In March of 2021, the public approved TIF District financing to fund the construction of two segments of Garden Street. A new downtown street, Garden Street will be a key roadway to connect Dorset Street to Williston Road/Route 2 (at White Street), crossing Market Street. The center portion, constructed and under construction on lands owned by South Burlington City Center, LLC (formerly Munson) will be completed by the private sector. The City project addresses improvements to the section between Healthy Living and Trader Joes, makes the connection to Midas Drive and improves the intersections on Williston Road at White Street and Patchen Road. The project includes both utility and streetscape enhancements with consideration for planned public spaces and private development.
South Burlington Public Library and City Hall
180 Market Street - the new Library, City Hall, and Senior Center opened to the public on July 23, 2021! At just under 50,000 square feet, the building provides a one-stop shop for the Public Library, City Clerk, Planning and Zoning, Recreation, City Manager's Offices and the Kevin Dorn Senior Center. The building also features a catering kitchen, an auditorium with capacity for a 100 person audience, and many new meeting and gathering spaces for the public with a full calendar of events.
City Center Park
The City Center Park Phase I is now complete! You may 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 (phase II), this will enhance the quality of life within City Center in addition to serving as a resource for surrounding neighborhoods. Read all about the City Center Park Phase I.
Market Street Reconstruction
Now complete! The City received $5.48M in outright and matching Federal grant funds to reconstruct Market Street in the early 2000s. This multi-year project includes improved street with sidewalks, trees, and street furniture such as pedestrian-oriented decorative lights and seating, and features a shared use path for pedestrians and bicycles for the entire length. Additional funding for the project was primarily TIF District financing, with some roadway impact fees.
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.
East-West Transportation Crossing - I-89/Exit 14 Pedestrian Bicycle Bridge
The City has received a $9.7 million dollar grant to build the East-West Transportation project. this will provide a grade separated bicycle and pedestrian bridge between City Center and neighborhoods to the west/hill district/downtown Burlington. To date, in partnership with Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, scoping for the project has been completed. Phase I of the study worked with the community and other stakeholders to examine South Burlington communities on the west and east side of I-89 at Exit 14, City Center, the Burlington Hill District. This study report (and report appendices) was presented to the City Council. 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. A follow up study, Phase II, looked at the specific environmental conditions of the preferred alternative - Final Report for Phase II.
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 TIF District. This allows the City to retain 75 percent of the increases (new) property tax revenues that would otherwise go to the Education Fund and the City General Fund. This portion of new revenues may be retained to finance infrastructure improvements. In 2021, VEPC approved a Substantial Change to the TIF District Plan. This updated the 2015 TIF District Financing Plan (approved by the City Council on February 17, 2015 and VEPC on March 26, 2015) and the 2012 TIF District Plan (adopted on August 27, 2012 and by VEPC 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 in 2012, it was important to understand the South Burlington real estate market. How was the City growing? How strong was demand? If investments were 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 TIF District.
Potash Brook Restoration
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnered with the City to restore tributary three of Potash Brook with innovative stormwater treatment. This project, now complete, 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 stormwater projects implemented 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 was a required prerequisite to applying for a Tax Increment Financing District and Neighborhood Development Area. 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 be financed with future revenue from the TIF District require the authorization of the voters of the City of South Burlington. City Center Park, the reconstruction of Market Street, 180 Market Street, and Garden Street have been approved by public vote to use City Center TIF District Financing.