We heard from Peter Potts regarding the Zoning Rewrite. The rewrite is needed as our zoning policies are a bit outdated and basically a quilt of many different pieces put together lacking a real easy-to-follow structure. The rewrite attempts to make the zoning code easier to understand as well as representing what we currently have for communities as many of the current homes don’t actually conform to the current zoning. The rewrite shouldn’t actually change anything. It should just better represent what we have and where we are going.
We heard a Fluoride debate between Safe Water Advocates of Burlington (SWAB) and the Vermont Health Department. My position on this is still that it’s a matter of choice. Individuals, not the government, should be making the decisions as to the medications each person ingests. Each person should be able to decide whether they personally believe in fluoridation or not. If there is any doubt, it should be taken out of the water. Just provide safe and clean drinking water.
Norm Baldwin from the department of Public Works spoke on the proposed parking ban. The ban would restrict any car from parking within 5ft from a driveway. This is due to some problems downtown where people occasionally park in front of a driveway. This could be a big problem for some neighborhoods where the ban would mean that no one could park in front of their homes at all. It seems to me that this is an over-reaction to a simple problem. It should be an offense if someone parks in front of someone’s driveway, period… nothing more or nothing less.
It was mentioned that regarding the 10 cent increase in the school budget, that only 2.5% is being voted on and 7.5% is being imposed by the state due to the recent reappraisal, which means that both costs of school and property taxes are going up. This shows why when the city does reappraisals, its very important to do them correctly. Many people I have heard from believe their reappraisals were very unfair and that the properties would never sell for the prices quoted. Basically, we are sending more money to the state in the form on property taxes on value that we don’t even really have. Again, I believe we need to take back more local control from the state to keep more of our money here in Burlington where it belongs.