Community Spotlight: Warren
Situated at the southern end of the Mad River Valley is Warren, VT. Home to some of Vermont’s finest skiing terrain at Sugarbush Resort, and Mad River Glen just down the road, Warren is an active, rural community that cherishes the value of the surrounding scenic landscape.
Pioneers settled the area in the 1790’s, undeterred by the wilderness conditions of their new home. The land was cleared for farming and later, mills, tanneries and stores provided important services to the community.
The economy transformed when Sugarbush Resort opened in the Valley in 1958, providing opportunities for new businesses in the tourism industry. Since then, the region has become a desirable place to live. The rapid development and a rise in property values has resulted in a lack of affordable housing.
The need for affordable housing is critical in the Warren area because many of the residents are employed with Sugarbush Resort and work seasonally or part time. In an effort to close the gap on affordability, Housing Vermont and the Central Vermont Community Land Trust worked with Bill Maclay Architects to construct the Wheeler Brook Apartments, which provides 18 units of affordable rentals on the road to the Resort and along the bus loop.
In 2008, Smart Growth Vermont assisted Warren in developing a strategy for incorporating affordable housing in and around the Village. Warren officials are currently drafting changes to the Town Plan, and are working on incorporating mixed use and residential districts in the Village.
Two scenic, recreational rivers run through Warren, the Mad River and Freeman’s Brook, which contribute to the local tourism economy and to the environmental quality of the region. Key to maintaining the health of the rivers has been the installation of an innovative decentralized wastewater management system. Prior to this, many properties had individual septic systems that were failing. As concern for water quality grew, residents committed to investing in a system that has not only cleaned up the rivers, but has also allowed Warren to increase density in and around the Village.
From past to present, Warren continues to value community by making lasting improvements to the quality of life for residents and the surrounding environment.