Did you know that the NPA’s are now approximately 35 years old in Burlington? [Read the original Resolution that created NPAs in Burlington here.]
Did you know that in many way we are always “New”?
Let me explain. I have been on and off our Ward 4 & 7 NPa for the better part of 15 years now. It is always changing - sometimes for the good and sometimes not so much. Right now I am thrilled to get back into volunteering with the current batch of great North Ender's who make up the Steering Committee.
Some have been doing great stuff for our community for a long, long time and others have recently decided to take their turn at working together each month, planning, coordinating and facilitating our own community town meeting each 4th Wednesday of the month (except around holidays) between 7 and 9 pm at the Miller Center at the end of Gosse Court.
I was away for a brief period during what President Gerald Ford would have called “Our Long National Nightmare - Part II” also known as the 2016 Presidential Election. Regardless of who you backed or how you feel about the outcome, one thing is for sure. We can use some good ‘ol community spirit. Rebuilding and strengthening - in collaboration between this community, local business, and local government - is something the NPA was founded for.
If you haven’ chatted with school board members, city councilors, state representatives or other city officials, or gotten the latest scoop on local developments, or shared a lite snack while chatting with your neighbors or stood up and announced something important to you and your neighborhood - Well then you have not been to a recent NPA meeting.
About now, if you read this far, you may be wondering what I’m going on about.
Let me tell you. First, I want to let you know that the tradition of packing our February meeting with local candidates and people to inform us about ballot issues is continuing in good fashion.
We will have snacks and general neighborly chatter at 6:45 pm this coming Wednesday
The meeting will begin at 7pm where we give everyone the opportunity to introduce themselves and mention any item they think is important to share with the community.
Next up, we have arranged to have School Superintendent Yaw Obeng and staff tell us about the 2 school related ballot items and take our comments and questions.
Then we are going to pack in a whole lot of March Election day stuff into a rapid succession where you will learn who will be seeking your vote for Ward Clerks, Inspectors of Election, School Board and City Council.

Let me tell you, no one will have as much time as they or we may like, but EVERYONE of the candidates will have their turn. We ask you to write your questions on forms we will provide so we can read them and move things along as effectively as is possible under the time constraints.
It is my intention to be sure that every question written be addressed. “So, Jim, you must have created some new laws of Time physics” you might be say right about now. Yup I did!! Any questions that can not get asked will be presented to the appropriate people after. I’ll ask them to type responses and get them back to me to redistribute to anyone who provides an email address on the form. Will it work? Who knows. But it’s worth a try and my hope is that any candidate that wants your vote will make the effort to help me get their answers to you.
Once the candidates have had their say we will have our current city councilors talk about the 6 other ballot items they had a part in shaping. They will then give their monthly City Council report and take our comments & questions.
We will wrap the night up with the Legislators giving us their report and taking our comments & questions.
And then the current School Board members will give us their monthly report and take our comments & questions.
We want to thank the Miller Center folks who are always such good hosts by wrapping up as close to On-time as possible. So the best way we can show our appreciation is ask that once the meeting is done, you assist in putting a few chairs away and kindly take conversations outside so they can end their long day and be on their merry way.
I wanted to tell you more about what to expect in coming months but I’ve already asked you to read a lot.
Suffice it to say, the NPA is 35ish years young and the best is ahead. With that I’ll put in a plug for encouraging you to considering joining the NPA Steering committee and/or be thinking about the fact that Steering Committee elections are coming up soon.
For those of you who know what it is, the update on CDBG grant money will be coming up next month. Also Community developments and Neighborhood Revitalization surprises are in the works so as spring nears think about what new things can be done and what old things should continue. With that tease I’ll invite you enjoy the rest of your week. Hope to see you this Wednesday, 22nd around 6:45 at the Robert Miller Community and Recreation Center at 130 Gosse Court.
- Jim Holway, Steering Cmte


MAY 25: Coalition for Livable City presents 14 reasons to STOP the 14 Story Mall.

"Stop14" will be presented at our Neighborhood Planning Assembly meeting on Wed. May 25th, 6:45pm, Robert Miller Rec Ctr., 130 Gosse Court (old armory). City Council endorsed the pre-developmet agreement with a vote of 12-1-1. 

