Winter - Photo by Michael Scollins

Winter – Photo by Michael Scollins

“When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.”- David Orr

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Land Trusts?

There are over 1700 non-profit, non-governmental land trusts nationwide that have preserved over forty-seven million acres of land in the United States, an increase of about 10 million acres since 2005 (latest National Land Trust Census 2010). These land trusts are working on the front lines in communities to help save this country’s natural and cultural land heritage. By working with community governments, conservation organizations, and interested land owners they effect protection of natural areas in the face of ever-increasing development pressures. Land trusts may protect land by working with land owners who wish to participate in preservation agreements (permanent deed restrictions that prevent harmful land uses), or by acquiring land outright and maintaining it as a protected natural area.

What is the South Burlington Land Trust?

The SBLT was formed in 2003 out of a growing concern for South Burlington’s rapid development and the loss of natural areas that provide for water quality, wildlife habitat, public recreation and aesthetic enjoyment. SBLT is dedicated to preserving South Burlington’s forests, wetlands, farmlands and other natural areas through landowner preservation agreements and other conservation vehicles to maintain City residents’ high quality of life.

Does SBLT own land or hold conservation easements?

No. We are different from other land trusts in this respect. Because there is limited remaining undeveloped land in South Burlington and because several other groups (e.g. VLT, Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land) have considerable expertise and a proven track record in land conservation and stewardship, we have chosen to partner with them on particular projects. We had a role in promoting the conservation of the Leduc Farm by the VLT and made a sizable contribution to their expenses for the project.

View East of Mt. Mansfield

View East of Mt. Mansfield


What are SBLT’s guiding principles?

  1. We support lower density zoning in the SEQ to protect natural resources.
  2. We favor preserving more of our farming heritage. New and innovative ways of promoting agriculture should encourage sustainable land use, education of our youth, community-building and local food security and safety.
  3. We believe in concentrating both residential and commercial development along the Williston Rd. and Shelburne Rd. corridors and in the proposed City Center.
  4. We favor a reduction in “green field” development.
  5. We favor the use of TDR’s to conserve land in any part of the City, providing that care is taken in identifying appropriate receiving areas and in preserving the character of nearby neighborhoods, through strong design review and use of transition zones.
  6. We encourage “green building” technologies in the designs of new residential, municipal and commercial buildings, and in retrofitting older structures.
  7. We encourage the development of an effective public transportation system that serves clustered development areas, to reduce the need for new road construction and the production of green house emissions.
  8. We work through the public process to help refine zoning regulations and planning strategies.
  9. We support the work of the SB Natural Resources Committee and other individuals who watch out for the long-term viability of City-owned parks, trees and natural areas.
  10. We support the work of the SB Energy Committee in their efforts to promote energy conservation and local renewable energy generation in the City. This in turn should reduce the need for additional utility rights-of-way and the attendant loss of open space.

What are some of SBLT’s accomplishments?

  • Co-sponsored South Burlington’s Green Up Day activities (2004 to 2014). Leading this effort since 2012.
  • Spearheaded effort to save Wheeler Nature Park (formerly the Dorset Park or Calkins Natural Area) from development of the police station on this property (2008).
  • Made a significant monetary gift in support of the Vermont Land Trust’s conservation of the Leduc Farm (now Bread and Butter Farm) (2009).
  • Facilitated UVM’s P.L.A.C.E. Program’s research in South Burlington (2009).
  • Financially supported UVM’s LANDS Program’s assessment of the Dorset Park Natural Area (2009).
  • Helped a variety of neighborhoods to articulate their concerns about development pressures through the public process.

What else does SBLT do?

  • Sponsors public programs of interest to the public.
  • Presents an annual award to an individual or group that embodies the principles and goals of SBLT.
  • Works collaboratively with the Vermont Land Trust.
  • Attends many city meetings and gives feedback on land use planning.
  • Advises and supports citizens in land use concerns.
  • Raises awareness of the values of open space, habitat protection, clean water, viable agriculture and passive recreation for our common quality of life.

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