What Do You Think of Chittenden County’s ECOS Plan?
As you may know, VNRC is a partner in the Chittenden County ECOS Project, an effort among 19 towns and 40 organizations to create a regional plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for the Chittenden County.
The project is now asking for public input, and your opinions are important. A simple online survey is now available and through a series of simple, “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” clicks, you can weigh in!
The ECOS project has identified eight strategies. They are:
- Improve and strengthen economic systems
- Concentrate growth in town/village centers
- Improve water safety and quality
- Invest in working lands
- Focus on optimal health and personal safety
- Equip residents with the education and skills they need to thrive
- Develop financing and governance systems
- Ensure equity across all activities
VNRC has been particularly involved in developing three of these strategies: concentrating growth in town/village centers, improving water quality and safety, and investing in working lands. We would especially welcome your input on the survey on those issues. Here some context on them, from VNRC’s perspective:
Compact growth – The plan has several “areas planned for growth” – Center, Enterprise, Metro, Suburban, and Village – that include everything except the county’s rural land. If these are the areas targeted for growth, it is important that communities have strong planning and options that encourage good design and efficient use of land – otherwise, we are at risk of more of the same suburban sprawl and strip development in these areas. Also, promoting well-designed compact settlements, and easy-to-use networks of non-motorized transportation options will help county residents save money while reducing their carbon footprints.
Water quality – The plan proposes actions that deal with non-point source pollution and that help reduce flooding and fluvial erosion hazards. These are major priorities for watershed health and water quality, not to mention sound investments to save us money in the long run.
Working lands – The plan proposes actions to protect wildlife habitat and to minimize subdivision of our farms and forests. An emphasis on better subdivision design in order to reduce fragmentation, along with incentives to keep working lands in production, are important elements of these proposed actions.
The ECOS plan is important because it charts new territory by pulling together many stakeholders for this project. Still, the plan needs strong and meaningful actions if Chittenden County is to achieve long-term sustainability. That’s where your opinions come in!
This is a great opportunity to get involved, and we encourage you to make your voices heard on these important issues.
Please vote today by visiting www.ecosproject.com