December, 2017




Municipal Planning Grants Awarded  
Five Municipalities in the Region Receive Funding
 
Congratulations to Alburgh, Fairfield, Highgate, Richford and Swanton! In late November, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) awarded five municipal planning grants (MPGs) to municipalities located in the Northwest Region. All of the region's applications were funded; the total grant award for all five projects equals $57,741.  This exceeds the amount originally allocated to the region based on its size and number of regionally approved municipal plan. 
  
The awards to Alburgh, Highgate, and Richford are for planning projects centered on each community's designated village center.  Alburgh will create a Village Master Plan that will focus on planning improvements to public spaces (lighting, landscaping, etc.) and the development of a village marketing plan.  Highgate will create a master redevelopment plan and strategy for the municipally owned town common parcels in the village center.  Richford will work with Richford Economic Advancement Corporation, to engage the community in developing a vision and concept site plan for the Missisquoi Overlook Park brownfield site.  This project has also received assessment and clean up funds from NRPC's brownfields program.  

Fairfield will substantially revise the community's Subdivision and Zoning Bylaw.  The focus of the revision will be promoting housing and compact, walkable development within the community's villages. 

The Town of Swanton will conduct a unique project convening a diverse group of experts and stakeholders to address specific goals to further community and economic development objectives.  This "Community and Economic Development Forum" is being overseen by the Swanton Enhancement Project Economic Development Task Force, a citizen group focused on strengthening the local economy.  The Task Force was developed as a part of a Community Visit from the Vermont Council on Rural Development in 2015.   

For any questions about MPGs, please contact Taylor Newton by email or at (802) 524-5958.
   
 
 

 
The Towns of Fairfax and Richford to develop Stormwater Master Plans
   
The Towns of Fairfax and Richford will be working with NRPC to develop Stormwater Master Plans with grants provided by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of the State's Clean Water Initiative. Stormwater runoff from developed areas and rural roadways carry pollutants as well as increase flows into rivers and streams, causing stream bank erosion and slumping banks. The Stormwater Master Plan will identify target areas that are a concern related to stormwater and develop recommendations to address the concerns. 

A consultant will be hired to develop the plan in consultation with DEC, and staff and boards of the Town. The project includes a review of pre-existing data, on-the-ground-assessment of problem areas, a detailed identification of recommended projects and the preparation of conceptual plans and budget estimates. The Plan will look for potential stormwater conflicts in the village areas as well as address stormwater runoff on the Town road system which have the potential to impact local streams.
 
Completion of the Stormwater Master Plan is anticipated in the fall of 2018. For more information about the project contact Amanda Holland by email or phone 524-5958.





The Region Prepares for Municipal Roads
General Permit (MRGP)

NRPC has helped our municipalities get ready by:
  • Serving on the MRGP Core Team which reviewed drafts of the permit and provided local/regional perspective to the permit development process.
  • Attending 21 selectboard and village trustee meetings to present on the MRGP and other new regulations enabled by the Vermont Clean Water Act.
  • Hosting four public meetings on the MRGP including TAC and road foreman meetings.
  • Administrating the Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid Pilot Project which will result in more than 50 road segments in the region being fully brought up to the MRGP standards by June 2018.
  • Writing 26 planning and implementation grants to help municipalities identify and install the Best Management Practices required by the MRGP.
  • Completing road erosion inventories-one of the first requirements of the MRGP-for our municipalities. So far NRPC staff has inventoried over 3,000 road segments.

 

 
   


 
VT Requests Federal Disaster Declaration Following October 30th Severe Wind Event
 
Governor Phil Scott made a request for federal disaster funds to assist communities and public utilities in 10 Vermont counties in paying for repairs to public infrastructure damaged in wind and rain storms on October 29 and 30. Communities and public utilities that operate in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, and Windham counties sustained damages that meet or exceed minimum thresholds to be eligible for a Public Assistance disaster declaration.
 
