Last week, Mayor Weinberger and city officials hosted a housing summit at City Hall. The summit featured an afternoon-long working meeting with breakout sessions as well as an evening town hall and delved into Burlington’s housing challenges, opportunities, and key topics for policy reforms. Kelly and Colin of the BBA were both in attendance and participated in a variety of breakout sessions.
Lisa Bender, President of the Minneapolis City Council, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the successes that Minneapolis has had in addressing their own housing shortage through a number of progressive policy reforms including changes to policies of single-family zoning, Accessory Dwelling Units, Inclusionary Zoning, and parking minimums.
The summit focused on five key areas of policy reform as identified in the City’s 2015 Housing Action Plan. The items were:
Housing Trust Fund – restoring and increasing funding to the City’s Housing Trust Fund.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – rule changes to make it easier to create small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lot as a single-family residence
Short-term rentals – regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb in order to balance the economic benefit for Burlingtonians with potential impacts on renters and neighborhoods
Parking minimums – changing the parking we require for new homes, especially in the downtown
Energy efficiency in rental housing – updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs
You can read more about these policies and details of the housing summit on the city’s website.
The administration cited a goal to deliver draft ordinances for priority policy reforms to the City Council for action this fall.
Housing affordability and supply is a top issue of the BBA’s advocacy efforts. We know that affordable workforce housing in our area is critical to Burlington’s economic vitality. To that end, the BBA has and will continue to advocate for policies that help increase housing stock of all types, from permanently affordable to market rate units, as a means to addressing Burlington’s housing crisis.