Wards 4 &7 Joint Neighborhood Planning Assembly
Thursday, March 20, 2008 • Heineberg Center

Mary Chaffee, facilitator.

Jon Flint, time-keeper.

Marga Kempner, notetaker

7:00. Mary Chaffee introduces Steering Committee members present: Senada Sekocevic, Alan Sousie, Jim Thomas, Steve McIntyre, Ron McGarvey, Carol Jaramillo, Lea Terhune, Marga Kempner, and herself - Mary Chaffee. (Not present were Linda, Susan, Joanna. Jon came later.) Alan reviewed the Ground Rules. Mary reviewed the Agenda. Notes from the February meeting were accepted.

Reports from Commitees:

A. Community Development Block Grant Committee:. Gail Moreau reported on Heineberg Center’s CDBG grant. All windows were replaced. Gail asked to reallocate $ for other building repairs and electrical work like emergency ligthing. She thanked everyone for the new floor. Motion to reallocate the funds was unanimously approved by voice vote.

B. By-Laws Committee: Ron McGarvey presented the by-laws which were revised by a standing committee of steering committee members and NPA member Russ Ellis. Current by-laws make a distinction between residents of wards 4/7 and registered voters. Committee felt it was important to eliminate this distinction and allow all residents to vote (including youth). Mark Larson suggested topics be added, not just commissions (Sec. 11, part A), and change to “members present” for voting rights. Betsy Ellis-Kempner clarified the dates. Alan Sousie commented that by-laws can be revised at any meeting. Mark Larson asked to what extent notice should be given of meetings? Ita Meno, CCAN staff, said the sign-in sheets ask for email so her office can send notice. Mark Larson said notice should e given to residents “at request.” Motion to approve the by-laws, Alan Sousie. Second, Steve McIntyre. Approved.

C. Recruiters Committee: The by-laws call for 9 members each from wards 4 and 7. Alan pointed out that there is a slight imbalance between wards 4 and 7 SC members. He encouraged nominations from the floor. Ward 4 members Mary Chaffee, Ron McGarvey, Lea Terhune, Carol Jaramillo, Jon Flint, Marga Kempner, and Susan Wheeler, were nominated and elected by Ward 4 residents. Ward 7 members Linda Deliduka, Alan Sousie, Jim Thomas, Senada Sokocevic, Steve McIntyre, and Mike Beganyi were elected by residents from Ward 7.

Reports from Elected Officials

  • A. Mark Larson, state representative, talked about the goal of locating mixed housing in the neighborhood activity center around the Ethan Allen Shopping Center, and the housing bill that the house has recently passed with goals to eliminate some permit requirements to make it easier to build affordable housing, and inspect more houses for fire safety. $225,000 qualifies as affordable housing. Text of bill is available on-line. The bill is passed in the House and now goes to the Senate. Lea Terhune asked about the Land Bank. Mark said Gov. Douglas is not a fan of the housing bill. He does not approve the rental housing inspection component. A resident worries that if Act 250 is eliminated from reviews, it creates a loophole for developers to get through and there’s no enforcement. Chuck Seleen asked if neighborhood activity centers are included in growth center language in the bill, on a city level. Mark said the budget will be done in the next few weeks. He highlighted several issues: co-pay and premium for Medicaid, hospital reimbursement rates for Medicaid and Medicare, Vermont Housing Conservation Board should continue to get funding, underfunding for police, teen/youth centers. Alan Sousie asked how to build jobs without a budget for that? Mark said they want to provide funding to employers to train people and match workers with jobs. He said quality childcare needs to be funded – the budget is millions short to fund childcare. A resident asked how to draw new business to Vermont? Mark said we encourage beginning businesses to grow with a trained entrepreneurial work force and a modified tax credit program. Ron McGarvey asked about composting in the Intervale. Larson said a bill is pending to exempt composting from Act 250, but Chittenden County Solid Waste District is stepping in.
  • B. Russ Ellis, Ward 4 City Councillor. There are a lot of pothole complaints, and city needs $1 million to fix them. Public Works doesn’t have enough money to keep up the maintenance, and every year the quality of our roads goes down. It would cost residents $180 per household to fix all the streets. Council passed a resolution to authorize improvements to Armory, proposed by Bobby Miller. Electing someone from Fire Commission from NNE, nominating John Vincent (ward 7) who has been involved in the fire dept., and Gordon Gilbert (ward 4) a retired police officer. City Council passed an Open Government Resolution which will make moe information available on the internet so open government is more accessible. Mark Larson said the Governor wants to decrease the amount of money from state to local communities, but Larsen thinks it should increase! A resident asked if roads not salted is because of a shortage of salt? Roads in Burlington are icy, but roads are clear in Essex. Councilor Ellis said we need more plowing. Alan Sousie said the state could not get enough salt from the mines. Mark said there was no more salt to buy.


