Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of 2008 Start of 2009

As I site her thinking about what tasks I should work on next. I have to take a moment to reminisce about all the people I have meet, maps I have created, and culverts/bridges I have inventoried. Wow 2008 seemed to just fly by and I wonder what 2009 has in store for me. Well thanks to everyone for making 2008 a great year and I really look forward to see and working with everyone next year. From my desk at CVRPC in the GIS Department have a happy New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fluvial Erosion Hazard Planning

Despite the cuts in funding that are pending, or have happened to Regional Planning, CVRPC is working diligently on fluvial erosion hazard (FEH) planning and mapping. Staff is actively working with the Towns of Cabot, Calais, Waitsfield, and Worcester on their FEH planning and assisting with the development of a FEH mapping data layer that augments flood plain boundary data. CVRPC will be working in the spring with the Towns of Northfield, Berlin, Barre, and Warren on their FEH planning and mapping. Staff looks forward to doing this work; it is hands on and provides a useful implementation tool for town officials.

Municipal and Regional Planning Appropriations

Two of the recommendations from the Administration on budget cuts for FY 2009 include municipal and regional planning. The Municipal Planning Grants are being considered for a 50% cut, about $409,000, and the 11 regional planning commissions, who have already received a 5% cut that is in effect, may see an additional 8% cut. These are not yet approved or effective, but if they are approved, they will be effective immediately. Those municipalities who applied for a Municipal Planning Grant this past October will not see award notices until after the budget cuts are finalized. It is also unknown whether all the applications will be funded at less than the requests or if only some will be funded at less and some others not funded at all. These are decisions that the Department of Housing and Community Affairs will have to make once they know the final dollar amount available for funding.

CVRPC has absorbed the initial 5% cut by not hiring an intern for GIS and fluvial erosion hazard work and not replacing equipment that was due to be replaced. We will work hard to eek out another year from our GIS plotter, for example. The additional 8% cut, if it becomes reality, is another matter that the Regional Commission, like the other 10 RPC's, will have to review and consider ways to absorb. There are things in CVRPC's budget that can be tweeked, and we are hoping that the impact will not be overwhelming.

Look for updates on our Blog as news comes down the pike. No matter what, enjoy the Holidays!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Road Surface Management System (RSMS)

CVRPC with assistance from Consultant Robert Turner, has completed Phase I of an update to the RSMS for the towns of Berlin, Northfield, and Plainfield. In performing an RSMS, we go out with town staff, and inventory the roads characteristics and condition. In Phase II, we will be working with the Town’s to customize the RSMS to organize, analyze, and prioritize improvement strategies for both paved and gravel roads. Our goal is to develop a multi-year improvement program. The results of the system will allow town officials to compare strategies and select a road improvement that will yield the longest extended life and be most cost effective. Another benefit is that a number of VTrans Town Highway Grant Programs will reduce your local match requirement by 10% if you have a road & culvert inventory, and adopted road/culvert/bridge standards. CVRPC also has the ability to map the RSMS data, which allows the information to be reviewed quickly, and can be very helpful for public presentations. If you would like more information, contact staff.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

D-FIRM maps, NFIP and Bylaws

FEMA has approved revising the D-FIRM maps for Gunners Brook and Stevens Branch of the Winooski River. It looks as if a revised D-FIRM will be generated by August 2009 and will affect D-FIRM panels for Barre Town, Barre City, Berlin, East Montpelier, and Montpelier. Once the D-FIRM map is released, there will be a community meeting to discuss the changes. This will be followed by a 90 day appeal period during which property owners and communities can submit information on why the flood elevations as revised are scientifically or technically incorrect. It is anticipated that the end of the appeal period will be December 2009 and will then be followed by a letter of final determination. Once that letter is released, municipalities will have 6 months to adopt flood hazard bylaws, or updates to their existing bylaws, that are in compliance with the NFIP standards. It is important to revise your bylaws early in the 6 month period, if you haven't done so already, and have the VT Department of Environmental Conservation (Ned Swanberg, e-mail ned.swanberg@state.vt.us) review them for compliance. In order to remain eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the municipality's flood hazard bylaws have to be in compliance with the NFIP standards. It is expected that the effective date of the D-FIRM maps will be June 2010 at which point flood insurance rates will be based on the new flood data. For model flood hazard bylaws and additional information on NFIP, go to www.vtwaterquality.org/rivers and click on the link to flood hazard management. Call CVRPC at 229-0389 for additional assistance.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winooski Basin Plan Public Meetings in December

