Sustainable Development

What do we mean by Sustainable Development?

A core motivation behind the Ellsworth Green Plan is ‘sustainable development.’ Throughout our planning process, again and again, citizens told us that they want Ellsworth to retain its rural, small community character.

Quality of Life

They want to see a better balance between new housing or commercial development and the preservation of walkable neighborhoods, historic homes and green spaces.

They want to see a rollback in strip development along with greater, more equitable access to local food, restoration of working farmland and the preservation of forested land.

They want access to water resources which are proactively protected as appropriate for our drinking water supply and recreational assets which generate major tax revenue.

Economic Development

They also want the community to reduce fossil fuel consumption and the environmental impacts of solid waste, especially plastics—while also building on green initiatives and a green “brand” to attract new businesses and grow our economy with good paying jobs.

Growth that is Just Right

Overall, citizens see a close connection between healthy natural ecosystems and a built environment that contributes positively to the quality of life the city has to offer. They want to see that quality of life strengthened and gain the confidence that Ellsworth’s development will be managed in such a way that future generations will be able to enjoy the same quality of life.

While ‘sustainable development’ or ‘smart growth’ may have particular definitions in professional planning circles, for the purposes of the Ellsworth Green Plan, the concept of sustainability was defined and applied specifically to our small but growing city by a wide range of citizens who participated in our planning through written submissions and numerous consultations (forums, surveys, workshops, etc.).

Taken as a whole, the Ellsworth Green Plan constitutes a sustainable development plan, an explanation of what ‘smart growth’ means to the people of Ellsworth, and a road map to the kind of community they want to pass on to future generations.

*All photos on this page courtesy of