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Executive Director's Corner
8-Year Town Plan Update Cycle
Legislation was passed this year that extends the local planning cycle.  In the past, municipal plans expired five years after adoption.  Under  Act 90 (H.367), that time period was extended to eight years.  Plans adopted on July 1, 2015 or later will expire eight years after the adoption date.  Plans adopted before that date will expire after five years.

Additional statutory changes include a new criterion added as part of the regional planning commission's decision making process to confirm the local planning process.  The new criteria relates to whether a municipality is implementing its municipal plan.  Confirmation by the RPC is a requirement of certain state programs, such as maintaining state designation of downtowns and village centers.   The bill also includes additional steps for the process to re-adopt municipal plans.
Intermunicipal Service
Act 89 (H.249) enables municipalities to enter into intermunicipal agreements for joint services such as sharing of employees, joint purchasing, and services.  Municipalities are authorized for this already under Chapter 121, however that process is cumbersome to use. Towns will now be able to simplify the process by using Regional Planning Commissions as a vehicle to contract with each other. Towns that wish to contract with each othercan do it on a voluntary basis and only among those towns wishing to participate. Towns that contract with one another are also responsible for the costs associated with the agreement towns not participating will not be liable for the expenses.  Many towns struggle to find good, qualified staff, such as listers, zoning administrators, and dog catchers.  An intermunicipal agreement would allow for the hiring of an employee that could be shared by municipalities.  If towns so choose, they could ask the regional planning commission to provide these services, if the RPC agrees to do so.
Role of Plans to Inform Energy Project Siting
Near the very end of the legislative session,  S.230 was passed by the Legislature. Governor Shumlin vetoed this bill on June 6, 2016.  On June 9, 2016, the Legislature passed a replacement bill S.260 that addressed some of the Governor's concerns.  To read the bill as enacted, see  Act 174

Act 174 gives regional and municipal plans substantial deference in the Section 248 process for energy and energy related projects.  In order to receive this higher standing in the Section 248 process, towns and Regional Planning Commissions will be required to meet enhanced data collection, goals and standards in their energy chapters.   A regional plan would need to be submitted to the Department of Public Service for a determination of compliance with enhanced energy planning requirements.  A town plan would be submitted to an RPC for review to determine whether it meets the enhanced energy requirements.  Only plans with an affirmative determination of energy compliance would have "substantial deference" in the PSB's decision-making process with Section 248 projects; plans that don't meet the requirement would only be given "due consideration" in the process.  

The Department of Public Service has until November 1, 2016 to publish recommendations and standards related to the determination process discussed above.  It may be easiest for municipalities to wait until after these recommendations and standards are finalized and the regional plan updates are completed before working to update town plans.
Expanded Forestland Planning Requirements
In accordance with  Act 171 , the Forestry bill (H.857), town and regional plans adopted on or after January 1, 2018 will need to include forestry language.  Specifically, the plans will need to be consistent with the expanded State Planning Goal regarding maintaining and improving forest blocks and habitat connectors.  The land use section of town plans will need to identify areas for aquifer protection and forest blocks, wildlife habitat and habitat connectors.

