Community Planning Toolbox

Welcome to the Community Planning Toolbox

The Community Planning Toolbox was developed by Smart Growth Vermont, which merged with VNRC on July 1, 2011.  Since that time, the toolbox has been maintained and updated by VNRC.   We thank the project partners, municipal officials, organizations, private developers, consultants and dedicated citizens who contributed to the Toolbox. Special thanks to the students and staff of a key partner – the Vermont Law School’s Land Use Institute and Land Use Clinic. We are especially grateful to foundations who have supported the Toolbox’s development and implementation: the Argosy Foundation, People’s United Bank, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the Lintilhac Foundation, the Maverick Lloyd Foundation, the Vermont Community Foundation, TD Bank and the Windham Foundation. The Community Planning Toolbox introduces users to the issues, techniques and resources for smart growth planning.  It features case studies and sample tools that demonstrate how other communities have addressed similar challenges to those facing your community.  The Toolbox is organized into five main sections:

  • Land Use Planning in Vermont – provides the background and framework for planning in the state;
  • Legal Issues in Planning – touches on key legal issues associated with land use regulation;
  • Issues – summarizes common issues such as preserving farmland or providing housing for residents. These summaries are designed as a general overview to provide a starting point for community discussions.  Additional resources are provided for those who would like to delve more deeply into an issue.
  • Tools –  outlines a particular policy, plan, bylaw or technique that can be used to address a particular issue in your community.  The summary of each tool describes how it can be used and where to find additional resources.  For general information on a variety of smart growth and planning topics, please go to our Smart Growth Resources section
  • Case Studies – demonstrates how a community has implemented a particular smart growth tool. The Toolbox includes a range of samples from around the state, including rural, suburban and more urban examples.

Related issues, tools and case studies are linked.  For example, if your community is interested in ensuring farms remain productive (the issue), you may consider an overlay district (the tool) and look to Warren (the case study) to download their bylaw to see how one community has implemented an overlay district.

Acknowledgments

The Community Planning Toolbox was prepared by the staff of Smart Growth Vermont (which merged with VNRC in 2011).  We thank the project partners, municipal officials, organizations, private developers, consultants and dedicated citizens who contributed to the Toolbox. Special thanks to the students and staff of a key partner – the Vermont Law School’s Land Use Institute and Land Use Clinic. We are especially grateful to foundations who have supported the Toolbox’s development and implementation: the Argosy Foundation, People’s United Bank, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the Lintilhac Foundation, the Maverick Lloyd Foundation, the Vermont Community Foundation, TD Bank and the Windham Foundation.