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Working Through the Challenges of COVID-19

 

To Our Valued Clients, Customers & Community,

 

I hope you and your family are well. It’s hard to put into words the many emotions that we are all facing in dealing with this unprecedented health crisis. Like you, we are taking things one day at a time while remaining resilient and steadfast in our goal to continue to provide our clients with the same above & beyond level of service that members of our team have proudly offered for the last 30+ years in our local community.

Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by COVID-19 across the globe. As the virus continues to impact our community and everyday way of life, we feel that is it important to communicate with you directly to share more about the steps that we are taking to help do our part in limiting the spread and keeping the health & safety of our trusted clients and team members as our number one priority.

We have asked the dedicated agents and staff of the Lipkin Audette Team to work remotely, with additional technology and support being provided by the amazing leadership team at Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman.

Until further notice, all upcoming open houses have been canceled. Fortunately, many of our listings have interactive virtual 3D tours enabling Buyers to tour the entire property from anywhere with an internet connection. When possible, we are substituting personal meetings with Facetime or Skype, contracts and all documents are seamlessly being passed & signed electronically using Dotloop. We feel very fortunate that our commitment to advanced technology is allowing us to continue to serve our valued clients and community.

Recognizing the vital importance that Home plays in everyone’s life, we are constantly adapting and will continue to help our community list, sell and buy homes. If there is anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to email us at team@LipkinAudette.com or give us a call at [802] 846-8800. We are amazed by the support and love that our community has shown in these difficult times and are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to help and support our neighbors in need!

 

Best, the Lipkin Audette Team

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) | Policy Reform

Exciting news for Burlington Property owners!

Photo: James Buck | Seven Days

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been long been legal in the city Burlington. However, until now, a rigid zoning policy had effectively limited the number of legally permitted and constructed ADUs to just 45 over the last 10+ years. 

On February 18th, 2020, the City Council unanimously adopted the proposed zoning reforms for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Burlington.  According to the City of Burlington’s website, “The goal of this reform is to encourage the creation of ADUs to support homeowners as they age in place, provide a flexible option to help owners continue to afford their homes and add additional affordable housing options within existing neighborhoods”.

Recommendations for this legislation were provided by the City’s 2018 ADU White Paper as well as input from the Mayor’s 2019 Housing Summits.  The following changes to the ADU ordinance have now gone into effect…

  • Creating an ADU is no longer the primary reason for a project to go to the DRB and the conditional use requirement for creating an ADU is removed.
  • ADUs no longer require a dedicated parking space.
  • The maximum ADU size in a primary home is now 800 square feet or 30% of the gross floor area of the home; whichever is greater.  This change allows smaller single-family homes to create an ADU that is at least 800 square feet, regardless of the previous 30% guideline.
  • If stormwater impacts are addressed, up to 650 square feet of the lot area are exempt from lot coverage limits.  This change addresses the difficulties that homeowners with smaller lots faced with regards to coverage limits.

For more information or to share your input with the City of Burlington, check out the following links…

Accessory Dwelling Units | City of Burlington

ADU Policy Reform | City of Burlington

IMPORTANT NOTE: ADUs may be used as short-term rentals; however, property owners who plan to do so will be required to meet the zoning requirements for “short term rentals”, click HERE for details.  Most notably, short-term rental ADUs are required to provide a parking space and the property’s primary residence must be owner-occupied.

** If you are interested in learning more about how creating an ADU will impact your Burlington property values give Steve a call at [802] 846-9575 or email us at Team@LipkinAudette.com

Burlington CityPlace | Redesigned Proposal

UPDATE: In a presentation delivered to the Burlington City Council at their meeting this past Monday, the developers behind the Downtown Burlington CityPlace project unveiled their latest redesign concept. The redesigned proposal keeps intact the original concept of mixed-use space but reduces the number of stories on each of the two towers from fourteen to ten. The updated concept would also make use of the current remnants of the Burlington Town Center Mall in addition to the building that used to contain Macy's.   

