BBA Joins State Coalition to Uphold Paris Climate Accord

BBA Executive Director Kelly Devine was among many local business owners, organizations and politicians yesterday afternoon for the launch of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition.

This new coalition, consisting of organizations from around Vermont will work to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, including a reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by 26-28% by 2025. The Coalition will be coordinated by the City of Burlington, will compliment steps already being taken at the state level. 

As its initial actions steps, the coalition will looks to grow it’s membership, collect voluntary pledges from across the State, and work to establish analytics to track progress. The group will also work to encourage short, medium, and long-term efforts that may include: encouraging transportation alternatives; producing and building a supply chain of locally-sourced goods to minimize the use of transportation emissions necessary to get the goods to market; composting in the backyard; weatherizing homes; and implementing energy efficiency measures. 

Part of the agreement will see the City convene a Climate Summit this fall to create Vermont’s Climate Pledge for Paris. This will be Vermont’s attempt to adhere to the Paris climate agreement, which the federal government recently backed out of.

The City of Burlington has a long history of working toward a sustainable future, having already become the first city in the country to source 100% of its energy from renewable sources. Currently, Burlington is trying to become a net zero energy city. This process includes studying the feasibility of district energy in Burlington, 13 new electric vehicle charging stations, and new programs to help residents make their homes more efficient.

The BBA is excited to support this partnership between state and local government, non-profits and the local business community. These steps will not only fight climate change, but increase economic vitality. Currently the BBA is working on it’s own summit to educate our membership on some of the innovative active transportation work underway in our area.

BBA Welcomes New Board Members

 

The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is excited to welcome Stephen Barraclough, General Manager, Burlington Telecom, Kyle Bostwick, Vice President, Vermont Lake Monsters, Chelsea Condos, Senior Manager, Gallagher, Flynn & Co. and Justin Heilenbach, President of Citizen Cider as new members of the BBA Board of Directors.

“These amazing additions to our Board of Directors will help support BBA’s mission of stewarding and promoting Burlington’s economic vitality”, stated Executive Director Kelly Devine. In representing a wide range of business types, they will help the BBA speak more strongly for Burlington.

Stephen Barraclough joined Burlington Telecom in March of 2010 as a consultant working for Dorman and Fawcett and was named Interim General Manager in September of that year. Stephen has held senior financial and operational positions across several industries, including Menswear Apparel Manufacturing in NY and NJ, CFO of a Media Company listed on the London Stock Exchange, and worldwide CFO for EMI Music based in NY. Prior to joining D&F in 2009 he led a number of acquisitions, integrations and operational and financial restructuring in Europe and the US.

Kyle Bostwick has worked in Minor League Baseball for over 20 years, starting with the Vermont Expos in 1994. Kyle previously served as General Manager of the Triple-A Ottawa Lynx. While there, the organization was named 2002 United Way Ottawa Small Business of the Year. Since Bostwick’s return to Vermont, the Lake Monsters have seen increases in attendance, overall revenue and community support, as well as earning the NY-PENN League Leo Pinckney Promotional Award in 2014. Bostwick also serves on the BBA’s Education Programs Sub-Committee.

Chelsea Condos is a seasoned tax accountant who returned to Vermont recently to work at Gallagher Flynn after spending 13 years at KPMG in Atlanta and Boston. Condos has extensive experience working with real estate companies, including developers, investment firms and construction companies. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration/accounting with a specialty in tax accounting from Georgia State University. In addition to her role on the BBA’s Board of Directors, she is a member of AICPA and the Vermont Society of CPAs. She lives in the Mayfair neighborhood of South Burlington with her husband and two children, ages three and a half and one and a half.

A native of Illinois, Justin Heilenbach discovered cider making on small farm outside of Portland, Oregon. In 2010 he co-founded Citizen Cider with partners Brian Holmes and Kris Nelson. The growing company relocated to their current location on Pine Street in Burlington’s South End in April of 2014. The facility, which includes a tasting room and kitchen, has become popular destination for both locals and visitors. In six short years Citizen Cider has become one of the largest regional cider brands in the country and one of Vermont’s largest fruit buyers. In addition to his work with Citizen Cider, Justin is also on the board of the Flynn Theater, and a volunteer with Burlington American Little League. He currently resides in the South End with his wife Terra, and their three sons.

