• Place type

    Edges (directly related), New Neighborhoods (indirectly related), Corridors (partial related)

  • Location

    Waitsfield, Vermont

  • Site

    190 acres within Town of Waitsfield.

  • Program

    Mixed-use, walkable village center.

Waitsfield, Vermont was traditionally an agrarian community that has shifted in recent years toward being a resort destination, bedroom community, and local commercial center. Irasville was designated the town’s growth center in the 1970s and has been the focus of significant growth since that time. However, the atmosphere in Irasville lacks many qualities of a traditional village center because, due to a lack of pedestrian amenities (i.e., sidewalks and street trees) people drive among their destinations.

The Waitsfield Planning Commission, Mad River Valley Planning District, and other town officials and residents have developed planning concepts and documents for new growth and development in Irasville. Despite this support for the concept of a more village-like and walkable center, several issues have made the creation of a growth center difficult and have therefore led to the proliferation of less-dense development. Issues hindering centered development include difficulty managing stormwater, the presence of undevelopable wetlands in the growth center area, zoning regulations without incentives for mixed use development, and the absence of municipal water and sewer infrastructure.

Although the community has many planning documents that could be models for other communities wishing to expand and enhance their centers, there has not been significant implementation of the growth center vision. The town needs additional political support and funding for sewer and water infrastructure investments to implement the growth center vision.