Want to Explore Options for Guiding Growth in Your Community?

While Vermont has not seen sprawling development at the same pace as other New England states, our state is under pressure.

Most small towns are managed by volunteers, many lack the training and background in the complex development issues brought before town boards.  A number of larger towns and cities have professional planning staff.

Due to this lack of expertise at the local level, many communities do not have the capacity to plan for growth or evaluate the costs and benefits of development options.

Collaborative Activities

The Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative offers assistance and advice to help you with land use and big box retail development issues in your downtown centers and villages, and adjacent rural countryside.

By leveraging the expertise of ten diverse organizations, we provide solutions including answers to questions to hands-on consultation on larger projects.  This includes assistance on:

  • Planning
  • Zoning
  • Big box development
  • Affordable housing
  • Neighborhood development

Please e-mail us, or call our hotline at (802) 223-2328.


The Vermont Planning Information Center (VPIC) offers a variety of resources to help local officials plan for growth in Vermont communities.



Ferrisburgh Residents Seek Guidance from Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative

In November of 2008, Ferrisburgh resident Judy Chaves realized that she needed help.  She was one of the founders of a group of neighbors -- Friends of Ferrisburgh for Responsible Growth -- who were trying to figure out how to defeat a large truck stop, convenience store, and fast-food restaurant proposed for a site on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh.  The group knew that the proposal was out of keeping with what they wanted for the future of their town, but they were unsure about how to get any traction to stop it.  

"We were at the point where we really needed some good advice," Chaves said.  "The zoning process is really confusing if you aren't an expert, and we were anything but experts.  The members of the Smart Growth Collaborative have given us support and helped us learn the ropes, and we've become a lot more effective thanks to their assistance."

But Friends of Ferrisburgh is going beyond simply opposing a project that does not fit with the town's character.  They are also working with the Ferrisburgh Planning Commission to initiate a complete rewrite of the zoning standards for the entire Route 7 corridor through town.  "We want more development along Route 7, but what we want are small businesses that are consistent with the character of the community," Chaves said.  "This is what our Town Plan calls for.  What we realized through this process is that our bylaws need to be updated to make them work with the Town Plan."

The Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative's support for this project has meant that Friends of Ferrisburgh for Responsible Growth has been able to draw on the expertise and assistance of several different organizations, all of which are members of the Collaborative.  In particular, Smart Growth Vermont has provided advice on strategy, the Vermont Natural Resources Council has oriented the group to important aspects of Vermont land use law, and Preservation Trust of Vermont offered the group up to $5,000 in matching funds.