurants and experiences, the auction has the added Parkmobile Prize Package Give Away, worth $500! Like last year, three winners will be randomly selected from Parkmobile’s database of users, and each will receive a golden envelope packed with over $160 worth of gift certificates to 8 of Burlington’s favorite restaurants and cafés

Learn more about using the Parkmobile app to pay for parking in Burlington at www.parkmobile.com! We would also like to thank our media sponsors, WCAX and Hall Communications for their support, as well as our generous local bidders.

Register for The Summer Social

The Burlington Business Association will once again bring together our local business community for a night of great food, drinks and networking. Join us, Thursday September 6th from 5pm-7:30pm for “Anchors Away With the BBA” The 2018 Summer Social at the Community Sailing Center‘s Waterfront Campus

REGISTER NOW FOR THE BBA’S 2018 SUMMER SOCIAL

Thursday, September 6th 5-7:30pm

Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center

505 Lake Street, Burlington

The Summer Social is a mainstay in our annual calendar and serves as a tremendous opportunity to meet new members of Burlington’s business community. September 6th’s event will include delicious appetizers, including cheeses and mini crepes from Love Local Catering as well as cash bar.

New this year will be a complimentary raffle. All attendees will be automatically registered in our raffle, with the winner taking home a special prize at the end of the evening.

2018 will mean a brand new home for the Summer Social, as the event will take place on the 3rd floor deck at Community Sailing Center’s Waterfront Campus. The new facility just opened in 2018 and will provide a fantastic home for the event, with a modern space and fantastic views of Lake Champlain.

Registration is currently open and costs $35 for BBA Members and $45 for non-members. Anyone with questions should reach out to [email protected]

Thank you to our host sponsor Community Sailing Center, our catering sponsor Love Local Catering as well as our Platinum members for their support for the BBA’s wide range of member events.

 

DPW Briefing on Lake Champlain Water Quality

This summer has seen several instances of wastewater outflows in to Lake Champlain, including an incident this week following a strong thunderstorm.

RELATED: Public Works’ Statement on July 10th Wastewater Treatment Plant Discharge

As part of their efforts to keep residents informed about this issue, last month, the Department of Public Works(DPW) released a briefing outlining the history of our City’s efforts to combat stormwater runoff and how the City continues to address this issue. Highlights from the DPW Briefing Include:

  • Burlington’s Main Water Treatment Plant was built in 1953 with the North Plant and Main Street Plan being added in 1961 and 1963 respectively. The system has been updated numerous times to allow for greater capacity in the years since. Before 1953, Burlington discharged untreated waste in to Burlington Bay, Englesby Brook and the Winooski River
  • Like many older cities, Burlington combines sanitary waste and stormwater flows in the same pipes. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO’s) occur when the capacity of treatment plants is exceeded and is discharged into water bodies. To fully separate waste and stormwater flows would cost well over $100,000,000.
  • As an alternative, Burlington prefers to create green wet-weather infrastructure which manages stormwater, reducing the number of CSO’s while adding more green space, shading and pedestrian/biking improvements
  • Burlington’s Wastewater Treatment Plants have been updated to increase capacity several times over the years. The main plant has a current dry day capacity of 5.3 Million gallons per day.
  • Burlington has five remaining untreated Combined Sewer Overflows, which are monitored by DPW. This year DPW purchased permanent flow meters in these locations which they are in the process of installing.
  • Recent beach closures have been the result of the Pine Street untreated CSO. This location was discovered in 2015. This location now has a permanent flow monitor and is the prime focus of the City’s Integrated Water Quality Planning.
  • A 2009 update to City ordinances dictates that any project that disturbs more than 400 sq. ft. must be reviewed for stormwater impacts. A number of recent projects have greatly contributed to mitigation efforts including: Investors Corporation of Vermont’s building at 180 Battery Street, Redstone’s redevelopment at 237 North Winooski Ave., Bright Street Cooperative’s development, and UVM’s Waterman Hall drainage efficiency project.
  • Large scale developments are required to manage their stormwater flows. CityPlace Burlington, Cambrian Rise and 85 North Avenue will all manage 100% of all new and existing stormwater runoff.
  • The City’s Water Resources and Integrated Planning Team is spearheading work to solve this issue and has already developed a comprehensive wet weather map to target stormwater reduction opportunities, developed a list of non-structural strategies to reduce runoff, and evaluated enhanced phosphorus removal technologies to aid already successful phosphorus removal procedures.

