At 11th Hour, Burlington City Council Approves Redistricting Plan
Earning itself a small round of applause last night, the Burlington City Council eked out a redistricting plan for Burlington voters to decide on next March. Known as the “8-4-12 plan,” the new map divides the city into eight wards and four larger “precincts,” each represented by one councilor. Currently, 14 councilors represent seven wards.
In the council’s final meeting of the year, the 9-5 vote came just in time to bring the plan before voters on Town Meeting Day in March. Under the “one-person, one-vote” legal principle, the city would have been vulnerable to a lawsuit from virtually any voter had it not approved the redistricting plan.
That’s because changing population patterns have left certain wards disproportionately represented in the council. Based on the 2010 census, the less-densely populated New North End is currently made up of two wards — 4 and 7 — giving that part of the city a total of four councilors. Meanwhile, even as the population of Ward 1 has swollen due to University of Vermont student housing, only two councilors currently represent those residents.