The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) builds on the vision of the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition, held in 2016. SMC acts as a catalyst, forming community coalitions of diverse participants to brainstorm solutions, create and support action plans for more sustainable local systems.


The 2030 Sustainable Montpelier Design Competition introduced publicly embraced ideas of local resiliency and land use. This competition created a roadmap for how to create an idealized Montpelier and shapes SMC’s priorities.

What is a Coalition?

A coalition is a group of people who come together to find solutions to a common issue. The mechanism of the coalition empowers individuals, businesses and organizations to benefit through working together with others who share a common purpose. This cross-pollination inspires new and creative solutions. Good coalitions are inclusive, with diversity among the members and among the ideas and beliefs, experience mutual trust, define realistic goals, and work to achieve these goals.

The creativity and innovation that is unleashed by this cross-pollination inspires action and solutions not previously identified


Identifying, Visioning, Facilitating, Supporting, Spearheading

How we WORK

The issues of transportation, land use, and housing emerged from the public’s response to the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition. The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) has to date convened five roundtables on the issues of transportation, energy, housing, food, water and community action. SMC looks forward to convening more roundtables, workshops and public forums to share information and receive ongoing feedback and ideas from the public.

The roundtables have been made up of key shareholders from the state, region, city, members of the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The outcome of these meetings has been been raising the issues that need to be addressed and introducing potential solutions that have been used in other communities. The potential solutions that have been discussed in past roundtables are:

  • flexible route, flexible schedule, on-demand pilot project (MyRide by GMT)
  • the creation of a string of green space along the North Branch and Winooski Rivers in downtown Montpelier
  • climate actions and how to participate
  • community actions through neighborhood groups (Capital Area Neighborhoods)

Drawing on the collective knowledge of the community is key to crafting solutions, determining how to adopt and evaluate them.


In 2016 Dan Jones and Deb Sachs, co-directors of Net Zero Vermont, sent out a request for proposal for teams of architects to enter the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition. A winner was determined after two rounds of public viewing and voting.

Team Bridges was awarded a $10,000 check by Governor Phil Scott in the Cedar Creek Room at the Statehouse. Go to the Resources – 2030 Design Competition.

Dan Jones incorporated The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) in Spring 2017, splitting off from the statewide work of NetZero Vermont when realizing that the work to be done to implement the concepts of the winning design were specific to the Montpelier area. Initial board members were Tino O’Brien, Anne Watson and Scott Mueller. In late July a Garden Party was held at the home of Tino O’Brien and Elizabeth Courtney to launch SMC’s efforts. Over fifty guests had a lovely time in the garden with talks by Jones and O’Brien, then the rain fell and, much to our delight, a rainbow appeared in the sky as a blessing.

Debra Sachs, Dan Jones and Governor Phil Scott looking at the winning design
Elizabeth Parker, Elizabeth Courtney, Dan Jones, Tino O’Brien, and Don Hooper

The SMC Board met biweekly for the next year and in that time acquired SMC’s 501c3 status. Jones, Courtney, and Parker teamed up to apply for a Canaday Family Foundation grant focusing on the relationship between transportation patterns and the environment. Canaday awarded SMC a three-year grant. Jones and Courtney wrote grants for the National Life Foundation and the Block Family Foundation, which were awarded. In July of 2018 SMC moved from a volunteer to a professionally staffed organization. With a Transportation Roundtable II in September and a Lower Northbranch Roundtable in October, SMC is now hard at work. In early November SMC settled into its office at 15 State Street, Suite 301.

Public involvement is a key part of the Coalition’s process. Already the roundtables have generated working groups and volunteers are getting in touch to offer their talents. We have just begun addressing the many innovative ideas that came out of the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition and the public response. SMC is convening thought leaders and staying in touch with the community to draw on their wisdom. We invite you to share your skills and passions. Volunteer with us!