Protecting Lake Champlain is of the utmost importance to the future of Burlington. City officials are working to address this issue and prevent future CSO’s. In a press release yesterday Mayor Weinberger stated he has directed DPW to, “immediately devote every available resource, including outside experts, to fully investigate the causes of the recent mechanical discharges and to immediately implement fixes.”

In the meantime, people should remember that the Lake is safe to enjoy this summer. While signs are posted at South End beaches, residents and visitors should know that this is purely a precaution. Testing after these incidents show there has been no significant rise in the level of bacteria in the lake and are well below EPA limits.

BBA Comments on Inclusionary Zoning Recommendations

As Burlington continues to struggle with a “Housing Affordability Crisis” we see reform of Burlington’s Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policy as a critical action for growing the city’s housing supply and accessibility. PlanBTV Downtown/Waterfront specifically identified reform of IZ as a necessary means “to encourage more of the housing that is so badly needed.”  We have submitted our response to the recent draft of recommendations by the Inclusionary Zoning Working Group (IZWG).

BBA Comments on IZWG Recommendations

We support an IZ Ordinance update focused on improving housing affordability and advancing the feasibility of projects undertaken by both for-profit and not-for-profit developers. We also support IZ Ordinance policy that applies to the region, in that it would in part keep Burlington from being at a competitive disadvantage versus surrounding areas that do not have a similar IZ Ordinance nor such high development and land costs.

In particular, some of the changes most important to the Burlington business community are the by-right density bonus provision, lowering payments-in-lieu, changes to parking requirements, and flexible range income targets. All of these particular proposed changes were included in PlanBTV. Our comment to these issues of importance are:

  • By-right density bonus provision – This would streamline the development process while still ensuring consistency in outcomes. Additionally, it clarifies processes for developers.
  • Lowering payment-in-lieu – The current payment-in-lieu fee drives development outside of Burlington. Decreasing the fee, particularly with smaller projects, will greatly increase project feasibility and encourage housing stock growth for families and young professionals.
  • Removing parking requirements – Parking requirements have numerous adverse effects including increasing cost and decreasing the buildable area of projects particularly those with IZ units. The Housing Action Plan points out that unnecessary parking requirements can increase per unit cost by 15-30%.
  • Adjusting income target for owner-occupied and rental units to a flexible range – A flexible range will encourage homeownership among young professionals and families.

We look forward to working with the city and stakeholders on improvements to this plan that will meet the needs of local businesses. Please feel free to reach out to Kelly Devine, [email protected] or 802-863-1175 with any questions relating to this document.

 

Colin Hilliard Joins BBA as Program Director of Advocacy and Member Engagement

The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is pleased to announce that Colin Hilliard has joined their team as Program Director of Advocacy and Member Engagement.

Colin’s work with the BBA will focus on advancing the BBA’s work to make Burlington a great place to live, work, and do business. He will work with the business community, as well as public and private stakeholders, to execute outreach and education campaigns that further the organization’s advocacy efforts. Colin’s role will also concentrate on further improving the organization’s ability to engage with both member businesses and the greater Burlington community through innovative digital media campaigns and the production of social, networking, and educational events. These communications and events will continue to ensure the BBA’s advocacy is inclusive for both Burlington’s citizens and business community.

Colin attended the University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business, graduating with Bachelor’s Degree in 2014. Colin’s background is in account management, digital marketing strategy, and community organizing. He was previously at Dealer.com as a Digital Advisor for Major Accounts where he managed accounts of large automotive dealer groups across the country and developed wide-ranging digital marketing strategies for clients.  He has a passion for community engagement and public policy; inspired from his work in digital strategy and field operations on numerous local political campaigns.

The BBA is a member organization made up of Burlington based businesses that advocates on behalf of Burlington’s business community. Our alliance of more than 260 diverse businesses shares the goal of stewarding and promoting Burlington’s economic vitality.

2018 FAM Tour Showcases Waterfront Businesses

Credit-Stephen Mease Photography

The BBA’s 2018 Waterfront Familiarization (FAM) Tour took to the water on June 8th, and once again gave Burlington’s waterfront business community a chance to showcase their fantastic work.

Waterfront FAM Tour 2018-SEE THE ALBUM

As always, the event took place aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III and included the ‘Minute at The Mic’ segment where local business people could take time to talk about what’s on tap during the upcoming busy summer summer season. Speakers highlighted great events, new services and updates on construction.