A series of public meetings will be held in December to generate interest and actions toward the development of the Winooski Basin Water Quality Management Plan. The public is invited to attend to express ideas towards a 5 year vision for the Winooski watershed. The meetings will be held as follows:
December 9, 2008 6:30 to 8 PM at the Old Schoolhouse Commons in Marshfield
December 10, 2008 6:30 to 8 PM at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier
December 11, 2008 6:30 to 8 PM at the Waitsfield Elementary School
December 15, 2008 6:30 to 8 PM at the Barre Town Municipal Offices, Websterville
December 16, 2008 6:30 to 8 PM at the North branch Nature Center, Montpelier

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Neighborhood Stabilization Program Update

The NSP is designed similarly to the VT Community Development Program, but with a little bit more flexibility. Towns will be able to apply for funds to purchase foreclosed housing units, blighted units, or vacant units that are in foreclosure, but not yet foreclosed. There will be funds for administration of the grant and for writing the grant application. Grant applications won't be available until February 2009 which is when the Department of Housing and Community Affairs expects to have a grant agreement from HUD. There will be 3 pieces to this $19.6 million grant: $8 million for VHFA to expand on their housing ownership program; $4.82 million for municipal programs to purchase, rehabilitate where needed, and sell foreclosed housing units both single family and multiple units; and $4.82 million for project specific programs whereby for-profit and not-for-profit entities can apply for up to $1 million to purchase, rehab, and sell foreclosed housing units of 4 units or more per structure. The NSP program requires a quick turn around; funds must be obligated in 18 months (August 2010). However, it should be noted that these funds are NOT for foreclosure prevention, but only for housing already foreclosed upon. The eligible beneficiaries must be of low, moderate, or middle income (no more than 120% of median area income) and are the families moving in; not the families moving out because of the foreclosure. As more news develops, we will keep you posted!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waterbury Downtown Planning Study

The Town and Village of Waterbury have received a planning grant from the Vermont Community Development Program to explore the feasibility of sites for economic development and affordable housing in and nearby our designated downtown. The project will examine specific sites, the surrounding areas, and the associated public infrastructure needs, as well as economic models that could be used to accomplish the various projects. We are seeking a consultant team including the professional disciplines of architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, landscape architecture, planning, economic analysis, and public participation facilitation.

The deadline for submitting proposals is Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 12:00 noon. If you have any questions regarding this exciting project please e-mail Steve Lotspeich at slotspeich@waterburyvt.com or call (802) 244-1012.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Neighborhood Stabilization Program and HUD $$

Public Hearing Notice

Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)

The State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Department of Housing and Community Affairs is seeking public comment prior to submission to HUD on the substantial amendment to the Consolidated Plan that governs the use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), the Emergency Shelter Grant Program (ESG), and other HUD programs.

The substantial amendment is to manage the new Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the amount of $19.6 million as authorized by the recently enacted Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The NSP is to assist states and local governments in addressing the effects of abandoned and foreclosed residential properties through eligible activities.
Please go to www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/neighborhoodspg/nspnotice.pdf for more information on the Act.

The Draft NSP application to HUD and amendment to the Consolidated Plan will be available on the Department website as of November 10, 2008 at www.dhca.state.vt.us/vcdp, or at the Agency offices at One National Life Drive, North Lobby, Sixth Floor; Montpelier, Vermont. Written comments will be accepted through November 25, 2008 and should be sent via e-mail to Cathy.Scott@state.vt.us. Only if unable to e-mail send comments addressed to Agency of Commerce and Community Development; 1 National Life Drive; Montpelier, VT 05620-0501.

The public hearing will be held on November 12, 2008 at 5:00pm – 6:30pm at the Pavilion Auditorium, 109 State Street; Montpelier, Vermont. The meeting room is fully accessible. Accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made upon request. Interpreters to meet the needs of non-english speaking persons will be made upon request. Requests should be made to Cathy Scott at (802) 828-5221. TTY#1-800-253-0191.