Under this bill, land use bylaws cannot regulate forestry operations as defined in 10 V.S.A. §2602.  (It is unclear at this point what the difference is between "silvicultural practices" and "forestry operations".)
Emergency Management
Local Hazard Mitigation Plans Receive FEMA Approval
Congratulations to the Towns of Chester and Windsor for receiving formal FEMA approval for their new stand-alone Hazard Mitigation Plans! Thank you to the hazard mitigation committee, Planning Commission, and Selectboard members for your hard work, comments, and review.
Training & Exercise
VT DEMHS offers free emergency training for community officials and emergency responders - sign up for an upcoming class today. Click here to view the DEMHS Training & Exercise calendar  for the latest training being offered and for additional course information, registration and prerequisites.   Alternatively, if you want to host a training class in your area, contact Allison for more information.
Transportation News
Moving Forward with a Bus Route Evaluation
Over the last few months SWCRPC and Southeast Vermont Transit (SEVT) have been evaluating some of "The Current" bus routes in the Springfield, Bellows Falls and Ludlow areas.  We had a great response to our January 2016 survey, as well as some other public outreach efforts The final report including short term recommendations is now available  here.    Contact  Katharine  for more information, including about how the SWCRPC assists with public transportation planning in our region.
Speed Studies or Traffic Counts
SWCRPC just completed their 2015 Traffic count report, which outlines the whopping 32 counts and studies completed last summer.  The report is available on our website.   And since there is no rest for the wicked, the summer transportation fieldwork season is underway... Please contact Katharine ASAP if you want a speed study or traffic count completed!
Better Roads Grant Awards
Congratulations to the Towns of Cavendish, Ludlow, Windsor, West Windsor, Reading and Baltimore for receiving FY2017 grants from the Better Roads Program.  Formerly known as the "Better Backroads Program", the Better Roads Program provides funding to support projects on town roads that improve water quality and result in maintenance cost savings.  These towns received funding for a wide variety of projects, including road erosion inventories, slope stabilization, culvert installation, ledge work, and ditch improvements. For more information about the program see here  or contact Katharine.
Water Quality
Mill Brook Watershed Initiative 
The Mill Brook Watershed Initiative has several events planned for this summer. The Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District (ONRCD) had their stream table at the July 3rd Old Home Day in Reading and the 4th of July parade in West Windsor for demonstrations.  The table is a great hands-on method of learning about river dynamics.  Additionally, the American Precision Museum hosted a Teacher Training Institute on how rivers behave, how to collect and analyze river flow data and how rivers respond in large weather events.  For more information about the Initiative, please contact  Dan Potter  at 802-674-9201.
Clean Water Conversation 
On July 12, 2016 the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission hosted a Clean Water Conversation.  Marli Rupe, from the Clean Water Fund; Rich Langdon, from the Monitoring, Assessment, and Planning Program; and Marie Caduto led the conversation. They discussed the draft FY18 Clean Water Fund allocations that were released for public comment in July, the new changes to Vermont's Water Quality Standards, and Tactical Basin Planning in the Ottauquechee and Black River Basins, respectively. The event was attended by an engaged group of local stakeholders and a great conversation ensued!
Funding Opportunities - Grants & Loans
Clean Water Infrastructure Asset Management Grants
The Clean Water Initiative's Clean Water Infrastructure Asset Management Grants  have been announced. These grants can be used to help municipalities develop asset management plans to better finance and schedule improvement and continued maintenance of clean water infrastructure, e.g. water and sewer systems.  The RFP has been posted to the state's bid website. Go here  to view .  The total amount available is $280,000 and it is expected that between 9-10 projects will be funded through this grant.  There is no required local match and the deadline for application is August 1, 2016. Please contact Terisa Thomas for more information at 802-249-2413 or by email.

VT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Grants
Wide variety of bicycle and pedestrian projects can be funded including bicycle lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian crossing improvements and flashing beacons, ADA improvements, etc.  The a pplication deadline is July 15, 2016 and visit here for more details.

VT Municipal Park and Ride Grant
For the creation of small Park-and-Ride facilities in Vermont towns.   Application deadline is August 31, 2016 and for more details visit here.
GIS and Mapping
Updated ANR Natural Resources Atlas
ANR has just completed a major update to the Natural Resources Atlas. Check it out here There is also a helpful video to guide you through the updates at this site.
SW/WC Solid Waste District
Grant Awarded
The Southern Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste Management District and the Greater Upper Valley Solid Waste District were recently awarded $43,600 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Solid Waste Management Grant Program. The districts applied jointly for a grant to help them implement the requirements of Vermont's Act 148 Universal Recycling law. For all the fun facts about Act 148, click here.
Successful Collections
The three recent household hazardous waste collections held by the District were successful. How is that measured? Many of residents brought lots of hazardous materials from their homes, garages, and barns AND nothing blew up and there were no chemical spills. The next three events will be held in September.
Stay Connected
Don't forget about us! 
When there are personnel changes on your boards or in the office, please help us by sending your updates to us promptly.  We use your contact information for a variety of purposes including:   grant opportunities;  upcoming road construction projects (including road and bridge closures);  trainings and events  and many other things! If you have any updates for town staff or volunteers, please send them to Chris Titus .
Can we get 100 "likes" on facebook?
Did you know we have a facebook page?  We currently have 95 "likes" and would love to reach 100.  Check out our page today!
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