A residents group, Coalition for Livable City (CLC), has scrutinized the details, and are warning residents to pay attention because taxpayers are being asked to bond for it (TIF), the Planning Commission is being asked to increase the zoning height (ZA 16-14) from 65 ft to 160ft for this development, the City is being asked to subsidize it with TIF indebtedness, and more. This is the first of NPA presentations that will take place in the city in the next month.

For more information, visit  https://www.facebook.com/Stop-the-14-Story-Mall-1711935382377782/ . Here are maps, discussion of key issues, and announcements of city meetings like the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday May 24 at the DPW on Pine Street, 6:30 p.m. The residents group has organized a city-wide flyer distribution in anticipation of a vote on the TIF bond in August.


Neighborhood Planning Assemblies

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) are grassroots, neighborhood organizations that were established in each of Burlington's eight Wards to encourage resident participation in City government. Working as neighborhood advocacy groups, Neighborhood Planning Assemblies help improve communication between the residents of Burlington and City government through regular meetings scheduled in each Ward. Read the original Resolution that created NPAs in Burlington here.
NPAs serve as organized, democratic forums where neighbors can learn about public issues that affect them and advise the City of their concerns and needs. NPAs elect steering committees to help advance the interests of neighbors in shaping the agenda and raising community issues. To find out more about joining your local NPA steering committee, visit the specific page of your NPA below and reach out to current steering committee members. NPAs are committed to participation and leadership that represents the diverse, multigenerational character of our community.
From stop signs to major development projects, the NPAs offer you an innovative way to get involved in neighborhood and City infrastructure issues, and make your opinions heard. If you are a developer whose project meets the threshold for Major Impact Review, you will need to visit the NPA of the Ward in which your development is proposed. Contact CEDO to learn more about getting in touch with the appropriate NPA: 865-7144.
NPAs also elect representatives to a resident board that approves neighborhood development grant applications. This program funds projects that reduce poverty and/or revitalize low and moderate income neighborhoods.


March 23 Neighborhood Planning Assembly

    • Agenda
      • 7:00-7:10 - Agenda, Ground Rules, Introductions, and Announcements
      • zcRhBgLKWSKHTHnB20pkzlUDdjWBD64W-p1Qj8WWe1GX__8pLJYbO3uyktGUTgpBniA=s630-fcrop64=1,014e0062fdd1fdad (630×356)7:10-7:20 - Speak Out
      • 7:20-7:40 - Let’s Grow Kids -Samantha Giroux
      • 7:40-8:00 - Homeshare VT - Kirby Dunn - Video
      • 8:00-8:15 - Reflections and Suggestions for Improving the NPA
      • 8:15-8:20 - CDBG -Peter Ireland, Basu Dhakal
      • 8:15-9:00 - Elected and appointed officials



Feb 24, Town Meeting at NPA, Discussion of Ballot Questions


  • 7pm-7:10pm - Intro, Ground Rules, Introductions
  • 7:10-7:20 - Speak Out
  • 7:20-7:40 - School Budget
    • 10 min presentation
    • 10 min questions
  • 7:40-7:55 - Police Commission Charter Change - Mayor & City Councillors
  • 7:55-8:10 - Parks & Rec Commission Charter Change - Mayor & City Councillors
  • 8:10-8:25 - Audit Timing Charter Change - Mayor & City Councillors
  • 8:25-9:00 - North Ave Advisory Question - Mayor & City Councillors

4 Lanes Shore Rd to Beltline    
PILOT -- through car lanes.
turn lane, bike lanes



We will have Open Forum at 7:15pm for anyone to speak from the floor. We will have updates from the North Avenue Task Force, the Walk/Bike Plan committee, and the Community Development Block Grant committee. Residents will have an opportunity to talk with elected and appointed officials who are routinely invited. Meeting starts at 7pm

There will be an update on the remediation of the contaminated soil stockpiled in Leddy Park, plus
  • City Market expanding to South End
  • North Ave Pilot Task Force update
  • Walk/Bike Plan update
  • Community Development Block Grant update
  •  and an announcement about Bessery Market make-over and the crowd funding venture.

Bessery's Market will include a new butcher shop, a quality deli/takeout (eventually adding delivery service), and a new creamee / Italian ice window. Bessery's market has been part of the North End for 50 years. The make-over will require new equipment and upgrades, and the family has launched a crowd funding initiative so residents can have an investment in the venture. It's an opportunity to back a business that looks forward to being part of our community for the next 50 years! 

