Informational

Vermont Economic Recovery & Relief Package

Source: State of Vermont 

On May 20th, Governor Phil Scott outlined an economic recovery & relief package using $400 million of $1.25 billion the state received as part of the Federal CARES Act.  The two-phase plan first addresses the businesses and industries that were impacted most, with $310 million designated to sectors that are in need of immediate relief.

Included in phase one is $50 million designated for housing assistance, with the majority of the funds to be used to cover situations where impacted tenants cannot pay rent and as a result, landlords are financially impacted.  The program is open to all rental property owners with a maximum of 20 units assisted per owner.  According to VermontBiz.com, "payments will be disbursed through housing service provider(s) selected through the RFP process with oversight authority through the Department of Housing and Community Development."

The second phase consisting of the remaining $90 million focuses on long-term recovery and investments in broadband internet, job training, permit modernization and additional housing assistance.  It is estimated that over 13,000 Vermont households could be assisted using funds from phase one of this newly enacted bill.

For more details on the package, check out the COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center on the state of Vermont ACCD Website  or view / download this informational 12 page Resource Guide.  

For additional insight or questions on the VT Multi Family real estate market, don't hesitate to email us anytime at Team@LipkinAudette.com or give us a call at (802) 846-9575. 

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.

 

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…

Funding of UVM Multi-Purpose Athletic Complex

Photo: UVM Athletics

The UVM Board of Trustees approved a unanimous resolution in October regarding how the proposed Multipurpose athletic facility will be funded. The payment strategies mentioned by the proposal include gifts, bonds, credit, and student fees. UVM is reported as having secured $21.8M from donors so far with a goal of $30M by Feb 1.

The project itself includes construction of a new basketball arena, expanded fitness center, expanded health and wellness spaces, renovations to Gutterson arena, and complex-wide renovations. Read the full article in the Vermont Cynic HERE!

-Alec, LipVT

North Hero Neighbors Clash Over Private Airstrip

We all know the line, “good fences make good neighbors,” but what if your neighbors are flying over the fence as they take-off and land their aircraft on a private runway… on their side of the fence? In North Hero, neighbors are clashing over the construction and permitting of a half-built grass runway to be used by small, recreational aircraft. The pilots and their attorney have been working with local and state officials to form a proposal that lays out how many flights a day the pilots can operate from the airstrip, how much fuel should be kept on site, a provision to allow emergency use of the runway in the event of a crisis, and other conditions that are aimed to ensure the pilots remain considerate of their neighbors when using the site.

However, as with many of the homes situated on Lake Champlain, residents (seasonal and year-round alike) invest in the area for its natural beauty and serenity. Homeowners are understandably concerned with how the added noise and presence of the airstrip will affect their own property value – an issue Chittenden County residents are familiar with given the context of the heated battle over the incoming F-35 jets at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington.

The current status is that the runway owners have until February 7 to complete their application with the Vermont Transportation Board. North Hero Select Board Chair Eileen Mitchell is quoted to have written that the town “has no zoning bylaws or ordinances prohibiting” the landing area.        Read the full article in Seven Days HERE!

 

-Alec Murphy, LipVT

 

Hardware Store Coming Soon Across from City Hall Park

 

Photo from www.sevendaysvt.com

Gordon Winters, owner of five other existing Ace Hardware stores in Vermont and New York, is in the process of opening another Ace Hardware on College Street in Burlington. The location, directly across from City Hall Park, abuts a Northfield Savings Bank branch. Winters and others say the store is filling a void left by the closing of Hagar Hardware on Church Street in the 90’s. The store would stock typical hardware store products in addition to specialty items targeting “college students, specialty plumbing for the city’s older buildings, and a marine section for boaters.” A hardware store is a step towards having more downtown retailers that serve residents’ daily needs in addition to the many restaurants and boutique stores. In this Seven Days article, the author cites Bibens Ace in the New North End as the next closest hardware store at 3 miles away from downtown. In the comments section, folks have mentioned that Curtis Lumber, while closer, is a building supply store, catering especially towards contractors in their stock and hours. Read the full article from Seven Days HERE!

Greater Burlington YMCA: Bigger, Better, Breaking Ground on College Street

 

Photo courtesy of Greater Burlington YMCA

With a proposed completion date of early 2020, construction has begun on the new building for the Greater Burlington YMCA. If you’re headed up College Street, check out the newest big hole in the ground between South Union St. and Hungerford Terrace. S.D. Ireland has been hard at work on the foundation of this $15M project. The building will house two pools, a gym, running/walking track, fitness studios, workout space, and expanded drop-in child care space. The footprint of the building will eclipse that of the old Ethan Allen Club which has been demolished to make space for the new Y. The Y states that membership rates will go up, but expected increases in membership numbers will help keep these price increases moderate. 

Photo courtesy of Greater Burlington YMCA

 

Read the full article from the Burlington Free Press HERE!