Energy Conference and Workshops

The UVM Extension Service and the VT Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) are sponsoring an energy conference on Saturday, December 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at VT Technical College in Randolph. Workshop topics include: initiatives on energy and climate action, energy planning at the local and regional levels, promoting alternative transit, biomass heating, State-level energy policies, creative community campaigns to reduce energy use, community-sponsored renewable energy projects, building an effective town energy committee, tools and approaches to reducing energy use in town buildings, and more. The keynote speaker will be Glen Brand, co-founder and director of the Sierra Club's Cool Cities Program. Registration is $20 per person and includes all workshops, general sessions, exhibit hall, and lunch. To register: go online to www.regonline.com/VTEnergy, call Mary Peabody at UVM Extension Service 802/223-2389, or email Mary at mary.peabody@uvm.edu.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stewardship manual

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has published a manual called "The Place You Call Home: A Guide to Caring for Your Land in Vermont." It is aimed at offering best-practices information on the flora and fauna of Vermont to educate landowners in being stewards of the land. The Guide is available upon request at 1-800-290-5232. Is anyone a teacher? This would be a great Guide to use with students.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Central Vermont Food, Fuel, and Transportation Coalition

It has been three months since the inception of the Central Vermont Food, Fuel, and Transportation Coalition and much has happened! The Central Vermont community has truly mobilized around the needs for this winter to work in partnership.

Participants have organized action teams to address critical areas of need. Below is an overview of current efforts:

Food Action Team:
- Has written articles features in The World
- Planned several canning workshops throughout Washington county—dates and places to be announced
- Planning a large scale food drive for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- The Vermont Foodbank now lists all area Food Shelves
- Coordinated food donations from Berlin Elementary School to the Central Vermont Community Action Council’s Food Shelf

Weatherization Action Team:
- Has written several informative articles features in The World
- Distributed copies of a weatherization workshop throughout Central Vermont
- Contacted each town’s energy committee/person to encourage Town Energy Fairs and supported individual town’s energy fairs.
- Supported Button-Up workshops and followed up with towns that did not sign up initially
- Started a conversation with landlords about the how to best ensure their tenants and apartments stay heated this winter

Education and Awareness Action Team:
- Coordinated weekly articles in The World
- Created and disseminated a winter preparedness information card.
- Creating a PSA for the radio

For additional information or to volunteer contract Kate Binns at gmunitedway@madriver.com or call (802) 229-9532.

Button Up Workshops

This summer the Regional Planning Commission partnered with the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) to host regional energy meetings for local energy groups. At the last meeting participations learned how to organize a home energy saving workshop. These “Button Up” workshops will focus on the greatest opportunities for saving energy in homes, finding and sealing air leaks, energy efficiency actions that people can take now, and where to find technical and financial resources to get started.

So far many communities in our regional have held local “Button Up” workshops. For people have not had the chance to attend there are still a few opportunities left:

Tuesday October 28 – Berlin Elementary School, 7pm
Wednesday October 29 – Maple Corner Community Building, 7:15 pm
Thursday October 30 – Barre Town Municipal Building, 6:30 pm

Button Up Vermont is a new program of the Central Vermont Community Action Council, in partnership with the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) and Efficiency Vermont. Funding is provided by the Vermont Agency of Human Services.

Housing Conference – Nov. 18

The Vermont Statewide Housing Conference is coming up! The Keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Michelle Kennedy of Chelsea, VT, author is “Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America.”

Sessions will include: “Planning/Zoning: Regulations”, “Cost of Development”, “From Density to Design” and “Building Support for Local Housing Development” plus many other informational presentations to assist local communities meet the needs of current and future residents.

To sign up for the conference and for additional information visit: http://www.vhfa.org/conference/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Managing the Municipal Highway System

Last week, I attended the VLCT’s Workshop “Managing the Municipal Highway System”. There were about 50 attendees, consisting of Select Board Members, Town Managers, Public Works Directors, Road Foreman, Planners, VT Local Roads, VTrans and VLCT Staff. Small towns and large cities were represented, so there was a wide range of participants and experience.

The workshop started with VLCT Staff portraying a bleak transportation funding horizon from Federal, State, and Local sources. The VLCT is encouraging communities to support their 2009 Municipal Policy which includes: Stopping the Transportation Fund transfer; Increasing the Transportation Fund Tax and/or Fees; Developing alternative/innovative funding sources; Expand use of bonding; and commit resources to structurally deficient bridges.

