Updated January 4, 2024
We recognize the pressing need for year-round community housing that is intended to be occupied by and affordable to residents of and persons employed in the Stowe region and view local housing shortages as a community conservation problem. Therefore, Stowe Land Trust is committed to being one of many entities - along with municipalities, other nonprofits, and private businesses - that is actively supporting local housing initiatives while aligning with our core mission. We acknowledge the importance of strategic collaboration with these entities and commit to supporting the creation of more community housing in the following ways:
Strategic Land Protection
We avoid protecting open space in designated downtowns, villages, and commercial districts that would otherwise be best suited to dense residential, commercial, or mixed-use development. Our primary focus remains on protecting farms, forests, and recreation properties in rural districts beyond designated growth areas and in using collaborative strategies other than permanent land protection (e.g. trail easements, landowner agreements) to support community connections and healthy habitats in designated growth areas. We will continue to include allowances for farmworker housing in farmland conservation projects to ensure affordable access to land and essential on-farm housing for farmers and their employees.
We recognize the Lamoille Housing Partnership as Stowe Land Trust's primary partner in housing-conservation collaborations in the Stowe region and are committed to continuing to build the scope and strength of that partnership. Other strategic partners include: the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, municipalities, regional planning commissions and Habitat for Humanity. We also seek to build new strategic partnerships with other entities such as: private developers, investors, businesses, and new organizations focused on community housing development in the Stowe, VT region.
Stowe Land Trust seeks to cooperate with Lamoille Housing Partnership and other housing entities as appropriate to create a shared prioritization of properties that meet criteria for cooperative acquisitions and jointly conduct outreach to landowners. Potential projects will generally either be conservation-led or housing-led and require strong partnerships to succeed. Stowe Land Trust is not a housing developer and does not seek to build housing.
Support for Town Planning, Zoning Amendments & Redevelopment of Land
We recognize the importance of municipal Town Plans and zoning regulations as tools that direct and affect the availability of community housing. Stowe Land Trust generally supports town policies and zoning amendments that incentivize the creation of more community housing in designated growth areas and encourage a compact settlement pattern. It is committed to strengthening coordination with Stowe Conservation Commission and Stowe Planning Commission on master town planning and engaging in local and county-wide conversations about workforce and local housing solutions. In particular, Stowe Land Trust also supports identifying already developed properties that would be suitable for redevelopment as community housing in these growth areas.
Creation of a Local Housing & Conservation Fund
We support the creation of a local housing & conservation fund - like the state-level Vermont Housing & Conservation Board for supporting statewide housing & conservation work which is funded largely through the Vermont Property Transfer Tax Return. The local fund may be private or public. Stowe Land Trust supports identifying Lamoille Housing Partnership as the local housing nonprofit currently best suited to banking donations in support of creating more local housing in the Stowe region.
Stowe Land Trust is working on establishing an ad hoc Housing Committee to review and chart a way forward on housing issues as they arise.
We collaborate with Lamoille Housing Partnership or other entities to conduct public outreach encouraging landowners to consider conservation or joint ventures with housing entities when divesting property and educating our community about housing & conservation collaborations.