MAKING THE NNE BIKE FRIENDLY, Chuck Sleeen and Paul Kempner

Chuck talked about his experiences bike commuting

· complimented NNE for biking conditions year-round

· concerns about bike path visibility

· need to improve North Ave bike corridor during winter

· hopes to incorporate bike lanes when N. Ave is repaved

Paul talked about the benefits of biking

· best way to prevent ALZ is to walk

· good exercise

· community connection

· feel better mentally – optimistic

· economic, save on gas and car costs, don’t need health club

· good for checking out garage sales

· reduce carbon footprint

Mary Chaffee asked how we can make it safer?

What prevents people from biking/walking?

· Taking children somewhere

· Getting clothes dirty if going to a meeting, or to work

· Weather, either very cold or very hot

· Sidewalks unsafe

· Fear of assault

Chuck started biking to save money and stay fit. He addressed some of the problems of biking. Paul talked about bike care, and gear, fenders to keep clean, visibility enhanced with bright color jackets, lights, helmet. He demonstrated the gear, including gators. Chuck introduced a resolution to make biking safer. The resolution passed unanimously, and is directed to the Public Works Commission for consideration, with copies to DPW, Burlington Bike Council, and the Mayor.

WALKING AROUND THE NNE, Steve McIntyre and Nicole Losch

Steve talked about the short crossing time at Plattsburgh/N.Ave and Heineberg/N.Ave.

· unsafe for children and seniors

· speeding cars hurry to beat the light

· no crosswalk signal

· crosswalks not painted or otherwise clearly marked

Nicole Losch, Dept. Public Works, said existing signals can be converted to countdown signals. There will be 4 new signal poles. Ethan Allen Shopping Center will have a countdown signal. Improvements could be part of the re-paving project. Gail Moreau said the crosswalk signal at Heineberg/NorthAve is too short for pedestrian safety and she drafted a resolution calling for re-timing of the signal. Nicole said it's not easy to do, and it is expensive. Need to get cooperative agreement from State to make progress. Paul Kempner wants more police speed enforcement in the area around the Hunt School intersection. Alan Sousie has observed that the sidewalks do not drain properly. Nicole said that a sidewalk inventory needs to be done, and it’s already started. Volunteers are needed to do the inventory in May.


Tom Papp, President of Strathmore Homeowners, described code enforcement problems, like the silting up of their stormwater systems as a result of a large tree clearing violation that resulted in serious erosion upstream.

Alan Sousie serves on the budget task force and is Chair of the Board of Health. His board is concerned about air quality issues in the schools, and the new pesticide ordinance.

Meeting adjourned at 9PM. People helped stack chairs, and stayed to chat with neighbors.


6:45 – 7:00 Welcome and Sign In

7:00 Introductions, Ground Rules, Agenda, Minutes

7:05 Report from Steering Committee sub-committees:

-By-Laws: Present revisions and vote

-Recruiters: Present Steering Committee volunteers and vote

Nominations and Volunteers from the floor are encouraged!

7:20 Reports from Elected Officials

7:40 Open Forum for residents. Be brief (2min) so we can hear from many people!

8:00 Program

................Making North Ave bike-friendly: Paul Kempner, Chuck Seleen and friends.

................Walking around the NNE: sidewalks, streets, safety: Steve McIntyre, Nicole Losch.

8:45 Reflections and Announcements

9:00 Meeting adjourned. Please stay for refreshments and to continue discussions!