Founding Executive Director, Preservation Trust of Vermont
We all appreciate what a wonderful place Vermont is—a great place to live and a great place to do business and a great place to enjoy life. The Vermont “brand” is really a crucial underpinning of this special place, and we need to be really careful about how we develop the state over time. It’s not about pickling Vermont, but we do need to be mindful that we don’t end up looking like Anywhere USA.
This means that in the future we need to be able to say no to development projects that don’t underpin the Vermont brand. The brand is really crucial to us because it’s about the only economic advantage that we have. So if we muss up our nest and undermine our brand, we not only risk creating a place that’s not as wonderful to live and work, but we also undermine our economic future.
I think that the ability to say no to inappropriate projects is a big paradigm shift. Typically our permitting process is about saying yes. But sometimes that’s not the right response.