What We Heard at the 2016 Business Summit

Based on the feedback we received during the breakout group sessions at the 2016 BBA Business Summit, we’ve gathered the ideas that the business community gave us about growing Burlington, and pulled from these the recurring themes we found.

Common Issues:

  • There is an assumption among residents that growth and change is bad
  • Permitting and zoning regulations are too strict and unpredictable
  • Burlington needs more housing for all income levels
  • There are considerable economic costs of all the projects Burlington has underway

How Do We Address These Issues?

Communication is key in addressing the issues that are pausing development projects and the growth of Burlington. We need to show the value of all the proposed projects and educate the community on how Burlington would benefit from growth. We need to educate residents on the community benefit by showing data and giving specific examples on how these projects are meeting Burlington’s needs. By educating the community we can find a shared value amongst residents, business owners, and city stakeholders.

The BBA will spearhead the communication, but we need a commitment from the business community to also share their voice. We need to take an active role as an organization to attend important meetings and speak with city leaders to make our voice heard.

Action Items:

  • Get Involved – Talk to the community and city leaders
    • Share the business perspective and take the “other” voices out to lunch.
  • Continue to grow Burlington incrementally
    • In the past the city’s growth has been incremental.
      • The Church Street pedestrian switch
      • The Urban Renewal Block has become successful overtime
    • Prioritize
    • Start small and work towards the bigger projects
    • Create a coalition of partners
      • Encourage taking risks in Burlington
      • Business can succeed here
      • Use Burlington Town Center as an example
    • Advocate for a simplified, more transparent permitting process
      • Form-based code
    • Focus on why we need growth, not how we grow

How we see Burlington in the Future:

Across the board, our Business Summit attendees envision Burlington with a denser downtown with more spaces to live and work. They view Burlington with more street connectivity and a more bikeable and walkable city. There’s nothing greener than dense downtown urban development, which provides significant economic benefits to the local economy.

View our keynote speaker’s and local speakers’ presentations

Charles Marohn, Strong Towns
Kate McCarthy, Vermont Natural Resources Council
Kelly Stoddard-Poor, AARP
Charlie Baker, CCRPC

You can watch this program on Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television’s website by clicking the link below: