Bob Lloyd Acceptance Speech

Thank you, Darby.  Thanks to Smart Growth. Thank you, Vermont!   A lot of my life has been spent in the service of other people’s good ideas.  Let me turn your attention to those people.  Forgive me if you don’t know some of them, but perhaps you will recognize the power of their ideas and thank them.

Thanks to my wife Sue, her brother Carey and to Katy and Roger Payne, who showed me that — like making music ‑‑ owning land means sharing responsibility.  Sharing includes your next-door neighbors and, more broadly, all the people in your town and beyond.  In many senses, all ownership is common interest ownership, held not only with other people but also with the natural world. The land, which we are said to “own,” truly owns us.

Thanks to Rick Carbin and Darby Bradley, who years ago showed us the long-lasting power of the conservation easement. By spelling out a particular, workable kind of common interest ownership, the conservation easement transforms these somewhat private musings about the reciprocal meaning of ownership into permanent, public reality.

Thanks to the people of Tinmouth who caught this idea and ran with the ball. Over the past 27 years, eighteen conservation easement projects with the Vermont Land Trust, together with efforts by the Nature Conservancy, the state of Vermont, the Tinmouth Select board and Planning Commission, have placed over 7,400 Tinmouth acres under protection.  If you add in the individually owned Use Value acres, two-thirds of the town – over 12,000 acres — is stabilized.  These acres are held in common interest with the people of Tinmouth, in common interest with the citizens of Vermont, in common interest with the ecosystem.

Thanks to the Vermont planning community, which developed the idea of the planned residential development, or PRD.  Over the past few years in Tinmouth, the idea of the PRD has allowed three families to find new common interest in their ownership. Each project found a way to balance high-density individual ownership areas with low density, common interest areas.  Each project found a way to include affordable housing – and in so doing to acknowledge that land ownership finds a special common interest with people of limited means.

Let me leave you with two quick thoughts — or hypotheses — or maybe just perceptions:   First, all land in Vermont is in some sense a common interest commodity.   And second, living in Vermont is a common interest enterprise.   Thank you again for this award, and don’t forget to thank these people.