News Releases

February 05, 2010

Downtown Board Approves So. Burlington Designation

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s second largest municipality is one step closer to developing a new downtown after getting a key designation that will allow it favorable tax treatment on development there.

The Vermont Downtown Board recently approved the City of South Burlington’s application for New Town Center designation, paving the way for the establishment of a multi-story downtown area on undeveloped lands surrounding the new Market Street across from University Mall, including the San Remo Drive area.

“This decision formalizes the state’s recognition of the city’s long-standing desire to create a new downtown,” said Kevin Dorn, Vermont Secretary of Commerce and Community Development and chairman of the Downtown Board.

“We’re very pleased to have received this designation,” said Paul Conner, Director of Planning and Zoning for the City. “We appreciate the Board’s recognition of our ongoing work to develop a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use core to our community. Having this designation in hand will now provide us access to State incentive programs aimed at promoting this kind of smart growth at the local level.”

The New Town Center designation will allow South Burlington to apply to make the area a Tax Increment Financing District, which allows municipalities to keep some of the new Education Property Tax dollars generated by the development to pay for infrastructure costs.

To obtain New Town Center designation, municipalities must demonstrate that their planning process, regulations, and capital expenditures are adequate to yield multi story development that is:

• Denser than surrounding areas;

• Mixed use, and;

• Includes civic buildings and affordable housing.

Applicants must also show that there is adequate water and wastewater capacity to serve the anticipated development.

“The city’s application was very thorough,” Dorn said. “And the Board was very impressed with the planning work done over the years. We look forward to the development of a very livable, mixed use downtown area for South Burlington – something that residents have wanted for a long time.”

In addition to the designation process for New Town Centers, the Downtown Board also oversees designation of downtowns and village centers, Growth Centers, and Vermont Neighborhoods; provides training and technical assistance; and administers grant and tax credit programs related to downtowns and village centers.

To date, 23 downtowns and 94 village centers have been designated, as well as 4 Growth Centers (including Williston and Colchester), and one New Town Center in Colchester.

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Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Last Updated at: February 05, 2010 10:59:17