Friday, July 31, 2009

Flood Insurance and the FEMA Grandfathering Rule


What is the Grandfather Rule?

A community will occasionally make structural improvements (dams, levees, etc.) to reduce the potential effects of flooding; experience new development aggravating the flooding situation, thereby expanding the floodplain; revise geographical boundaries resulting in the designation of additional flood hazard areas; or provide nformation to better delineate the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and/or flood insurance risk zones. When these situations occur, the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is revised and republished.

The implementation of a new FIRM raises the question-- HOW DOES THE NEW MAP AFFECT FLOOD INSURANCE RATES?

To recognize policyholders who have remained loyal customers of the NFIP by maintaining continuous coverage and/or who have built in compliance with the FIRM, the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration has "Grandfather rules" to allow such policyholders to benefit in the rating for that building.

Pre-FIRM (construction prior to the date of the community's initial FIRM):

1. If a policy was obtained prior to the effective date of a map change, the policyholder is eligible to maintain the prior zone and base flood elevation as long as continuous coverage is maintained. The policy can be assigned to a new owner at the option of the policyholder.

2. If a building is Pre-FIRM and a policy was not obtained prior to the effective date of a map change,the applicant is eligible to receive the Pre-FIRM (subsidized) rates based on the new zone rather than the actuarial (elevation based) rates.

Post-FIRM (construction on or after the date of the community's initial FIRM:

1. If a policy was obtained prior to the effective date of a map change, the policyholder is eligible to maintain the prior zone and base flood elevation as long as continuous coverage is maintained. The policy can be assigned to a new owner at the option of the policyholder.

2. If a building was constructed in compliance with a specific FIRM, the owner is always eligible to obtain a policy using the zone and base flood elevation from that FIRM, provided that proof (refer to the Flood Insurance Manual, Rating section for acceptable documentation) is submitted to the insurance company. Continuous coverage is not required.

Preferred Risk Policies:

1. Buildings written on Preferred Risk Policies are required to be located in zones B, C, or X on the FIRM in effect on the date of application and on the date of each subsequent renewal.

2. A building, which becomes ineligible for a Preferred Risk Policy due to a map change to a special flood hazard area, can be rewritten on a standard rated policy using zones B, C, or X.

For more information, go to

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Affordable Housing Workshops

Removing Barriers to Strengthen Communities: Affordable Housing and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing at the Local Level

This workshop will explain the relationship between fair housing law and land use regulations. Tools will be provided to help municipalities avoid violating Federal and State fair housing laws. Any municipality dealing with issues such as affordable housing, group homes, residential care facilities, requests for accessibility modifications, or seeking VCDP funding, will want to attend this workshop!

October 1, 2009, 6:00 – 9:00 PM, Waterbury VT. Hosted by Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission

To register call Dani Fuoco at the CVOEO FHP 802-864-3334 x 109 or email

Thursday, July 23, 2009


The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has matching grants available to assist owners of historic agricultural buildings with their rehabilitation and repair. Matching grants of up to $10,000 can be used to restore and repair roofs, frames, windows, foundations, and other important components of agricultural buildings. The grant application and manual are available at Applications must be printed and mailed to the Division postmarked by November 2, 2009. If you need the application and manual mailed to you, contact the Division at 802/828-3049.

Monday, July 20, 2009

You Can Help Our Forests!

Destructive non-native forest insects and diseases such as the Emerald Ash Borer, the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Sudden Oak Death fungus have found their way into the United States and are now “hitchhiking” from state to state in firewood and nursery stock.
On their own, these pests move very slowly, only a couple of miles or less per year. Unfortunately, people are innocently providing a ready means of dispersal, often several hundred miles per day, by bringing infested firewood from home to their camping, sporting or second home destination.
One insect species, the Emerald Ash Borer, has already killed more than 30 million ash trees in the Midwest. That’s the amount of wood needed to build 150,000 homes!
This one insect pest has the potential to virtually eliminate all ash species in North America.

None of these pests have been found in Vermont yet, although Emerald Ash Borer has been found 30 miles from our northwestern border and Asian Long Horned beetle has been found in Worcester, MA, just miles from our southeastern border.

