May 15 Meeting Notes

Wards 4 and 7 Joint Neighborhood Planning Assembly

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Heineberg Center

Senada Sokocevic, facilitator

Mary Chaffee, notetaker

Alan Sousie, timekeeper

The meeting was called to order at 7 PM. Senada introduced the steering committee members, read the ground rules and reviewed the agenda.

SC members present: Marga Kempner, Jon Flint, Susan Wheeler, Ron McGarvey, Linda Deliduka, Steve McIntyre, Jim Thomas, Senada Sokocevic, Alan Sousie, Mary Chaffee, Mike Beganyi. Lea Terhune was away and not able to attend.

Breakdown of attendees: 39 people signed in. 22 people indicated their ward:

WARD 4: 12

WARD 7: 9

WARD 2: 1


NOTE: The minutes for the previous Joint Assembly meeting on April 17 were not submitted for approval.


WARD 7: Paul Decelles (R) reported that plans to revitalize the Armory were moving forward, and that technical issues were being looked into for the Moran Plant project. Voters may see a referendum regarding financing this project on the ballot in November.

Craig Gutchell (R) reported that City Council voted to go forward on the sale of a downtown property to Champlain College, with payment for services in lieu of taxes. He addressed the question of inadequate city council attention to NNE issues, saying there was actually a lot of behind-the-scenes work on NNE’s behalf. Also: • Federal funding for the Moran Plant is being actively pursued. • A resolution to move forward on the Thayer School project (to rebuild on the site) has been presented to Gov. Douglas.

State Representative Mark Larson (D) reported that the Thayer School site is owned by the state, so any site changes must go through the Buildings and General Services Dpt, and • DMV offices will have to stay at present location. • The state is “officially” in a recession • early adjournment saved the state $.5 million • statistics show that between 2002–2006 incomes below $75,000 stayed flat, while incomes above $75,000 showed substantial increase. Meanwhile the cost of healthcare, childcare and transportation all increased; the legislature has tried to address these costs to state residents. Q.Is the state addressing predatory credit card charges? A. Difficult to do much at state level, since this is under federal jurisdiction. • The fed. government has eliminated funding for bike and ped, so at state level, the program is preserved but at a reduced level.


A representative from the Health Department spoke about role of regular exercise in preventing chronic diseases. Walking is key. She is organizing walking groups and looking for group leaders. Ron McGarvey talked about BED’s inclusion on the July NPA agenda to discuss their Integrated Resources Plan 2008: which BED will use to guide the department’s decisions about the type of power it buys, the amount of energy efficiency it promotes, future capital projects and bond requirements, and more.


Board of Health members and a Code Enforcement person discussed pesticide issues. Chair Alan Sousie explained what the Board of Health is (volunteers appointed by city Council)) and what it does (advisory re prevention, removal, destruction and/or mitigation of public health risks). Board is working on B-ton’s Pesticide Ordinance revision, with goal of removing all pesticides. For now: hold the Chem-Lawns accountable; enforce usage guidelines; notification of neighbors before pesticide application. Q. Doesn’t this interfere with property rights? A. Public health and lake water health transcend property rights – for example, it is mandatory to obtain permission when spraying within 500 feet of the lake. This question highlighted the importance of public education on this issue.

[A soil scientist and neighbor spoke movingly about her sister’s death related to pesticide and herbicide exposure, with the inert ingredients acting as a carrier of the chemicals]. Board of Health member Fern Crete gardens organically; invited everyone to visit and see the happy results: 863-5696 fernand.crete@vtmednet.org Alan invited all to attend Board meetings.

Dept of Public Works, Water and Wastewater staff presented on storm water issues. Development changes the “hydrological cycle”-- that is, creates more run-off, carrying debris, pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals etc. into the lake. Phosphorus levels are too high, creating deadly bluegreen algae. What is the city doing? Meeting with other city departments; working on erosion control ordinance; work to restrict digging, What can we do? Wash car on lawn, not on pavement; clean up dog waste; get garden soil tested before dumping fertilizer…and reduce amount of “pervious” (paved area on your property). Collect rainwater in rain barrels, build inexpensive rain gardens (bowl-shaped beds that allow rain to soak into earth). Staniford Road residents recounted sewer backup problems due to drain placement in street. Q Could Infill development on Appletree Lane exacerbate this problem? A. They are looking at this sort of adverse impact, and will be reporting to the development review board.


Linda Deliduka advised neighbors to be aware of new installation of red arrows on traffic lights at two N. Ave intersections: Ethan Allen Pky. and Plattsburg Ave. Ita Meno of CEDO introduced visitors from the Binghamton (NY) Neighborhood Assemblies Project, modeled after Burlington’s NPAs. Bob Herendeen invited people to join informal drummers to encourage runners in the Burlington Marathon: Sunday May 25 at 9:15 AM (rain or shine) at the first bike path overlook north of Starr Farm Road.

You can watch this program on Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television, on Comcast Cable and Burlington Telecom systems at the following times:

1 Tuesday May 27, 10:15 PM
2 Wednesday May 28, 3:15 AM
3 Wednesday May 28, 9:15 AM
4 Wednesday May 28, 3:15 PM

If you have questions, please email Nat Ayer at nat@cctv.org or call him at 802-862-3966 x17.