WILMINGTON TOWN PLAN
TODAY AND TOMORROW
Adopted by the Wilmington Selectboard
As Amended September 28, 2005
Robert D. Wheeler, Chair
Andrew J. Palumbo
Paul L. Myers
William B. Adams
Margaret L. Streeter
Joseph Cincotta, Chair
Adopted August 26, 1998
Adopted August 26, 2003, as amended
Adopted September 28, 2005, as amended:
Added Child Care: Chapter 3, Goal XV, Chapter 4, I
Revised Map: Land Use Districts-2005
Original: The Howe Associates, Verne B. Howe, Ph.D.
Windham Regional Commission
Table of Contents
WILMINGTON TOWN PLAN .................................................................................................................................1
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................1
A. FRAMEWORK FOR PLANNING..................................................................................................................1
B. USE OF THE TOWN PLAN ...........................................................................................................................1
C. TOWN LAND USE REGULATIONS ............................................................................................................1
D. HOW THIS PLAN WAS DEVELOPED.........................................................................................................2
E. INTERPRETATION OF THE TOWN PLAN.................................................................................................3
CHAPTER 2: WILMINGTON..........................................................................................................................3
A. NATURAL AND HISTORIC RESOURCES..................................................................................................3
B. HISTORY OF WILMINGTON, VERMONT .................................................................................................9
C. WILMINGTON TODAY/THE PRESENT ........................................................................................................11
TABLE 1 CURRENT POPULATION ...................................................................................................12
TABLE 2 LAND AREA AND POPULATION DENSITY 2000 ..........................................................12
TABLE 3 TOTAL AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT TRENDS 1989- 2001 ..............................................12
TABLE 4 AVERAGE WAGE................................................................................................................13
TABLE 5 WILMINGTON TAX RATE .................................................................................................13
CHAPTER 3: WILMINGTON PLANNING GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND POLICIES..........................16
GOAL I: EXISTING AND FUTURE SETTLEMENT: .................................................................................17
GOAL II: ECONOMY: ....................................................................................................................................17
GOAL III: EDUCATION: ............................................................................................................................18
GOAL IV: TRANSPORTATION:................................................................................................................19
GOAL V: NATURAL AND HISTORIC FEATURES: ..............................................................................19
GOAL VI: NATURAL RESOURCES:.........................................................................................................20
GOAL VII: ENERGY RESOURCES: ...........................................................................................................22
GOAL VIII: RECREATION:..........................................................................................................................22
GOAL IX: AGRICULTURE AND FOREST INDUSTRIES:......................................................................23
GOAL X: EARTH RESOURCES: ..............................................................................................................24
GOAL XI: HOUSING:..................................................................................................................................25
GOAL XII: PUBLIC FACILITIES: ...............................................................................................................25
GOAL XIII: PROVIDE SERVICE-ORIENTED GOVERNMENT................................................................26
GOAL XIV: ENCOURAGE MEDICAL AND SOCIAL SERVICES .......................................................26
GOAL XV: CHILD CARE:............................................................................................................................27
CHAPTER 4: PLANNING ELEMENTS ........................................................................................................27
A. LAND USE ELEMENT.................................................................................................................................27
B. TRANSPORTATION ELEMENT ................................................................................................................35
C. PUBLIC FACILITIES AND SERVICES ELEMENT ..................................................................................37
D. HOUSING ELEMENT ..................................................................................................................................40
E. EDUCATION ELEMENT.............................................................................................................................41
F. RECREATION ELEMENT ...........................................................................................................................42
G. ENERGY ELEMENT ....................................................................................................................................42
H. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ELEMENT.................................................................................................43
I. CHILD CARE ELEMENT ............................................................................................................................44
CHAPTER 5 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WILMINGTON TOWN PLAN ........................................44
CHAPTER 6 COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER PLANS.........................................................................46
CHAPTER 7 MEASUREMENT OF TOWN PLAN PERFORMANCE ...................................................46
CHAPTER 8 TOWN PLAN MAPS AND EXPLANATIONS........................................................................46
WILMINGTON TOWN PLAN
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
A. FRAMEWORK FOR PLANNING
The Vermont Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act (Chapter 117, 24 VSA, as
amended by Act 200), enables municipalities to undertake planning for the appropriate
development of land in order to "promote the public health and safety against fire, floods,
explosions and other dangers; to promote prosperity, comfort, access to adequate light, air,
convenience, efficiency, economy, and general welfare; to enable mitigation of the burden of
property taxes on agricultural, forest, and other open lands; to encourage appropriate architectural
design; to encourage the development of renewable resources; to protect residential, agricultural
and other areas from undue concentrations of population and overcrowding of land and buildings,
from traffic congestion, from inadequate parking, and the invasion of traffic, and the loss of peace,
quiet, and privacy; to facilitate the growth of villages, towns, and cities and of their communities
and neighborhoods so as to create an optimum environment, with good civic design; to encourage
development of a rich cultural environment and to foster the arts; and to provide means and
methods for the municipalities of this state to plan for the prevention, minimization and future
elimination of such land use development problems as may presently exist or which may be
foreseen and to implement those plans when and where appropriate." In accordance with statutory
regulations, a town plan must be reviewed and revised or readopted every five years. The first
Town Plan was adopted in February 1974.
B. USE OF THE TOWN PLAN
The plan is to be used by town boards, commissions, departments, residents, and businesses in the
To provide a framework for planning the future growth of the Town of Wilmington;
To guide decision making in site development plans and conditional use permits;
To serve as a guide in responding to Act 250 permit application requests;
To provide a framework for updating Zoning Bylaws;
To provide a guide for the preparation of subdivision regulations;
To recommend future planning studies;
To assist in the development of a capital budget and program;
To serve as a source of information and guidance to individuals and businesses making
decisions regarding their development plans.
To determine the use of natural resources.
C. TOWN LAND USE REGULATIONS
The Vermont Planning and Development Act enables four types of bylaws and regulations that
can implement the Plan.
1. Zoning Regulations: The Zoning Regulations should implement the Town Plan and
should be in agreement with its policies.
2. Subdivision Regulations: Such regulations should supervise the manner in which land
may be developed by setting forth the submission, processing, and design of subdivisions. They
should provide for the suitable layouts of lots, improvements of roads, installation of utilities,
open space, landscaping and screening, recreation areas, and the protection of significant natural
areas. Local subdivision regulations should incorporate environmental performance standards
reflecting Town policies.
3. Official Map: An Official Map may be adopted showing the location and width of the
rights-of-way for all existing and proposed streets and all drainage ways and the location of
existing and proposed public facilities for future public acquisition. Once a proposed road is
included and until its removal from the Official Map, there are restrictions against building within
the proposed right-of-way so as to preserve it for future construction of the road.
4. Capital Budget and Program: A capital budget and program are described in VSA
Chapter 117, Sect. 4426: “(a) A capital budget shall list and describe the capital projects to be
undertaken during the coming fiscal year, the estimated cost thereof, and the proposed method of
financing. A capital program is a plan of capital projects proposed to be undertaken during each
of the following five years, the estimated cost thereof, and the proposed method of financing.”
A capital project is:
(1) Any physical betterment or improvement, including furnishings,
machinery, apparatus, or equipment for such physical betterment or
improvement when first constructed or acquired; or
(2) Any preliminary studies and surveys relating to any physical
betterment or improvement; or
(3) Land or rights in lands; or
(4) Any combinations of subdivisions (1), (2), (3) of this subsection.
D. HOW THIS PLAN WAS DEVELOPED
This town plan was developed through the use of two planning strategies. The first was the public
opinion survey and the second was the formation and work of subcommittees made up of citizens.
The reports of these subcommittees are available in the town office for review. The results of the
public opinion survey and the work of the subcommittees have been incorporated into this Plan.
They are reflected in the Planning Goals, Objectives, and Policies; the Town Plan elements; and
under implementation of the Plan.
The subcommittees and their members are listed below.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY TRANSPORTATION
Chair: John Redd Chair: David Wheeler
Dotty Hoyle Arnie Bernard
Julie Lineberger Sally Mack
Michael Singer Stan and Judy Louderback
Jill Adams Paul Allen (withdrew)
Peter Vandertuin Robert Pike
Jan McNamara Myron Cross (withdrew)
Chair: Tammy Purcell Chair: Matthew Yakovleff
Michael Purcell Joseph Cincotta
Charles Abarno Peter Libby
Mark Franklin Karen Molina
PUBLIC UTILITIES AND FACILITIES EDUCATION
Chair: Matthew Yakovleff Chair: Bonnie Lorimer
Tom Donnelly Janice Karwoski
Brian Johnson Sally Mack
Mary-Ann Sullivan Lauri Cole
Greg Molina Russell Hanson
Joseph Cincotta Pat Melhop
NATURAL RESOURCES LAND USE
Chair: Barbara Cole Chair: Gordon Ketterer
Cindy Meyer David Wheeler
Robert Greene Theodore Newcomb
Helen du Mont Anne Ketterer
Bill Coombs Paul Horn
The Planning Commission would like to thank everyone, from previous members to townspeople,
for their input and support.
E. INTERPRETATION OF THE TOWN PLAN
Interpretation of this Town Plan shall be the responsibility of the Planning Commission and
Selectboard, with advice from town counsel if deemed appropriate. Except where specifically
defined as below or in the Definition Section of this plan, all words used in the Town Plan carry
customary meanings. “Should” or “May” means is encouraged but not mandatory. “Shall”, “will”,
and “must”, is a mandatory requirement.
If any portion of this Town Plan is found to be invalid, any such invalidity shall not affect the
remaining portions of this Plan.
CHAPTER 2: WILMINGTON
A. NATURAL AND HISTORIC RESOURCES
The physical geography of any region is shaped by the sum of all interacting and man-made
processes, selected and driven by climatic forces and governed by the basic geologic structure of a
region. For the Town of Wilmington, this means being located on the eastern flank of the Green
Mountains, whose bedrock consists of highly metamorphosed gneisses and schists, and whose
structure is a complex mix of folds and faults with a north-south trend. This basic foundation was
established in the very distant past - the early Paleozoic and late pre-Cambrian eras - some four
hundred million years to one billion years ago. Our landscape has acquired its present appearance
as the result of glacial erosion and deposition, during the recent Ice Age that ended about ten
thousand years ago in southern Vermont but whose effects are continuing to this day. However,
the physiography continues to change as streams and rivers move materials and carry with them
the products of weathering to new locations.
The Town is laced with many streams, each with its own set of lesser tributaries, which divide the
Town into a branching group of hills and ridges of considerable relief and separated by narrow,
intervening valleys. The Village itself is situated at the confluence of the Beaver Brook valley
from the East and the Deerfield valley from the North. It is the dominance of the Deerfield River,
with its adjacent fertile flood plain, that allows the whole region to be known as "The Valley”. The
highest and most visible feature of the landscape is the distinctive peak of Haystack Mountain,
elevation 3420 feet above sea level. Conversely, the lowest area is the surface of Harriman
Reservoir whose variable level is at about 1500 feet in elevation. Thus, the local vertical relief is
about 1900 feet, much of which is quite steep with slopes greater than 15%; the word, rugged, is
The soils on the mountains and hills of Wilmington are as varied as the landscape. On steep
mountain slopes scraped by the glaciers, soils tend to be shallow to bedrock, while on some of the
hills, the glaciers have deposited material. Nearly all of the soils in Wilmington have a glacial
origin, whether they are the finely ground silts (rock dust) or the less common gravel deposits
which resulted from outwash streams.
Much of the soil in Wilmington has been subjected to podzolization, which is a very complex
chemical alteration of the originally deposited soils.
There are areas in Wilmington which have severe sewage disposal leaching limitations. Careful
evaluation of any proposed site is necessary to prevent attempted usage of these soils beyond their
The flood plains in Wilmington contain some rich agricultural soils.
Commercially useful sands and gravels, suitable for road maintenance and construction, have been
extracted in years past and are now nearly depleted from any sizeable deposits except stream beds
and the Harriman Reservoir flood area.
Woodlands of the town are comprised of both the northern hardwood and boreal forests. The
hardwood forest is comprised of American beech, yellow birch, and sugar maple, in association
with eastern hemlock, white birch, red maple, and white ash. Pioneer species after cutting or fire
include aspen, birch, spruce, white pine or fir, depending upon site conditions. The spruce-fir
forest is comprised of red, white, and black spruces, and balsam fir. Pioneer associations after fire
or cutting may include those same species or hardwoods, depending upon site conditions.
The climate and soils have supported forests that have played such a major role in our economy
that our woodlands are now third and fourth growth forests. The timber industry plays a lesser but
still important part of our economy. The trees and wooded hills, which dominate the landscape
and provide contrast with open fields and pasture land, also serve as an important visual resource
for the Town. Likewise, the spruce-fir forest west of Lake Raponda is a special natural area.
Agricultural land, or farmland, can be defined as presently or potentially productive crop, pasture,
or range lands. Agricultural enterprise is defined as business activity directly related to
agriculture. Usually farmland is cleared, although some forestry practices, such as tree farming or
the cultivation of maple sugarbushes, may be considered agricultural. Natural and human
influence factors determine viability of farmland, both economically and in their ability to produce
crops. Some examples of natural factors are soils, slope, and climatic conditions; some factors
influenced by humans are accessibility, distance to services, development, and markets, and
proximity to other agricultural land.
