Tinmouth Town Plan

Tinmouth was one of the earliest town's in Vermont to develop an actual Town Plan. This process started in 1973, but we will be focusing on when it was rewritten, in 2007. The effect on the landscape is improved by the rewriting of the plan to fit into today's standards. Within the plan, several things are explained in more depth, focusing on the zoning regulations within the area and conserving the land. In the 70's, the Planning Commission looked over about 20 dairy farms, today there is still 6 farms that they look over. Back then there were about 400 residents, and today there are about 600. The area wasn't fully developed back then, but today, with zoning and subdivision regulations, they have regulated development by limiting the minimum lot size. Within the Rural Residential District, the minimum lot size is 5 acres. In the Conservation Distirct the minimum is 25 acres. There are three north-south ridges: on the east and west boundaries of the town, and Tinmouth Mountain in the center. Within the valleys are where the people live. When the Planning Commissions first planned the zoning, they noticed that a lot of conservation needed to be done, based on how the landscape was formed.

In addition to the actions of the town, some private landowners really care for the land and placed conservation easements on several large blocks of land initially 1,300 acres. Subsequent projects, plus a class one wetland owned by the state bring the current total of conserved land to over 6,000 acres. This land includes housing lots, farming areas, and valleys. The way that they are able to conserve some of the land is by the conservation easements that they have sold or donated to protect the land. In order to secure some of those easements and also keeping other parts protected, they have worked with the Vermont Land Trust to make sure this land does is not subdivided or otherwise developed. When they work on this land they promote agricultural and forestry. This method uses these practices to create a healthier forest. An agricultural overlay zone was added to the zoning regulations, further protecting agricultural land. This overlay zone is for all the open fields within the town, and the zoning also limits the amount of building they do on the ridges, and they make sure to keep building 560 ft from the ridge line. With help from the VLT, they created a town forest. The Vermont Coverts is an organization that has helped landowners to manage wildlife. Since wildlife is a main concern, it is good to have other support with for the cause. Most of the community does actually support these values. Some people do not. This town plan is a reflection of what the actual town values. They want to show others that this is what they represent and that they care for the land they were given. The Use Value easements that they have in addition to the permanent conservation easements are not permanent and they have to keep renewing them. This plan is one of the most successful things that the town has done, because over 80% of this land has been conserved.

Project Contact: Robert Lloyd
Project Contact Email: lloyds@vermontel.net
Year Completed: 2007
Regional Planning Commision: Rutland Regional Planning Commission
bylaws, land_management, town_plan
Project Accomplishments:

They are able to accomplish many different tasks because they can create basic decisions for the future. With these decisions, they can make a list of actions that they can do in order to conserve this land. Since they are able to control what they do, they do not have a problem with accomplishing tasks. When they conserve the land, they try to use commercial development in order to fully protect both the urban landscape and forested landscape. They always use the same type of pattern when working on plans, because it works. These people are also so dedicated to the plan that none of them have the interest in selling out in any way. They simply just want to do what they love and work on it at their own pace. The biggest threat they face is any threats to wildlife, so whenever they get the chance to protect them they can. So when managing the land with forestry practices or other possible management opportunities, they make sure to keep wildlife in mind. In some cases its forestry for the birds or caring for deer in deer yards.

Project Partners:

The Vermont Land Trust
The State of Vermont
The Timber Land Trust
The Nature Conservancy
Rutland Regional Planning Commissions
The Vermont Cupboard

Critical to Success:

The reason why this plan has been successful is because of all the people who have been involved into the process. These people truly cared about the land and have been able to create plans of conservation. All these people share the same type of values and they just have a deep love for the Vermont landscape. The landscape is the key reason for them to protect the area and all these people just love the way that it looks and functions. Any of the land that was disturbed before is now being recreated, or being fixed so that it naturally resembles the landscape. These people are successful because they are able to fix all the changes that have happened and they know how to correctly do it. With this plan they are even able to share it with other groups who might have the same idea, or they can use it on their other projects. Overall, they are successful because they don't feel alone while they work on the process and they work with a lot of people in order to get things done.


Some of the biggest challenges that this plan/organization face are people who don't support their process, people who might exploit their resources, and some forestry practices that might come in there way. With all types of conservation there will be the challenge of people who don't support what you do. People don't always agree with what you preach and will oppose your thoughts. It can be hard to get others to agree with your own thoughts, but sometimes there will be a middle ground in which you both can agree upon. There will also be people who will exploit the resources that the organization might have. In some cases there will be people who try to use all of what the organization might have and take everything out of it. There are things people might try to focus on and use up all the resources in that area to only work on that, the thing is, it should be used on many things and not just one type of aspect. In some aspects with the forestry practices that happen when working on projects can be the problem. They try to do more silvicultural or conservational practices, compared to commercial forestry. If commercial forestry happens upon the sites, then their plan won't go exactly as planned. This is why they look for the correct foresters to do the job. Since this group is completely volunteer based, they have to figure out ways to maintain the area, but they maintain less due to time constraints. Some of the problems they face can be discouraging but they do their best with each one. A big problem is fragmentation and repairing the land from that takes years to do, they have faced this problem while protecting the land, but they have found ways behind it. It also causes problems with the birds in the area, and one of their main focuses are the birds.