Land Use Planning

Residents and visitors often take for granted the strategy and care of planning community's trees and forests. Urban forestry can significantly contribute to the long-term sustainability of Vermont communities and their smart growth plans, particularly when considering trees and forests as green infrastructureGreen infrastructure planning accepts continuing development and strives to integrate greenspace in the planning process to make smarter, well-informed land use decisions. The following resources highlight the community planning process pertaining to urban forests.

The resource library for Vermont's online Natural Resources 2 course is full of great information, guiding documents, and case studies for integrating natural resources into community development and municipal planning.

The Act 171 and Planning for Forest Blocks and Habitat Connectors webpage on the Agency of Natural Resource's site provides resources related to Act 171, which amended Vermont Planning Statutes to encourage and allow municipalities to address protection of forest blocks and habitat connectors while supporting the local forest products industry. 

Planning the Urban Forest is a report about the intersection of urban and community forestry with the process of community planning. It describes where and how planning can advance the goals and benefits of urban forestry.

Community Strategies for Vermont’s Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action There are many different ways that communities can help sustain forests and wildlife at the local and regional levels. This guide provides town officials and interested citizens with the tools – both regulatory and non-regulatory – to do just that.

The Road to a Thoughtful Street Tree Master Plan is a practical guide to systematic planning and design. 

To learn more about land use planning in Vermont, visit:

Vermont Planning Information Center

Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Vermont Natural Resources Planning Toolkit

Flood Ready Vermont

Community Wildlife Program

Vermont Designation Programs

Vermont has established a framework of “designations” that provide incentives to encourage communities to maintain a land use pattern of compact community centers surrounded by rural landscapes. These programs are also designed to help align environmental, housing, and transportation policies, programs, regulations, and public investments to maintain and enhance the landscape cherished by Vermonters and visitors alike.