TIMED AGENDA - subject to change if necessary

        • 7 - 7:10 - Ground Rules, Introductions & Announcements
        • 7:10 - 7:15 - Bill Burrell, Bloomenthal Award nominee, recognition by Toxics Alert Network, Shaina Kasper
        • 7:15 - 7:30 - Open Public Comment
        • 7:30 - 8:15 - Discussion with Elected & Appointed Officials.
        • 8:15 - 8:35 - Cleanup of Contaminated Soil in Leddy - What was the risk, what did we learn, and will there be more? -Jesse Bridges (Parks/Waterfront Dept) and Hugo Martinez Cazon (ANR/DEC)
          • 8:15 - 8:20: Jesse Bridges
          • 8:20 - 8:25: Shaina Kasper
          • 8:25 - 8:35: Q & A
        • 8:35 - 8:45 - City Market expansion, John Tashiro General Manager
        • 8:45 - 8:50 - CDBG Update, report from committee representatives Peter Ireland and Basu Dhakal
        • 8:50 - 9:00 - North Ave Task Force, report from pilot task force. RJ Lalimiere, Pat Kearney, Rich Nadworny, Jason L'Ecuyer, Paul Sisson.
        • 9:00 Adjourn

*Breaking concern for homeless people sleeping in Leddy Park. Neighbors concerns, City response, COTS response, proposal to have a community service group to take warm blankets and meals. Our community police officer will try to attend.



Amazing what a touch up with acrylics, and a top coat of polyurethane can do! We preserve the signs because they are all that's left of a community project to clean up an area near several neighborhoods that troubled parents.

The sandwich boards were painted at the same time as the mural on the back of the theater in the shopping center. Leddy Park's entrance for vehicular traffic was narrow, with no sidewalks or shoulder, so children on bikes, mothers with baby strollers, and elderly people walking accessed the park from the shopping center. The back of the theater faced a children's playground and it was plagued with graffiti. The area was neglected. It was full of weeds, scrub brush and poison ivy. It was dark and scary. Drug dealing and drinking were witnessed by neighbors, and it had a bad reputation.

The NPA organized a mural painting. Area businesses generously donated materials, professional artists and area teachers participated, and volunteers came from the neighborhoods to watch and help. The mural took two days to paint. When it was finished, we cut down the brush, planted a wildflower garden along the fence, asked the police to patrol the area, and asked the Parks Dept to bring in a few picnic tables and keep the area mowed to control the poison ivy.

(Back L-R) Jamie, Jelani, Jamal, Colby. Front: Chad, Dana
RESULTS: Graffiti in the area ended immediately. The mural was never defaced in the 7 years it was there.  The adjacent area of the park was not kept clear, picnic tables were there for a few weeks and then removed. Poison ivy remained a plague on the area. This year the Shopping Center tore down the theater, and the mural along with it.

Six sandwich boards were painted that day, to be used to announce NPA meeings. Every month, the sandwich boards go out with a poster that announces the date of the assembly, with a few key words about the program. It's an opportunity for residents to meet with their elected and appointed officials, review major impact developments, discuss neighborhood issues, look at the municipal budget the budget with the Mayor, and talk with City departments about services and future plans. There are candidate and ballot question forums before every election.





Removal and disposal of the Leddy park soil stockpile: DPW contractor will be staging for work started Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. Contractors will install fencing and mobilize equipment in preparation for loading and hauling of the material beginning the next week. The project is expected to last into the first part of Jan. 2016. For more information and BPRW's extensive soil management plan can be found at BTVbikepath.com. Burlington Parks Rec Waterfront has worked extensively with DPW contractor, our soils consultant and the Vermont Department of environmental conservation, with direction from the mayors office and City Council, to complete this project in the most cost-effective, efficient and safe manner possible.


      • Agenda, Ground-rules, Introductions, and Announcements
      • Election of Community Development Block Grant committee representatives
      • North Ave Corridor Task Force Update
      • Walk/Bike Plan - Liam Griffin
      • BED Integrated Resource Plan, Meredith Birkett
      • Save Open Space Burlington
      • Open Forum
      • Elected and Appointed Officials


NPA Nov 18 -- WELCOME!

Thankful for community.
Due to seasonal holidays, the NPA will meet a week earlier than usual -- on November 18 and December 16. 

