Future growth deserves well-informed consideration

I would like to thank Andrew Gill for his very thoughtful letter regarding the issues surrounding the topic of growth in Shelburne. I would also like to thank the Selectboard for deciding to pursue the facts in this important issue rather than being guided by emotions and misinformation. It is only with these facts that we can make truly informed decisions that are in the best interest of Shelburne, both aesthetically and financially. The form that future development takes in our town is a very important topic and one that will shape it for generations. Development is going to happen in Shelburne whether we like it or not; we might as well make it truly “smart” and guide it by such facts as cost benefit analysis rather than public opinion. Ultimately I feel it is really a question of density of development that people struggle with.

Someone brought up a good point in the Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10 that different people define “rural” character in different ways. Do we view the development of one house per five acres (as promoted in the rural zoning district) as “rural,” or as sprawl that eats up the natural open space and farmlands? For example, would you rather see 60 homes occupying 30 acres close to the village core/growth zone, or 60 homes occupying 300 acres of former farm land in the rural zone? If you prefer the prior and the cost benefit analysis supports extending the sewer zone in a compact way, then perhaps it makes sense to use the promise of sewer service to encourage compact development patterns directly adjacent to our village core/growth zone.

Jeff Hodgson, Shelburne

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