Seeking a Vibrant and Equitable Community
Fairfax is a growing bedroom community for residents who work in the greater Burlington and St. Albans employment centers. Housing demand is outpacing supply. The majority of residential development is happening outside the town’s village center and growth area. On average, almost 30 homes have been constructed in Fairfax each year for the past decade – the second highest housing creation rate in Franklin County. The rate of residential growth in Fairfax is nearly three times the rate in the county as a whole.
The Fairfax Planning Commission recently studied the community’s housing needs and opportunities through the Zoning for Great Neighborhoods project and the Build-Out Analysis and 2020 Growth Study. Those projects showed that the type and pattern of development enabled under the Fairfax Development Regulations does not fully reflect community goals and policies as expressed in the Fairfax Town Plan. The Planning Commission is now moving forward to implement the recommendations from that earlier work by considering regulatory changes to support diverse housing opportunities in Fairfax and guide future development towards the vision expressed in the Town Plan.
The Planning Commission is inviting Fairfax community members to participate in conducting a character survey of residential areas around town in October. The character survey will look at housing type, density, walkability, setbacks, parking, street trees and other elements that contribute the character of a neighborhood or area of town.
You can attend the workshop on Thursday, October 6 at 5:30pm at the Fairfax Community Center for hands-on training in filling out a character survey for the area around your property, street or neighborhood. Then over the next two weeks, you can go out and complete a character survey on your own or with a group of friends or neighbors.
On Thursday, October 20 at 5:30pm at the Fairfax Municipal Office, the Planning Commission will host a report-out workshop where you can share the information you gathered on the character survey and discuss opportunities for new housing that would fit the character of Fairfax’s residential areas. Pizza will be served at both workshops!
You can still participate even if you are not able to attend one or both workshops. Download the character survey form and instructions. Once complete, drop it off at the Municipal Office or email to Brandy Saxton, using the form at the bottom of this page, no later than Tuesday, October 18.
Housing Choice Presentation
The Planning Commission hosted a presentation in July to invite discussion of housing choice in Fairfax. The presentation explored historic and contemporary forms of housing in Vermont communities like Fairfax. Nearly 80% of the housing units in Fairfax today are detached, single-unit homes and most new housing being built continues to be detached, single-unit homes.
The Fairfax Town Plan calls for the town to “ensure adequate housing options for people of all income levels, ages and household types.” To achieve that goal, Fairfax will need to offer a greater diversity of housing types than is currently available.
The Housing Choice presentation focused on housing types other than single-unit homes and large apartment buildings – what is commonly called ‘missing middle’ housing. You can watch the video of the presentation here and learn more about ‘missing middle’ forms of housing here. It considered what other forms of housing could be a good fit for Fairfax.