BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Burlington City Council had a busy meeting Monday night, with several major items on the agenda.
Items discussed include Mayor Miro Weinberger’s veto of a short-term rental ordinance, putting a bike lane on North Winooski Ave., and placing shelters for unhoused people downtown.
By 11:30 p.m, the only item voted on by councilors was regarding the bike lane. Despite many people speaking against the project, council members passed the plan, meaning nearly 40 parking spaces will be removed from the Old North End Neighborhood.
Fewer than five people spoke in favor of the plan during the meeting. Jade Lin, a business owner in that area, said the loss of parking spots will hurt business.
As far as putting pods for unhoused people on Elmwood Ave, opinions are divided. The city expects to build 30 individual shelters at a cost of nearly $1.5 million. Burlingtonians expressed concerns about crime and location.
“I am saddened to see a 30 pod homeless community downtown,” said Scotia Jordan, who lives in the area. “There is an elderly housing subject right next to where this is going.” Jordan said she’s not opposed to sheltering unhoused people by building pods, but doesn’t think Elmwood Ave. is the right place.
Others aren’t opposed to the idea
“With the hotels shutting down and other issues they have, we have to give them a name,” said David Call, and Elmwood Ave. resident. “We have to give them a safe place to be.”
Also happening on Monday, Mayor Miro Weinberger was looking to veto a short-term rental ordinance councilors passed last month.
The ordinance passed 8-4 in February. It would limit short term rentals to only rooms in owner-occupied dwelling, or the entire home, when the owner is away. The goal of it is to create more housing.
“Do we want to think about the interest of property owners and large corporations like Vrbo and Airbnb?” David King, a Burlington resident asked councilors. “Or do we want to think about young people and our low income people?”
Weinberger says the ordinance will only deepen the issues the ordinance is intended to address by discouraging them to rent further.
“I think the fact that so many new ideas have come up so late in the game speaks to the fact these ideas are not fully vetted. we deserve to do it right,” said another person in attendance at the meeting.
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