What can you do to Help?
You will probably not see destructive pests hiding in your firewood, but you can prevent them from “hitchhiking” and starting new infestations by always following these simple rules:
•Use local sources of firewood.
• Don’t bring firewood from home when you travel, and don’t return home with firewood from another state.
•A good rule is never move firewood more than 50 miles. If you have already brought firewood from home, do not take it back or leave it behind. Burn it as soon as possible.

For More Information Please Visit

Trail Initiative Underway

Approximately 6 months ago the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission and the Montpelier Conservation Commission co-hosted a regional trails meeting to discuss the possibilities of creating a regional trail map. We had approximately 30 folks attend and voice support. This spring the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission partnered with Local Motion to undertake the creation of the Central Vermont “Trail Finder.”

In a nutshell, the Trail Finder will be a one-stop trail and bikeway website resource for residents and visitors. It will bring together all hiking, biking, walking, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing opportunities into one, easy to search database that will detail trail length, permitted uses, directions, amenities and more. Each trail will have a downloadable and printable map.

What are the benefits to trail groups and municipalities?
Data Collection: We will train local volunteers to collect GPS points and other data for all of your town trails
An Additional Planning Resource: The GPS data will be entered into the Regional Planning Commissions’ GIS planning tools for the region’s and your town’s ongoing planning needs
Accurate, Accessible Town Trail Information: Free information on town trails will be provided to the general public without cost to you (this will save municipalities the cost of printing maps for town trails).
Local Administrative Ability to Update/Change Trail information: Identified and authorized municipal official and/or local trail managers will have the ability to update on-line trail information to reflect changing conditions (such as seasonal trail closures/re-routes and access information.)

What do we need from trail groups and municipalities?
No financial assistance – we have secured grants for the project’s development.
A point person within the town administration or trail organization for Trail Finder related communication
Volunteers to GPS trails and provide trail descriptions and photos
A willingness to fact check the collected data and review the downloadable maps

Next Steps?
This autumn we will be hosting an information and GPS training session to coordinate local volunteers to gather trail data. We will provide an overview of the project and describe how we can work together to make the Central Vermont Trail Finder a success.

We understand trail groups and Towns have a high standard for accuracy and will require that all the regulations, permissible uses and disclaimers be included with all maps. Local Motion and the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission will dedicate sufficient resources to develop an accurate, professional product that all stakeholders will value.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Trail Finder, please don’t hesitate to contact Steve Gladczuk, CVRPC Transportation Planner or Clare Rock, Regional Planner at 802.229.0389 or via email at the following email addresses:

EOC Operations Courses

Vermont Emergency Management
EOC Operations Courses

Vermont Emergency Management will be offering the newly developed EOC Operations Course program in several locations throughout Vermont this summer.

This course examines the role, design, and functions of Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) and its relationship as a components of a multi-agency response. Additional topics include staffing and organization, information systems, EOC communications and equipment needs, activating and deactivating, operations, training and exercising. This session utilizes activities and case studies about EOCs at the local, State and Federal levels of government. This course reflects elements of the FEMA G775 EOC Management and Operations Program.

Municipal Emergency Management Directors and their associates from Fire, Rescue, Law Enforcement, Select boards, and elsewhere are invited to attend and expand their knowledge of emergency management.

EOC courses have been scheduled for:

- Berlin, at the Comfort Inn off of I89 exit 7 on Friday, July 17th.
- Rutland, at the Rt. 7 Holiday Inn in Rutland on Tuesday, July 21st.
- Lyndon, at Lyndon State College, Monday, July 27th.
- Hyde Park, at the Green Mtn. Technical Center on Wednesday, July 29th. GMTC is located at 738 VT 15 W in Hyde Park.
- Newport, at the Gateway Center, Tuesday, August 18th.

All sessions are from 6-9pm with dinner provided. To register, please contact Vermont Emergency Management at 1-800-347-0488.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Renewable energy funds available

Recovery Act Announcement: DOE Announces up to $22 Million for Community Renewable Energy Deployment
July 15, 2009

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced plans to provide up to $22 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support the planning and installation of utility-scale community renewable energy projects in up to four communities nationwide. This funding opportunity directly supports the Obama Administration's goals of developing clean, renewable energy supplies, and creating new jobs and economic opportunities.
"American families and businesses are struggling in a recession and an increasingly competitive global economy. The Recovery Act was designed to rescue the economy from the immediate dangers it faces while rebuilding its fundamentals, with an eye toward new industry and opportunity," Secretary Chu said. "To help meet these challenges, the Recovery Act invests significant dollars to put people to work to spur a revolution in clean energy technologies."
Full story

Community Center - Montpelier Survey

The City of Montpelier is seeking input on needs that could be met by a new community center in Montpelier on Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 6:30 PM in the Memorial Room at City Hall. Mayor Mary Hooper will be the moderator. This effort is part of a two track approach for determining the future of the Montpelier Senior Activity Center.