Nov. 18 Agenda *VIDEO*
Facilitator: Jason
Time Keeper: Linda

  • Welcome, Agenda, Introductions, Agenda
  • Open forum with new Police Chief Brandon del Pozo
  • North Ave Task Force - update on November 10th meeting
  • Discussion with Elected and Appointed Officials


1975: North Burlington News for Northenders

The iconic Ethan Allen Tower has been a symbol of Burlington's North End for 110 years.

William J. Van Patten owned the land, and he wished it made into a public park. He and his Morgan horse, "old Mattie" -- as well as a large crew of men -- cleared underbrush, fallen or dead trees, and timber. They created a "scenic beauty", lush with growing wildlife and four winding paths called 'Table Rock Drive', 'River Bank Drive', 'Eastern Drive', and 'Pinnacle'.  
2015: Neighborhood Planning Assemblies commission WELCOME sign.

Van Patten offered twelve acres of the park land -- from the river to the road -- to the Sons of the Revolution if they would erect a stone tower with a path leading to it as a memorial to the great hero of the Green Mountain Boys, Ethan Allen, on Prospect Rock.  On Bennington's Day, 1905, a stone tower, designed by Manager R. C. Cottom, was formerly dedicated. This tower is on the highest pinnacle of land, which once was part of Ethan Allen's farm. For two centuries, this pinnacle was a lookout for Native Americans and European settlers who were looking for enemies who used Lake Champlain and the Winooski River as water routes leading north, south, and east.

In the Burlington Free Press from 1920 (the year Van Patten died), an article written in memory of William J. Van Patten reads, "No man in Burlington from its earliest days of settlement ever gave so much as Van Patten." The Burlington Traction Company soon extended the trolley line to accommodate the fascinating new attraction. To this day, residents from Burlington, as well as many tourists, have been enjoying the scenic paths and blooming wildlife which make up the Ethan Allen Park.


October 28, 2015 NPA Meeting

You may watch the program on-line by clicking  HERE:



Sept. 22, 6pm
Leddy parking lot and Arena Meeting Room.
NOTE: Now the dirt pile is an active remediation area, dumped on Leddy Park by the City!
*Note cryptic PCB sign on the dirt pile. May contain PCBs? May, as in "admitting that something is so?" 

Here's what full disclosure looks like: 

WPTZ: Burlington Residents Voice Concerns on Contaminated Soil


Last month at NPA, we learned that BPD will train residents in use of the radar speed monitor so we can check out the idea that many cars exceed the speed limit on North Avenue making it unsafe for people on bikes and at pedestrian crossings.  Many have tested speed by driving the limit, observing the speed of other cars relative to their own and seeing how many people pass them. The highest accident rate in the city is in the 4 lane area of the Avenue. Speed law in Burlington is 25 unless otherwise posted. Residents report that about 30% of cars are driving 40-45, cutting back and forth to pass cars going the speed limit! Test it for yourself -- check out a radar monitor from BPD. (This just in: CRASH on the Avenue, driver going 80 on a rainy night, reaching for cell phone, I mean radio...)

SEPT. 23, 2015  7PM

7:00pm-7:05pm - Agenda, Ground Rules,  Introductions & Announcements
7:05pm-7:20pm - Burlington Police Department, Lt. Young. Speeding on North Avenue
7:20pm-7:40pm - Accessory apartments, tiny houses, duplex zoning, and discussion of Home Sharing and AirBnB - Scott Guston, Senior Planner.
7:40pm-7:50pm - North Ave Corridor Task Force Report Back
7:50pm-8:00pm - Bike Walk Task Force Report Back 
8:00pm-8:15pm - Open Forum/Speakout
8:15pm-9:00pm - Reports from appointed and elected officials

Tiny House in the City


Accessory Dwelling Unit over the Garage


RESOLUTION: The Ward 4 and 7 NPAs request that the stockpiled soils be removed from Leddy Park. YES? NO?


WPTZ NEWS: http://www.wptz.com/news/new-push-to-remove-contaminated-soil-from-park/34873672

7:00-7:10 - WELCOME, INTRODUCTIONS, ANNOUNCEMENTS (events, maximum 30 seconds), AGENDA, GROUND RULES. 

7:10-7:30- Speak-outs (2 minutes maximum, may speak no more than once if anyone who has not spoken)

7:30-8:15 - Reports from Elected and Appointed Officials.

