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Burlington, Developer Enter Agreement To Plan Burlington College Land Development

The city of Burlington has entered into an agreement with developer Eric Farrell to help plan the development of land formerly owned by Burlington College.

Farrell purchased roughly 28 acres of land from Burlington College as part of the college’s efforts to reduce its debt. Now he’s launching a public process to develop a plan for the site, keeping in mind community goals of conservation and access across the property from North Avenue to the city’s bike path.

The agreement between the city and Farrell’s company BC Community Housing (BCCH) also includes the Vermont Land Trust and the Champlain Housing Trust, and it states that “the Property is iconic and offers the community a unique opportunity to address the significant demand for additional housing within the City, while also responding to other important community needs in creative ways.”

One need some people in the community have expressed is for undeveloped land. Conservation advocates say the land – one of the largest green spaces within the city – should remain untouched.

That idea, at least, is unlikely to be considered by the group. The agreement makes it clear Farrell plans to profit from the investment.

It says that “any outcome of this process must take into consideration BCCH’s substantial investment in the property and financial risk and allow BCCH to achieve its financial objectives, as determined by BCCH, in its sole discretion.”

While the agreement calls for public input on the site design, it makes it clear that the process is not part of the development’s official review process, and any party can pull out of the agreement at any time.

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