Our Work

Community Update: Burke

Smart Growth Vermont (SGV) and Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) have enjoyed a long-standing collaboration working with the Town of Burke. Residents have long voiced a concern over their ability to manage growth in a way that protects the community’s rural character and traditions. Last year, this challenge took on a new dimension when a development for a resource-based industry was proposed. The proposal sparked a broader debate about economic development in a rural community and sparked these questions. If there is economic opportunity in resource-based, value-added processing, can such uses be sited in a way that minimizes adverse impacts? Also, how can a community ensure that its residents have adequate opportunities for self-employment in a region where jobs are harder to come by?

After extensive consultation with the Burke Planning Commission and input from the public, SGV and NVDA drafted a new set of regulations for home employment opportunities. These new regulations lessened some existing restrictions on home occupations and allowed for more intensive “home business” uses in some areas of the community, subject to conditional use review. SGV and NVDA also introduced new industrial performance standards for industrial uses that avoided traditional classifications for “light” industry and “heavy” industry and established clearer guidelines for limiting adverse impacts, such as traffic, smoke, and noise. The new regulations were incorporated into Burke’s bylaws and the Planning Commission will soon propose adoption of the revised bylaws.

Visit the Community Planning Partnership section of our website for more information on our work with the Town of Burke.