South Burlington officials propose new development regulations

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – In an effort to conserve natural resources, South Burlington city officials are looking to update some land use regulations.

Local developers are wary of the potential new rules, but environmentalists say it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s not only good for the animals, it’s also good for us and our descendants,” said Sarah Dopp, President of South Burlington Land Trust. She said the proposed land use planning regulations were long overdue.

“We need to be able to do our part in mitigating climate change,” Dopp continued. “If we build everywhere on our remaining natural resources, we won’t. “

Changes on the table include extensive protections for streams and habitats, as well as halting development in areas containing more than 20 acres of forest. City planner Paul Conner said the proposed bylaws had been the subject of extensive research.

“It’s smart with the land use and where the land will not be built, to ensure that these are contiguous areas that favor natural resources, existence and / or working lands,” said Conner said of the proposed settlement.

Although the protection of natural resources seems obvious, some developers and landowners are unhappy with the proposed changes.

“It tells owners of large plots of land that they cannot develop their land,” real estate lawyer Christina Jensen said in a public hearing Monday evening. “The city will not buy this land, so we are talking about protecting the resources at the expense of some landowners. “

These regulations also change how landowners can divide their plots and what types of units can be placed there.

“What there is is a mix of different housing types that someone will have to choose from, and each housing type is meant to be consistent with the others,” Conner said.

There will be another public hearing in early February, before councilors vote to enact these bylaws.

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