This years speakers came from BBA Members: Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew PC, Spirit of Ethan Allen, Vermont Lake Monsters, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, Burlington Parks & Recreation, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Hotel Vermont, SkiRack, CityPlace Burlington, Burlington Harbor Marina, Run Vermont, Waterfront Diving Center, Local Motion, ECHO, Ice Cream Bob’s, Healing Winds Vermont, Burlington Wine & Food Festival, Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, Whistling Man Schooner and PP&D Brochure.

The BBA’s Waterfront Action Group (WAG) is comprised of member businesses on or near the waterfront. They have spearheaded a number of initiatives including an annual Waterfront Map, promoting waterfront businesses and more recently, focusing on water quality in Lake Champlain. WAG meets monthly from September to May, taking a break during the summer.

BBA member businesses interested in joining WAG should reach out to BBA Administrative Coordinator Jack Commo.

Thanks to everyone who attended the FAM Tour this year. Also thanks to our hosts, Spirit of Ethan Allen III and our Silver and Platinum Members for sponsoring this great event.

Trends Impacting Future of Downtown Burlington

What trends are guiding the future of downtowns like our own? This was the question guiding a presentation from Brad Segal of Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) to the City Council last night.

Segal is the President of PUMA which has been working with the BBA and other downtown stakeholders to discuss the future of Burlington’s Downtown Improvement District. The presentation focused PUMA’s list of ‘Top 10 Global Trends Affecting Downtowns & How to Respond at Home‘.  

RELATED-Take our survey on your experience in downtown Burlington. We need your input! Downtown Experience Survey

The presentation to City Council last night looked at how changing age demographics are impacting downtowns across the country and what it could mean for communities like ours. The presentation highlighted the opportunities that exist for “Mid Tier” cities which offer more affordability and a more relaxed small city lifestyle.

Segal pointed to Burlington as being one of many communities that are competing to attract the growing number of millennial workers. Millennials are the fastest growing group in the American workforce and could make up as much as 75% of workers by 2050. Burlington stands in a position to benefit from its large population of university students.

Changing consumer priorities include the need for more urban housing and the creation of multi dimensional neighborhoods in areas that used to be more focused on retail and office space. This rise is fueled by a mix of young people attracted to a more urban lifestyle and baby boomers downsizing as they get older.

Another key aspect was social responsibility becoming an economic imperative for communities that hope to attract millennial workers. A growing priority for the young people is protecting economic opportunity for all and supporting diversity are key parts of building a successful modern downtown.

PUMA was hired as a consultant for the Downtown Improvement District project this winter. This week they will be meeting with key stakeholders including residents, property owners, small business owners and elected officials. In May representatives from PUMA held focus groups to hear from individuals about what their own priorities for Burlington’s downtown.

The E-Bike Adventure Begins

Depot Street was no match for the E-Bike in ‘Turbo’ mode.

Local Motion in collaboration with VSECU, Terry Bicycles and Pomerleau Real Estate,  is offering FREE rentals of e-bikes this summer. It is a great way to try out this new way to get around. BBA Executive Director Kelly Devine will be exploring Burlington on one of these fantastic new bikes. Stay tuned as she posts about her 6-day e-bike adventure around BTV!

Day 1:

Many thanks to the Local Motion team. A++ customer service when picking up the e-bike rental. They provide locks and helmets for no charge. They even have bikes that can carry families. The bikes can fit on some types of bike racks (so plan ahead) or you can just ride away from the Local Motion pick-up site right onto the waterfront.

Wednesday is burger night, so we decided to ride there after work. We got there so quickly we had time for a longer ride and out to the Rt 127 bike path we went. We cut back over the bridge, rode through Ethan Allen Park, and then over to the Burlington Greenway for a quick stop at North Beach. We then headed back to Chubby Muffin for our burger and beer and ended a beautiful night with a ride back downtown.

The e-bike: it takes a bit to get used to how to use the 9 gears and the e-assist settings. We rode further and faster than we would have. The e-assist makes all hills easy; I used a range of settings for different hills and rarely hit the TURBO setting. TIP: Best to stay in the lowest gear workable.

Biking in #BTV: The new Greenway is phenomenal for everything including biking. The Rt. 127 bike path is in great shape. It takes some creativity to ride between them. Cheers for the N. Union Street protected lane, though it’s limited to one way. I wish I had planned the route back more thoughtfully. Where is the info on the best bike routes? Maybe ParkBurlington with support from Local Motion needs to create it.