A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified $3.7 million in public infrastructure damage, far exceeding the $1 million minimum Vermont must show to be considered for a disaster declaration.  Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, and Windham counties each exceeded the $3.68 per capita threshold needed to qualify communities and public utilities in those counties for assistance.
 
A Public Assistance disaster declaration, if granted, would allow communities in declared counties to receive 75 percent reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that was damaged during the storm. All communities in declared counties would have the opportunity to participate in the program if a disaster is declared.
 
Governor Scott's request was sent to FEMA for review. FEMA will send a recommendation to the President, who has ultimate authority to approve or reject the request.
 
The declaration request also seeks funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The federal HMGP program provides 75 percent reimbursement for projects anywhere in the state that reduce the likelihood of damages to public infrastructure in future disasters.
 
Photos: Damage along Fletcher Road in Fairfax  

 


Funding Opportunity for design and/or construction of water quality projects

Best Management Practices for Pollution Reduction: Implementation and Planning Grants - The Lake Champlain Basin Program announced a Request for Proposals for projects to develop and install large Best Management Practices for pollution reduction in the US-portion of the Lake Champlain Basin, and for projects to provide planning and prioritization for future on-the-ground interventions. Eligible projects for installation of best management practices might include innovative tasks for shoreline stabilization, green infrastructure project implementation, stormwater management projects, combined sewer overflow (CSO) reduction, or the purchase of equipment to be shared among entities. Eligible projects for planning and prioritization of interventions might include innovative green infrastructure planning at a municipal level, CSO reduction strategies, or watershed scale assessments and prioritizations. Up to $360,000 is available for supporting projects from this RFP.
 
The full Request for Proposals is available on the Lake Champlain Basin Program website at lcbp.org/grants to see details on eligibility, funding and the competitive criteria. Grant applications are due December 21, 2017 at 4:30pm and grants will be awarded by February.

NRPC staff can assist your municipality with developing a project and drafting a grant application. Please contact Amanda Holland by email or at (802) 524-5958
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Green Mountain Transit is developing the NextGen Transit Plan to improve service throughout our transit system.
 
Public Meetings have been scheduled across our service area to present Service Improvement Scenarios in each region. To participate and provide feedback, select a meeting date below.  
 
Franklin County: December 11, 2017: St. Albans City Hall, Chamber Room, 4:00 PM
Grand Isle County: December 12, 2017: North Hero Community Hall, 6:00 PM
 
Help shape the future of your transit system!
 
 



VT Ranked 14th in Bicycle Friendly State Listing                                
The League of American Bicyclists has released its 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking, with Vermont listed at number 14. The ranking relies upon 106 data points compiled from publicly available data and survey responses from state Departments of Transportation and statewide bicycle advocates. Each state is ranked and receives a report card that highlights key data, category scores, and provides a short summary for each state. To learn more click here.

   
 


 
United Way of Northwest Vermont Resource Directory
 
In 2016, the United Way serving Franklin and Grand Isle merged with the Chittenden County United Way into the United Way of Northwest Vermont.  Their Annual Guide is a great tool for community members seeking assistance on a variety of services available to the community including housing and transportation services. To view the 2017 United Way of Northwest Vermont Resource Directory click here. 
 



Helping Others
                               
The Samaritan House in St. Albans has opened a cold weather shelter on Friday and Saturday nights with the goal of keeping people warm and safe. The shelter is being staffed by a volunteer until the Samaritan House works towards a permanent plan. Two nights a week is helpful but the need for shelter every night is paramount. They are in need of everything from volunteers to food and snacks for up to 8 people plus warm clothing. They are reaching out to local stores for donations. For holiday gifts, some of the common needs are long johns, slippers, boots, winter gear, etc. and the shelter is always looking for paper products and cleaning supplies.  Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any ideas of how we as a community can contribute. A little goes a long way! If anyone would like to reach out, please contact the Samaritan House's Interim Director, Alicia Gay at (802) 527-0847.

   
 

Northwest Regional Planning Commission
Address: 75 Fairfield Street, St. Albans, VT 05478
Phone: 802.524.5958      Fax: 802.527.2948     Website: www.nrpcvt.com