The Twenty-First Century
Twenty-first century development in Clarendon largely has been concentrated in North Clarendon, near the intersection of U.S. Routes 7 and 103, at the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport, an adjacent industrial park, and the 2 megawatt (MW) Clarendon Solar Farm.
Just south of Rutland Town and the City of Rutland in North Clarendon, the town also has seen new development with the growth of retail businesses along U.S. Route 7. The village of North Clarendon remains the unofficial town center with the location of the Elementary School, Community Center, Fire Station, Library and Post Office and has been identified as a potential area for Village Center Designation.
The hamlet of Clarendon Springs has the potential for low impact commercial development which could be aided through a Village Center Designation as well. Chippenhook and the Suzie Peak area remains a small hamlet in the south west corner of Clarendon, situated on the floor of a beautiful glaciated valley surrounded by valued high peak areas. This area provides rich historical and recreational value as well as continuing the tradition of agriculture in the town. Suzie Peak Conservation Area borders with the town of Ira and represents a significant asset for the town of Clarendon.
With this rich historical, natural, and architectural legacy, Clarendon offers a variety of insights into a pace of life from the Route 7 limited access highway, which routes traffic through town to commercial centers and rural agricultural and residential areas. The Town also is interested in adding to its rich historical, natural and architectural legacy by increasing its recreational, conservation and historic resources.
The Southern Vermont Regional Airport is a significant feature in the town. Future airport growth will depend on the continued evaluation of airport design standards to accommodate a more demanding aircraft fleet mix and increased safety and reliability as an airport service area for the central and Southern regions of the state of Vermont.
Agriculture is still an important economic sector in the town of Clarendon. However, the economics of farming in recent years have caused many of Clarendon’s farm businesses tomake major production decisions which have typically included change in farm size, adoption of new technologies, and new marketing initiatives. Shifting economic and workforce conditions, such as the decline in the number of dairy farms, has freed up good land for other agriculture ventures, such as orchards, vegetables, beef, pork and maple.
Home-based and small sole proprietor businesses have become increasingly prevalent in the town. These types of business represent opportunities for businesses which can then grow to have a positive economic benefit to the Town in the form of increased tax revenue and employment opportunities.
Meanwhile, although the population of Clarendon is growing, overall the population is aging and households are becoming smaller as a result. As reflected in the Town Survey and in public forums, residents fear that the town suffers from a reputation of being anti-business due to a lack of specific economic goals for growth. Recent applications for businesses to use existing infrastructure have met resistance due to a lack of a clear community standard regarding development in the town.
It is a goal of the Clarendon Town Plan to support application for Village Center designations. Village Center designations are an important tool that can be utilized to protect and enhance the characteristics of areas valued by the community. Clarendon, like other Vermont communities, needs to actively manage economic growth to ensure the future of its tax base and quality of life. Economic growth should be targeted for certain areas of the town and discouraged in others to promote a vibrant village center, maximize existing infrastructure, utilize multi-modal transportation mean, and preserve the rural, working and forest lands that surround the town.