To the Editor:

See the following link and participate in public comment on major updates which affect existing homes: bit.ly/3dQXQQy

Public Input Session I: Tuesday, April 27, 7 p.m.

Public Input Session II: Tuesday, May 4, noon

Public Hearing: Thursday, May 20, 7 pm.

Some concerns:

• Expanded riparian/wetland buffers: Intended to limit new development but impacting mostly existing homes (abridging property rights) — permits for fences/pools/renovations/decks/sheds/accessory dwellings at risk.

• A 500-year floodplain designation: A new designation which reaches back toward a time 10,000 years ago (20 times longer than this designation) when the entire city was underwater. The impact falls on existing homeowners more than new development. Unintended consequences are that insurance/lack-of-insurance/mortgages are at risk. Additionally, homeowner upgrades/renovations require foundational flood-proofing to a project whether warranted or not.

Some suggestions:

• Language to specifically exempt existing homeowners/structures from the riparian/wetland buffer expansion. The city exempts itself and the major developers in the City Center form-based codes district but not existing homeowners in the rest of the city.

• Eliminate the 500-year floodplain designation as this is an overreach. Confirmational data is to be obtained by the applicant/homeowner with LIDAR mapping (at their cost) – otherwise this label has been applied from maps to areas that didn’t qualify for a 100-year designation to justify blocking development. The climate crisis would suggest a 50-year floodplain deserves study and consideration before a 500 year one.

The use of a 500-year designation is unnecessary and injurious to existing homeowners.

Chris Shaw

South Burlington

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