We believe that Burlington, Chittenden County and Vermont on the whole has always been, and should continue to be, an innovative and forward-looking place. The single biggest obstacle to economic development in Vermont is housing, and we are working to change that. Ours is an inclusive vision of welcoming all new and potential residents. Anyone who wants to should be able to afford housing in Burlington, Chittenden County and the state of Vermont.
We strongly support building new housing. We have a severe housing shortage in Burlington. Above average rents are pervasive, and with the proliferation of the sharing economy and many home owners choosing short-term rentals over long-term, the problem is getting worse faster. Increasing supply will lower prices for all and expand the number of people who can live in Burlington, Chittenden County and Vermont on the whole.
We should build more housing in every neighborhood in Burlington, every town in Chittenden County, and every town in Vermont.
High density housing goes with high-quality public transit, bike-ability and walkability.
The people most hurt by a housing shortage are those with the least means.
II. BUILD MORE HOUSING
We are unapologetic urbanists who believe in the virtues of cities. More people living in close proximity to each other can improve their lives and the lives of those far beyond city limits.
Density is sustainability: it reduces urban sprawl, reduces water usage, uses energy more efficiently, and creates a smaller carbon footprint.
Density is accessibility: it encourages walking and biking, makes transit more efficient, reduces social isolation, and increases residents’ access to diverse cultural products and to each other.
Density is opportunity: it increases access to jobs, supports diverse businesses, promotes innovation, and enables people to be more productive.
Burlington is a particularly efficient place to build housing because of it's incredible quality of life, great schools. entrepreneurial spirit, world-class teaching hospital, international airport, access to Lake Champlain and it being the economic epicenter of Vermont.
People should be free to choose to live in places that are urban, compact and walkable, low-density and car-centric, or rural. Not everyone wants to live in a dense city. However, current policies restrict the supply of urban housing, leaving suburban life, or life outside of Vermont entirely as the only affordable option for many.
III. DENSITY IS GOOD
It is the role of the local government to provide services to it's residents by maximizing tax revenues to achieve those goals. Residents need homes to live in and businesses to work in.
Housing is infrastructure. The primary community benefit of new housing is the housing.
Filtering exists. Today's new, expensive housing becomes tomorrow's inexpensive housing, as long as scarcity isn't induced by restricting the creation of new housing.
Local governments should fight blight by expanding economic opportunities and ensuring access to credit for residents, not by leaving blighted properties undeveloped, ignoring them, or not allowing property owners to re-develop and/or re-build.
IV. HOUSING IS A HOME
Burlington has the physical space for more housing without displacing existing residents.
We should maximize the housing units at each new development opportunity as opposed to shrinking projects to appease neighbors or keep heights down. Minimizing units on a piece of property makes new projects unsustainable financially and increases rents for the units that finally make it to market.
Higher priced housing helps protect lower income residents. In a growing economy, higher income newcomers compete for older housing stock and outbid lower-income residents. Adding supply at all levels helps protect existing non-wealthy residents from being priced out of their homes.
Effective ways to protect and preserve existing affordable housing units include community land trusts, resident owned and controlled cooperatives, maintaining strong tenant protections, promoting homeownership, improving access to credit in minority communities, opposing abusive withholding of housing benefits, expanding federal funding for subsidized housing, providing lawyers for at-risk tenants and homeowners, and building more housing.
V. STOP DISPLACEMENT
We believe in long-term planning. Once a citywide or neighborhood plan is made, the process for building should be streamlined, well-defined and predictable. It should not impose significant delays on or add significant costs to a project, nor should individual property owners or neighborhood associations have the power to hijack it.
As-of-Right building: development plans approved at the departmental level if the project is within existing zoning.
Mandate or incentivize cities to follow regional master plans and statewide housing policies or mandates.
Raise height limits.
VI. ZONING & PLANNING POLICY PRESCRIPTIONS
The housing shortage is not an unintended policy failure. Burlington, Chittenden County and Vermont on the whole has a housing shortage because of decades of voting and organizing against housing and against economic development. The solution is to organize for housing. The solution is to vote 'YES' for hosing and housing-centric political candidates and appointed officials, to make your voice heard that housing equals economic opportunity for Vermont on the whole.
We must organize our communities, make our case in the media, write to legislators, mayors, city councilors, the Governor, local DRBs and all levels of government, support projects at hearings by speaking out in their favor, support pro-housing candidates, and vote for more housing. Join us.
VII. JOIN US
Please contact us.
This is a political problem, and the only power is People Power.