8:15-8:45 - Dirt Pile Presentation, Questions, and vote on resolution*.
    • 5 min. - Jesse invited to do presentation.
    • 10 min. - Questions for Jesse.
    • 15 min. - Presentation and vote on resolution distributed at last meeting.
    • Announcement of upcoming meeting(s) on the topic.
CANCEL - Preview of Orphanage Development - Owiso Makuku

8:45-9:00 - North Avenue Corridor Study Committee Report-Back

RESOLUTION: The Ward 4 and 7 NPAs request that the stockpiled soils be removed from Leddy Park. The NPAs recognize that additional testing must first occur before the soils can be removed. To that end, we urge in the strongest possible terms, that the BPRW, the DEC, and the EPA collaborate to ensure that the timeline for testing of the soil is significantly shortened, thus expediting the process for removal of the soil from Leddy Park as soon as possible. 

Photo from Google, submitted by a resident: This is a Google Earth image of Leddy Soils. Estimate of the date taken is early June, 2015.
The lower, center portion of the pile clearly shows the runoff that we have documented.

Looking at the current Earth image of the parking lot site, one can clearly see evidence of run off throughout the entire lot below the piles. But runoff is absent from the southern portion of the lot.


Nate Wildfire, CEDO Brownfields Manager 

"There’s only two ways to deal with really contaminated brownfields," Wildfire said. “Cover it, and don’t let anybody dig it in for a really long time, or haul it away.”

The Pile

Thanks to all that cared .Although the pile in Leddy should not be there . Thanks to the special few the pile is covered with black plastic , staw bales around the bottom. Even thought it is not a place for that stuff to be there it might stop some from our lake.Just think how much would have made it to the lake if we did not care . Because they didn't. We need more people to stand up for what we think is right even if they don't. This post was by George


Residents report more dirt being brought to Leddy Park. Councilors asked to inquire about that. Soil should have been tested BEFORE it was moved. 

FPF: Dirt in Leddy
Although I can follow the logic put forward for storing the dirt in Leddy, I would like to hear a plan for removing it with a real time frame. I've heard that the City might be allowed to mix it into asphalt or concrete. I find this very unlikely, but either way it should not take long to determine if this is realistic. The signs say the dirt will be removed in 2015. What is the plan and when will it happen?

More Contaminated Soil at Leddy Park?


I spend a ton of time in Leddy Park riding my bike, walking my dog, hiking the trails, swimming and watching amazing evening soccer matches between people from as far away as Africa, Nepal, and Europe. It is an outdoor enthusiasts playground located just outside our back doors. Lately on my walks I've reflected on the history of the land, the park and on how grateful I am to have this resource a few blocks from my home. It means a lot to me. Like anything that means a lot to me I want to help care for it.
The city of Burlington acquired Leddy Park in the 70’s. Originally, it was named “Wabanaki,” which means “thanksgiving” in the Abenaki language. It was assumed that the Abenaki people frequented this land during the 1700’s. However, it was soon renamed after one of the commissioners that played a major role in acquiring the land, Judge Bernard J. Leddy.
On my morning walks this summer I've also been reflecting on the increasing pressures Leddy Park is facing as a direct result of urban intensification and development projects taking place in other parts of Burlington. Leddy Park is currently the "temporary" home to four contaminated piles of dirt and debris excavated directly from the Moran area. While many people are enjoying cocktails, fundraising events and Kathy Montstream's beautiful painting exhibits at (and of) the Moran plant's haunting interiors I and my neighbors are stuck with the former coal gasification plant's contaminated soils. These piles contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Banned in the 1970s The International Agency For Research on Cancer now classifies PCBs as no longer "probable carcinogens." They now classify them as known carcinogens.http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Publications/techrep42/TR42-17.pdf
In my conversations around town I've met a lot of folks who knew Judge Leddy very well. They tell me I'd have a lot in common with him: an avid outdoorsman, caring and involved with his community. When I talk with his relatives and read about him on Wikipedia I realize what an incredible man he was. Many people tell me he would be appalled if he knew the parking lot at his park was holding grounds for stockpiled contaminated soils from the Moran area.
In my next post I'm going to discuss how Leddy Park is an ideal spot for even more contaminated soils from the downtown development of Burlington. And why we should care more.