Water Resources cannot be addressed without first acknowledging that the entire hydrologic cycle
is an inseparable whole. Wilmington has a humid, temperate climate. As the McHarg study
reports on Page 8, "of 53 inches of average annual precipitation, 25 to 30 inches become natural
runoff in the streams. Highest flows occur with snowmelt, and thereafter decline continuously,
reaching annual lows in August or September. During the fall and early winter streamflow
gradually increase to another peak and remain steady or decline slightly until spring again."
STREAMS AND WATERS
Wilmington is blessed with streams, ponds, and lakes that provide recreational opportunities that
include fishing, swimming, boating, and various winter sports.
Almost all the streams drain into the North Branch of the Deerfield River, which rises not many
miles to the north in the Town of Dover. Except for a few small brooks in the very southeastern
corner of the Town, all the drainage converges in Harriman Reservoir. Most streams are
dendriform with steep gradients and variable flows and their waters are soft and slightly acidic.
The North Branch of the Deerfield River is a major stream whose principal tributaries are Bill
Brook from the northeastern portion of the town, Cold Brook from the northwestern part, and
Beaver Brook from the eastern part. Rose and Binney Brooks drain the Haystack area, and flow
into the upper reaches of Harriman Reservoir.
The quality of the water in the North Branch of the Deerfield has improved since the construction
of the North Branch Fire District sewer plant and the upgrading of the Wilmington Waste Water
The largest body of water wholly within the State of Vermont, with roughly half of its 2,184 acres
of water surface lying within the Town of Wilmington, is currently owned and operated by a
In 1924 a dam was constructed within the narrows of the Deerfield River valley in our
neighboring Town of Whitingham, and the flooding of the lower portion of the valley signaled a
great change in the physical, social, and economic status of Wilmington. Although the lake serves
as an integral component of a utility company’s hydroelectric enterprise, it is now a vital and
integral part of Wilmington's economy and landscape. The power company has been, and
continues to be, attentive and supportive of collateral use of the lake. The Vermont Deerfield
River Comprehensive Rivers Plan, prepared by the Vermont Department of Environmental
Conservation, describes the environmental and ecological issues related to the operation of the
utility company system in Vermont and Massachusetts. It offers goals and recommendations for
the future. The shores of the lake remain undeveloped and are forested to the water's edge, except
when the reservoir has been drawn down in the late fall to prepare to receive the spring's snow
melt. Nevertheless, the lake is a scenic gem with wildlife sitings including the American Bald
Eagle and common Loon, while being increasingly impacted as a recreational resource.
In the eastern part of the town lies the 116-acre Lake Raponda, which supports an established
summer colony as well as full-time residences. It lies at the head of a drainage basin, leading into
Bill Brook. The Lake Raponda Association is an active group and the Green Mountain Beach
Committee monitors water quality and manages the public land and beach on the east shore of the
lake. Parking is limited as is the capacity of the area and consequently is limited to use by
taxpayers, residents, and their guests.
Just below the peak of Haystack Mountain, at an elevation of 2984 feet, lies 36 acre Haystack
Pond. Surrounded by wetlands, this pristine pond is now critically acidified and incapable of
supporting fish. Accessible only by a hiking trail, its mountainside location makes it a scenic
treasure, whether viewed from the summit or the shore. Nearby is three acre Crystal Pond, now
enclosed by woods and also surrounded by wetlands.
Mirror Lake lies at the base of Haystack Mountain Ski Area and was constructed as a source of
water for snowmaking and fire protection.
Spruce Lake, a private twenty-acre pond, is the focus of a small development that was created in
the 70's by damming a tributary of Beaver Brook.
Wetlands perform vital functions for the region, providing sources for the recharge of
groundwater, wildlife habitat, and natural treatment of the waters that flow into them. Please see
the Natural Resources Map for their location.
A significant wetland in the Town is the Lake Raponda balsam swamp, some twenty acres located
to the south of the lake. It consists of plants of unusual diversity and productivity. This area is a
dense spruce-balsam swamp with boreal plant species and a luxuriant ground cover of mosses and
A wetland of less than ten acres on Meadow Brook provides excellent food and cover, and nesting
potential, for waterfowl. Aside from the aforementioned sub-alpine wetlands on Haystack, there
are several beaver pond areas of five acres or less scattered about the Town. The fringe wetlands
along the shores of Harriman Reservoir are atypical, due to fluctuating water levels imposed by a
utility company's water management practices, and consequently, the plant communities there are
Ground water occurs in rock interstices. In Wilmington, with its high percentage of metamorphic
rock, most of these interstices were derived from secondary joints and fractures created after the
rock was formed. Wilmington gneiss, the most weathered metamorphic rock, has the greatest
number of fractures. Deep sands and gravel found near recharge sources such as streams, ponds,
and bogs are sources of ground water as well.
Well Head Protection Areas
Public water supplies derived from a ground water source should be secure. To that end the State
of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has established Well Head Protection Areas which have
been mapped. Within the Town of Wilmington 17 springs, 7 bedrock wells and 2 gravel wells
which supply water for the Wilmington Water District, Chimney Hill Owners Association and
Coldbrook Fire District have been identified. The springs that supply the Wilmington Water
District are located higher upon the slopes of Haystack Mountain. The Chimney Hill Owners
Association wells are located near the upper part of the Chimney Hill Development somewhat
west of Upper Dam Road, with additional smaller sources lower in elevation within and
surrounding the Development. The Coldbrook Fire District wells are located through the
Haystack development, with some near Haystack Golf Course. Any developments near these
wells must consider the potential effect they could have upon these sources (within the Well Head
Production Areas) and account for it in the permitting process.
In 1991 the Wilmington Water District constructed a new covered reservoir as well as upgraded
the distribution system. The system meets the Federal Clean Water Act.
Mammals including white tailed deer, moose, bear, coyotes, bobcats, red fox, skunks, chipmunks,
red and gray squirrels, rabbits, hare, porcupines, beaver, raccoons, opossum, fisher, and otter
inhabit the Town. Mink, weasels, and muskrats also live here. The forests, open fields, and
wetlands provide the needed habitat. Game birds, such as turkey, ducks, grouse, and woodcock are
abundant. Non-game species of mammals and birds find the mix of forest, open fields, backyards,
wetlands, lakes, ponds, and streams attractive. Most of the town's streams are good trout waters,
even though there are seasonal low flows. Those streams with a steep gradient, a mix of pools and
riffles, and with wooded stream sides are particularly good fisheries. Salmon have been
unsuccessfully introduced into some of the upland streams and into Harriman Reservoir. Fish
habitat exists for trout and warm water species.
Deer wintering yards, beaver colonies, and bear trails have been mapped. The bear trails are found
most commonly on the forested mountains on the west side of the Town. Many other species are
supported by the varied habitats Wilmington provides.
The appearance of deer, black bear, and coyotes in the more thickly settled parts of town have
been increasing over the past few years. Moose and bald eagle sightings have increased and great
blue herons and many species of hawks are common. The many overgrown fields, hedgerows,
open woodlands, thickets, and backyard feeders invite song birds to come and stay in the town.
The outstanding scenic quality of the Wilmington area is one of its greatest assets. The work of the
Scenic Road Committee, the planning survey, and the ad hoc planning committees show that the
protection of the scenic qualities of the Town is an aesthetic concern, as well as an economic one.
These scenic qualities separate Wilmington from other towns that are less pleasing visually, and
provide an advantage for the Town as it competes with other New England towns in attracting
visitors and customers to shops and restaurants.
There are four major types of scenic resources in the Town. They are:
1. Views from Primary Roads: What is seen on the roadsides as well as views of distant
landforms influences the visual quality of the Town.
2. Intermediate View Sheds: These are visually significant areas adjacent to primary roads,
serving as foreground for views of ridges, hills, and valleys.
3. Back Roads: The back roads of Wilmington are the connecting links to all parts of Town.
These roads provide such important visual features as leaf tunnel effects, hedgerows, stonewalls,
fences, orchards, cemeteries, wetlands, ponds, brooks, and lakes.
4. Major Land Forms: Haystack Mountain is the major landform in Wilmington. It can be
viewed from all the major highways leading into the Town and is a significant scenic resource.
Harriman Reservoir is also a significant scenic resource.
There are many historic buildings and sites in Wilmington, many of which have been identified by
the State's Division of Historic Preservation. The Village has been designated by vote a Design
Control District to protect the visual qualities of a Vermont village. Because the Village itself was
not established at its present site until 1840, much of the architecture is nineteenth century with
most buildings clapboarded. There are some buildings that are especially significant such as the
several Greek revival structures and the Crafts Inn, in the shingle style by McKim, Meade and
White. The recent renovation of the Town Hall has maintained the building's architectural
character. Among the historic sites is the Old Town Common off Lisle Hill Road. There are many
small cemeteries and other markers throughout the Town.
B. HISTORY OF WILMINGTON, VERMONT
The Town’s first charter was granted in 1751 by Benning Wentworth, then Governor of New
Hampshire (under King George II), and the town was named Wilmington after Spence Compton,
the first Earl of Wilmington, a friend of Benning Wentworth. The grant consisted of six (6) square
miles and was given to Phineas Lyman and fifty-seven (57) others. In 1763 (under King George
III) a second charter was granted for the same six(6) square mile parcel of land. The proprietors
were different people, and the town was named Draper.
As might be expected, this double granting created strife among town residents as disputes arose
over ownership of land and, of even greater significance, the issue of whether or not the area
encompassing the town was a part of the present State of New York or the State of New
Hampshire. Issues of ownership between New York and New Hampshire under the original New
Hampshire land grants were thought to be resolved in 1777 by Vermont’s Declaration of
Independence. However, lingering questions over the issues of New York - New Hampshire land
claims under the New Hampshire land grants precluded Vermont from entering the Union as the
14th state until 1791. The last remnants of this land conflict were finally resolved by the Supreme
Court in 1931.
By 1771 there were fourteen pioneering families living on what is now known as Lisle Hill. This
hilltop village settlement contained a store, a meeting house, a tavern, a church, and a number of
dwellings, with individual farms scattered about the town. In the early years of the Town, the
farmers produced beef, sheep and wool, butter, maple products, eggs, poultry and wood to sell.
During this pioneer period the forest cutting and sheep farming led to soil erosion, and thence to
declining agricultural production. George Perkins Marsh, a visionary Vermont farmer and leader,
wrote in 1864 about the damage sheep were doing to the soil, and about the problems related to
the loss of forest. When the farmers could no longer compete with farms in more fertile regions,
the exodus from Vermont began. The end of poorly managed sheep farming in the 1850’s and the
abandonment of the farms allowed the regeneration of the forest. (Marsh, G.P. 1864)
The construction of the Brattleboro-Bennington Turnpike (the current Route 9) in 1828 would
signal yet another change in the economic future of the Town. The crossroads created by this
private highway and the local town roads near the junction of Beaver Brook and the Deerfield
River would establish a commercial center for the town. 1833 was known as “the year the Village
moved to Mill Hollow.” All of the Town Hill structures but the meeting house came down to the
new town center. By the time of its incorporation in 1855, the Village contained four churches, a
school house, 80 dwellings, a town house, a clothing store, a market, a marble works, a carriage
shop, a harness shop, two blacksmiths, three lawyers’ offices, a savings bank, and daily mail
deliveries. (Deerfield Valley Times Reunion Edition, 1900.)
After the period of decreasing population, changes began to occur that brought more prosperity to
the Town. The number of farms in Wilmington increased and it became known as a cattle center.
In 1885 the Deerfield Valley Creamery Association was formed, growing to over 100 farm
members, and producing in 1923, its best year, 129,571 pounds of butter. Refrigerated cars
brought competition from the West, the building of the Whitingham Dam in 1923 flooded many
farms, and the remaining farmers turned to fluid milk production.
Maple produce has always been important to the Wilmington farmers, first for home use, and then
as marketable products. Many of the wooden tools needed in the process were manufactured in
town by Adams and Haynes, who made patent liquid holders, watering troughs, and gathering
The river system surrounding Wilmington provided for the establishment of many kinds of mills,
helping the town become a manufacturing center. There were mills for the manufacture of padded
clothing and reclining chairs, lumber, and flour. Harnesses, wagons, sleighs, carriages, cabinets,
and tinware were also produced. Wilmington experienced a resurgence of prosperity that had
waned as its residents had moved to the cities, the gold fields, and the more fertile farm land of the
midwest. (Deerfield Valley Times Reunion Edition, 1900)
The Hoosic Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad, the more familiar “Hoot, Toot and Whistle”, would
also change the direction of Wilmington’s economy. During the spring thaws, from the middle of
March to the middle of May, the Deerfield River was jammed with logs from Searsburg,
Somerset, Glastonbury, and West Dover heading for Mountain Mills, where about 100 men were
kept employed at the saw mills. The railroad provided a ready means to export these logs and
timber products to other areas.
Inevitably, the endless supply of timber would run out and the principal function of the railroad
would shift to local freight and passenger service, including tourist excursion trains. The New
England Power Company foresaw the end of lumber, but did see the potential of the river as a
source of electric power, and quietly began to buy up property rights in the valley against the time
when a series of water storage dams could be built. The first of these was in 1912, when the
Somerset Reservoir was constructed. Then in 1924 Harriman Dam flooded the valley of Mountain
Mills, inundating all the farms and the little village. Further lumber production was in the form of
veneer, furniture, boxes, and wooden wares. While the railroad came primarily for the lumber and
paper pulp generated by the mills at the Mountain Mills Development, its arrival in 1891 signaled
the emergence of a new industry in town, tourism.
