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The RPC has a "new planner"!  Allison Hopkins, our Emergency Management Planner, and her husband Luke are the proud parents of a baby boy. Lars was born on March 23rd and weighed in at 9.6lbs .  We wish them the best.


The RPC sends out its condolences to the Thomas family.  Shep Thomas, a long time Commissioner and TAC member from Baltimore, passed away on March 14, 2015.   Shep was a founding member of the Regional Planning Commission and served on the Board for many years.  The RPC is grateful for the many hours of time Shep devoted to serving on the Board. He will be missed.

 

Sincerely,

Thomas Kennedy

Executive Director

An Evening with Coffee and a Plan for the Future of Downtown Springfield
Join us on Thursday, April 23, 2015 starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall at One Hundred  River Street (Pearl Street entrance).   Come hear about the ongoing process to update the 1995 Downtown Master Plan. The 1995 document has been used to guide local revitalization efforts for the last 20 years.  The new plan seeks to bring together all relevant stakeholders to identify a common vision and desired implementation strategies.  The resulting ideas will guide local economic development efforts over the next 10-20 years.   Visit  here  for more information.
Energy
Public Service Board Cold River Road Ruling

The Public Service Board recently issued a ruling on a 2.3 MW solar development proposal located on Cold River Road in Rutland, Vermont.  Several of the issues discussed in the ruling included the project's compliance with the Town and Regional Plans as well as a set of solar siting standards adopted by the Town of Rutland as a supporting document to their Town Plan.  The PSB ruled in favor of the applicant despite the Town's assertion that the project was not in compliance with the above documents.  The PSB found inconsistencies between the Town Plan, the Future Land Use Map, and the Standards.  Additionally, a setback requirement in the standards was not upheld as the PSB found it constituted, "de facto zoning" from which Section 248 projects are exempt.  This ruling highlights the need for careful planning and clear town plan language.  Please click here to view the full order. 

Five Southern Windsor County Towns Selected for Next Round of Solarize Upper Valley

Southern Windsor County will be well represented in the next round of "Solarize Upper Valley," which will run through the end of September, 2015.  Solarize Upper Valley is a program of Vital Communities aimed at making residential and small business solar photovoltaic (PV) energy more accessible across our region.  The towns of Windsor, Weathersfield, Reading, West Windsor and Cavendish have been chosen as a team to promote residential solar power.  For more information please click here or contact:


Becky Basch (Reading and West Windsor) - rebeccabasch@comcast.net

Peter LaBelle (Cavendish)- peterjlabelle@aol.com

Julia Lloyd Wright (Weathersfield) - dartthol@sover.net

Brendan Dangelo (Windsor) - danbrendan@gmail.com

Windsor Approves PACE

Windsor joins the other two PACE communities in southern Windsor County: Weathersfield and Cavendish.  At this time, there are 31 Vermont towns in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, with at least 22 other communities working toward it.  Residents of Windsor voted at their 2015 Town Meeting to establish a town-wide PACE District.  This makes Windsor residents eligible for financing to make energy efficiency improvements to homes.  For more information visit Windsor's website.

Upper Valley Energy Roundtable

The SWCRPC has once again partnered with Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Commission, Vital Communities, the Sustainable Energy Research Group, and the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network to bring you the Upper Valley Energy Roundtable.  The Roundtable promotes networking and information sharing to assist energy committees and coordinators in carrying out their work. This year the Roundtable will be held at the Montshire Museum in Norwich Vermont on Tuesday, April 28th from 5:00-8:00pm.  Please contact Dan Potter for more information.

Legislative Updates
Water Quality Bill
The Water Quality Bill (S 49) passed the House and now resides in the Senate. According to the Legislative Calendar, the Senate Bill will go through final mark-up the week of April 13, 2015 and should reach the floor of the Senate by the end of April. The major sticking point in the bill is the funding to address cleanup costs.  There have been a number of possible scenarios but, as of this writing, it is unclear what will come out of the Senate Finance Committee.
Natural Resources
Mill Brook Stream Geomorphic Assessment
A draft of the Phase II Stream Geomorphic Assessment report for the Mill Brook, which runs from Reading through West Windsor and Windsor to the Connecticut River, is expected by the end of March.  To help review and finalize the report, the SWCRPC will be coordinating two public informational meetings during the month of April.  The first is scheduled for Thursday, April 23rd at 7:00pm at the Reading Town Hall. The second is scheduled for Thursday, April 30th at 7:00pm at the American Precision Museum in Windsor.   Please contact  Dan Potter  for more information.
Transportation News
Construction Season
It's here again!  Transportation construction season will be busy this year - bridges, paving, park-and-ride lots, and more... with a project in nearly every town!  Katharine keeps track of current projects as well as those being proposed.  For up to date information on the major projects please check http://swcrpc.org/transportation/ - which includes info about which town, potential closures/ detours, schedules, public meetings, etc.  Some of these projects can take years to develop, but others come up last minute.  Please let Katharine know if you would like more regular updates directly by email or more information on any of the projects.

