MRVPD Planning History

Origins of the Planning District

The history of the MRVPD, and of planning in the Valley, is the story of a community working together to create an identity amidst a changing landscape and economy.

With the advent of skiing (Mad River Glen in 1948 and Sugarbush Valley in 1958) came rapid changes to land use and development patterns in the Valley.

MRVPD was created in response to the planned rapid ski area-associated development around Sugarbush Resort.

The following photos show how Sugarbush brought both new life and economic activity to the Valley--and along with it, intense condo growth over a short period of time.

Ski Industry Creates a Strike-Point

There were two main reasons for creating a designated tri-town Planning District:

  1. More structure and organization was needed around land use planning related to Sugarbush than the three Valley Towns could accommodate individually.
  2. A process was needed to communicate and coordinate actions relating to resort growth that might have caused, or had the potential to cause, impacts to the social, economic, and environmental fabric of the community.
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The following timeline shows how the history of Sugarbush Resort and many of the MRV's planning milestones happened in lockstep:

MRV Planning History Timeline

A Closer Look at the MOUs...

1983 MOU


  • Sugarbush Valley Inc (SVI), Warren, Waitsfield, and Fayston, CVRPC, & State of Vermont.


  • Implement recommended alternatives of 1983 USFS Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for SVI’s Winter Sports Area


  • Process to identify, communicate, and coordinate actions on issues of concerns related to FEIS. Ensure that FEIS is carried out.


  • Single forum for permit decisions
  • Incorporation of MOU into FEIS
  • Act 250 process and role of partners
  • Collection and analysis of data

Read the full MOU here!

1998 MOU

  • Builds off 1983 MOU
  • Act 250
  • Data Collection – Sections 18-36: Cumulative impacts associated with SB development activities and from development, growth, and change in the Valley Towns.
    • Traffic
    • Transit
    • Energy
    • Municipal Finances & Services
    • Community Services
    • Employee Residences and Housing
    • Housing Market and Costs
    • Protected Lands
    • Ski Area Utilization
    • Wastewater
    • River Flows/River Quality
    • Population and Demographics
    • Economic Indicators
  • SB Services
    • Supply medical doctors & facilities
    • Maintenance and repair of its private roads
    • Supply water & sewage disposal facilities
    • Contributions to Valley service organizations
    • Recreation programs used by local & regional schools
    • Fire Protection
    • Traffic mitigation
    • Security
  • Amendments – agreed to by all parties to the MOU.

Read the full MOU here!

The Planning District Through The Decades


Executive Director: Brian Shupe (1986-94)

Focus Areas:

  • Sugarbush
    • Base area planning
    • Snowmaking & water withdrawal
  • Tri-Town Coordination
    • MRV Regional Sewerage Study
    • Formation of Recreation, Housing and Economic Development Committees
    • Warren Town Plan
    • Changes to Fayston Zoning Ordinance
  • Rural Resource Protection
    • Rural Resource Commission founded in 1987


Executive Directors: Brian Shupe (1986-94), Joanna Whitcomb (1994-97), Juli Beth Hoover (1997-2000)

Focus Areas:

  • Town Planning
    • Plan for  5 Town Solid Waste Alliance
    • Fayston- zoning changes and town plan update
    • Warren - zoning changes
    • Waitsfield - Town Plan, zoning changes, work on commercial water extraction
    • Irasville Master Planning project
  • Three-Town Coordination
    • Staff recreation district, housing coalition and economic development committee
    • NODP grant for Warren Village Wastewater mgmt/Admin for Wastewater grant $10,000
    • MRV regional wastewater strategy plan
    • 3 Town grant for software to track permitting and development issues
  • Recreation
    • Assistance to Path Association/ VLT
  • Friends of the Mad River
    • Staff Assistance
    • The Best River Ever
  • Rural Resources/Historic Preservation
    • Wait House Restoration, fundraising, planning committee $200,000
    • Rural Resource Plan update/ Kicking Stones
  • Sugarbush
    • Economic Impact Study of Grand Summit Hotel
    • 1998 MOU rewrite
    • Completion of ACT 250 hotel process
  • Data
    • Data Book Project
  • Transit
    • Transit planning, lobbying & grant applications


Executive Director: Dee Pierce (2001-06), Linda Lloyd (2006-08), Joshua Schwartz (2008-Present)

Focus Areas:

  • Irasville Planning
    • Irasville Planning workshops
    • Completion of Irasville master planning project
  • Town Planning
    • Completion of Fayston Town Plan
  • Sugarbush Review
    • Act 250 Review of Lodge at Lincoln Peak
    • Sugarbush Village stormwater management project
  • Transportation
    • Transit planning, change of provider and local acquisition of buses
    • Waitsfield Village Parking and Pedestrian Study
  • Three-Town Coordination
    • Staff CLG, Partnership, VEDA and TAC committees
    • Valley Vision 2020 Forum
    • Valley Selectboard Summit ; BOS joint budget planning session
    • Review of local law enforcement services
  • Recreation
    • Phenn Basin Management Plan
    • Assisted Path Association in securing easements and completing the Path
  • Housing
    • Valley Housing Committee and Housing Forum
    • Three town affordable housing strategy
    • Mad River Valley Housing Study
  • Rural Resources
    • Mad River Valley Barn Assessment
    • Historic Landscape Management Plan
    • Update of State Historic Building Survey for 3 towns
    • Ancient Roads grants for Warren and Waitsfield
  • Placemaking
    • Route 100 Byway Initiative
  • Natural Systems
    • Waitsfield/Fayston Wildlife Habitat Assessment project


Focus Areas:

  • Flood Resilience
    • Post-Irene recovery
  • Tri-Town Coordination
    • Reconstitution of the MRV TAC, MRV Housing Coalition, MRV Rural Resources Commission
    • Housing Demand & Market Analysis Report
    • Valley Futures Network
  • Economic Study
    • Economic Summit & Community Picnic
    • Vision & Vitality Workshop Series
  • MRVPD adds a Community Planner position in 2015, in addition to the Executive Director
  • Transportation
    • Waitsfield West Sidewalk Project
    • MRV Moves Active Transportation Plan


  • Data
    • MRV Community Dashboard
    • MRV Wellbeing Survey
  • Recreation
    • VOREC/MRV Recreation Hub project
    • Unified Trailhead Kiosk Signage
    • stewardMRV
  • Rural Resources
    • Boyce Hill Town Forest
  • Transportation
    • Mad Bus service
    • Pedestrian safety & connectivity