Burlington leaders agree on short term rentals, create homeless pod ‘community’

At its March 21 meeting, the Burlington City Council and Mayor Miro Weinberger agreed on three transportation and housing initiatives, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

North Winooski Avenue Bike Lanes

The City Council voted 8-4 to proceed with the Winooski Avenue Transportation Study to make improvements to bicycle safety on North Winooski Avenue, which is an important transportation corridor. The Parking Management Plan now recommends a phased plan, whereby parking changes would occur between Union Street and Riverside Avenue and reduces the immediate net parking loss by half – from 82 to 40 spaces – while still achieving the completion of continuous bike lanes between downtown Burlington and Winooski.

Short Term Rentals

In a 5-7 vote, the Council upheld the Mayor’s veto of the Short Term Rental Ordinance passed on February 22. In a memo to the Council, Mayor Weinberger expressed concern that the ordinance would have an unintended consequence of worsening our housing shortage by discouraging and presenting further barriers to the development of duplexes, multi-unit buildings, and accessory dwelling units. He also urged Council to quickly bring forward a new version of the ordinance without the specific problematic provisions that restrict homeowners from operating short-term rentals in their owner-occupied properties.

Shelter Pods on Elmwood Avenue

In an 11-1 vote, the Council supported the Administration’s plans to build a low-barrier emergency shelter pod community on Elmwood Avenue. Building a shelter pod community was one of the priorities presented as part of Mayor Weinberger’s 10 Point Plan to Fulfill the Promise of Housing as a Human Right. In the coming weeks, the City will take steps to improve the site on Elmwood Avenue to build up to 30 climate controlled shelters, as well as on-site toilets and showers, and a Community Resource Center.

10 replies »

  1. So, these climate controlled pods are essentially human storage lockers. We all see the numerous storage unit complexes all over Vermont. Now, Burlington will outfit those units for people to live in. The government creates the problem and creates a half-baked, illogical, further demoralizing solution. In no way, shape or form does this solve the problem in Burlington or any where else in the State of Vermont. Their policies, under their watch, under their leadership created all the issues from homelessness, addiction, unemployment – all of it – for decades. Instead of doing something to right their wrongs, they double down in an attempt to further keep people helpless, hopeless and in complete servitude. God help us.

  2. Unfortunately, the track record shows that anywhere that significant numbers of homeless people congregate trouble soon follows. Burlington encampments have been host to a disproportionate number of drug busts, overdose deaths, and a murder. Communal shelters have rules, supervision and resources available to mitigate such issues but the privacy and isolation of private hotel rooms or “pods” provide incubators for all sorts of nefarious activity, and numerous fatal overdoses have been noted during the huge COVID expansion and time extension of the current hotel program.
    It also needs to be acknowledged that “being homeless” is a matter of interpretation and definition and is accommodated using the honor system, based simply on a claim. If there was reliable means testing for those claiming to be homeless, there may be more public support for paying for alternatives. It is not a big surprise that if the taxpayers are going to provide the luxury and privacy of these pods, some deadbeats will naturally take advantage and spend their cash resources on other things that are detrimental to their health and other people’s safety. Let this petri dish experiment take place in Burlington and give it a good trial before any other virtue-signaling mayors get any big ideas. I’m sure the neighbors are just thrilled to be hosting this experiment. What will it do to enhance their human rights? No surprise that it is not being located anywhere near the Mayor’s home.

  3. Shelter Pods on Burlington’s Elmwood Avenue:
    “If you want more of something, subsidize it,…”
    This coming s*it-show is going to be entertaining viewing. 😉

  4. ok find out where a homeless person last had a HOME….return them their with a pod.End of problem right?ha ha ha…

  5. Kensington Avenue-in Philadelphia, research it . People will ask what happened to that beautiful vibrant ,safe,bustling city over looking Champlain? down the road .I’m not sure
    What the solutions are beyond the big picture such as regulation of pharmaceutical companies. Availability to mental health services. I don’t think creating a homeless magnet
    In the middle of the city is viable.

  6. “A fire Monday morning incinerated three tiny-home shelters at a city-run transitional-housing site at E. 12th Street and 2nd Avenue, across from Lake Merritt.

    Nobody was injured, according to authorities, but five people who were living in the scorched shelters were displaced. A fourth tiny-home was damaged as well.

    Oakland Fire Department Chief of Staff Michael J. Hunt said the cause of the fire, which began around 10 a.m., is under investigation. Twenty firefighters responded to the incident and got the fire under control by 10:30 a.m. Thick smoke from the blaze could be seen from downtown Oakland and neighborhoods around the lake.”

  7. Some of us have the means to rent (employment, thousands in savings, credit score over 600, et al) yet we are unable to find anyone willing to rent to us. I am currently paying $1300 a month for a 1-star motel room in Barre, and in the past year of homelessness, no-one has been willing to rent. The State has not helped at in this regard, either.

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