Wilmington’s location, lakes, and serene beauty were a natural lure for summertime visitors. Easy
access via the railroad, that was extended to the village in 1891, nurtured this flourishing business.
Farms still in operation began to take in summer guests, while vacant farm houses became
attractive summer homes for well-to-do families from the cities. Perhaps most noticeable of the
time was the fifty-room hotel constructed on Lake Raponda in 1890, which for a quarter of a
century thereafter remained a successful destination of considerable elegance.
The tradition of elegance was continued with the construction in the center of town, of the Child’s
Tavern in 1900, now known as the Crafts Inn, a destination resort for vacationing guests. Summer
tourism served to supplement the area’s faltering economy and became a vital part of
Wilmington’s winter tourism began with the birth of the ski industry in 1953 at Mt. Snow,
formerly known as Mt. Pisgah, in Somerset. Although Hogback, Dutch Hill, Prospect, and
Bromley bounded Wilmington on the east, the southwest, west, and the north respectively, and
pre-dated Mt. Snow, they had contributed little to Wilmington’s economic base.
There were few inns or lodges in the Valley during the early years. Many people opened their
homes to guests, providing seasonal lodges. As the industry grew, more lodges were built and
new retail businesses and restaurants appeared. The Village Center was revitalized by this new
industry; craft, gift and antique shops were added. The style of guest housing changed, moving
from lodges to planned residential developments of single homes to condominiums, and then to
the concept of the destination resort with all housing and recreation interrelated. Many problems
such as on-site water and sewer arose. Recognizing the importance of the environmental damage
done in the Chimney Hill development, the town was pivotal in the debate at the state level
leading to the enactment of Act 250.
Haystack was developed as Wilmington’s own ski area leading to a further increase in the need for
goods, services and considerations for growth within the town.
C. WILMINGTON TODAY/The present
Wilmington today is an attractive New England town with a year-round population of over 2000.
Our colorful community is made up of “natives” and longtime “transplants” who came, liked what
they saw and stayed. Although our backgrounds are diverse, there is a strong sense of
“community” in our town which is fiercely protected and nurtured by its residents.
Our Village maintains the character and charm of yester-year. Through the combined efforts of
businesses and citizens and the Design Control Ordinance much has been done to preserve and
revitalize the village center. Thanks to these combined efforts the Village remains a scenic,
charming and pleasant place to stroll, dine and shop. Thought and effort are being given to
expanding cultural activities and other visitor participation events for the Village Center.
Historically, Wilmington has served as a center for commercial activity for the towns of
Whitingham, Marlboro, Dover, and Searsburg, as well as, to a lesser extent Stratton, Wardsboro,
Halifax and Readsboro. Today Wilmington continues as an important commercial center. Route
100 and Route 9 intersect in Wilmington and are major transportation corridors in the State. Route
100 is Vermont’s scenic central north-south corridor. Route 9,also a scenic route, handles east-
west traffic across the State and feeds into I-91 and Route 7. There are many businesses located on
these roads outside the Village.
New businesses have flourished along these major routes. Recent improvements on Coldbrook
Road and Mann Road facilitate the movement of skiers to and from the Mt. Snow/Haystack ski
area, and to some of the second home developments in town.
This plan encourages not only commercial businesses in the village and expanded home
occupations that will not change the character of the neighborhood. It advocates the production
and sale of crafts and value added products made from renewable natural resources. It encourages
professional people who can work at home connected to a main office through telecommunication
technology. The plan provides support for recreation and tourism. It encourages new
manufacturing opportunities in the areas of the town already producing manufactured products.
Wilmington’s current economic base is centered around the tourist industry. Our community size
changes with the seasons, shrinking during mud season and at times swelling to a temporary
population upwards of 15,000. We recognize and acknowledge the importance of our recreational
facilities both the positive and negative.
In addition to promoting Wilmington as one of Vermont’s favorite vacation sites, the town is
continually seeking and attempting to attract new businesses and light manufacturing in order to
diversify and strengthen its economic base. Individual enterprise, one of Vermont’s great
strengths, is encouraged.
Finding the right balance for Wilmington is not easy; nor will it get easier. It is difficult to deal
with economic development and property rights, without risking damage to our natural beauty and
long nurtured traditions.
The following tables represent a graphical picture of Wilmington. The statistical data given in
Tables 1 and 2 are from the 2000 U.S. Census.
TABLE 1 CURRENT POPULATION
TOWN TOTAL UNDER 15 65 AND OLDER MEDIAN AGE
Dover 1410 252 157 41.3
Halifax 782 150 118 41.9
Marlboro 978 130 98 36.7
Searsburg 96 15 9 41.8
Whitingham 1298 276 162 39.0
Wilmington 2225 368 314 41.9
TABLE 2 LAND AREA AND POPULATION DENSITY 2000
TOWN ALL PERSONS LAND AREA PERSONS PER
SQ. KM. SQ. MILES SQ. KM SQ. MILES
Dover 1410 91.4 35.30 10.9 39.94
Halifax 782 103.0 39.75 5.7 19.67
Marlboro 978 104.5 40.33 8.8 24.25
Searsburg 96 55.5 21.53 1.5 4.46
Whitingham 1298 95.0 37.08 12.4 35.01
Wilmington 2225 103.2 39.44 19.1 56.41
The statistical data given in table three is from the Department of Employment and Training.
TABLE 3 TOTAL AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT TRENDS 1989- 2001
AVERAGE ANNUAL EMPLOYMENT
TOWN 1993 1996 2001 1993-2001
Dover 1,112 1,204 1237 11.2%
Wilmington 905 900 1057 16.8%
Marlboro 229 239 374 63.3%
Whitingham 231 231 247 6.9%
Halifax 42 41 62 47.6%
Windham County 22,955 23,501 23,392 1.9%
Vermont 252,384 270,369 317,134 25.7%
Wilmington shows an increase in employment and is above the county increase, but below the
The statistical data given in table four is from the Vermont Department of Taxation
TABLE 4 AVERAGE WAGE
TOWN 1993 1996 2001 1993-2001
Dover $19,243 $19,796 $18,945 (1.5%)
Wilmington 18,229 19,516 19,372 6.3%
Marlboro 19,216 22,839 20,814 8.3%
Whitingham 20,373 22,218 24,525 20.4%
Halifax 21,026 22,091 19.167 (8.8%)
Vermont 20,671 22,543 26,918 30.2%
Windham County 29,233
Table 5 shows the changes in the Wilmington Grand List and Tax Rate from 1955 to 2000.
TABLE 5 WILMINGTON TAX RATE
YEAR APPROPRIATION GRAND LIST* VALUE TOWN APPRAISED TAX RATE*
1955 $ 131,352 $ 30,195.00 $ 6,039,000.00 $ 4.35
1965 310,993 36,036.00 7,207,200.00 8.63
1970 742,941 192,251.00 38,450,200.00 3.82
1975 1,126,989 283,701.00 56,740,200.00 3.98
1980 1,464,864 596,956.87 59,695,687.00 2.46
1985 2,156,837 1,529,073.26 152,907,326.00 1.40
1990 3,991,798 2,039,776.00 203,977,600.00 1.96
1995 4,724,803 2,137,320.60 213,732,060.00 2.214
2000 7,037,899 Town 3,157,443.89 315,744,389.00 2.16
Edu. GL 3,161,943.89 316,194,389.00
2003/04 9,309,148 Town 3,218,160.64 321,816,064 2.8877
Edu.GL 3,225,110.64 322,511,064
Source: Wilmington Board of Listers *Figures do not necessarily reflect 100% fair market value.
WILMINGTON IN THE YEAR 2005….A POSSIBILITY
The results of the public opinion survey and the reports of the planning subcommittees form the
basis for this vision. Resource use, conservation, agriculture, industry, commerce, recreation,
aesthetics, transportation, energy, public utilities, education and the Village are considered in this
projection of the year 2005.
Since 1995, Wilmington has remained an attractive, busy town with its primary industrial base in
recreation and tourism, but with a secondary base in individual enterprise with small home
businesses dispersed throughout the Town. There are several
larger light manufacturing concerns and professional service offices in the Town. During the past
few years there has been an increased effort to attract new businesses that complement the
business and manufacturing present in 1995. As a result of this effort new businesses have moved
to Wilmington and employment opportunities have increased. A Wilmington Village
Merchants/Business Association has been organized. The members work together to enhance the
Village Center. The Chamber of Commerce has increased membership enough to support
establishment of a Visitors’ Center.
Much work has gone into the revitalization of the Village Center in order to make it pedestrian
friendly, attractive to shoppers and other visitors as well as a place for local people to meet, rest,
walk, and carry on their business. The number of retail stores has increased, and along with those
stores present in 1995, provide an attraction for residents of the Town and for visitors on a year-
round basis. A successful effort has been made to provide housing for the elderly in the Village
where stores, services, churches, a library, and cultural activities are located and easily accessible
to the elderly.
The revitalization began with the development of a pathway along the north bank of the North
Branch of the Deerfield River from Craft’s Inn to the Red Shutter Inn. The shoreline has been
planted with natural vegetation necessary for retaining the stream banks and for fish protection.
Trees have been planted along the path and there are benches. The pathway has been edged on the
north with plantings behind which lies a well landscaped parking area connecting all the
businesses. Merchants on both sides of West Main Street have participated in the development of
this parking area and in the landscaping of the river pathway. There is a footbridge at the western
end of the pathway that crosses the North Branch giving access from the Village to a new well-
landscaped parking area off Mill Street. A pathway has been developed along Beaver Brook from
WILMINGTON 2005 continues...
the bridge at South River Street to the bend in the brook at the True Value Store. This pathway
follows the same plan as the one along the North Branch.
Another pathway connects to Mountain Mills on Harriman Reservoir along the old railroad bed.
Buzzy Towne Park is used extensively year-round. There is a new improved playground, a ball
park, and an additional tennis court. The tennis courts are flooded in the winter to provide skating.
The convenient benches invite people to sit, watch, and relax.
Parents and friends of the Deerfield Valley Elementary School planned, designed, and built a new
playground at the elementary school in 1992. Improvements to the play fields and a connecting
pathway to the village also contribute to its utilization.
A Conservation Commission has been formed according to Chapter 118, 24 VSA. This
commission has worked with the Planning Commission and the Selectboard to make the
heretofore-unknown Shafter Park conveniently accessible. The park is a wooded area with paths.
The Old Town Common has been improved and a map of the original common with the sites of
houses, store, and meeting house shown. Interest has increased in the Historic Society. Greater
numbers of members and funding opportunities have enabled the Society to acquire a house in
Town that is being restored for use as a museum. People have been generous with their money and
artifacts. An active garden club has been organized, resulting in more trees and garden plots
throughout the Town. Plantings on town property have added to the appearance of buildings and
public land. The Town Garage has been moved outside the Village. Its removal has allowed for
more parking behind the buildings on the south side of East Main Street. The perimeter, however,
is park-like with plantings of grass and trees and the addition of benches.
Walking, hiking, snowmobiling, horse riding, and bike trails in the Town have been mapped and
marked, and are used extensively throughout the year. Efforts are being made to develop walking
trails that connect the Village Center with recreation areas and other points of interest. On the
west side of Harriman Reservoir the trail to Whitingham has been marked. The Green Mountain
National Forest has worked with the Wilmington Conservation and Planning Commissions to
promote the use of their trails that connect with other trails in Wilmington. The realignment of
Route 9 at the Oxbow has provided another site for picnicking. A system of interconnecting
mountain bike trails for use in summer, and for cross-country skiing in winter, was mapped and
reconstructed, and is now well used and maintained. The new Zoning Bylaws contain standards
for the siting of businesses that provide parking, landscaping, architectural style, screening, and
buffer strip requirements for such developments. As a result of these requirements, manufacturing
and commercial development along the major highways is attractive, convenient, well screened,
and separated from abutting properties.
Mount Snow owns and operates the Haystack Ski Area which continues to attract large numbers
of skiers. The residential development at Haystack has expanded and the golf course is a
With an expanded Design Control District the appearance of the Village has improved and the
character of a village developed during the nineteenth century has been maintained. The
WILMINGTON 2005 continues...
interconnecting pathways and in-Village parks have all added to the charm of the Village. Visitors
are attracted to the Village and along with residents of the Town support the local businesses. The
school board, faculty, and staff have worked with committees of parents and friends to improve
the quality of education in grades K through 12, resulting in the performance of the students
exceeding the State average considerably. In addition, adult education has become a vital
contribution to the community. Courses of interest to residents are offered for life long learners.
Area colleges participate in this program, as do local artists, gardeners, craft persons, musicians,
and other teachers. Some of these courses have led to new home occupations, producing value
added products from local renewable natural resources. In 1995 the business community joined
with the school to form apprenticeships to keep youth resources in the Valley.
All municipal buildings, such as the town office, police station, fire house, Memorial Hall, the
schools, and the library, the churches and museum, and the stores have become accessible to all
people. Energy audits of all the municipal buildings have been made, and measures are underway
to correct any problems encountered. The capital budget and program has helped the Town
officials to plan and arrange payment for capital expenditures that are necessary.
Parking problems have been resolved by Village businesses and the Town. As a result, there are
more parking spaces that are available for local people and visitors who want to use the cultural,
shopping, and business entities in the Village. Back roads are scenic and safe.
The State Transportation Study results have led to improved movement of traffic in the Village.
An expanded bus system from the resort area brings vacationers to the Village to shop and eat.