Do you need any traffic or speed data?

Email Katharine if you need any transportation data collected this summer/ fall - traffic counts, speed studies, pedestrian counts, infrastructure inventories, capital budgets for culvert or road inventories, etc.  Fieldwork will begin in May.

Prioritizing Transportation Projects

Each year VTrans asks for input on a regional level for a variety of projects they are funding including state bridges, town bridges, major paving/ reconstruction and minor paving.  Information about the priorities set this winter by the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee are available online.

Young Adults and Transportation

The Vermont Transportation Board has recently released its report on how young adults (e.g. Millenials) in Vermont view and use transportation - following a series of public hearings in fall 2014.  You can read the report here.

Funding Opportunities - Grants & Loans
Town Highway Structures Program: Contact the VTrans Maintenance District for details

 

Class 2 Roadway Program: C ontact the VTrans Maintenance District for details

 

Better Backroads: Application and details should be released in April

 

Bicycle and Pedestrian Program: Application and details should be released in late Spring

 

Transportation Alternatives:  Application and details should be released late Spring/ early Summer


Small and Inspiring Grants: from the VT Community Foundation

 

Working Lands Enterprise Grant Funds:  These funds are now available for

Enterprise Investments ($3,000-$20,000) into farm, food systems, forestry and forest products. Service Provider Grants ($10,000-$150,000) may include local food market development projects. Links to applications and due dates can be found online at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/apply/rfp. For more information contact Noelle Sevoian, Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (802) 585-9072 or email working.lands@state.vt.us.  

 

Funds Available for Vermont Wood Manufacturers: The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA) has been awarded a grant from Vermont's Working Lands Enterprise Fund to provide support for innovation to enhance economic competitiveness. There is no formal application process and projects are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Examples of transformational innovation for which this assistance is geared include lean facilitation, organizational planning and leadership development, new product development, and implementation of custom business models. For more information contact Steve Rohde  or at (603) 229-0679.   

 

The Vermont Farm Fund:  Is a Business Builder Loan Program that supports farms and local food producers who are investing and innovating to grow their business, increasing the availability of local foods in Vermont. Go here for more information.
In this issue....
Energy
Funding Opportunities
Legislative Update
Transportation News
Need more detail? 
Try these links below.
Publications
SWCRPC Calendar 
Upcoming Events
4/20:  LEPC#3 Meeting
6:00 p.m., SWCRPC Conference room, Ascutney, VT

4/21: RPC Board Meeting
12:00 p.m., Martin Memorial Hall, Ascutney,VT
 
4/22: Regional Tran sportation Committee Meeting
6:00 p.m., RPC Office, Ascutney, VT

4/23: Mill Brook Geomorphic Assessment Informational Meeting
7:00 p.m., Reading Town Hall , Reading, VT

4/23 - Public Meeting on Planning for the Future of Downtown Springfield
6:30 pm, Great Hall

4/30:  Mill Brook Geomorphic Assessment Informational Meeting
7:00 p.m, American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT

4/30 - Vermont On-road Bicycling Plan Public Meeting  for more details see here
   
5/4 thru 5/15 - Way To Go Commuter Challenge

5/19 
RPC Board Meeting
12:00 p.m., Martin Memorial Hall, Ascutney,VT

5/27
Regional Transportation Committee Meeting
6:00 p.m., RPC Office, Ascutney, VT

6/16 - RPC Annual Meeting

6/24-6/26  2015 APA Northeast Planning Conference

Way to Go Commuter Challenge May 4-15
The Way To Go challenge is back again this year... as a two week challenge.  Find a way to take transit, walk, bike, carpool or rideshare.  The Current is doing Fare Free Fridays both weeks. Check here for bus schedules.  To find more information try here and to  sign up go here.
The final East Central Vermont: What We Want plan is complete. You can access the full plan and/or individual plan sections here.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the planning part of this project! Please contact Dan Potter with any questions.
SW/WC Solid Waste District

Household Hazardous Waste Collections

Residents of Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Grafton, Ludlow, Plymouth, Reading, Rockingham, Springfield, Weathersfield, West Windsor, and Windsor are invited to clear their garages, basements, and barns of household hazardous waste and bring it to our collections on Saturday, May 9. These will be held at the former Goodyear Building in Windsor and at the Springfield Transfer Station. Both events will run from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Accepted and unacceptable materials and other details are available online at

www.vtsolidwastedistrict.org.

Stay Connected
Are you on Front Porch Forum?
The towns of Cavendish, Reading, Weathersfield, West Windsor and Windsor have all joined. The mission of Front Porch Forum is to help neighbors connect and build community. It does that by hosting regional networks of online neighborhood forums. Common sense and a growing body of research tell us that well-connected neighborhoods are friendlier places to live, with less crime, healthier residents, higher property values, and better service from local government and public utilities.
S outhern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission 
PO Box 320
38 Ascutney Park Road
Ascutney, VT 05030
Telephone: 802-674-9201
Fax: 802-674-5711
General Email: info@swcrpc.org