Department of Housing & Community Development

State Designation Programs

Vermont’s landscape of compact centers surrounded by rural land is integral to our economy, community spirit and brand cache. Accordingly, Vermont has established a framework of “designations”  to provide incentives to encourage communities to maintain this land use pattern. These programs are also designed to help align our environmental, housing, and transportation policies, programs, regulations, and public investments to maintain and enhance the landscape cherished by Vermonters and visitors alike.


Downtown Designation provides communities with the help and resources they need to make downtown revitalization a community effort.

Growth Centers

The Growth Center program designates areas that are planned for new development in keeping with historic development patterns.

New Town Centers

Some Vermont communities developed without a strong central core and this program supports the creation of an area that functions as a new downtown.

Neighborhood Development Areas

The program offers incentives to create compact, walkable neighborhoods that attract more people and business to our existing community centers.

Villages Centers

Village Center Designation supports small town revitalization with a variety of benefits to the 120+ participating communities.

Planning Manual
Module 2 of the Planning Manual provide a concise guide on the five state designation programs and their benefits -- along with case studies that show how communities have used the designations to achieve their goals.