To The Editor:
What is it, where does it go and who pays for it. The Mad River Valley Housing Summit last week was the best-attended Valley-wide gathering other than the Fourth of July. Next steps are critical and they don't seem obvious or even simple. For example, the panel was clear, new housing must fill in the existing settlement areas, this means Irasville. One person thought there was no room. However, the entire village of Woodstock would fit between, Route 17 and the Joslin Library in Waitsfield Village. Earlier studies show that 2-300 additional apartment-type housing could fit into Irasville but, not without a wastewater system. Money is there, Waitsfield, do it. The wetlands taboo needs to be mitigated to take the pressure off Route 100 so other roads can be linked and connected such as the Slow Road. This can be done with wetland swaps.
The main issue is who does it. The private sector, developers have little incentive to build small projects when they are flooded with calls for big houses. The elected officials and the volunteers can only suggest through zoning and incentives. A separate entity such as the CRG, Citizens for Responsible Growth, that orchestrated Maple Tree Place in Williston rather than the Pyramid Mall seems worth considering. Habitat for Humanity is terrific, but a drip, we need a river. Come to see the principles for eliminating sprawl at the Madsonian Museum in Waitsfield as described by planner and author, Peter Calthorpe. The interactive exhibit of housing in The Valley a month ago at the museum, especially Irasville, is being summarized and will be presented for discussion and perhaps help to move the question and solutions along.
Dave Sellers for The Madsonian.