VTrans next presented their Bridge Inspection Program. They showed how a leaky joint in 1987 was starting to erode a bridge pier, and could have been repaired for $1,000. Over time, more photos showed the pier’s erosion accelerating, and by 2002 an emergency brace had to be installed to support the beam, resulting in a costly repair. They outlined a preventative maintenance program that included: smoothing approach & wearing surfaces; annual washing; semi-annually applying water repellent to concrete; spot paint; maintain joints/drains; and remove debris/vegetation.

Vermont Local Roads described proper paved and gravel road design. They stressed that water is a roads worst enemy, and maintenance crews should focus on good drainage. This include applying good material, using fabric, filling cracks, building proper ditches, maintaining culverts, and keeping driveway stormwater from entering the road.

Montpelier’s Public Works Director explained their approach to stretching local highway dollars to address the escalating costs of everything. He suggested applying for grants from any source you are eligible for, and described the different funding sources available. Regional Planning Commissions can also provide assistance with studies, inventories, and traffic counting. Montpelier looks to stretch their money before problems arise, by improving efficiency, and if necessary to reduce services. He stressed that it is important to establish good communication with City leaders, managers, and the public.

The last presentation was from the City of Middlebury. They have been trying to build a new bridge in the downtown for over 50 years. They finally forego the Federal/State funding route, and are building the bridge as a local public/private partnership. This reduced the red tape in design, permitting, and ROW. Funding sources included a 30 year bond, a Middlebury College gift, and a 1% local option tax. They expect the bridge to be built in two years. For more information on the workshop, contract Steve Gladczuk, CVRPC Senior Transportation Planner, email – Gladczuk@cvregion.com, phone 229-0389.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bridges and Culverts

This year CVRPC has received heavy interest in having culvert and bridge data inventoried and as a result we are working steadily on these requests. Never in my 7 years of looking at culverts and bridges have I had to work this late into the fall! But we will keep up till the snow covers the ground and the culverts cannot be seen easily (snow has been forecasted for Tuesday evening October 21, 2008). Let’s hope it melts fast.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Municipal Education Grants

Funds are available through the Department of Housing and Community Affairs for municipalities to hold training workshops on land use topics of interest to them. Grants of $800 are available for municipalities for these workshops and can be applied for any time prior to May 15, 2009. Other than that date, there is no application "deadline." To find out more information on the Municipal Education Grants, go to www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/MEG.htm or contact DHCA at 802/828-3243 or Brenda.greika@state.vt.us. If you need further assistance, contact Laurie Emery at emery@cvregion.com or 802/229-0389.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Flood Hazard Maps and Regs

It is still not known yet when the Washington County D-FIRM maps will be ready and by what date towns will have to update their flood hazard regs. However, it's looking like next spring will be the earliest for the regs to be updated. It's best not to wait too long, though, because as we know time has a habit of flying by. I want to draw your attention to the Vermont River Management's web site and the 4 options of flood hazard regulations that a town can choose, although the first one is not recommended by the Department. Scroll down toward the end of this web site page www.vtwaterquality.org/rivers/htm/rv_floodhazard.htm and find the section on flood hazard regs. While you're scrolling, however, check out some of the fine material that is available on the site and from River Management that might be helpful in making decisions about flood hazard regulations and erosion control. If for some reason, the lengthy web site address doesn't get you to the right place, then go to www.vtwaterquality.org, click on river management, and then flood hazard, and then scroll aways. Remember, too, to ask CVRPC for assistance.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Data, Population Estimates

Need Data?

Be sure to check out the new population estimates at the Center for Rural Studies' web site www.crs.uvm.edu. While you're in the data "business," there is lots of housing and population data available at www.housingdata.org and there are Vermont Economic-Demographic Profiles at the Vermont Department of Labor's website www.vtlmi.info. Enjoy the search!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Roads & Rivers Workshop, Thursday Oct. 23, 12-2pm, Lunch Provided

CVRPC with the City of Montpelier will be hosting a two hour workshop presented by the Better Backroads Program in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources River Management Program. You observe a flume model of a stream, in which they will set up real-life examples of conflicts that occur in managing roads and rivers. Demonstrations on the flume will show the potential impacts and long-term effects of culvert installations and bank stabilization projects and how to best manage roads to prevent damage from storm events and flooding. The following site has a powerful video showing a flood taking out a road and culvert in Freeport Maine: http://www.wmtw.com/video/17144859/index.html Discussion will focus on stream processes, recommended road maintenance techniques, regulations involved with stream projects, and potential funding sources for grants.