Wilmington’s natural resources are being constantly evaluated by the Conservation Commission.
Conservation programs have been introduced into the schools, and programs for adults have been
initiated. The municipality and the townspeople are working together to enhance the Village, to
ensure that the scenic, historic, economic and natural resources of Wilmington, as well as the
surrounding areas, are protected, and to ensure that local growth is beneficial to all and
CHAPTER 3: WILMINGTON PLANNING GOALS, OBJECTIVES,
Using the recommended language provided by the Vermont Department of Housing and
Community Affairs this section of the Wilmington Town Plan covers the planning goals,
objectives, and policies which we believe to be the priorities for the Town of Wilmington. They
have been designed to guide the future growth of the Town. The first twelve goals are the
statewide goals of Chapter 117, 24 VSA. Goals 13 and 14 are additional goals of the Town. All
show the desired future conditions of the Town in relation to living and working conditions,
natural resource protection, municipal facilities and services, education, housing, energy use, and
The objectives are currently recognized short term ways by which the goals can be reached. The
policies are statements of courses of action to be taken by the Town of Wilmington.
GOAL I: EXISTING AND FUTURE SETTLEMENT:
To Plan Development so as to Maintain the Town’s characteristic Settlement Pattern of
Compact Village and Rural Countryside.
Objective 1: Encourage the continuance and enhancement of the Village as a viable,
friendly, attractive, commercial center with a mix of residential and commercial uses.
Policies: a.) Make the village pedestrian friendly by encouraging the development of
attractive walk-ways, resting benches and public rest rooms.
b.) Place attractive directional signage throughout the Village identifying the
Village surroundings for visitors.
c.) Ensure compliance with the requirements of the Sign Ordinance and Design
d.) Encourage and promote the use of green areas Within the Village, such as,
for parks and recreation.
Objective 2: Encourage higher density residential and commercial growth near the
Policies: a.) Permit the use of Planned Unit Development and cluster development
designs for commercial, industrial and residential development outside the village.
b.) Encourage vacation home and resort development that provides adequate
protection of the natural resources and the quality of life of the residents of the
town, and that maintains Vermont’s traditional character.
, Objective 3: Maintain the rural character of the Town outside the Village by
encouraging the continued existence of cropland, meadows, pasturelands and forested
hillsides and mountains.
Policies: a.) Discourage intensive development along highways to minimize “strip
b.) Encourage screening for commercial developments by requiring
landscaping and buffer zones, when necessary to hide unsightly storage of
equipment or material.
c.) Promote the continued operation of agricultural and forestry enterprises.
GOAL II: ECONOMY:
To Provide a Strong Diverse Economy that Provides Satisfactory and Rewarding Job
Opportunities, Maintains Environmental Standards, and Expands Economic Opportunities
for People in all Income Brackets.
Objective 1: To encourage economic growth and diversification in any way that is
consistent with Wilmington’s identity as a traditional New England Village and a residential
Policies: a.) Pursue economic, cultural, and recreational development opportunities as
well as obtaining a “Village Designation” per 24 V.S.A. Chapter 76A and strive to
obtain a “Downtown Designation”. that will provide long range economic benefits
and stable employment opportunities.
b.) Encourage businesses that will employ local people full-time on a year-
round basis, with benefits.
c.) Encourage home based businesses, including those that utilize new
d.) Seek light industries and professions that do not negatively impact the area.
Work with existing economic development groups to achieve this purpose.
e.) Require industry and businesses to control and properly dispose of all
GOAL III: EDUCATION:
To Broaden Access to Educational and Vocational Opportunities that Advance Full
Realization of the Abilities of the People of Wilmington.
Objective 1: To provide high quality, cost effective educational opportunities to all
students in a stimulating and supportive environment.
Policies: a.) Create a forum to increase the frequency and quality of communication
between the School Board and other Town Boards for the purpose of furthering this
b.) Encourage participation of all school age residents in school activities.
Objective 2: Encourage educational and vocational experiences and opportunities
for all residents of Wilmington.
Policies: a.) Use existing school facilities for adult education programs and other
community social and cultural activities.
b.) Encourage educational forums taught by local professionals and business
persons in the pursuit of educational enrichment.
c.) Encourage colleges and universities to offer courses and programs of study
in the town.
d.) Conduct a survey to determine the educational needs of residents.
e.) Expand the use of the library by extending hours and increasing the number
f.) Encourage the continued development and use of the internet Website for
town government informational purposes.
GOAL IV: TRANSPORTATION:
To provide for safe, convenient, economical and energy efficient transportation systems.
Objective 1: Maintain roads in a condition of adequacy, and safety and with due
regard for their scenic qualities.
Policy: a.) Encourage the Selectboard to develop an improvement and maintenance policy
for town roads. The policy should be used to develop multi year improvement
plans. The scenic qualities of roads should be protected and enhanced so long as
safety is not compromised. The policy should also provide for public notice of
major changes to a roadway, such as widening and paving.
Objective 2: Alleviate traffic congestion in the Village.
Policies: a.) Encourage the development of appropriate parking areas, park and ride lots
and bus services.
b.) Encourage monitoring the traffic patterns of all types of transportion.
Objective 3: Develop a pedestrian friendly and attractive village.
Policies: a.) Form a committee made up of local citizens to implement the above stated
b.) Review alternative traffic patterns within and around the Village to and
including vehicular, pedestrian, bike and snowmobile.
Objective 4: Coordinate transportation goals within the Valley.
Policies: a.) Support services that provide transportation for residents and visitors,
especially the elderly and handicapped.
b.) Explore construction of pathways from the village to the Deerfield Valley
Elementary School and Mountain Mills to help alleviate local traffic and improve
safety of school children, residents, and visitors.
c.) Encourage the development of transportation systems with neighboring
GOAL V: NATURAL AND HISTORIC FEATURES:
To Identify, Protect and Preserve Important Natural and Historic Features of the
Objective 1: Protect unique natural areas from uses that would significantly alter
their scenic, educational or scientific values.
Policies: a.) Encourage the identification and inventory of sites of geological
significance, waterways and unique habitat, areas with premium stands of trees,
unusual plant communities or significant wild life habitat that may require special
policies for protection. (See Goal VI, Obj. 5 for related policies.)
b.) Encourage the identification and inventory of scenic views and features.
These should be protected from development that would have an adverse impact.
c.) Encourage the siting of buildings so that views will not be obstructed.
d.) Encourage burial of utility lines whenever feasible.
Objective 2: Protect historic sites and structures of significance.
Policies: a.) Identify sites of historical and educational and/or archaeological value.
b.) Continue to maintain and improve the site of the Old Town Common
protecting and preserving its historic significance.
c.) Provide access to and develop Shafter Park to protect and preserve its
historic value and significance.
d.) Reuse or rehabilitate historic buildings in the community as a method of
e.) Ensure that lands adjacent to or including areas or sites of historical,
educational and/or archaeological value should be used only in a manner that will
not reduce or destroy the value of the site or area.
GOAL VI: NATURAL RESOURCES:
To Protect, Maintain and Improve the Quality of Wilmington’s Natural Resources: its Air,
Water, Wildlife, Plant Life and Soils.
Objective 1: Reduce negative impact on air quality.
Policy: a.) Screen proposed activities for their air polluting potential and limit or
prohibit those air-polluting activities.
Objective 2: Protect aquifer recharge areas, significant groundwater sources and
Policies: a.) Encourage the identification and inventory of these areas.
b.) Strictly regulate development in aquifer recharge and significant
groundwater areas and protect these areas from development that will contaminate
c.) Any new water supply or waste water system should not deplete or
contaminate any existing water supply system and should be designed and operated
to minimize water demand.
d.) Land alteration that interferes with the natural flow of water to surface
waters should be reviewed to assure maintenance of water quality and minimize the
potential for erosion.
e.) All development in floodways or fringes is subject to Wilmington Flood
f.) Riparian buffers along the shorelines of watercourses, streams, river ponds
and lakes shall be maintained as a means to protect surface and ground water
quality, reduce pollution and erosion, and provide wildlife habitat.
g.) Development within shoreline areas of streams lakes or ponds should be
compatible with the natural beauty of the area and protect existing vegetation.
Objective 3: Wetland areas, swamps, bogs, fens, marshes with open water or with a
vegetative mat over a high water table should be protected and retained in their natural
Policy: a.) Wetlands should be protected from development by maintaining an
undisturbed buffer strip of naturally vegetated upland around the wetland edge.
Objective 4: Protect steep slopes and unstable soils and to discourage development
in areas with unsuitable topography.
Policy: a.) Encourage the design any development or land use to minimize the
potential impacts of erosion, slides, and earthquakes.
Objective 5: Identify and protect unique natural areas and their significant plant
and animal communities, wildlife habitats, and rare and endangered plants and animals and
Policies: a.) Consider formation of a Conservation Commission to identify and
inventory those lands that should be listed as Conservation and Natural Resource
b.) Establish criteria to evaluate potential uses of these lands that will minimize
any adverse impact and be compatible with their long-term protection.
c.) Consider creating buffer strips around natural areas to preserve their value
for education, science, research, aesthetics and recreation.
d.) Protect aquatic habitat by limiting in-stream disturbance from forestry,
recreational or developmental uses. Water removed from a stream for
snowmaking, hydroelectric generation, or other purposes should minimize adverse
impacts on the ecosystems of that stream. A conservation flow should be
maintained and the biological and chemical integrity of the stream should not be
diminished. Consideration should be given for fish and other wildlife passage, and
the use of those waters by people.
e.) Deeryards should be evaluated and protected.
f.) Waterfowl habitat in Vermont is in limited supply and should be protected
from development that would make that habitat unsuitable for waterfowl.
g.) Rare and endangered plants and animals and their habitats should be
identified and protected.
h.) Encourage the town to invest in natural resource areas for their protection.
GOAL VII: ENERGY RESOURCES:
To Encourage the Efficient Use of Energy and the Development of Renewable Energy
Objectives 1: Encourage energy conservation and the use of alternate,
environmentally responsible energy sources.
Policies: a.) Continue to carry out energy audits of all municipal buildings on an
appropriate time scale.
b.) Encourage all new construction to be energy efficient.
c.) Encourage the use of The MOOver in the Deerfield Valley.
d.) Promote and develop trails and paths for non-motorized uses.
e.) Encourage the use of historically appropriate outdoor lighting.
f.) Encourage implementation of renewable energy sources such as wind and
GOAL VIII: RECREATION:
To Maintain and Enhance the Recreational Opportunities of Wilmington’s Residents and
Objective 1: Continue to preserve and improve Town-owned lands with recreational
Policies: a.) Encourage the identification and inventory of existing and potential
b.) Improve these sites to enhance their natural, aesthetic, and historical value;
determine safety improvements needed.
Objective 2: Work with other entities and agencies such as the power company and
National Forest Service, to foster and promote the use of their land for non-commercial
Policies: a.) Encourage identification of areas of interest and the formation of
committees to work with these agencies to develop plans and programs for these
b.) Work with existing organizations to explore the use of existing recreational
trails and sites for year-round use.
c.) Encourage the Wilmington Recreation Committee to develop varied
recreational activities for all ages in all seasons.
Objective 3: Provide user-friendly information about recreational activities located
in our Town.
Policies: a.) Encourage the creation of a plan to identify and protect recreational sites.
b.) Encourage the dissemination of descriptive literature of town activities and
Objective 4: Encourage commercial recreational development that complements the
natural terrain and aesthetic beauty within our town.
Policy: a.) Foster a user-friendly atmosphere for potential developers relative to local
permit information and referral to state agencies.
GOAL IX: AGRICULTURE AND FOREST INDUSTRIES:
To Encourage and Strengthen Agriculture and Forest Industries.
Objective 1: Encourage, identify, preserve, protect and conserve our forest and
Policies: a.) Encourage the identification and inventory of significant forested and
agricultural lands located in Wilmington.
b.) Forests should be utilized in a manner that will not significantly reduce
their ability to retain surface and ground water.
c.) Timber harvesting should follow a professionally prepared plan that
minimizes adverse impacts on the forest and aim for sustainability.
Objective 2: Encourage the use of agricultural and forest land for the economic
Policies: a.) Encourage the development of seasonal products and agricultural activities,
such as but not limited to apiculture, dairy, horticulture, haying, truck farming,
raising of livestock, and maple sugaring.
b.) Encourage the development of the forestry industry such as timber
harvesting and forest management; product transportation, and cordwood sales.
c.) Encourage the manufacture of value-added forest and agricultural products
and the use of locally grown and produced products.
Objective 3: Encourage the development of conservation measures for protecting
the long-term viability of our agricultural and forest lands for future generations.
Policies: a.) Encourage the creation of a plan to protect existing tree species.
b.) Discourage fragmentation of large tracts of forest, agricultural and resource
c.) Encourage a plan to conserve productive forest and agricultural soils.
d.) Encourage development in non-agricultural or marginal agricultural land.
e.) Support efforts to protect agricultural and forest resources.
GOAL X: EARTH RESOURCES:
To Provide for the Wise and Efficient Use of Wilmington’s Earth and Mineral Resources.
Objective 1: Conserve our earth and mineral resources and the subsequent natural
resources impacted by them.
Policy: a.) Encourage the identification and inventory of significant sand, gravel, and
mineral deposits located in Wilmington, noting environmentally sensitive areas.
Objective 2: Establish a balance between the economic need for, and the
environmental importance of, our earth and mineral resources.
