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What Vermonters Think: The 2009 Vermonter Poll Results Are In

Since 1998, Smart Growth Vermont has included five questions on the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies Annual Vermonter Poll asking respondents about their views on land use and development trends. Over the years, between 50 and 80 percent of Vermonters have expressed concern about sprawl, and between 60 and 80 percent feel that current trends in development and land use will lead to sprawl.
However, there is often a disconnect between Vermonters’ concern about sprawl and personal choice. Many people who say they are concerned about sprawl also say that they would prefer to live on a large lot in the country. This trend seems to be changing; significantly more people indicate a preference for a home in an urban neighborhood or a village center rather than in an outlying area — especially in fast-growing Chittenden County, where the preference was 62 percent. What’s more, over 80 percent of respondents say they prefer to shop in a neighborhood store or a store in a nearby downtown or village center rather than in a mall or on a commercial strip.
Perhaps it is the rising cost of gas or concern over climate change that has prompted this shift. Maybe it is a desire to support local stores or to bike and walk more. In any case, we Vermonters are beginning to walk our talk. For complete results, visit the, What Vermonters Think section on our website.