The first track will develop a plan based upon the work of a real estate consultant who will recommend the best use of 58 Barre Street and possibly other structures that may be studied. A Community Development Block Grant application is about to be submitted for this purpose. If awarded, the grant funds would be available as early as January 2010.

The other track is consideration of a community center that would offer many services including multigenerational recreation in an energy efficient building with adequate parking. If successful, this would include funds for a new Montpelier Senior Activity Center.

Meetings are also being planned with the School Department and the Recreation Department to discover needs that may be changing over time.

Surrounding communities will be welcome to contribute their input at 6:30PM on Wednesday July 22, 2009 at the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce conference room next to the United Way office at 963 Paine Turnpike, Berlin.

The first draft of the plan along with a list of possible sites will be presented to the Montpelier City Council when they meet on Wednesday September 9. The goal is to find innovative ways to meet future needs with minimal impact on taxpayers in Montpelier and surrounding towns.

For more information contact the Montpelier City Manager’s Office
William Fraser, City Manager, 223-9502

Winooski River Watershed Corridor Plans

The River Management Program of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has been funding with Clean and Clear Water Federal funds fluvial geomorphic assessments in various rivers and streams around the State. Where phase I and II assessments have been completed, a corridor plan is then written. Existing plans are hosted on the River Management Program's web site located at Corridor plans for Central Vermont and the Winooski River watershed exist for the: Dog River, Kingsbury Branch, Mad River, North Branch of the Winooski, Upper Winooski, Stevens Branch, and the Mid-Winooski.

If you have problems accessing the site, please contact Dan Currier at CVRPC, 229-0389 or Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Historic Preservation in Vermont; what do you think about it?

The Division for Historic Preservation, Vermont’s State Historic Preservation Office, is asking Vermonters to share their thoughts about historic preservation in our state by completing a survey. The Division is revising Vermont’s ten-year historic preservation plan and your views and opinions are essential so that the revised plan accurately reflects the views of Vermonters. The revised preservation plan will be available to guide preservation activities throughout the state by any organization interested in following its ideas and not just as a guide for the work undertaken by the Division for Historic Preservation.

Please take about ten minutes to complete the survey at

We are not collecting any personal information and your survey responses will be used for preservation planning purposes only.

Thank you in advance for your time and help guiding historic preservation in Vermont! We hope you enjoy completing the survey. Of course, feel free to forward the survey link to others who also might be interested in offering their views on historic preservation in Vermont.

Deadline: please be sure to take the survey no later than Friday, July 31, 2009!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stimulus funds for Weatherization

VERMONT – $6,737,030 awarded today

Vermont will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 1,800 homes over the next three years, delivering the benefits of conservation to low-income, disabled, and elderly residents. The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) will work with five local organizations to provide services across the state. Under the weatherization program, OEO monitors the training needs for the local agencies to ensure homes are weatherized effectively. Local weatherization organizations are also required to solicit in-kind contributions or other donations when working on rental properties. This leveraging of funds enables the program to provide weatherization benefits to additional homes.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $8.4 million, for a total of nearly $17 million.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Benefit-Cost Analysis Workshop

To all applicants for the HMGP and PDM-C FEMA grant programs:

As a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is required for all FEMA grant programs, VEM will be conducting an intensive two-day BCA workshop on October 14-15, 2009 at Vermont Emergency Management offices in Waterbury. A grants overview will also be given during this training session. All HMGP and PDM-C grant applicants are strongly encouraged to attend this important workshop. The training is provided free-of-charge; lunch will be provided. Please mark your calendars accordingly.

This workshop is for mitigation project applicants only; planning grants do not require a BCA.

