Letter: Now Is Time to Fight Vermont Sprawl
To the Editor:
I was stunned to learn from the Feb. 10 editorial, “Sprawl in Quechee,” that the Hartford Selectboard is concerned about making things too difficult for developers. No one in the state of Vermont should have this concern. Vermont has exactly what developers need and want — lots of undeveloped land. It’s not necessary to cater to or acquiesce to developers. Regional and land-use plans exist for a reason, and if you run off the first few developers, don’t worry, others will follow. That’s the problem with developers. They’re not too scarce; they’re too plentiful.
Sprawl in Vermont is already increasing rapidly and will be hard to combat and nearly impossible to undo. Read Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andres Duany, et al., and read of the true costs of sprawl — including social and community disintegration — and then please don’t settle for sprawl when you absolutely do not have to do so.
If the first wave of eager developers thinks it’s too difficult to do right by Vermont, others will take their place. As the saying goes, “Don’t give away the milk for free. Make them buy the cow.” Nothing less than the future of the state and its long-term health hangs in the balance. This has proven true in state after state that allowed sprawl to alter and undermine all that was most vital to its broader well-being. Vermont doesn’t have to be the next casualty, but the time to hold tight to the best of what we are and can be is now — not after it’s too late and the best is gone.