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Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - 2007 - National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

Summary

The state of Vermont promotes compact settlements surrounded by rural countryside. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) supports this goal by funding affordable housing development in existing population centers and by preserving historic resources, farmland, forests, and public access to recreational lands. The agency pursues affordable housing, land conservation, and historic preservation initiatives under a single unique, synergistic program, which balances priorities.

Description

The state of Vermont promotes compact settlements surrounded by rural countryside. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) supports this goal by funding affordable housing development in existing population centers and by preserving historic resources, farmland, forests, and public access to recreational lands. The agency pursues affordable housing, land conservation, and historic preservation initiatives under a single unique, synergistic program, which balances priorities.

Statewide, the agency ensures that investments in one area will not adversely impact another priority. In pursuit of these goals, the agency has strategically funded affordable housing investment projects to focus development in village centers; employing existing structures with on-site water and sewer lines. This initiative promotes mixed-use, mixed-income and walkable neighborhoods. Legal agreements guarantee permanent affordability, recycling the state's investment for future generations of renters and homeowners. Since 2002, VHCB investments of $84 million have supported the development of 3,191 affordable homes and 44 historic buildings and the conservation of 37,279 acres of farmland, natural areas, and recreation lands.

VHCB has focused its policies and programs on the redevelopment and revitalization of Vermont's village centers while striving to conserve its vast open spaces and economically important farmland. As a result, VHCB has conserved over 37,000 acres of farmland and open space in the last five years. This accounts for more than 10 percent of Vermont's best agricultural soils. Additionally, VHCB has provided business planning and technical assistance to 150 farmers. This effort is helping to protect Vermont's vital farmlands and rural character.

The program's policies have preserved open spaces and improved environmental quality. Land preservation protects watershed functions, reduces stormwater runoff, and cleans up contamination. Compact redevelopment in village centers has provided increased transportation options, thus reducing auto-related emissions.

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Tags: Economic and Community Development, Finance, Sustainability/Green Issues/Environment and Natural Resources





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