Guiding Growth in Rural Hanover

Citizen Meetings and Community Survey on the Future of the Less Developed Parts of the Town

Respect for differences is an essential element of community unity.

December 16, 1999

(Print copies of this document are available at the Howe Library and the Etna Library)


  • First and foremost, we thank the many people who came repeatedly to the Trumbull Hall meetings to express their concerns and to contribute thoughtful ideas. More than 150 people came to each of the discussion meetings, and more than 40 to each of the subsequent working meetings. Their time and effort was essential to the evolving process.
  • None of the early meetings would have been nearly so well attended without the volunteer PR efforts of several people who put leaflets into newspaper tubes and placed information posters around the rural area. Sally Kinlaw managed the PR that encouraged people to fill out and return the surveys.
  • Pat Clinton relieved the committee members of some of the "dogwork" of organizing an ongoing public consensus project, especially the job of telephone notification about committee meetings. She did a great job!
  • It's easy for each of us to have opinions, but not so easy for someone to tabulate the opinions of all of us. Robin Carpenter, Bill Baschnagel and Robert Morris recorded every iota of information and all comments returned on the surveys, and transformed it into a usable format. Kim Perez and Kara Breese participated in the data analysis.
  • The support of the Planning Board, and the suggestions and support of the staff of Hanover's Planning and Zoning Office, contributed much to the success of this project.

We thank you all!

The Guiding Growth in Rural Hanover Committee

Table of Contents

  1. Community Consensus (see this page)
  2. Survey Results
  3. Comments Written by Survey Respondents - Summary
  4. Appendices (see print edition of the report)
    1. List of Participants
    2. The Process
      • Origins of the Project
      • "Concerns and Visions" Public Meetings
      • Municipal Involvement
      • The Survey
    3. Survey Form, Map and Accompanying Information
    4. Survey Data (see note)
      • Raw Percentages of Responses
      • Participation Data

Note: Raw data tables not included in the online version; available in print version of the report.

I. Community Consensus

Guiding Growth in Rural Hanover

The Guiding Growth in Rural Hanover project had its origins in the desire of many citizens that the priorities for growth in the less developed areas of the town that were selected by the Planning Board in its 1976 Master Plan, and in the Master Plan revisions of 1986, be reconsidered and brought into closer conformity with the visions and concerns of those who live in those areas today.

Opinions and values expressed in a series of public meetings were developed into a survey with 190 questions. Two copies were mailed to all 804 property owners in the rural part of Hanover. Five hundred and twenty-three respondents (32+%) indicated a deep collective concern for the rural community and landscape, and for the course of future development. The survey statistics and written comments offer unique information, most of which has never been officially or systematically gathered and assessed before. The survey results are the culmination of an intensive, year-long public process.

Community Consensus

Rural Character Fourteen specific rural characteristics were rated for importance. Overall, rural character was found to be highly important, with concern expressed for its preservation. Some respondents emphasized nature and the environment. Others valued the peace and privacy of rural living. Transportation Most respondents were quite concerned about the large and growing volume of traffic, and the attendant noise, speed and congestion. This section elicited the largest number (161) of written comments.

  • Commerce and Village Area: Most respondents are satisfied with the present appearance and size of Etna Village.
  • Open Space: The survey showed overwhelming support for every open space feature listed, and for preservation of open space in general by both private and public action.
  • Zoning: Respondents expressed satisfaction with the current permitted uses and special exceptions in the SR-2 zone, while wishing to restrict or eliminate several options currently allowed in the B-1 and RR zones.