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Baird v. City of Burlington

Supreme Court of Vermont

January 8, 2016

Sandra Baird and Jared Carter
v.
City of Burlington

Page 224

          On Appeal from Superior Court, Chittenden Unit, Civil Division. Dennis R. Pearson, J.

          Affirmed.

          John L. Franco, Jr., Burlington, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

          Gregg Meyer and Eileen Blackwood, Burlington City Attorney's Office, for Defendant-Appellee.

         Present: Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Skoglund, Robinson and Eaton, JJ.

          OPINION

Page 225

          Reiber, C.J.

          [¶1] Appellants Sandra Baird and Jared Carter appeal a final judgment by the Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Unit, Civil Division, granting appellee City of Burlington's (the City) motion to dismiss for lack of standing and subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.

          [¶2] This case concerns appellants' standing to challenge the City's recently adopted " Church Street Marketplace District trespass authority" ordinance (trespass ordinance). City of Burlington, Code of Ordinances § 21-49 (2015), http://www.codepublishing.com/VT/Burlington [hereinafter Burlington Ordinances]. The trespass ordinance prohibits four activities within the Church Street Marketplace District (Marketplace District) and further provides for a new means to enforce this prohibition: a notice of trespass.[1] The

Page 226

Marketplace District is a quasi-public entity organized in 1979 pursuant to the Burlington city charter. It includes member businesses that pay for membership through extra tax assessments and/or membership payments and it is overseen by a Marketplace Commission, a private organization consisting of nine members with an executive director.

          [¶3] The Marketplace District exists to maintain and promote Church Street and the area around it as a vibrant commercial hub in downtown Burlington. The Marketplace District's geographic area encompasses Church Street from Pearl Street on the north to Main Street on the south and includes segments of three intersecting streets -- Cherry, Bank, and College -- where buildings have frontage both on Church Street and on one of the intersecting streets. Church Street is a brick-paved public street that is generally closed to automobile traffic.

          [¶4] Filled with restaurants and shops, the Marketplace District has become a hot spot for social gatherings, street performers, protests, speeches, and marches, many of which are impromptu in nature. Despite having the character of an outdoor pedestrian mall, Church Street is nevertheless a public right-of-way and is accessible to the public twenty-four hours a day. Thus, all state criminal statutes, rules of criminal procedure, and city ordinances apply within the Marketplace District. The ...


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