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Burlington's South End Zoning Change Unanimously Approved

an aerial photo of the Hula Campus in Burlington's South End Innovation District

Over a year-and-a-half after Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger first proposed the idea, the Burlington City Council has unanimously approved a major zoning change to the “South End Innovation District”.  Comprised of a total of 14 pieces of land located on the west side of Pine Street, most parcels remain vacant with the most notable exception being the cutting-edge tech-hub Hula Campus on Lakeside Avenue.

The primary goal of this change is to allow for the development of hundreds of dwelling units in a section of the city that was once designated for light manufacturing and industrial use. In this newly defined zoning district, buildings are required to be close to the street while green space requirements aim to protect the area from becoming all paved over as parking lots.  Additionally, new building height maximums were established to take into account the impact that new development will have on the existing views in and around Calahan Park.

Hula founder Russ Scully owns a six-acre parking lot that, with the new change in place, now hopes to turn the parcel into walkable and affordable workforce housing that the city currently lacks.  As a way to ensure that affordable dwelling units would actually be built, the Council also included a provision that precludes developers from using a loophole in the City’s Inclusionary Zoning ordinance known as the “payment-in-lieu” option.

Additional details of the new legislation include the ability for universities to build dormitories but prevents the construction of hotels.  While some, including Mayor Weinberger, argued that hotels would nicely complement the area’s housing growth, councilors ultimately decided to reject the motion by a vote of 7-5 to focus on the communities current housing challenges.

For more information on this story check out the article “Burlington Council Approves Change to Allow Housing in South End District” on the Seven Days website. Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy, sell and invest in Northwest Vermont real estate.  As the top selling real estate Team in Burlington, our goal is to provide you with deep local insight, up-to-the-minute information, and relevant resources necessary to make your purchase or sale an informed and rewarding experience.