Policies: a.) Encourage the development of a method to evaluate environmental and
economic impacts and benefits from gravel extraction operations.
b.) Extraction or processing of earth resources should have minimal adverse
impact on the environment.
c.) Plan and site development to permit future earth and mineral extraction.
Objective 3: Ensure site rehabilitation after earth resources have been extracted.
Policy: a.) Encourage site rehabilitation emphasizing health and safety concerns,
environmental conditions, and scenic qualities.
GOAL XI: HOUSING:
To Ensure the Availability of Housing for all Residents of Wilmington.
Objective 1: To maintain a stable and demographically diverse community base by
encouraging housing availability at varied prices, sizes and locations to meet the needs of all
Policies: a.) Encourage the inventory and evaluation of existing housing to determine
what type of housing is needed in Wilmington.
b.) Encourage the development of a comprehensive land-use policy, the
implementation of which will encourage and promote the development of primary
c.) Encourage energy efficient housing that is practical, cost-effective, and
Objective 2: Preserve and maintain the mixed use and historic character of the
village and town.
Policy: a.) Encourage the design of new housing and other construction in and adjacent
to the village which is compatible with the village’s existing historic and residential
Objective 3: Encourage the Development of a program for addressing the housing
needs of those with low and moderate income.
Policies: a.) Encourage the evaluation and inventory of possible locations for
development of affordable and elderly housing close to community and commercial
b.) Support efforts to provide affordable housing for low and moderate income
and elderly residents.
c.) Encourage developers to participate in building affordable housing.
GOAL XII: PUBLIC FACILITIES:
To Plan for and Provide an Efficient System of Public Facilities and Services.
Objective 1: To ensure that the basic needs/issues of health and safety are provided
to the citizens of Wilmington.
Policies: a.) Continue to require that all appropriate town departments review any
proposed development plans and provide evaluation(s)/input to the Selectboard as
to the impact said development will have on the public facilities and services of the
b.) Continue development and presentation of capital budgets for consideration
by the voters.
c.) Encourage town officials to continue their support of the recruitment and
retention of personnel for voluntary services.
d.) Encourage town officials with the help of appropriate local and state
agencies to continue to pursue and develop methods to improve:
i. solid waste management
ii. the conservation of water
iii. handling of hazardous materials
iv. up-date sewer ordinance regularly
e.) Encourage adequate availability of sewerage capacity within the sewer
GOAL XIII: PROVIDE SERVICE-ORIENTED GOVERNMENT
To Provide a Government Organized to Serve the Residents of the Town in a Beneficial
Objective 1: Ensure that the Government provides ready accountability, well-
managed finances, amicable working conditions and excellent communication among town
boards, employees and residents.
Policies: a.) Encourage town employees in their work.
b.) Continue to improve communication between town government, its
employees, and residents.
c.) Continue to provide the opportunity for residents to share their concerns by
encouraging participation of the public at meetings of town boards and
commissions and through the internet web-site.
d.) Consider sponsoring forums on local government issues.
e.) Encourage media coverage of public meetings.
Objective 2: Inform residents and visitors about town policies and its permitting
Policy: a.) Prepare a guide to the town by-laws and regulations.
GOAL XIV: ENCOURAGE MEDICAL AND SOCIAL SERVICES
To Encourage Excellent Non-Emergency Medical Care and Social Welfare for Wilmington
Objective 1: Promote excellent health care.
Policies: a.) Encourage the support of health and social welfare agencies that supply
services to the residents.
b) Encourage the Evaluation of future health care needs and trends.
GOAL XV: CHILD CARE:
To ensure the availability of safe and affordable child care and to integrate child care issues
into the planning process, including child care financing, infrastructure, business assistance
for child care providers, and child care work force development.
♦ Objective 1: Encourage the provision of quality childcare services and facilities to
meet the needs of the area residents, workforce, and employers.
Policies: a) Conduct a child care needs assessment to determine the supply and demand
for child care in Wilmington.
b) Encourage schools to stimulate interest in early education careers through
community service and apprenticeship programs.
CHAPTER 4: PLANNING ELEMENTS
A. LAND USE ELEMENT
The Land Use Committee was one of several subcommittees of interested citizens and Planning
Commission members that worked on the preparation of this chapter. The Committee sought public
opinion in order to give the Town of Wilmington direction in land use planning and development. The
following land use priorities were identified.
1. Relate future land use density to the capacity of the land and the community facilities in place
to accommodate growth.
2. Maintain the historic settlement pattern of compact village separated from rural countryside.
3. Maintain Wilmington Village as the center of community affairs and commercial activity.
4. Encourage the clustering of commercial, industrial, and residential development with the
purpose of protecting valuable natural resource and scenic lands.
5. Manage existing viable agricultural lands, mature sugarbushes and forest lands so that their
renewable resources can be utilized now and in the future.
6. Coordinate with adjoining communities to avoid adjacent land uses that may conflict.
The Planning Commission developed several planning maps to assist in the process of analyzing land
use, community facilities, transportation, and natural resources. The maps were prepared to show
where and how Town Plan policies should influence future land use and development in Wilmington.
See CHAPTER 7 TOWN PLAN MAPS AND EXPLANATION for a description of these maps.
Pattern of Land Use and Settlement
Based on the mapping of Wilmington's lands, current land use was analyzed and the following
characteristics of the Town's settlement pattern were determined:
Wilmington Village functions as the center of Town government, public services, and
community affairs. The Village is an area of clustered mixed land use containing residential,
commercial, professional, institutional, municipal, recreational, and cultural uses and activities. A
greater density of dwellings (including multifamily dwellings) is found in Wilmington Village than in
Haystack resort is an area of outdoor recreational activity including a ski area, golf course, and
tennis courts. Associated secondary development includes dwellings, lodging, restaurants, and resort-
related commercial enterprises. A concentration of seasonal condominium dwellings is located at the
Residential land use occupies the outlying areas, is random in its settlement pattern, and is
predominantly single-family dwellings. Many home occupations and cottage industries are associated
with permanent residences. Vacation dwellings account for 71% of the housing stock, and although
many are concentrated at or near the ski resort, others are located along the shores of Raponda Lake,
near Harriman Reservoir, at Chimney Hill development or dispersed throughout the Town.
Commercial and industrial land use is located in the Village and along Routes 9 and Route
100 approaching the Village. A large concentration of commercial development is located along both
sides of Route 100 from the intersection of Higley Hill Road north to the intersection of East Dover
Road. A smaller concentration is located along Route 100 near the Deerfield Valley Elementary
School. Scattered commercial development is also found along Coldbrook Road on the way to
Haystack-Mount Snow resort. Institutional land uses outside of the Village are the health center on
Route 100 South, Deerfield Valley Elementary School on Route 100 North and the medical facility on
Active agricultural land use comprises a small acreage of Wilmington lands representing a
drastic decline since the turn of the century, comparable to the trend in agricultural use in many
southern Vermont towns. Open meadows are maintained by mowing and are rather extensive
throughout the Town.
Forest-related land use is significant and includes private, non-industrial lands which provide
for wildlife, recreation, and forest products. Private utility lands are extensive and comprise
approximately 3558 acres.
Lands in public ownership consist of the Green Mountain National Forest, Molly Stark State
Park, Wilmington Town Forest and Glebe land. Much of the remaining land provides important
recreational and scenic resource in the Town, as it is commonly used for hunting and fishing, cross-
country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
There is a strong interest among townspeople to favor continuation of the familiar random settlement
pattern of both residential and commercial development. However, as a town, we should be aware of
the potential consequences of this pattern. Given continued pressures for even modest growth,
settlement along Class 2 and 3 roads may eventually resemble a pattern of rural sprawl. Along several
Town roads this situation is already occurring and may detract from, rather than enhance, the desired
rural community character of Wilmington.
Over a period of time, dispersed linear settlement tends to become strip development, which can cause
traffic congestion and safety problems, loss of neighborhood setting, and loss of rural open spaces. In
this regard, it is necessary to distinguish between commercial and residential varieties of strip
development, as each presents different problems and solutions.
Individual homes and subdivisions built in forested areas and scattered along existing back roads at a
relatively low density pose another type of impact. The built up area is usually close to the road and
bounds larger tracts of undeveloped interior parcels.
Land Use Classification
In order to encourage a pattern of development that conforms to the goals, objectives, and policies
outlined within this Town Plan (CHAPTER 3), the following land use classification has been prepared
for the Town of Wilmington. This system is based upon the delineation of districts which are
described below and depicted on the Proposed Land Use Map which is attached.
Wilmington lands are classified into the following districts: Conservation, Recreation, Village,
Commercial/Planned Development (CPD), and Residential. The location of these land use districts is
shown on the Proposed Land Use Map which is attached and a part of this Town Plan.
Among the factors considered in preparing the Proposed Land Use Map were the following: existing
sewer and water service, existing publicly owned lands, existing rural settlement, current commercial
and industrial land use, agricultural, forestry, and wildlife resource values, proximity to public
highways, and the need for economic vitality.
It should be noted that the Proposed Land Use Map is not a regulatory device. Its implementation will
require further action by the Town as the Town applies its regulations and other means for reaching its
land use objectives. Zoning amendments will be required to implement the district concepts outlined
The land use classification is designed to relate to all bordering lands in a positive manner. Searsburg,
Somerset, and Readsboro to the west are primarily in the Green Mountain National Forest.
Wilmington's Conservation District relates well to these lands in that they all have remote forests. The
southern and eastern boundary of Wilmington's Residential District has mostly forested segments that
support mixed rural uses also found in Whitingham, Halifax, and Marlboro. The northern boundary of
Wilmington's Recreation District relates well to Dover's plan to maintain a high density resort area on
the mountainside. The establishment of limited commercial areas along Route 100 also demonstrates
consistency between the two towns.
A brief explanation of purposes, description, and suggested land use guidelines for each land use
Purpose: To protect the undeveloped nature of those forest lands that provide scenic and
recreational opportunities, public water supply, watershed protection, flood storage, fish and wildlife
habitat, and timber production.
Description: Lands in this district are publicly-owned lands including Green Mountain National
Forest, Town of Wilmington land, Molly Stark State Park, and private utility lands. Lands are
characterized by extensive forests with few roads and dwellings. These lands are important as upland
watershed and aquifer recharge areas, as essential habitat for fish and wildlife, and as an outdoor
recreational resource. Harriman Reservoir is a 2,185 acre reservoir created for hydroelectric power
generation, with other valuable assets including recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and flood storage.
Ultimate land use management of the lands in this district is under the auspices of these public and
The following land uses are typical: Outdoor recreation, education, commercial forestry, and public
water supply. Any structures built should be limited to those in direct support of these activities.
Purpose: To provide for a concentration of moderate to high density development that is
convenient to the ski slopes and other recreational amenities, respects the physical site limitations of
these lands, and recognizes Wilmington Village as our Town center.
Description: Lands in this district include the commercial base area of Haystack-Mount Snow and
adjacent lands. Also included are all the permitted residential and commercial sites under the
Haystack Master Plan. This District joins and is an extension of the Base Area II-
Commercial/Residential, and abuts B1, C1, E1 and J1 Zoning Districts in the Town of Dover.
The following land uses are typical: Ski area (including trails, ski lifts, maintenance buildings and
other ancillary buildings); recreational facilities for example, tennis courts and golf courses; lodging
for transients; dwellings for permanent/seasonal residents; restaurants; convenience variety stores;
retail stores; and professional services. Recommended residential density should not be greater than 4
units/acre. Commercial density should not exceed the existing scale of density found in the resort area.
Purpose: To maintain Wilmington Village as an area of clustered mixed land use that is in scale
with the historic, existing, and desired character of the Village, and which serves residents and visitors
Description: Lands in this District are depicted on the Proposed Land Use Map. They include lands
that are suited for village development and the Wilmington Village Historic District (a National
Register designation) for which design control regulations were adopted in 1984.
The following land uses are typical: Dwellings; industry; retail businesses; restaurants; professional
and business offices; gas stations; hotels/motels/inns/bed & breakfasts; and buildings for religious,
educational, municipal, cultural, and social activities. Some parcels are undeveloped and serve as open
space lands. Lands served by water and sewer should be settled at a residential density ranging from 1
unit per 1/4 acre to 1 unit per 1/3 acre. Lands not served by either water or sewer should be settled at
a residential density ranging from 1 unit/acre to 1 unit/5 acres. Commercial density should be built to
maintain the existing village scale. Future standards for commercial and industrial structures should
limit bulk, height, and total floor space.
Commercial/Planned Development (CPD) District
Purpose: The purpose of this district is to limit sprawl and roadside strip development while
promoting open space preservation and historic village settlement patterns by designating areas
within the Town for certain kinds of commercial growth. These types of developments must meet
Planned Unit Development requirements as well as consider physical and environmental
limitations, such as flood hazard areas, wildlife habitat, steep slopes and traffic volume and flow.
Description: The Commercial Planned Development areas are as shown on the Land Use Map
and where possible these areas should correspond to parcel boundaries and other physical criteria.
The following land uses are typical: Retail businesses; industry; restaurants; educational facilities;
hotels/motels/inns/bed & breakfasts; gas stations; automobile, recreational vehicle, and heavy
equipment sales and repair; wholesale storage and distribution; building supplies; fuel storage; and
professional services. Zoning standards for lot size, parking, access and circulation, open space
protection and design of structures will need to be developed that are specific to the particular
situations in each of the Commercial Planned Development areas.
Purpose: To provide areas for dwellings and other small-scale rural uses including home
occupations with consideration being given to historic settlement patterns, aesthetics, natural resource
production, and economic vitality.