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.

Clockwise From the Top Left: Stephen Barraclough, Kyle Bostwick, Justin Heilenbach, Chelsea Condos

Judges Uphold Burlington Town Center Project

The Burlington community received good news on the Burlington Town Center redevelopment. The judges in two separate lawsuits ruled on behalf of moving the project forward. The BBA remains strongly in support of redevelopment our 1970’s mall and reconnecting our downtown street grid.

TIF APPEAL DISMISSAL ON 3 OF 4 ACCOUNTS

On Friday, Vermont Superior Court Judge Robert Mello dismissed three of four counts raised in an appeal on the grounds that they had no legal basis. The appeal related to the public vote on Tax Increment Financing (TIF)funding for the reopening of Pine Street and Saint Paul Street to public use. Judge Mello has not yet ruled on a fourth complaint in the appeal.

Burlington attorney John Franco who is currently leading three separate lawsuits against the city relating to the BTC project has said that he will appeal Judge Mello’s dismissal to the state supreme court once the fourth complaint is adjudicated.

BTC CAN BEGIN CONSTRUCTION

In one of those cases, environmental court Judge Thomas Walsh did not grant a stay that would have prevented construction from beginning this summer. On Monday, the judge ruled that the appeal was not strong enough to justify the financial harm that would’ve meant for developer Don Sinex.

Sinex plans to begin construction on the project in early July, while Judge Thomas deliberates on whether the project fits city zoning regulations.

Lead Architect Jesse Beck Repudiates False CLC Claim

Jesse Beck, AIA, NCARB, President of Freeman, French & Freeman has provided a statement to dispute recent comments made by a Coalition for Livable City supporter in regards to the Burlington Town Center redevelopment.

“It is irresponsible to provide unfounded accusations of fraud and lying, and yet the harm is done when the public reads the headline, skims the piece, and loses confidence in the project or the process. This project has gone through dozens and dozens of public meetings, multiple votes at City boards, City Council, and our ballot boxes.” said Beck in a statement.

Beck’s comments are in response to a recent editorial which made incorrect claims about the project’s height and massing in architectural renderings.

In addition to other criticisms, Beck points out the author, “fails to mention that the landscape architect who raised the question about the Google Earth image admitted that he was unaware of the shadow studies and, once he had reviewed them and taken the time to understand what they present, agreed they were accurate.”

Having already received its necessary local permits, the Burlington Town Center redevelopment currently sits before the State environmental court as part of an appeal from members of the Coalition for a Livable City. On November 8th, Burlington voters supported two ballot measures needed for construction in a vote that was widely seen as a referendum on the project.

The Burlington Town Center redevelopment stands to have a significant positive impact on the economic vitality of Burlington with the addition of 272 units of housing in the downtown. In addition, completion of the project will see 230,000 square feet of office space and the reopening of two streets currently blocked by the mall.

Downtown & Village Center Tax Credits Available

Applications for the next round of Downtown and Village Center tax credits and the Sales Tax Reallocation Program are due June 30, 2017.  Tax credits support general rehabilitation, code compliance, and exterior improvements.  Here are the Guidelines and Application.

Federal and state rehabilitation tax credits help to stimulate private investment, create jobs, restore historic buildings and jump start the revitalization seen in Vermont’s Designated Downtowns and Village Centers. Successful projects range from small bed and breakfasts and rental apartments to multimillion dollar downtown redevelopments.  To learn more about these programs or schedule a meeting, contact Caitlin Corkins at [email protected] or 802-828-3047.

What is a tax credit? 
While not cash or a grant, tax credits essentially redirect income taxes owed to help pay the construction bills. For example, if your tax bill is $10,000, a $4,000 credit will reduce your tax bill to $6,000. Credits are available from both the federal government and the State of Vermont.

Does my building qualify? 

