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Development Review Board votes to deny citizen rezoning appeal

(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 22, 2020 at 11:36 PM EST
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Burlington’s Development Review Board has denied a citizens group’s appeal of zoning changes that they say would allow live music venue Higher Ground’s potential relocation.

The board deliberated Wednesday after two hours of testimony from Burton and the group Citizens for Responsible Zoning. They ultimately voted 4-1 to reject the group’s appeal of site changes to Burton’s campus.

Members of Citizens for Responsible Zoning and their lawyer, Frank Kochman, argued the zoning administrator did not follow protocol when he approved Burton’s zoning changes permit.

"This decision should have been made -- which was made by the zoning administrator alone -- should have been brought initially to the development review board,” said Kochman. “In other words, the zoning administrator had no jurisdiction to decide it himself.”

The group also presented diagrams of Burton’s site changes. They claimed Burton is planning to add 500 square feet of new paving in anticipation of the live music venue.

Justin Worthley of Burton says there was a discrepancy in two different versions of the proposed changes which made it seem as though Burton is increasing square-footage.

“The little half pipe is in a bump-out in the back of the building. There were two shed roofs on either side of that that we knocked off. Some of the drawings included those. Some drawings did not include those. Either way, it’s immaterial because if you look at the calculations, we have a net reduction in square footage, not an increase,” Worthley explained. “The back of the building was confusing and we need to clear that up. The only changes we’re really making with this project are we’re eliminating some square footage in the front of the building in one area and slightly adding in another and that results in a net reduction.”

Worthley says Burton asked for approval to make on-site changes because they’re working to meet state stormwater rules that are required of venues with more than three acres of pavement. He says they redesigned their system and are planning to upgrade their parking lot. According to Worthley, the changes have nothing to do with Higher Ground.

Worthley says they want to repave their parking lot, add new trees, and update the lighting. They’re also planning for six curb cuts for driveways, four of which currently exist and two which are being relocated. Burton says one curb cut will be gated and only be used as a service entrance for a loading dock.

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