Description: Lands in this District are depicted on the Proposed Land Use Map and are already
committed to residential development or appear to be capable of accommodating a significant
proportion of the expected growth of the Town. They are the balance of lands not designated for
Roadside, Recreation, or Village type development. They include lands which are used for agriculture
and forestry purposes.
The following land uses are typical: Dwellings and accessory structures and uses; home and
professional occupations; certain community facilities (such as cemetery, church, and Town garage);
group residential quarters such as retirement/nursing homes, special group homes, dormitories,
summer camps, and small-scale commercial lodging (inns or bed & breakfasts). Retail operations are
appropriate for farm, forest, and artisan/craft products. Commercial forestry, agriculture, earth and
mineral extraction and recreational uses that utilize appropriate management practices as established
by the Town are also typical for this District. Residential density should range between 1 unit/acre to 1
Planning and Design Considerations
In addition to classifying Wilmington lands, this section identifies natural resources and physical
characteristics of Wilmington which are fragile and/or have high resource value in their natural state,
and whose character places constraints on land use and development.
Soils characteristics create physical site limitations to farming, forestry, and land development. Soils
can be shallow, unstable, subject to erosion, wet or poorly drained. Any of these features alone, or in
combination with steep slopes are critical factors in determining appropriate land use in Wilmington.
Special planning and design standards should be considered and reflected in zoning and subdivision
regulations and considered by landowners in their own land planning. The following areas have been
mapped on the natural resources map:
Areas above 2500 feet--As part of the Green Mountain range, higher elevations are vulnerable to
serious problems caused by increased rainfall on steep slopes, shallow soils and disturbed ground
cover. It is recommended that these areas be protected by careful review of any development
Surface waters (rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands)--These resources have natural, scenic, and
recreational value. Their value can be easily diminished or destroyed by unwise development. In so
far as practical, surface waters and shorelines should be retained and maintained in their natural state.
Well-head protection areas--These areas are mapped by the Vermont Department of Health in order to
delineate the minimum area needed to protect a public water supply. Land uses should be limited to
those which pose no threat to the quality of the water supply.
Flood hazard areas--These areas are identified so that development in flood hazard areas does not
impede the flow of flood waters or endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Deer wintering areas--Low-lying softwood stands with southern exposures provide critical shelter
from deep snow and cold temperatures. Road and housing construction and other forms of similar
development reduce both the quantity and quality of deer wintering areas.
Bear production habitat--This resource area supports relatively high densities of cub-producing
females. Generally contiguous and remote forest land, these areas contain critical habitats necessary to
bear survival. The long-term stability of Vermont's bear population depends upon these areas and any
development proposals in these areas will require careful review.
Rare and threatened plant and animal locations--Sites have been designated and mapped by the
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and require protection from the impacts of development.
Scenic areas--Haystack Mountain and the ridgeline which forms the spine of the Green Mountain
National Forest are prominent landforms. They provide a dramatic scenic impact from many
viewpoints in Wilmington.
Scenic roads--These roads were identified by the Wilmington Planning Commission as having the
most scenic value to residents and visitors. Consideration should be given to these scenic values.
Agenda for Action
For almost every goal stated in CHAPTER 3, objectives and policies have been developed that relate
to or impact land use. These objectives and policies should be relied upon by the Town in
implementing its vision for future land use. The following action steps are suggested as further
ways to assure implementation of this Land Use Element.
1. Incorporate Land Use Classification (5 Districts) proposed in this Town Plan into the Zoning
2. Planned Residential Development (PRD) and Planned Unit Development (PUD) allow for
flexibility in development design and are the mechanisms through zoning for creating compact siting
of structures with preservation of open space (cluster-style development). At present, PRDs are
permitted throughout the Town.
Upgrade present PRD standards and create new standards for Planned Unit Developments (PUD).
These standards should vary for different contexts: village, open meadow, woodland, river valley, and
resort so there is not uniform development everywhere. In some circumstances clustering may be
3. Where allowed and appropriate, develop design standards in the Zoning Regulations for
parking (both on-site and off-site), loading/storage, landscaping, screening, signs, building setbacks,
and height requirements for the 5 Districts in Town. If appropriate, these standards should reflect or
enhance the existing or historic qualities in our Town.
4. Create an expanded home occupation definition in the Zoning Regulations so that, to a limited
degree, residents are able to expand and hire employees.
5. Limit the impact of existing and future strip development in our commercial areas by
landscaping; minimizing curb-cuts; using common access roads; and designating parking area
location. This can be accomplished through Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
6. Consider expansion of the Design Control District to other Village District lands. Provide for
the best possible informed review of applications in the Design Control District.
7. Develop standards which will minimize the adverse visual impact of buildings and facilities
on ridgelines, slopes, and open areas.
This can be accomplished through Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
8. Develop and propose for adoption, outdoor lighting regulations that protect privacy, the night
landscape, and mitigate light pollution.
9. Promote the adaptive use of older structures.
10. For purposes of meeting flood insurance requirements to Wilmington residents, continue to
maintain flood hazard regulations that meet Federal and State standards. Incorporate flood hazard
regulations into the Zoning Regulation.
11. Allow for full use of lands in the Village District by permitting infill development in the
12. Consider allowing roads in which the width, grade and curvatures are comparable to existing
roads which have proven safe, and negotiable all seasons of the year and have a volume of traffic
commensurate with the design proposed. This can be implemented through Subdivision Regulations
or a Road Ordinance.
1. Streetscape Improvements in the Village: Public investments in off-street parking, street
furniture, plantings, sidewalks, lighting, underground utilities, walking paths, and public restrooms
would create a more attractive Village.
2. Taxation: Vermont's Use Value Appraisal Program enables landowners who choose
agriculture or forestry as long term uses of their property to have that land taxed accordingly. The
Program encourages the maintenance of undeveloped land for farming, forestry, and recreation.
Towns may also provide property tax relief for qualifying farm, forest, and open space landowners by
adopting local tax stabilization programs to reduce local property tax burden.
3. Certified Local Government: This designation would enable Wilmington to be a stronger
partner with the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation in carrying out Survey, Inventory, and
National Register projects as well as preservation planning and education activities in Town.
Wilmington would also be able to apply for special matching grants only available to Certified Local
4. Land Acquisition and Easements: The purchase of land in fee simple, by lease, by acquisition
of easements or development rights, and by gift are all methods available to Towns. These means,
although relatively expensive, are the most certain methods for protecting and assuring access to and
enjoyment of valuable lands. Landowners can also negotiate conservation agreements with
organizations such as the Vermont Land Trust in order to protect productive agricultural and forest
lands, wildlife habitat, natural areas, or public recreation lands.
5. Recreation, Tourism, and Home Enterprises: The Town through its elected and appointed
officials will need to participate with the Chamber of Commerce, private utility lands, Green
Mountain National Forest, Wilmington Village Association, neighboring towns, and any other
associations or organizations that have an interest in recreation, tourism, and home enterprises to
effectively plan for the future of Wilmington and the Deerfield Valley.
6. Affordable Housing: The Town of Wilmington in partnership with housing and other
community organizations should seek the most effective ways to deal with local housing needs.
7. Grant Seeking: Where appropriate, Town boards and other private and non-profit
organizations should seek and apply for grants to pay for programs, equipment, and staffing for
community needs identified in this Town Plan.
8. Voluntary Action: Citizen actions might include privately-agreed restrictive covenants binding
on purchasers of land; special attention given by private and public landowners to the goals,
objectives and policies of this Plan when they decide to develop land; formation of or involvement in
non-profit conservation or community land trusts; participation in organizations concerned with the
future of Wilmington; and establishment of conservation areas which preserve the natural beauty and
resources of Wilmington.
B. TRANSPORTATION ELEMENT
Early settlers in Wilmington traveled by foot, horse, and ox cart and for many years animals were
used to draw wagons, stage coaches, and buggies. Most homes had a barn that accommodated
horses and horse drawn vehicles. There was a livery stable in the village for boarding horses and
housing vehicles. However, since the arrival of the automobile, people have depended upon it for
transportation, hauling, and delivery.
Wilmington is served primarily by the automobile. Rail transportation was discontinued in 1936.
The Deerfield Valley Transit Association (DVTA) initiated bus service from the Deerfield Valley
Health Center to Mount Snow Ski Area in 1996. DVTA buses pick up passengers at 43 bus stops.
Limited air transportation is available at the small airstrip in the adjoining town of Dover.
Wilmington is a crossroads town with Vermont Routes 9, east-west, and Route 100 (formerly 8),
north - south, meeting at the traffic lights in the Village. Route 9 has become the principal road
across the southern end of the state. There has been a long-standing concern over the traffic at the
junction of Routes 9 and 100, as well as concern over the heavy through traffic in the commercial
center. Estimated from 1984 to 1996 the traffic volume has increased approximately 39%
according to the Agency of Transportation historic traffic volume counts. As early as 1972 the
Planning Commission studied and reported on ways in which to correct this situation. In
December of 1992 the Agency of Transportation replaced the traffic light with a more
sophisticated model and installed another traffic light on Route 9 and its junction with Ray Hill
Road to help alleviate congestion.
Much interest in the scenic value of Town roads has been expressed by residents. Concerns over
Town road standards in relation to scenic quality have also arisen. There is a general recognition
that safe, well-maintained roads with scenic attractive road sides represent a valuable economic
asset. A scenic road inventory of all town roads was conducted by members of the Planning
Commission and other interested people in 1992. The inventory was based on “Designating
Scenic Roads - A Vermont Field Guide” developed by the Vermont Scenery Preservation Council
and the Vermont Transportation Board (June, 1979). Scenic values such as vegetative patterns,
vistas, water, rock walls, type of road, and historic sites were balanced with negative values, such
as utility lines, landscape scars, and structures out of context, to come up with an overall rating for
each road. These ratings and inventories are on file at the Town Office to help guide road
reconstruction activities, and are shown on the Transportation Map.
Several ad hoc committees have been established by the Town to work on transportation
problems. In 1986 the District II Environmental Commission started to retain jurisdiction on all
Act 250 permits issued in the towns of Wilmington and Dover relative to traffic (Criterion 5).
This concerned not only the permittees but the Towns as well. In response, the towns in
cooperation with the Windham Regional Commission, formed a committee of 6 people, 2 each
from Wilmington, Dover and Marlboro to both define the traffic problem and suggest any possible
solutions. A consultant was hired using both public and private (impact fees) moneys. The so-
called Bruno Study, completed in 1988, quantified the amount of traffic at 25 intersections, as well
as major roads, reviewed accident locations and projected trends for traffic in this area. Based on
this work, it was clear that there was a traffic problem at times (summer, fall and winter) well
beyond the traditional design hour (30th peak hour of traffic). The focal point of the problem was
the intersection of Vt. Routes 9 and 100, and the increased truck traffic that compromised the
quality of life in the village. The Bruno Study found that only substandard changes could be made,
and that the problems would return within 5 years. Consequently, the Town decided to take no
action other than to continue with the signalization improvements, restricted parking at peak times
and allow right turns on red. The committee continued its work by conducting another study to
evaluate possible bypass corridors around the village, providing the foundation for a Federal
Environmental Impact Statement scheduled for completion in 1998. An East-West by-pass,
possibly a truck route with limited access, has been considered as one way to relieve the problem.
Accompanying this could be the development of an alternative route west of the Village for traffic
moving north to the resort areas.
Parking areas are badly needed as well as improvements to make the Village pedestrian friendly.
The Village's addition to the local economy can be enhanced by reducing through traffic and by
increasing parking availability as well as by concentrating on the aesthetic quality of being “in the
Village.” The recognition of a sense of place is the first step in Village improvement.
TRANSPORTATION DEMAND MANAGEMENT
The Deerfield Valley Transportation Study Committee was involved with one other study done by
Resources Systems Group in 1992 and paid for by the private impact fees mandated by the District
II Environmental Commission. This study reviewed options such as car pooling, ride sharing,
shuttle bus systems, alternative work schedules and other non-construction methods of reducing
traffic, particularly during peak periods. The option with the most potential involved the
expansion of existing shuttle bus systems. Although this could positively impact commerce in the
village of Wilmington (considering the lack of parking), quality of life issues associated with
trucks and other through traffic would not be addressed.
In 1996, the Deerfield Valley Transit Association (DVTA), an independent body, was formed
through the joint endorsement of the selectboards in Wilmington and Dover. Granted funding for
a three year pilot program by the State of Vermont, the DVTA gained the required ridership
numbers through absorbing existing condominium shuttle bus systems.
Policies: a.) Walking and cycling could be encouraged by the construction of safe trails
and paths connecting centers of population with educational facilities, sports
facilities, recreation areas, in the village, and other points of interest.
b.) Developers could be encouraged to limit the length of roadway in a
development, thereby limiting the miles driven by residents and service people.
Such a limitation on length of roadways should be required in PUD and PRD
Wilmington has a relative wealth and variety of private and public recreation trail networks. There
are also hiking trails on Green Mountain National Forest (to Haystack Peak) and Molly Stark State
Forest (to Mount Olga) and snowmobile trails which exist on mostly private land. Other public
trails, particularly for transportation purposes, are limited to about six miles of Class IV Town
road and two miles of town trail. Several concepts for public trails have come forward over the
past few years:
Wilmington village to the Deerfield Valley Elementary School perhaps as part of the Agency of
Transportation improvement of Route 100 and Valley Trail’s effort to connect to Dover. (DVTSC
Riverside along the Beaver Brook and North Branch through the Village. (Streetscape
Study and Planning Commission)
Mountain Mills Connecting the Village with Harriman Reservoir along the former
Catamount Trail is located on the west side of Harriman Reservoir along the old railroad
Recently, federal and state funding for these types of projects has become available. However, the
Town would only pursue these concepts with the cooperation and agreement of affected
Sometimes people perceive that a Class IV road or Town Trail is not important by virtue of its
classification. However, increasing utilization of these town resources make it apparent that these
resources must be retained, especially for future generations.
