about the town center project
Berlin residents want an identifiable town center that contributes to the sense of community, quality of life and economic development. Berlin has been planning for a town center since the late 1990s anchored by the mall, hospital and school. The envisioned town center would create a walkable downtown by infilling underutilized/undeveloped land and parking lots with higher-density housing, new businesses and public spaces. It has been 20 years in the making, but Berlin is poised for the town center vision to become reality. Recent accomplishments include:
2015 → Municipal water system serving the town center area built
2018 → Town Plan making the town center a priority project adopted
2018 → $2.2 million bond to bring municipal sewer service to the town center area approved
2019 → New zoning regulations supporting town center development adopted
2019 → 98-unit senior living complex approved in the town center
2019 → 30-60 unit workforce housing plus daycare project being planned for the town center
2019 → New well drilled to supply water to the town center
2019 → $22,000 Municipal Planning Grant for state designations awarded
Berlin is currently seeking New Town Center and Neighborhood Development Area designations for the town center area. The designations would offer the town and property owners within the designated areas a number of benefits that will support development of the envisioned town center.
- Berlin would be more competitive when seeking grant funding for projects benefiting the town center.
- Berlin could create special assessment or TIF (tax increment financing) districts to fund town center improvements.
- Developers are eligible for Act 250 relief (thus reducing permitting costs and time).
- Some state fees related to land development or sale may be waived or reduced.
- The state would give priority consideration to the town center when siting government buildings.
Berlin intends to submit applications for New Town Center and Neighborhood Development Area designations to the state by the end of the year. The first step in the application process is to prepare a conceptual master plan for the proposed New Town Center area. The Berlin Planning Commission had intended to host a series of workshops for property owners and community members to participate in creation of the master plan this spring. We have moved those workshops online and invite your participation, virtually.