Even with the reduced height, the tower on the Cherry Street side is still expected to contain 280 to 300 apartments, with 20% of the units qualifying as “affordable” as per Burlington’s inclusionary zoning ordinance.  At the other end, a 175-room hotel will occupy the Bank Street side of the property with retail space filling the first floor of each building. Additionally, the new plans also call for an "adequate" number of parking spaces be located both in between and below the two tower structures (Seven Days, CityPlace Burlington Developers Unveil Scaled-Down Proposal, 2019).

Image Courtesy of the City of Burlington

 

Mayor Miro Weinberger addressed the new plan at the Burlington City Council meeting on Monday saying, “What you've laid out tonight represents the potential of achieving all the major goals the city laid out as we sat down to this process years ago,” listing housing and jobs among the benefits. “This represents a step in the right direction toward fixing a part of the downtown that has long been problematic, but we certainly [have] a long way to go” (City of Burlington, Press Releases, 2019).

For more information on this topic or other stories that impact Burlington, the surrounding communities and its residents; give us a call at [802] 846-8800 or email us at info@LipkinAudette.com.

 

 

City of Burlington Reappraisal Project

City of Burlington Reappraisal Project – Aimed Completion by April 1st, 2021

The City of Burlington is conducting a reassessment of all properties citywide. According to the City of Burlington, “Burlington property values are no longer meeting equitable valuation standards set by the Vermont department of Tax and the International Association of Assessing Officers organization (IAAO). The Assessor’s Office has teamed up with Tyler Technologies Inc. to complete the reappraisal process. The goal of the project is to “reset property valuations to current fair market levels to comply with Vermont property tax laws, which will equitably reset the tax burden (City of Burlington, VT, 2019).” 

According to the City, the timeline for the reappraisal project is as follows:

Residential Property Owners have likely already received letters from the Assessor’s Office and the Tyler Technologies Inc. reappraisal team. The letters are to inform property owners of the reappraisal project, as well as allow for correction of property data, if need be. According to the City of Burlington, “on-site property data collection will be conducted by Tyler Technologies appraisers. These appraisers will also use other property data resources such as: high resolution imaging, property data obtained online, permit history review; geospatial tools to analyze valuation, on-site building changes and land sizes (City of Burlington, VT, 2019).”

Accordingly, Commercial Property Owners should have received an Income and Expense form to be filled out and returned to the Burlington Assessor’s Office. According to the City of Burlington, “Income and Expense information is important for the determination of the property value (City of Burlington, VT, 2019).” The purpose of this sheet is to gather information regarding rental and leasing information, and not the income and expenses of a business.

It is important to note that each Tyler Technologies employee has undergone a background check and is required to display their city identification. For an example of municipal tax rate change, please see the photo below. For a list and explanation for revaluation data terms, please click here. To fix discrepancies in collected data on a property, choose one of the following options:

  1. Use the online link at www.burlingtonvt.gov/assessor/residential to fill out a blank form on the City of Burlington website.
  2. Make corrections on the mailed form, and email to residentialassessor@burlingtonvt.gov.
  3. Make corrections on the mailed form, and return the form by mail to:

City of Burlington

Office of the Assessor

149 Church Street, Room 17

Burlington, VT 05401

*** For more information or questions on how the reassessment may alter your property value, give us a call at [802] 846-9575 or email Team@LipkinAudette.com

 

 

Filing Annual EMP Compliance Has Gone Paperless

According to the Vermont Department of Health, the accepted way of filing for the yearly EMP Compliance has changed and can now only be filed online.

Essential Maintenance Practices, otherwise known as EMP, is enforced by the Vermont Department of Health, and states that “all owners and managers must complete Essential Maintenance Practices in rental housing built prior to 1978 to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in resident children (Vermont Housing Financing Agency, 2019).” An annual submission of EMP Compliance is required by Vermont law of rental owners and managers and childcare providers.

 

The shift of EMP Compliance to paperless statements is effective immediately.

 

UVM Breaks Ground on New Athletic Complex

 

The University of Vermont is breaking ground this month on the long-awaited upgrades to the Gutterson and Patrick sports facilities. Most notably, a $4 million gift from Chuck Davis (class of 1972) pushed the UVM foundation past its $30 million goal set forth by the Board of Trustees. The renovations will include significant changes to the basketball & hockey arenas, as well as increased space dedicated to student health and wellness. Read about the plans HERE on UVM’s website.

