Local organization launches against NewVistas and for responsible development


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South Royalton - Vermont

70 local residents gathered on the green in South Royalton on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the launch of a new non-profit organization: the Alliance for Vermont Communities.

According to their website, ‘the mission of Alliance for Vermont Communities (AVC) is to protect working farms, forests and communities of central Vermont and to promote responsible development that will sustain the rural heritage and values for present and future generations.’ The AVC originated in opposition to the controversial NewVistas Foundation proposal for our region.

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The launch comes a week after NewVistas Foundation president, David Hall, canceled a meeting with Royalton Planning Commission. The Foundation has also continued buying properties in the four towns, despite opposition by local residents.

'Together We Can, Stop NewVistas,' says a giant sign overlooking the field of the Tunbridge Fair, designed by AVC. Lawn signs featuring the same message can be seen across the four towns in large numbers.

Even though the immediate goal of the AVC is to stop the NewVistas Foundation plans, ‘we will work over the long term to support a vibrant economy that is of appropriate scale and temperament to our rural heritage and makes use of agricultural, forestry, and recreation opportunities,’ said Michael Sacca, chairman of the board of directors of AVC.

Peter Brink, president of the board of directors of The Preservation Trust of Vermont, also spoke at the event, and emphasized that ‘the longer-term vision is for 20 of the huge settlements to be in Vermont, starting with one million people in the Upper Valley’. He offered the support of the Preservation Trust of Vermont ‘to halt this ill-conceived development.’

Brian Shupe, executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, also offered his support ‘to the Alliance of Vermont Communities, and to our four towns, to help them plan for a future that achieves a shared community vision, not the singular vision of one person.'

Local resident and now the neighbor of NewVistas properties in Royalton, Betty LaWhite, shared her fears of the negative impact such a large settlement would have on the natural resources in this region.

Other neighbors of NewVistas properties in Sharon, Kyle and Rebecca Milaschewski, expressed their concerns also and concluded the event by asking people to join their cause: ‘We must say no to development that is out of scale for our communities and we must take up the call to action to ensure the futures we envision for our towns, because Together We Can,’ said Mr. Milaschewski.

For more information about the Alliance for Vermont Communities, visit their website at http://www.alliancevermont.org. They will also be at the Sheep and Wool Festival in Tunbridge this coming weekend, October 1 & 2 if you want to get more information.

If you have any information, questions, or comments, feel free to email me at eloquine@gmail.com. I also write about other subjects and will continue posting updates as this story unfolds. You can read all my stories at dailyUV.com/VeryVermont. And you can sign up for email updates HERE.

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