Planning for our future prosperity

I have always sought to base my decisions on evidence with the best interests of our residents and our community at heart. When the Planning Commission approached the Council last summer with proposed amendments to our parking regulations, they explained that they had based their recommendation on a study of the parking lots in our city.

I have been able to locate a presentation that refers to data from this study, and the data is stunning. We have thousands of unneeded parking spots in our City Center. All of this square footage of pavement could be replaced with residential and commercial development and it directly contributes to the stormwater pollution in our lake.

For those who believe we need more affordable housing, including myself, this will be of interest. For those who are eager to see more economic development in our city, including myself, please take a look so that we can consider how to repurpose our public spaces and redevelop in order to achieve these goals in the best manner possible.

I believe that expanding our development and parking lots out to the natural areas, including the remaining wildlife corridors and forest blocks, is not in our best interest.

Presentation of the results of a parking study (September 2019): 2019-09-10_S Burlington Planning Commission

South Burlington Parking Map

Candidate Q & A: The School bond vote

Dear Neighbors,

Over the past two months, residents have been sharing their concerns with me and asking for my thoughts on the school bond issue. The question is now directly coming up on candidate Q & A’s, and so you all deserve to know my response.

Education is a top priority for me, as a professor at UVM, and a mother of three children and resident of South Burlington, where my husband and I chose to settle precisely because of the reputation of the schools. I continue to believe that the quality public education provided by our School District is central to South Burlington’s appeal to incoming residents and families. This is why I have worked very hard as a City Councilor to preserve our existing affordable housing stock and promote the development of affordable housing — for everyone, including new families who seek to settle here, as we did eighteen years ago, and give their children the best education possible.

Every year I have supported the budget and will again this year. It will among other things support the hire of new teachers for growing student populations at Orchard and Rick Marcotte Elementary schools.

Regarding the question on the bond vote specifically, candidates for public office owe the public what they deserve and should expect of their elected officials: an honest and direct answer to the question. So I am sharing mine. Please know that I have also shared my concerns with the School Board Directors.

I cannot support the $209M bond for a new high school and middle school. I have attended five information sessions/public hearings, asked questions, spoken with residents, and studied all of the materials posted on-line. This is the hardest decision I will have to make at this year’s Town Meeting Day (and perhaps the most important decision that I have ever made regarding the city’s future). It is simply too expensive for the majority of our residents and will make South Burlington out-of-reach to incoming families over more than a generation.

Back in 2002 when we moved here and in 2017/2018, when our family circumstances changed as our first child started college, we would have been one of those families. I understand the acute space needs at the high school, and want the community to coalesce around a solution put forward by the School Board, but I do not see this bond as the best way forward for our city.

No matter the results of the vote, I will continue to work collaboratively with the School Board and the public to ensure that the needs of the middle school/high school campus and of all five schools are met. It is clear that as a community, we all deeply value our schools and, fortunately, we recognize that they require our attention and investment.