Policies: a.) Town road policies should be developed to reflect the functions, scales and uses
of the various roads.
b.) Initiate action to plan and develop offstreet parking, with appropriate pedestrian
amenities, along the riverside off West Main Street.
C. PUBLIC FACILITIES AND SERVICES ELEMENT
Public facilities refers to the buildings and land owned by the town. Public services refer to
infrastructures and services provided by the town or in cooperation with the Town, for the general
public. These facilities and services are the Town Hall and Police Station, The Pettee Memorial
Library, Memorial Hall, the Fire House, the Town Garage, Rescue, Health, Water, Waste Water,
and Solid Waste. Location of the public facilities to be shown on Map #1.
Other public facilities, transportation, housing, education, recreation, and energy are treated as
The Town buildings are a major asset of the Town. They provide space for the majority of Town
services. In addition, they provide space for groups that provide a variety of services to the
public. Some of the Town buildings are in need of improvements, particularly to accessibility,
code conformance and energy efficiency.
The recent renovation of the Town Hall and Police Station has improved this structure and its
accessibility and made it more usable by the public. In addition, Pettee Memorial Library was
enlarged and renovated in 1997 with funds raised by the voters, donations, and a federal grant
obtained by the Library Trustees. The rest of the Town buildings should be inventoried and
studied specifically as to their need for code conformance, accessibility, space use, and the
provision of current and future town services.
Policy: a.)Work towards supporting handicapped accessibility, energy efficiency, and code
conformance of all town and public buildings.
Wilmington has a volunteer fire department with a paid full-time chief, dedicated volunteers and
an auxiliary. There is a four bay firehouse. The Wilmington Fire Department responds to
approximately 185 calls per year. They are now connected to a Keene, New Hampshire
dispatching service. The department participates in a mutual aid agreement with neighboring
towns. The town has adopted a Locatable Address Ordinance and has numbered and signed all
roads in town.
There is an equipment replacement program and an extensive fire safety program that includes in-
house and external training programs.
The establishment of procedures to comply with state and federal mandates continues.
Policy: a.) Encourage annual self-evaluations of the department and its needs.
The Wilmington Police Department when formed in 1969 and had one officer. The Wilmington
Police Department consists of 3 full-time patrol officers, 1 Sergeant and a Chief of Police who
provide 24 hours of police coverage to the residents of Wilmington. There are also 3 part-time
officers who work on an as-needed basis. Two Wilmington Police dispatchers provide dispatch
and office services to the community. The Vermont State Police pick up the remaining 16 hours of
The Wilmington Police Department provides quality service to the community and continues the
efforts with community based educational programs including internship programs for high school
Policies: a.) Encourage the continuance of preventive community based law
b. Encourage self-evaluations of the Department and its needs on an annual basis.
Wilmington has been fortunate to have an independent non-profit rescue service based in town for
a number of years. Deerfield Valley Rescue has provided a vital public need for residents and
With the increase of rescue calls, the officers of Deerfield Valley Rescue have identified the need
to provide stress management courses for their members. New volunteer members are frequently
Policy: a.) Continued self evaluations of the services offered and equipment needed.
The town funds the services of a town nurse for residents. The town also supports the health
efforts of other regionally based health agencies.
The Deerfield Valley Health Center is located at the junction of Routes 9 and 100 south. There are
a number of other health services available in Wilmington to valley residents and visitors.
Policies: a.) Encourage the ongoing examination of the health service needs of the
Deerfield Valley and encourage the establishment and growth of services to meet
b.) Encourage wellness and other health care education programs.
c.) Create a listing of health care services available in and around the Deerfield
Wilmington is a member of the Windham Solid Waste Management District. Many opportunities
have been established for recycling. Wilmington's landfill has been closed and the site has been
converted to a transfer station.
Policies: a.) Continue current composting and recycling practices.
b.) Keep residents and visitors informed of services available.
c.) Continue to monitor Wilmington’s waste management and recycling
needs and encourage the establishment and growth of services to meet those needs.
d.) Encourage educational programs regarding the environment, recycling and
The Wilmington Water District is a municipal system independent of the town. The water for the
system comes from springs on Haystack Mountain. A new covered storage system was built in
1992 and the distribution system is being upgraded. Water flow to each building in the system is
now metered. The commissioners of the water district have allowed for additional users within
the district but have not planned for any expansion of the district.
Chimney Hill water system is a privately owned water system providing water for the Chimney
The Cold Brook Fire District water main extension policy was designed to meet the future
expansion plans of the Haystack Mountain resort.
Policy: a.) The Town and Water District should work cooperatively for the benefit of
WASTE WATER SYSTEM
The Wilmington Waste Water System has been upgraded to a secondary system. Storm water has
been excluded from the system. Connections to the system have increased. In 1997 the plant
operated at 71 percent capacity. Biosolids are composted and sold for use as mulch and soil
The Cold Brook Fire District has been established to serve the north west corner of the Town
including the Haystack development.
Policies: a.) Maintain adequate treatment to serve the needs of the sewer district.
b.) Encourage conservation measures.
D. HOUSING ELEMENT
An adequate supply of year round housing of all types and costs are necessary in the town so that
all segments of the population can enjoy home ownership or appropriate home rental space.
Based on the Windham Regional Plan, Wilmington’s housing stock in 2000 consisted of 1064
year round homes and 1168 seasonal homes. Permanent, year round homes represent only 48% of
the housing stock. The high seasonal growth rates of the 1980”s appear to have leveled off in the
1990’s, due in part to conversion of already existing seasonal housing to year-round use. Often
vacation properties are purchased or constructed at prices out of scale to the local economy,
causing higher prices for local housing and subtracting from housing available to year-round
Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs no more than 30% of the income of a
household earning the county median income. Not only the Vermont Department of Housing and
Community Affairs uses this definition but also by lending institutions. The United States
Department of Housing and Urban Development lists the 1990 median household income in
Windham County as $30,800 for a family of four. An affordable monthly rent (including utilities)
for such a household equals $770.
However, in 1994, it was estimated that 36% of all households in Windham County have incomes
below 80% of the median county income. These households must spend a higher percent of their
income for housing. The supply of affordable rental housing in Wilmington is somewhat limited
because of the seasonal demand for rentals. A winter seasonal rental can command more rent than
would be affordable to a year round resident.
The Windham Regional Commission Plan-1996 page 106, says "Between 1980 and 1985 there
was not a significant gap between what an average Windham Regional household could afford to
purchase and the average selling price of a home. In 1986 the gap between affordability and cost
began to widen." This gap has continued to widen. "The cost of housing has dropped slightly and
yet a significant affordability gap still remains." The factors that have contributed to this gap are
the increased cost of materials, labor, and water and waste water systems. The permit processes
and other factors have had an impact on these increasing costs as well.
The Deerfield Valley Affordable Housing Association acquired a 3-acre parcel of land with a
house of historic significance. It rehabilitated the house creating two energy efficient dwelling
units while maintaining the historic quality of the building. The DVAHA project agreed with the
results of the public opinion survey which indicated that Wilmington residents favor the
rehabilitation of existing buildings and the creation of duplex housing.
Policies: a.) Encourage the provision of affordable housing.
b. Support the continued use of existing housing stock for residential use.
E. EDUCATION ELEMENT
Wilmington supports an elementary school north of the Village; and a combination middle school
and high school in the Village. Over the years many committees composed of school board
members and citizens of Wilmington and Whitingham have worked to provide a more efficient
method of educating the children of both towns. Wilmington supports the Pettee Memorial
Library. A public opinion survey indicated an interest in an adult education program.
Policies: a.) Continue efforts to cooperate with other schools to provide a better
b.) Continue support for increasing library hours of operation, the library
collection, and the offering of special programs.
c.) Encourage adult education programs.
d.) Conduct self-evaluation of the library collection, hours of operation and
e.) Encourage the further development of work programs within the
f.) Continue to research the possibility of an alternative school system.
g.) Keep pace with current technologies.
F. RECREATION ELEMENT
The Recreation Commission, established in 1972, has been providing recreation opportunities for
children over the years. It has begun to expand into adult recreation. There is a need to further
expand these opportunities for all ages throughout the year. We should also recognize the need for
recreational activities for our vacationers. This is a potential major income source for our
Policies: a.) Establish a recreation program for adults.
b.) Establish a recreation program for youth during the academic year.
c.) Work to develop walking and hiking trails.
d.) Explore ways to develop additional playing facilities in the town.
e.) Cooperate with community groups such as local snowmobile clubs,
sportsmen’s clubs, etc. to facilitate recreation activities, such as snowmobiling,
fishing, hunting, cross country skiing, snowshoeing.
f.) Work with the schools and government agencies to provide safety courses
in recreational activities.
G. ENERGY ELEMENT
Transportation and heating are the largest consumers of energy in Wilmington. This planning
element concentrates on these two uses.
Historically, wood has been the most important source of home and business heating in
Wilmington. When the railroad reached Wilmington, coal became an important source of heat.
After World War II, oil, and LP gas, and were more widely used. In the sixties and seventies,
electricity became a popular heating source due to its low initial cost. When the cost of oil
increased with the OPEC embargo, many residents again turned to wood as a principal source of
heat or as a supplementary source. The community has been receptive to alternative energy
sources including the use of wind, water and both active and passive solar heating technologies.
Policies: a.) Conservation of energy can and should be practiced in all buildings.
b.) The Town has taken the lead in improving the energy efficiency of the
newly renovated Town Hall. The town should continue to monitor energy
efficiency of all municipal buildings and facilities by making the necessary changes
to ensure their energy efficiency.
c.) The town should continue to encourage energy efficiency.
d.) Encourage education about energy efficiency.
H. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ELEMENT
Within the last fifteen years, Wilmington has lost several major employers, resulting in the loss of
over 100 jobs or close to *10% of the workforce. There has also been a considerable loss in
diversification of the economy. The major goal of this element is to pursue and encourage a
diversity of stable business and employment opportunities.
Given the proximity to the Mt. Snow ski resort, Wilmington’s economy is heavily dependent upon
the seasonal tourism industry. The more diverse the economy, the healthier it is. Therefore,
economic development in Wilmington should not only focus on businesses catering to tourism,
but also the creation and growth of a stable base of diverse businesses and employment
*Based on 1990 Census
Policies: a.) Initiate a study to identify ways to remedy the lack of sufficient parking in
the Village Center. Develop a group of business owners and town officials to
explore alternate parking sites.
b.) Encourage the town to apply and obtain a “ Village Designation” per 24
V.S.A. Chapter 76A and to strive for a “Downtown Designation”.
c.) Attract and encourage the development of new businesses.
d.) Encourage the continued development and growth of services that are
conducive to a strong, growing environmentally friendly economy, such as
communications, financial services, education, and transportation.
e.) Encourage the establishment of a Village Enhancement Committee.
f.) Work with Vision 20-20 organization.
g.) Continue positive communication with surrounding towns.
h.) The Town believes that home occupations are important to the economic
growth and well being of the community. Any regulation that includes home
occupations should not infringe upon the right of any resident to use a minor
portion of a dwelling for any occupation which is customary in residential areas
and does not change the character of the dwelling or the surrounding areas.
I. CHILD CARE ELEMENT
In addition to education for school-aged children, child care and early childhood education are
important components of the community and its future. Accessible, affordable, quality childcare
will have a direct effect on the growth and vitality of the town by encouraging young families to
locate and remain in Wilmington.
The population in Wilmington has grown 13% between 1990 and 2000. In 2000, 21.5% of the
population is under the age of 18 with 5% (101) under the age of five and 17% (379) between six
and seventeen. In 1990, 7% (138) of the population was under age five.
In 2000, there were 597 households with families residing in Wilmington. Of those households,
43% of the families had children under the age of 18. Of the families with children under 18, 21%
were headed by a female with no husband present. The percentage in Wilmington is larger than
the average for the State (19%) but less than the Windham County (22%) average.
Although there has been a decrease in the number of children under the age of 5, there has been an
increase in the number of residents since 1990. According to the 2002 Windham County Vermont
Child Care Needs Assessment, compared to the national average, Vermont has a larger percentage
of women in the workforce. If these trends continue it is possible that there will be an increase in
the number of families needing child care.
As of June 2005, the Deerfield Valley Elementary School’s preschool program is the only licensed
provider in Wilmington according to the Vermont Department for Children and Families.
However, this is not a full day program. Wilmington residents must rely on licensed child care
facilities and registered home providers in surrounding towns of Dover, Whitingham, and
Marlboro or in their town of employment.
Policies: a) Support town and regional efforts to increase the availability and
affordability of child care.
b) Encourage the provision of quality childcare services and facilities to meet
the needs of the area residents, workforce, and employers.
CHAPTER 5 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WILMINGTON TOWN
This Town Plan provides the framework for managing the growth of the Town of Wilmington.
The goals provide the long-term direction. The objectives, the short term direction and actions that
need to be taken.