All those who will be attending the BCA training are required to complete an online course prior to the classroom training session. There are two online courses available which can be accessed on the BCA Helpline website: Introduction to Benefit-Cost Analysis Training Course: This training is for those who are not currently familiar with the BCA program or are in need of a refresher:
(Total time needed: approximately 3.5 hours)Bridge Training Course: This training is for users familiar with the previous BCA program to ensure that they are aware of the new terminology and elements of the new tool:

For the classroom training in Waterbury, VEM will provide training manuals and computers with the appropriate BCA software installed. If you are attending the BCA workshop, please bring with you any technical information in connection with your specific project proposal, including: total project costs, traffic count, frequency of flood or storm event, past repair costs or past damages, etc.

Kindly confirm your attendance at this workshop by sending Ray Doherty an e-mail message no later than Sept. 30, 2009.

Ray Doherty, State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Vermont Emergency Management
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671
Tel (802) 241-5258

HMPG deadline extended

The application deadline for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) in connection with disaster DR 1816 (December ice storm) has been extended to Friday, October 30, 2009. This deadline has been changed to accommodate scheduled training for Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA). The BCA is a FEMA requirement for all mitigation grants. A formal announcement for the BCA training will be made in the near future. This training will take place here at Vermont Emergency Management offices in Waterbury over a two-day period in mid October; all HMGP applicants are strongly encouraged to attend this important training session.

For additional information contact:
Ray Doherty, State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Vermont Emergency Management
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671
Tel (802) 241-5258

Energy Stimulus Funds, ARRA Information for Vermont

State Energy Program

Vermont's application for $21,999,000 in ARRA funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency program was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on May 12, 2009. Once the application has been approved by DOE, the state should be able to access up to 50% of the funds; the remaining 50% will be available when Vermont demonstrates we are obligating the funds in accordance with DOE regulations. These funds will expand the size and scope of the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF). This program will be expanded through additional large-scale grant and loan program funding as well as additional small-scale grant and loan program funding, in addition to expansion of the state’s anemometry loan program, training for renewable energy project installations, a program to expand small wind turbine installations through co-development with cellular sites, an efficiency/renewables program for public-serving institutions, and weatherization funding for a low-income housing program in the state. Funding is anticipated to be available in the following program areas:

Clean Energy Development Fund renewable energy activities--$14.4 million
Public Serving Institutions* Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program--$2 million
Vermont Telecom Authority small-scale wind turbines--up to $2 million for ARRA-eligible projects
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board weatherization and renewable energy activities--up to $2 million for ARRA-eligible projects

*Includes government buildings and non-profit public and private universities, colleges, and hospitals.

Funding for activities of the Vermont Telecom Authority and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board will be made in the form of grants to these organizations. Other funds will be distributed through awards from the CEDF through a competitive process that will utilize objective relative measures of economic efficiency. Included in the evaluation criteria will be assessments of the ability of projects to reduce peak load use of nonrenewable electric generation. Program details, including how to apply for competitive funds are still under development, and no applications for funding are yet being accepted. We will post information regarding how you may apply for ARRA funds on this webpage as soon as it is available.


Vermont's application for $16,842,576 in ARRA Weatherization funding was submitted by the deadline of May 12, 2009. Funding will go to program activities including weatherization job training and grants to Community Action Program agencies to deliver weatherization services in the community. For more information about the Weatherization program, see information from the Office of Economic Opportunity.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

This formula grant program allocated Vermont approximately $10,300,000 in block grant funding for a variety of efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Approximately $9.5 million will come through the state, and the rest directly to Vermont cities and towns. Of this $9.5 million, 40% ($3.8 million) is allocated by the DOE to the State Energy Program and 60% ($5.7 million) is allocated to cities and towns not receiving a direct allocation from DOE. We anticipate this will be awarded through an upcoming competitive application process. The Department of Public Service plans to submit an application to the DOE for the funds coming to the state on or before the deadline of June 25, 2009. Some of the money has been directly allocated by DOE to the ten highest-population towns including: Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlingtoni, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, Hartford, Milton, Rutland and South Burlington.

Additional information will be posted regarding how you may apply for ARRA funds at as it becomes available.

In the meantime, if you need information on existing loan and grant programs for new energy generation, please visit the Vermont Department of Public Service website at:

If you are a consumer and seek information regarding home or business efficiency programs, please contact Efficiency Vermont at 802-860-4095, or call toll-free 1-888-921-5990, or visit their website at

Background Materials--Other ARRA Energy Programs
Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), Congressional Research Service, March 3, 2009. (PDF)
Other Links
U.S. Department of Energy ARRA Funding Opportunity Announcements.