The workshop will be held at the Montpelier City Garage, Thursday Oct. 23, 12-2pm, lunch will be provided.

To register, please contact Steve Gladczuk or Clare Rock at CVRPC (229-0389), so we can make sure there are enough chairs and food.

VTrans to Improve Transportation Options through New “Go Vermont” Program

In January, Governor Douglas proposed a new program entitled “Go Vermont” for communicating all transportation options in VT. This new program expands upon and replaces the current “Vermont RideShare” program that has traditionally focused only on carpool and vanpool services. Public transit routes, rail, carpool and vanpool services, bike/ped and park and ride information will all be linked through this program. The website and promotional materials will act as a “one-stop shop” for those looking at reducing their energy costs and footprint. Go to http://www.connectingcommuters.org/ for more information.
In addition to the expanded scope of the Go Vermont program, there will be major improvements to the carpool and vanpool services. The Carpool “matching” process will improve dramatically this Fall as VTrans launches automated carpool matching software that will provide an immediate e-mail response to online registrations and will accommodate those who are looking to find a match for their daily commutes or for a single trip only. Registrants will also receive an Emergency Ride Home Benefit that pays up to $70 for travel expenses in the event of an unforeseeable circumstance, and takes the worry out of ridesharing. This benefit can be used twice per month and up to 6 times per year.
VTrans has named VPSI, Inc. as the third-party vanpool provider that will coordinate these services. This approach will allow VTrans to promote a professional vanpool service and off-set the per-seat costs by way of a monthly subsidy payment. The requirements will be for a group of people to get together (minimum of 8) and devise a commuter trip that works for everyone. The group will have to choose who is going to be the primary driver, back-up driver and the overall vanpool coordinator. A 30-day contract will be offered to the drivers and coordinator and the group would then receive a new van within 30-60 days. Maintenance, insurance, and fare collection will all be managed by VPSI. The Emergency Ride Home Benefit extends to vanpool participants, too.
For more information, please contact the Go Vermont program coordinator at 1- 800-685-RIDE or ross.macdonald@state.vt.us.

Energy Workshops

CVRPC and VECAN, the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, are hosting a series of regional energy meetings to inspire, support, and offer assistance to local energy committees. At our first meeting in July attendees learned about the resources available to energy committees and how to start a committee. We had a packed house, a testament to the timeliness of the issue.
At the next regional energy meeting, energy committee members and other interested groups are invited to learn about “Button Up Vermont,” a campaign that will provide information on how to host a home energy-saving workshop. Folks will receive educational materials to distribute to residents, and will explore opportunities for joint workshops with neighboring communities. “Button Up Vermont” is a partnership between Central Vermont Community Action Council, with funding from the Vermont Agency of Human Services, VECAN, and Efficiency Vermont. The next regional energy meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Montpelier City Hall. For additional information and to sign up for the meeting, contact clarerock@cvregion.com.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2008 Regional Plan Adopted

Seventeen Central Vermont Commissioners voted a resounding "yes" to adopt the 2008 Central Vermont Regional Plan, including the Regional Transportation Plan, at the September 9, 2008 meeting of the Commission. Adopting a regional plan requires a 60% affirmative vote of the member town representatives; 60% for CVRPC is 14. We adopted the Plan with a 74% vote! The 2008 Plan becomes effective in 35 days, on October 14, unless a majority of the member towns' legislative bodies vote to veto the Plan and provide notice to CVRPC. We believe that the Commissioners represent their towns' vision of the Region and that the Regional Plan will become effective October 14. The Commission worked long and hard to have a thorough, participatory process that reflects the philosophies and views of its member constituents. We hope that you read the Plan and take note of the Housing element, including the Housing Distribution Plan, and use the Regional Plan as a guide for building local plans. The Regional Plan is on our website, and CD's will be distributed to member towns in the next few weeks. If you would like a CD, please contact Laurie Emery at cvrpc@cvregion.com. Happy reading!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Did You Know?