1. Zoning Bylaws
This Plan serves as a guide by which the Planning Commission may begin a review of the current
zoning bylaws and revise them as needed.
2. Subdivision Regulations
Subdivision regulations were prepared by the Planning Commission and public hearings held by
the Planning Commission and Selectboard in 1990. Because of the negative response from
property owners and potentially costly processing expenses for both the town and applicants, the
proposed regulations were not taken to the voters. A fresh examination of the needs of the town
and the desires of the voters is in order, and should be undertaken by the Planning Commission to
determine if the public now supports subdivision regulations. If the majority of the voters now
support them, then the Planning Commission should again prepare and submit subdivision
regulations. Target Date 03/2004
3. Capital Budget and Program
The Wilmington Select Board should explore expansion of its capital budget programs.
4. Conservation Commission
The Planning Commission should investigate the benefits of establishing a Conservation
Commission as outlined in Chapter 118, 24 VSA, and prepare a report of its findings for the
Selectboard and residents. Target Date 2004
5. Design Control
The Planning Commission should re-evaluate the Design Control process. Target Date 2003
The Town should continue to work with the Agency of Transportation to resolve current issues.
Scenic roads and segments of roads have been mapped. The Select Board should include concern
for and consideration of scenic qualities in their road policies and ordinances to protect these roads
from being impacted in a negative manner.
The development of adult education opportunities should be encouraged.
The Recreation Commission should work to develop programs for residents of all ages.
9. Coordination With Neighboring Towns
It is important that Wilmington officials communicate with officials of adjacent towns to
accomplish common goals. The Planning Commission should monitor the impact of Wilmington's
growth on adjacent towns and in particular Dover's growth on Wilmington.
10. Village Relocation
Just as the needs and aspirations of the community in 1833 dictated that the Village be moved
from Lisle Hill to Mill Hollow, the needs and aspirations of the community may dictate the future
relocation of the Village; therefore, nothing contained in this Town Plan shall be construed to
prohibit the Town from relocating the Village or the outer village, or portions of either or both
(whether consisting of the Wilmington Village Historic District or otherwise), to any location
within the Town without regard for Land Use Classifications (Amended June 9, 1997)
CHAPTER 6 COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER PLANS
A. Adjacent Towns
This plan is compatible with the town plans of Dover, Whitingham, and Marlboro. Readsboro,
Halifax, and Somerset do have approved town plans, Searsburg does not. Route 100 connects
Wilmington and Dover, towns with ski areas and common interests. Route 100 is characterized by
residential and commercial land use along its entire length. The Handle Road in Dover, an
extension of Cold Brook Road in Wilmington, also connects the towns and the ski areas. Land use
along these roads is residential mixed with several inns. Route 100 connects Whitingham to
Wilmington and Route 9 connects Marlboro and Searsburg to Wilmington.
B. Windham Region
The Windham Regional Plan is intended to provide guidelines for planning and coordination of
review of the natural and economic features of Windham County. The Windham Regional Plan is
viewed as a companion document to the Wilmington Plan. The Wilmington Town Plan is in
agreement with the Regional Plan.
CHAPTER 7 MEASUREMENT OF TOWN PLAN PERFORMANCE
In order to measure and track the Town of Wilmington’s progress in achieving or adopting the
objectives and recommendations of the Town Plan, the Planning Commission shall meet with the
Selectboard no less than 60 days prior to the annual Town Meeting, to review and report on the
current status regarding compliance with the Town Plan. This review may contain
recommendations for additions and/or revisions to the Town Plan in accordance with the
Certificate of Town Plan Adoption Procedures.
CHAPTER 8 TOWN PLAN MAPS AND EXPLANATIONS
A portfolio of maps is available for examination at the Wilmington Town Offices. These maps were
prepared by the staff of Windham Regional Commission under direction of the Wilmington Planning
Commission. Smaller scale maps are attached as part of this Plan.
The maps were prepared to show where and how Town Plan policies should influence future land use
and development in Wilmington. Together with Town Plan policies, these maps will be used by the
Planning Commission as a guide for appropriate bylaws and other measures necessary to implement
The Planning Commission recognizes that these maps may be subject to inaccuracy and misleading
interpretations when applied to small parcels of land. If this is kept in mind by landowners these maps
will be useful when making preliminary decisions about the use of land, its potential for development,
and problems that call for more detailed site survey and studies. These maps, however, should not be
depended upon as the only basis for investment and development decisions. The Planning
Commission and the Windham Regional Commission disclaim any liability for losses incurred
through inappropriate or improper use of these maps.
Map 1 Community Facilities, Recreation, and Cultural Sites
This map includes Wilmington's community buildings and facilities, cemeteries, historic areas, public
and private recreational facilities.
Map 2 Transportation
This map includes Wilmington's network of roads (paved and gravel) and includes scenic road
segments identified by the Wilmington Planning Commission.
Map 3 Natural Resources
This map identifies known natural resource areas and sites in Wilmington which should be protected
from development that threatens their value or their continued use, access, and enjoyment by the
public. These resources are more thoroughly described in the Land Use Element (Planning and Design
Considerations) and include:
Areas above 2,500 feet
Surface waters (rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands)
Wellhead protection areas
Flood hazard areas
Deer wintering areas
Bear production habitat
Rare and threatened plant location
Scenic areas and scenic roads
Map 4 Existing Land Use
This map shows 12 categories of existing land use as interpreted from orthophotography taken in
Map 5 Land Use Districts -2005
This map sets forth a classification system with five land use districts that reflects Town Plan policies,
recognizes existing land use patterns. The Land Use Map in conjunction with the text describing
Wilmington's land use classification (see Land Use Element) presents a generalized picture of the
Town as it should develop in accordance with sound planning policies.
ACT: Refers to the Vermont Planning and Development Act 24 Vermont Statutes Annotated,
Chapter 117 in effect as of July 1, 1990, as amended July 1, 2004.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Affordable housing means either of the following:
Housing that is owned by its inhabitants, whose gross annual household income does not exceed
eighty (80) percent of the state median income, as defined by the United States Department of
Housing and Urban Development, and the total annual cost of the housing, including principal,
interest, taxes and insurance, is not more than thirty (30) percent of the household’s gross annual
Housing that is rented by its inhabitants whose gross annual household income does not exceed
sixty-five (65) percent of the state median income, as defined by the United States Department of
Housing and Urban Development, and the total annual cost of the housing, including rent, utilities,
and condominium association fees, is not more than thirty (30) percent of the household’s gross
AGRICULTURE: Land or structures used for the growing or harvesting of crops; raising of
livestock; operation of orchards; including maple sugar orchards; the sale of agricultural produce
on the premises where raised; the processing or storage of products raised on the premises, as
defined by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the use of agricultural
structures and the storage of agricultural equipment incidental to the above.
ANIMAL HABITAT: The place where an animal naturally lives. It provides food, cover, water
APICULTURE: The raising of bees.
AQUIFER: Water bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand or gravel.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGS: Site of a study of material remains of past human lives and
BUILDING: Any structure for the shelter, support or enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or
property of any kind. Any other structure more than eight (8) feet high shall be considered a
building including a solid fence or wall, but excluding an electric light, telephone or telegraph
pole, highway or railroad bridge or flagpole.
BYLAWS: Zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, an official map adopted under the
authority of 24 VSA, Chapter 117.
CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT: Site planning that provides for residential or commercial units
on lots which are smaller in size than required, but which lots when added to their proportionate
area of common land, available to them and other units, will equal or exceed the lot size
requirements of the district(s) in which they are located.
COMMERCIAL ANIMALS: Animals kept, used, or raised for profit, such as kennels, riding or
boarding stables, but not including animals used for wool, meat, or food products.
CONVENIENCE VARIETY STORE: High volume retail store selling many perishable and
packaged goods and is a major retail outlet for gasoline and other petroleum products. A
convenience variety store does not offer any auto service, but may offer car-washing facilities.
DEER WINTERING AREA: An area used perennially by white tailed deer in winter. It is
characterized by soft wood growth on a south-facing slope with available browse and water.
DENDRIFORM: A branching pattern, generally of a river system, where in the pattern of
successive branching of tributaries it resembles the pattern of branching of tree limbs.
DEVELOPMENT: The division of a parcel into two or more parcels, the construction,
reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation or enlargement of any building or other
structure, or any mining or excavation, or landfill, and any changes in the use of any building or
other structure, or land or use of the land.
DWELLING UNIT: A dwelling or part of a dwelling occupied or intended to be occupied for
residential purposes, containing full housekeeping facilities for the exclusive use of the occupants.
DIRECT MARKETING: The offering for sale, directly to the public, products raised and/or
created by the producer.
ELEMENT: Component of a plan.
FLOOD HAZARD AREA: Areas subject to inundation designated pursuant to Chapter 23 of
Title 10 and further defined as those areas which would be subject to flooding by the 100 year
flood or that flood which would have a one percent chance of occurring each year.
FLOODWAY: The channel of a river or other water course and the adjacent land area that must
be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface
elevation more than one foot.
FLOODWAY FRINGE: The remaining portion of the flood hazard area excluding the
GROWTH CENTER: Portions of a town or towns where a concentration of development exists,
where there is space available for future growth or development and where services, facilities, and
utilities are available.
HISTORIC SITE: Any site or structure, district, or archaeological landmark which has been
officially included in the state and/or National Register of Historic Places, or which is established
by testimony of the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as being historically
significant 22 VSA 742 and those identified by the Town and formally proposed for inclusion in
the state and National Register.
HOME OCCUPATION: Any occupation customarily carried out in a minor portion of a
dwelling that does not change the character of the dwelling or the surrounding area.
INFRASTRUCTURE: The basic facilities, equipment, and installations needed for the growth
and functioning of a municipality.
INTENSIVE DEVELOPMENT: According to the current zoning bylaws the most intensive
development in Wilmington is one unit per acre. When calculating density, there are two methods
used: (a) gross area, and (b) net area. Gross land area includes the entire site or that portion of the
site donated to a particular use. Net land area includes the entire site less specified undevelopable
land such as roads and parks. Historically Wilmington has used the net land area in determining
density and shall continue to do so.
LEGISLATIVE BODY: Select Board in the case of a town.
LIGHT POLLUTION: Also called “sky glow”, light pollution refers to the glow, visible in the
night sky, over cities and brightly lighted developed areas.
MOBILE HOME: A dwelling unit that is substantially assembled in a manufacturing plant and
designed to be transported to the home site on its own chassis. Recreational vehicles shall not be
considered to be manufactured homes and shall not be permitted as a permanent dwelling.
MOBILE HOME PARK: A parcel of land under single or common ownership or control which
contains, or is designed, laid out or adopted to accommodate two (2) or more mobile homes.
MOTOR VEHICLE: An automotive vehicle not operated on rails; one with rubber tires for use
MUNICIPALITY: A town, a city, or an incorporated village or an unorganized town or gore
NATURAL AREA: Areas characterized by native plants, animals, and significant physical
features. These areas may have ecological, educational, scientific, scenic and/or contemplative
PERSON: An individual, corporation, partnership, association, or any other incorporated or
unincorporated organization or group.
PLAN: A plan adopted under Section 4385 of Title 24, VSA, Chapter 117.
PLANNING COMMISSION: Planning commission for a municipality created under
Subchapter 2, of Chapter 177, 24 VSA.
PLANNED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: An area of land controlled by a landowner to
be developed as a single entity for a number of dwelling units, the plan for which does not
correspond in lot size, bulk or type of dwelling, lot coverage and required space to the regulations
PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT: An area of land, controlled by a landowner, to be
developed as a single entity for a number of dwelling units, and/or commercial and/or industrial
uses,; the plan for which does not correspond in lot size, bulk or type of dwelling, commercial or
industrial use, lot coverage and required space to the regulations established.
PODZOLS: Any group of soils that develops in a moist climate, especially under coniferous or
mixed forest and has an organic mat and have a thin organic mineral layer above a gray leached
layer resting on a dark alluvial horizon enriched with amorphous clay.
PREFABRICATED HOUSE: House whose parts have been fabricated in a factory so that
construction consists of assembly and uniting standard parts.
PUBLIC ROAD: A public road is a thoroughfare, driveway servicing more than one dwelling,
road, highway, or public way, whether or not maintained or owned by the State, Town, or other
RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCE: Energy available for collection or conversion from
direct sunlight, wind, running water, organically derived from fuels including wood, agricultural
resources, waste materials, and waste heat.
RURAL TOWN: A town having a population of less than 2500 persons as evidenced by the
SCENIC ROADS: Roads or portions thereof that, based on an inventory conducted by local
volunteers, have the highest aesthetic qualities as defined by the Vermont Scenery Preservation
Council and The Vermont Transportation Board.
SHALL: A requirement is mandated.
SHOULD: Is encouraged but not mandated.
STRUCTURE: An assembly of materials for occupancy or use including, and not limited to, a
building, manufactured home, mobile home, or trailer, sign, wall or fence except a wall or fence
on an operating farm.
WELLHEAD PROTECTION AREAS: Areas mapped by the Vermont Department of Health to
delineate the minimum area needed to protect a public water supply.
WETLANDS: Wetlands are those areas that are inundated and saturated by surface or
groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal
circumstances do support a prevalence of vegetation or typically adapted for life in saturated soil
conditions, including swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.
Adopted this 28th day of September 2005
Robert D. Wheeler, Chair
Andrew J. Palumbo
William B. Adams
Paul L. Myers
Margaret L. Streeter