Massive over-development of valuable farmland at a rural highway exit in Vermont just doesn’t make sense.
CLF and others are challenging plans for building over one-million square feet – about the size of ten big box stores – at a scenic and rural highway exit in Randolph Vermont.
The project site includes some of the state’s most valuable farmland. In this area, good farmland is in very short supply. It supports area dairies, award-winning cheese makers and vegetable growers.
The floods and droughts from climate change mean that keeping farmland nearby is even more important.
At a recent “Act 250” land use hearing on the project, farmers explained why this land is so important. Carving these open fields into small parcels with limited access ruins the ability to continue farming in the area. Area farmers already travel great distances to access good land. Land that is close by should be more accessible.
Expert planners also showed that the proposed project falls far short of meeting regulatory requirements to protect valuable farmland. Vermont law requires that any development on good farmland must minimize the impact by clustering the buildings in a smaller area and using the land efficiently. Instead of meeting these standards the project would sprawl over more than half of the land at the site.
Paving over valuable farmland is bad for farming, bad for our climate and bad for the vitality of our downtowns.
You can hear recent story on Vermont Public Radio here, and see a display of the project’s impact below.