RGH - homepage

The mission of Responsible Growth Hinesburg is to ensure that new development in Hinesburg is:

  • scaled to meet the needs of our town;
  • constructed so that waters of Lake Champlain, its tributaries and other natural resources are protected; and
  • located so that it complements its surroundings, protects our working landscape and recreational lands, and
  • fosters a sense of community.

4th Annual Fourth of July 4 x 4 ART AUCTION!
Click through link here to see the original art and BID!


Excerpt from RGH letter in 1/29/21 edition of "The Hinesburg Record"; our town's excellent volunteer-run paper.  Topic is the Haystack Crossing/Bissonnette/BlackRock proposal.

Here are some major issues that will be addressed and fine-tuned in the remaining hearings and some places to look for relevant commentary. Town links have been shortened for ease of access; once in the Dropbox, you can browse many other submissions:

 *Affordable and elderly housing—Hinesburg’s Affordable Housing Committee has considered this issue.  https://tinyurl.com/y5936gk9

 *Stormwater Management—Hinesburg’s Conservation Commission has studied this and is making recommendations.  https://tinyurl.com/yyt7yomg

 *Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy — comments by Hinesburg’s Energy Committee. https://tinyurl.com/y3lhazr4

 *Green space/street design/paths/landscaping/parking—see comments in letters from residents, including former Select Board member. https://tinyurl.com/yyb674bs

 *Connections to the river system/wetlands including the LaPlatte River, Patrick Brook, Riggs Brook and other unnamed tributaries. Link to Lamoureaux and Dickinson report describing waterways and prime agricultural soils in the area.  https://tinyurl.com/yyc4bopn

The DRB must require improvements to BlackRock’s current plans for Haystack to ensure that this new part of Hinesburg complies with our town plan and zoning regulations (letter and spirit).   Send your comments to the Planning and Zoning office to communicate with the DRB.  Write to Mitch Cypes on paper or in pixels.  (mcypes AT hinesburg.org) . 

Make your voice heard.  Learn the language of the Hinesburg DRB's rulebooks here: Subivision Regulations and Zoning Regulations.

Here's a couple of good quotes to start you off in writing a letter to the DRB:

"This district will be an integral part of the overall village and will serve to anchor the northern gateway to the existing village core and historic Main Street area. Section 3.6 p. 23 (Zoning Regs)

Although seen as a critical natural feature informing and limiting development patterns throughout much of Hinesburg, the presence of agricultural soils should not be seen as constraint to well planned growth in the Village NW district.

Development in this district shall be designed, sited, and constructed to take advantage of passive and/or active solar energy resources (e.g., south facing buildings & windows, photo voltaics) as well as other compatible renewables (e.g., wind, geothermal, etc.)."

The LaPlatte River, Patrick Brook, and other LaPlatte tributaries shall be protected with adequate building setbacks and vegetated buffers to allow for naturally occurring channel realignment and water quality protection." (same page)

This requirement ("shall" means MUST in legal terms) gets really tricky as the riverways will be impacted by TWO projects - not just one (Haystack/Bissonnette/BlackRock)  AND  Hinesburg Center II (Lyman/Brett Grabowski).

Photo at right is the LaPlatte River, Hinesburg in May 2010. 
Laplatte river Hinesburg Vermont
Location is behind current Creekside neighborhood.

November 22, 2019 - The law firm for Hannaford, Downs Rachlin Martin, files court documents to end all their appeals and stop pursuit of all permits to develop a supermarket on Lot 15.  Nine years and 10 days after they started the process.  More details here Hannaford timeline - Nov 2010 - November 2019

Case was scheduled to be  heard in Burlington before Judge Walsh starting December 16, 2019.  (Superior Court, Environmental Division)

2018 - Hannaford returns to Hinesburg for new Site Plan Approval  and is DENIED

 Hannaford requested a change to the original subdivision permit from December 1986 to permit the building to be closer to the canal and a new Site Plan Approval.  The Town's counsel has decided that they must present on all the Site Plan regulations, not just stormwater and traffic.  Downs Rachlin, counsel for the applicant, does not agree.  The June 5 hearing, while generally polite in tone, was confused in content.  There were four hearings, some quite contentious in tone. These ended September 7, 2018.

On October 18, the DRB issued a denial of the Site Plan Application and an approval of the change to the Subdivison Permit.  Major factors in the denial are traffic, storm water management and non-compliance with Hinesburg's Official Map (a planning tool that notifies developers of the town's interest in land). 

Lot 15 was identified by the Village Steering Committee and Planning Committee as early as 2007 as the ideal location for a public park/Village Green.  Now that 444 housing units have been proposed north and west of Commerce Street, the location is even more central to the village area.

November 2010.  Application is dropped off at Hinesburg's Town Hall with no prior consultation with Planning and Zoning staff. The nine year saga begins, in this way on Veteran's Day, 2010.

Need more info?  Call Catherine Goldsmith - I am in the phone book.

Over nine years of protection for natural resources and community

In November 2010 Hannaford Supermarket submitted to the Hinesburg Zoning and Planning Office an application package for a 36,000 square foot store to be located on Lot 15 in Commerce Park. Out of that event was born Responsible Growth Hinesburg (RGH), a group that has worked for over nine years to educate ourselves and the community on diverse subjects such as

Traffic- Evening rush hour would be significantly worse with Hannaford and other proposed developments in place with traffic backing up over the Patrick Brook bridge and causing dangerous truck turns at the Aubuchon light.

Stormwater- Hannaford’s proposed underground chamber offers detention but not treatment of stormwater while requiring huge amounts of fill and 4-5’ retaining walls. Information discovered during pre-trial proceedings revealed that the project relied on a berm to be built on a neighbor's land. (now redesigned as part of an ANR compromise).  Information revealed by soil testing in 2019 reveals that the high water table is at ground level.

Wetlands- The wetland on Lot 15 currently has the ability to detain AND treat stormwater, delivering clean water to Patrick Brook.

Aesthetics-The Town’s recreational path along the canal, the result of federal, state, and local investment, would be overwhelmed by a large store and accompanying parking in what is now a human-scaled neighborhood.

 These issues have broad implications that go far beyond one grocery store, raising questions about safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers in our village, about the importance of open space and recreational opportunities such as the canal walk provides, and perhaps most vital, they raise this question:

How do we ensure that clean water flows into Patrick Brook, the LaPlatte, and Lake Champlain and protect against flooding in big storm events? What part do wetlands play?

The State of Vermont, the EPA, and the Lake Champlain Committee are all concerned about water quality in Lake Champlain. The LaPlatte River, with its headwaters in Hinesburg, flows into Lake Champlain, and Hinesburg’s stormwater regulations directly affect the river.  Patrick Brook directly affects the La Platte River.  The work of our consultants has convinced us that the Lot 15 wetland plays a key role in mitigating the effects of the big storm events that are becoming more common.  Its bowl shape, its wetland vegetation, its connection to the wetland area next to Patrick Brook all make it important.

It has become clear to RGH that local regulations are not sufficient to ensure that future development in the Village Growth area will be beneficial to the Town and its environment. Therefore, members continue to actively participate in planning meetings and in application review hearings for proposed large-scale projects to ensure that they, as well, serve the present and future needs of the town.

Since 2011, we have raised over $400,000 through grants, fundraising and community-building events, and the generosity of more than 200 individuals.  You can make a tax-deductible contribution:           

Checks made payable to Responsible Growth Hinesburg, Inc.  and mailed to PO Box 162, Hinesburg, VT  05461.