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Sustained Activism: A Key Planning Tool

Thank you so much for your support of VARD.  We came across an article a couple of years ago that captured the essence of the challenges that we face here in Teton Valley and how VARD continues to make a difference.  We are sharing some quotes from the article with you because it so concisely emphasizes the importance of your contribution to our work as a worthwhile investment in the future of the valley.  

While property rights may be private, our communities, and the landscapes in which we live, are a commons, and we all have a stake in how they evolve . . . we need to close the big gap between the good ideas written into comprehensive plans for towns and counties across the West, and the actual development that shows up on the land.  (William Travis, “A $5 Million Growth Solution” for Headwaters News, www.headwatersnews.org September 14th, 2006).  

In the same article, Professor Travis proposes a prescription to this problem:  

We should not underestimate the power of hopeful visions based on citizen input from countless meetings and visioning sessions . . . every comprehensive plan in the West, from small towns to counties to regions, should have a standing watch-dog group pressing for and monitoring its implementation.  

Land development underlies many other environmental and social problems in the West, from species loss to water resources to housing.  Better land-use planning is both a fulcrum and a lever that could change the region.  The fulcrum is the plan, already in place in many communities, and already rich in ideas for more sustainable development patterns.  

The lever is sustained activism, not the ebb and flow of “not-in-my-backyard” battles so common to land-use debates, but the daily, weekly, and monthly attention to the work of planners, planning commissions, town councils and county commissions who make the decisions and issue the permits and variances that shape actual land development – often neglecting the plan.  (William Travis, “A $5 Million Growth Solution” for Headwaters News, www.headwatersnews.org September 14th, 2006).  

What Travis preaches is exactly what VARD has been doing since 2001.  In fact, we go beyond the watch-dog role.  We also act as a resource for local government.  We are looking forward to making the most of new opportunities to collaborate with local decision-makers to preserve the qualities that make Teton Valley such a special place.  

Thank you again for your role in our work.  

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