Anti-sprawl group releases poll results

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(Host) A new poll shows that Vermonters are worried that the state’s landscape is being consumed by suburban sprawl. The poll, conducted by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies, asked people to rate the issues that most concern them.

Evan Goldsmith is project manager with the Vermont Forum on Sprawl, a private, non-profit organization that conducts research and education on land use issues:

(Goldsmith) “The most telling thing we found is, the first question asked in the telephone poll was, ‘What issue is most important to you now?’ And it’s an open-ended question, there’s no prompting, no other information given. And, this year sprawl came up third. Last year, in 2001, it came up first. But considering things with 9/11, with the economy, we’re thrilled to see it’s even third. The economy and education were number one and two.”

(Host) This same poll has been conducted since 1998. Goldsmith says the most recent findings show that people want to see action taken to prevent sprawl.

(Goldsmith) “I think Vermonters are very interested in keeping the uniqueness of Vermont while wanting to grow at the same time. And by uniqueness I mean nice compacted villages, surrounded by working landscapes of farms and forests. And I think they feel that that is threatened, and are very concerned about it. And it seems like the people are speaking out and it’s weighing heavily on their minds. So that’s a very telling sign.”

(Host) Goldsmith says that, based on the findings, his organization plans to work with several communities to develop a successful model for village center housing.

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