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority is putting together a database of landowners where cell towers, antennae, and cables can be located. Hilltops, silos, barns ,church steeples, existing towers and some rooftops may qualify.
If you are interested in making your property available for a communications provider to consider using to deliver services, please review the criteria established at www.telecomvt.org
The list that VTA accumulates will be made available to legitimate communications providers. The providers will then contact the owners to discuss their needs and requirements with them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stormwater Mitigation Grant Program

VTrans is accepting applications for the Stormwater Mitigation Grant Program, deadline September 30, 2008. The maximum amount is $150,000. Municipal projexts must demonstrate how it will reduce or eliminate stormwater pollution generated by or, directly associated with, existing public roads and road maintenance activities. Eligible activities include: Engineering & Design; Construction; and Other (such as equipment). There is a 20% Local Match Requirement. In-Kind Match is allowed. Montpelier and Moretown have already benefited from this program. Grant applications and additional information are available at the following web site: http://www.vermontlocalroads.org/new/stormwater_grant/in_kind.htm or contact Steve Gladczuk, CVRPC Senior Transportation Planner, 229-0389. The web site includes information on the Grant Summary, Process, In-Kind Match, and the Application.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just in!

Training for use of the Municipal Planning Grant online application will occur on September 11 at 7 p.m., September 17 at 9 a.m., or September 23 at noon. This training will be done via conference call so you will need to register. Please do so by contacting Sue Minter at sue.minter@state.vt.us or call her at 802/828-3119. Happy training!!

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

We received word late last week that the Joint Fiscal Committee and the Administration have agreed to a rescission plan to address the downgrade of the state revenue forecast. Consequently the eleven regional planning commissions around Vermont have been told that we will receive a 5% reduction in our state appropriation for the current fiscal year, with possibly another hit to come in January.

This will put our state revenues about on par with that of Fiscal year 07!! It will mean that we will have to make changes to our already very tight operating budget.

The Municipal Planning grant program will also receive a 5% cut.

One step forward, two steps back.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Safe Routes to School in Central Vermont

We are about to start our third year of participating in the VTrans Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS). The SRTS program is funded by 100% federal transportation funds and is intended to result in greater numbers of students who walk and bike to school. In the first two years Barre Town, Montpelier, Northfield, and Williamstown participated, resulting in pedestrian and bicycle safety education, contests and incentives to encourage walking and bicycling, engaging law enforcement, and evaluation of student/parent attitudes and behavior, and assessing the existing condition of streets and sidewalks around schools. All the schools recieved bike racks, and some of the schools were awarded signage and crosswalk improvements.

In year three, Duxbury, Moretown, Warren, and Waterbury were awarded grants to enter the program. CVRPC will be helping them get started on their School Travel Plans, conducting traffic counts, and provide mapping. We are also conducting sidewalk studies for Barre Town, Northfield, and Williamstown, to put them a good position to apply for infrastructure grants. The next round of planning and infrastructure grants will begin early next year. If you are interested in this program, contact Steve Gladczuk, CVRPC Senior Transportation Planner at 229-0389 or gladczuk@cvregion.com. More information can also be found at the VTrans website www.aot.state.vt.us/progdev/Sections/LTF/SRTS/VTSRTS.htm

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wrightsville Beach Open for Labor Day Weekend!

Well, it looks like summer finally made it to Vermont. Better late than never! Why not celebrate summer's last "official" weekend at the Wrightsville Beach Day Use Area? The forecast is for sun and 80 degree temperatures, the water is still warm, and the Beach offers a variety of recreation choices, including swimming, picnicking, trails, and canoe/kayak rentals. The setting is serene and beautiful.

The Beach is operated by a unique governmental entity called an Intermunicipal Recreation District, comprised of memeber municipalities, including Montpelier, Middlesex, East Montpelier and Worcester. CVRPC helped organize the District 25 years ago and we remain active in providing its governing board with administrative asssistance.

