SoBu Spaces 2020: Library + Senior Center + City Hall
SoBu Spaces 2020: Engage! In January of 2018 the City worked with the public in re(IMAGINING) a new Library + City Hall. The City has acquired land on Market Street for a new Library + Senior Center + City Hall. Stay tuned for a refined concept presentation to the City Council in mid-May. In November of 2017, City Council awarded a contract to design a Library/City Hall building on Market Street south of the Central School and adjacent to Allard Place. In 2016, the City Council entered into an agreement with the Library Board of Trustees to design and construct a new Public Library. This project began when the Council appointed a task force worked through the fall/winter of 2013 to create a recommended program for public facilities in City Center, including needs, square footage and a cost estimate.
City Center Park (Dumont Parcel)
The City Center Park Phase 1 is now complete! You can visit the park via the Barrett Street entrance! This natural area park has fully accessible trails and play areas. As City Center builds out and private development on Garden Street connects to the park from the north, this will enhance the quality of life within City Center and be a resource for surrounding neighborhoods. Read all about the City Center Park on the project web page.
Market Street Reconstruction
Now under construction! The City has received $5.5M in outright and matching Federal grant funds to reconstruct Market Street. This multi-year project will result in an improved street with sidewalks, street trees, and street furniture such as pedestrian-oriented decorative lights and seating. It will feature a shared use path for pedestrians and bicycles for the entire length. The Environmental Assessment was completed in 2010. The City accepted the concept for Market Street on May 7, 2012, the public approved gap TIF funding in 2016, and the project is being bid out. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Garden Street/Williston Road Intersections
Engineering for Garden Street is underway, following the City Center project process. A new downtown street, it will be a key roadway to connect Dorset Street to Williston Road/Route 2 (at White Street), crossing Market Street. In the fall of 2017, the City Council approved a Notice of Survey for the Williston Road intersections area (White Street and Hinesburg Road) which signals the beginning of the right of way acquisition process. The project includes both utility and streetscape enhancements with consideration for planned public spaces and private development. Read all about Garden Street on the project web page.
I-89/Exit 14 Pedestrian Bicycle Bridge Crossing Study
Phase I of the study looked at how to connect South Burlington communities on the west and east side of I-89 across Exit 14, and City Center to the Hill District and downtown Burlington. In April of 2018, the City Council approved Alternative #3 - the alignment that creates a connection over I-89 at the southerly tip of the Exit 14 interchange. Read the report (and report appendices) presented to the City Council. This report, the result of a study led by Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission explores what the most convenient, safest and cost effective method to invite every type of users from most experienced to least experienced would be.
Williston Road Streetscape
In 2017, the State of Vermont awarded the City $800,000 to build a streetscape on the south side of Williston Road. This project implements a short term recommendation of the Williston Road Network Study. Since 2015, the City had been working with CCRPC to undertake a study to understand how the transportation system in South Burlington can optimally accommodate future land use objectives and community vision for City Center and associated projects in South Burlington. The study develops a list of short, medium and long term recommended transportation improvements and policies for meeting the City’s goals for City Center and the surrounding area.
Ice Hockey Arena
Visualization of an Ice Hockey Arena in a City Center envisioned as built according to the the new Form Based Codes land development regulations:
City Center Tax Increment Financing District
Tax increment financing districts (TIF Districts) are a tool offered by the State of Vermont to stimulate economic development that might not otherwise occur. The City has received district designation in order to fund public infrastructure to create a vibrant, livable downtown for South Burlington. The Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) has approved the City to retain 75 percent of increases in tax returns that would ordinarily go to the Education Fund and the City General Fund. These may be retained to finance infrastructure improvements. The TIF District Financing Plan was approved by the City Council on February 17, 2015 and VEPC on March 26, 2015. The TIF District Plan was adopted on August 27, 2012 and VEPC approved the application in July, 2013.
Neighborhood Development Area
The South Burlington New Town Center/TIF District is a State Neighborhood Development Area. This designation provides the following benefits:
- Qualified “mixed income” projects are exempt from Act 250 regulations;
- Projects not qualifying for the Act 250 exemption receive a 50% discount on Act 250 application fees;
- Agency of Natural Resources fees for wastewater review are capped at $50.00 for projects that have received sewer allocation from an approved municipal system; and
- Exemption from the land gains tax.
In the creation of a Tax Increment Financing District it is important to understand the South Burlington real estate market. How is the City growing? How strong is demand? If investments are made in City Center by private developers, are they likely to be absorbed (used) by residents, small and large businesses, etc.? This Market Study assists in understanding what a reasonable rate of new development might be within the City Center future TIF District.
Potash Brook Restoration
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with the City to restore tributary three of Potash Brook with innovative stormwater treatment. This project treats water collected from existing paved surfaces during rain events north and east of Midas Drive but does not address stormwater for future development projects in the core of City Center. In the summer of 2017 phase I of this project installed a wide stream crossing culvert under Market Street to facilitate the movement of wildlife along the tributary. There are several ongoing stormwater projects in this area.
New Town Center Designation
South Burlington’s City Center area was designated a New Town Center for Vermont on January 28, 2010. This designation signifies that the City’s plans for growth (as a new compact, mixed-use development in the area of Market Street) have been approved by the Vermont Downtown Development Board. This designation is a required prerequisite to applying for a Tax Increment Financing District. This designation includes most properties in the area south along San Remo Drive, areas west and east of Dorset Street from the University Mall to to Williston Road but excludes properties north of Williston Road and on Williston Road east of the Central School.
Project Funding: Public Vote on TIF District Projects
All public infrastructure projects, in order to use future revenue from the TIF District require the authorization of the voters of the City of South Burlington. The first phase of City Center Park - the Dumont parcel - and the reconstruction of Market Street have been approved by public vote for TIF District Financing to fund these projects.