  • Federal Rehabilitation Investment tax creditsare available for eligible historic commercial buildings, meaning income-producing buildings, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Many of Vermont’s designated downtowns and villages are listed and pre-qualified for federal credits.
  • State Downtown & Village Center tax creditsare available for eligible commercial buildings and non-profit owned buildings constructed before 1983 (sorry, no private residences, but rental properties are eligible) located within designated downtown or village centers.

What work qualifies? 
Federal and state tax credits support general rehabilitation, code compliance, and exterior improvements. In some cases, projects may be eligible for both the federal and state programs. Both programs are designed to enhance the historic character of Vermont and use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation to assure changes are sensitive and appropriate. For specific advice on a project, staff is available to meet on site and discuss how the Standards apply to individual projects.

Downtown Sales Tax Reallocation Program

Municipalities and the developer of the qualified project may jointly apply to the Downtown Board for a reallocation of sales taxes on construction materials. Qualified projects must be located within a designated downtown district and may be eligible for a reallocation of sales taxes on construction materials. Reallocated taxes must be used by the municipality to support the qualified project.

Applications for State Sales Tax Reallocation credits are due June 30, 2017. Read our Guidelines and Application for more details.

Program Essentials

Applications must be for qualified projects within a designated downtown. The Board will not consider projects that are substantially completed before designation is granted to the municipality.

  • Applications may be submitted either just prior to the start of construction or during construction of the qualifying project, but not after construction has been substantially completed.
  • The application must demonstrate that the qualified project will be under construction within 12 months of the award date, and that the municipal project must be completed within 30 months of the award date.

Registration Opens for BBA’s FAM Tour event

Tickets are now available for BBA’s popular annual members’ meeting, the Waterfront FAM(iliarization) Tour.

The FAM tour is one of BBA’s popular annual events. Bring your sunglasses and kick off summer aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III! Enjoy a complimentary breakfast, network with BBA Members and learn what our waterfront businesses have in store for their Summer season all while enjoying a morning tour of Lake Champlain.

This event is free for BBA Members.

Please register here.

Waterfront members are encouraged to sign up to speak during our Minute at the Mic. Sign up to speak here.

BBA Celebrates the 2017 Award Winners at Annual Dinner

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2017 BBA Annual Dinner & Awards on Thursday, April 6th. We were proud to honor our 2017 award winners — Seventh Generation for Business of the Year, David Provost for Business Person of the Year, and Select for our Architectural Excellence Award, as well as a special recognition for the Vermont Air National Guard. Pics below!

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John Caulo Takes Over Committee Chair Position for SEAG

After a brief break in 2016, the South End Action Group will reconvene for regular monthly meetings under a new Committee Chair. With the current Chair, Russ Scully moving into the role of Chair of the BBA Board of Directors, John Caulo, BBA Board Member and Associate Vice President of Campus Planning & Auxiliary Services at Champlain College will be taking over the leadership of the South End Action Group.

We would like to invite members from the South End to meet John on Wednesday, March 28th 9:30am at The Miller Center on Lakeside Avenue in Burlington. This will be an opportunity for everyone to not only meet our new chair, but also discuss our vision for the future of the SEAG.
For more information about SEAG, please email Jack.

Burlington Town Center Receives Unanimous Approval from DRB

The BBA is excited to see the Burlington Town Center redevelopment reach a critical milestone, following unanimous approval from the Development Review Board.

Combined with previous approval from the City Council, Design Advisory Board and Conservation Board, we can now say that the Burlington Town Center redevelopment has received nearly all permits necessary for construction to begin and while opponents of the project have made clear their intention to appeal the project’s TIF component, it is our expectation that construction will begin by mid-summer.

Throughout the long public process we have maintained that this project is crucial to the future economic vitality of our downtown. This project will transform the current outdated mall site into a thriving mixed use neighborhood, providing housing, “Class A” office space and retail space in the heart of our downtown. This new opportunity for a ‘live, work, play’ lifestyle in Burlington, will benefit not only residents, but our downtown businesses as well.

Whether it was speaking in front of City Council, volunteering during the election or just having conversations with friends and neighbors, the BBA and its members made a significant contribution to advancing the Burlington Town Center redevelopment.