The Beach is located off Route 12 in Middlesex. If you've never been there, check it out. If you have, you don't need to be convinced. For more info on the Beach: http://www.central-vt.com/web/wrights/index.html. A bigger and better website is under construction at www.wrightvillebeachvt.com. Look for us soon at that address!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Pitch

Welcome to CVRPC's brand new blog site! Why a blog? Because planning in Vermont is a dynamic world, moving too fast for regional plans, annual reports or quarterly newsletters to keep pace. It seems that everyday some new information, opportunity or challenge comes to light. Whether it's a new grant program, traffic count data, FEMA flood map updates, or a big development proposal, the planner's "landscape" is constantly changing. This blog will allow CVRPC staff to keep you up to date and well informed. Plus, we get to put our two cents into the conversation! We will be posting regularly on a variety of planning related topics (and maybe, occasionally, some that aren't). We look forward to hearing from you, as well. Please visit and post your comments regularly. Ciao for now.

Community Development Grants

The next round of Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) grant applications has just begun. Applications are due by November 4, 2008 with a hearing notice required to be published by October 15. VCDP requires that all applications be filed online and you can view the application and instructions at www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/Application. All municipalities are eligible to apply and consortiums of 2 or more municipalities are encouraged. VCDP’s highest priorities continue to be housing and economic development that will create jobs.

These grants are funded with U.S. Housing and Urban Development funds, and hence, have a national objective that must be met. Those objectives include: serving persons of low and moderate income (the most important benefit); eliminating slums or blighted conditions; and alleviating an urgent need such as an immediate threat to the health and welfare of a community. Only one national objective has to be met with each grant application.

The types of projects include: housing rehabilitation and acquisition, lead abatement, and home ownership assistance; economic development loans to businesses that will result in job creation; water, sewer, or road improvements serving economic development or housing; rehabilitation or acquisition of public facilities, or senior, child care, assisted living, or homeless facilities; handicap accessibility modifications (which require a $1 for $1 match); planning; and disaster assistance.

Additional information on the types of grants funded, match requirements, and the minimum and maximum amounts available can be found on the web site listed above. If CVRPC can be of assistance, please contact us. Laurie Emery

Monday, August 18, 2008

Municipal Planning Grants - 2008

The Municipal Planning Grant application process for 2008 will be done solely online through the Intelligrant/online process. Any municipality that wants to apply for these planning funds will have to do so through the online process at www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/MPG.htm. The online application is not yet active, but will be as of September 2. At that point, you will be able to go the site and click on “online application” and get started. However, and this is a very important however, the town will need to identify the “authorizing official” or AO. This person will “sign,” or in the online world, “send” all
application pages, forms, etc once they have been completed. It would be best to have the AO be the town administrator, manager, or executive assistant where there is one. Otherwise the AO will have to be a Selectboard member or the mayor. The town clerk, treasurer , or any staff that would be paid by the grant cannot be the AO; nor can any staff member of a non-municipal entity be the AO.

Here’s the MPG schedule as it appears now. A town that wants to apply for a Municipal Planning Grant must be confirmed (which requires that the town plan be approved by the regional commission) by September 30. All MPG applications will be due October 31. A single town can apply for up to $15,000; a consortium can apply for up to $25,000. Award decisions will be made in December 2008 and grant work can then proceed once any final forms are filed; again, online.

In about 2 weeks (September 2 or so), the user manual for the online application will be available online. It will be on the website cited above and it will be e-mailed to regional planning commissions. CVRPC will e-mail this document to you so that your staff or person preparing the application can have a paper copy to use as a guide. On September 2, the online application will be available and the AO will have to register and then be validated by the Intelligrant system so that the AO can then validate anyone who is going to write or edit the MPG application. The online application is streamlined and so where there used to be redundancy, there will not be. One key point to remember is that the online application will “time” itself out after 30 minutes if it is idle, so save and save often to avoid losing your work.

The grant criteria are pretty much the same as in the past: up to 15 points for an application that is complete, concise, realistic, and describes a clearly defined project; 20 points for a realistic work plan and budget; 20 points for clear linkage to the municipal plan; 15 points for citizen participation, partnerships, and outreach; and 30 points for projects that meet Statewide priorities (update municipal plan, update bylaws to be in conformance with the municipal plan and statute, or studies or activities related to growth center designation or for VT Neighborhood designation).

CVRPC staff is here to assist in any way we can. If the planning commission is thinking of applying for funds, now would be a good time to organize the project so the application process goes smoothly next month! Contact Chris Walsh, Clare Rock, or Laurie Emery with questions, concerns, ideas, etc.