-Alec Murphy. Lipkin Audette Team

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    225 Units Approved for Five Corners

     

    Essex Junction has recently approved the plans for a new 225 unit residential project. The mix of ‘studio apartments, larger rentals and rooftop condos’ will occupy 5 buildings in the Five Corners area – the heart of downtown Essex Junction. Preliminary descriptions of the project state that 10% of the apartments will be offered as affordable housing. High demand for housing in Chittenden County continues to drive large projects such as these. Read more about the project and see more visual renderings HERE and HERE.

    -Alec Murphy. Lipkin Audette Team

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      CityPlace Burlington Construction to Restart in May

      Photo by Alexandre Silberman/VTDigger

      UPDATE:  The developer behind the CityPlace Burlington project now says they are back on track thanks to a proposed financing agreement with a new lender.  According to the latest update from majority partner Brookfield Asset Management, construction is set to begin again around May 6th, with an initial occupancy timeline of March-May, 2021.

      Elected officials in Burlington have responded with a mixed reaction to this new development (pun intended), but are encouraged by the naming of a specific date that construction will begin once again. Developer Don Sinex indicated in an email that once construction begins again this coming May, he fully expects that “the project will run smoothly to a full completion.”

      READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON VTDIGGER.COM HERE

      Once completed, CityPlace Burlington will feature a mix of retail, commercial and residential offerings in the space that used to be occupied by the downtown Burlington Town Center. What is still unclear, however, is what kind of housing will be included in the $220 million project.   

      Let’s open up discussion below about what kind of housing you’d like to see in the new CityPlace development.  Be specific in terms of details like square footage, rental vs. purchase, monthly rent, sale price, HOA dues, amenities, etc…

      Setting the Stage

       

      One key to selling your home is to present it in a way that will make buyers feel at home as they tour your house. Lying around the office was an old copy of a “Coldwell Banker Home Enhancement Guide.”  In it are some great suggestions about how to prepare and stage your home for photos, showings, and sale. Did you know that within 15 seconds a buyer has developed an opinion of your property? First impressions are key!

      My favorite section of the guide is titled “Appeal to the Senses.”

      Light:

      It is proven that people react more favorably to property shown under bright light than dark. The following steps should help you keep your room as bright as possible.

      • Keep windows clean.
      • Use adequate wattage in light bulbs.
      • Consider replacing old fluorescent lamps, which darken with use.
      • Use Mirrors to magnify the feeling of light and space.
      • Use light wall colors.

      Smell:

      Smell has more impact that you might expect. It can work for or against you.

      • The smell of newness is positive. This scent can be achieved by applying a fresh coat of finish to natural wood or paint to walls.
      • The smell of cleanliness is important. Beyond actually cleaning, fresh flowers or grinding a quarter section of a lemon in the garbage disposal can help.
      • Smells to avoid: strong pet odors, tobacco, oil or gas.

       

      This is just a small excerpt, and while some of the suggestions are dated like, “Install a wall telephone in the bathroom for a high-tech look”, the fundamental concepts of the guide still ring true. There are lots of small things a seller can do that projects to buyers that the home is clean, well maintained, and a lovely place to live.

      View a PDF of the full Guide HERE!

      Alec Murphy, Lipkin Audette Team

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        Repurposing a Waterfront Icon

        Photo: City of Burlington

        Anyone who's followed the Burlington Bike Path north through Waterfront Park and the past new Sailing Center has seen the defunct Moran power plant, standing tall above the Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark. In a continued effort to improve community spaces along the waterfront, Burlington city councilors voted Monday to advance plans to 'rescue' the plant by undergoing a partial demolition, maintaining the steel frame of the structure, and converting the building into some sort of public space. Proposals have included lookouts and viewing decks with park space on the ground level. From an economic standpoint, partial demolition could prove less costly to tearing the entire building down. Funding for the project could come from "anticipated upticks to waterfront district tax revenues, as well as a $2 million federal loan."  Read the full article and see more photos from the Burlington Free Press HERE!

         

        Alec Murphy

        Lipkin Team

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