(802) 674-9201     info@swcrpc.org 
Executive Director's Corner
Vermont's Regional Planning Commissions have been very busy during this legislative session.  We have been very involved with three bills: H 249, the Intermunicipal Agreement Bill; S 230, the Energy Siting Bill; and H 602, the Solid Waste Bill.
H 249 Intermunicipal Agreement Bill
The purpose of this bill is to make it easier for municipalities to enter into intermunicipal agreements to share municipal services such as  fire, police, the extension of sewer and water lines, or the sharing of personnel. Many towns have difficulties hiring staff for part-time positions such as animal control officers, listers, assessors, and human resource and finance personnel. The bill would allow towns, through Regional Planning Commissions, to enter into these agreement without having to go through the difficult process that is now required under Chapter 121, commonly referred to as  Union Municipal District Agreements.  The bill has been passed by both the House and Senate and now awaits the Governor's signature.
S 230 Energy Development Act 
This bill is in response to the frustration of both Regional Planning Commissions and Towns resulting from the perception that the Public Service Board is not listening to their concerns during Section 248 hearings.  At issue is the role of Town and Regional Plans in the Section 248 process and whether plans are substantive in determining location, size, and density of proposed alternative energy projects.

This bill will provide greater deference to plans if they meet the goals, objectives, and criteria as outlined in the bill. If the bill is passed as presently written, any Regional Planning Commission that wants its Regional Plan to have greater standing in a 248 hearing to will have to meet the new guidelines.  In addition, the Department of Public Service will review the Energy Element of the  Regional Plan to ensure conformity to the expanded goals and objectives.  For municipalities, guidelines will also be created for those towns desiring to have its town plan have greater deference in a hearing. Currently, it is being discussed by the Senate Natural Resources Committee that Regional Planning Commissions would be responsible for the review of town plans.  As of this writing, the bill has been voted on by both the House and Senate with very large majorities. The bill has now moved back to the Senate to reconciliation since the House made significant changes to the bill. The bill is expected to become law on July 1, 2016. 
H 602 Solid Waste Bill
The section of the bill that I will discuss is an addition to this bill. A little history may be worthwhile.  Last year Solid Waste Districts were unsuccessful in trying to get additional funding for programs and infrastructure due to the new requirements associated with the Universal Recycling Law, commonly, referred to as Act 148. The Districts are trying again this year, by attaching to the bill, a provision that would increase the statewide waste surcharge from $6.00/ton to $12.00/ton.  The House Natural Resources and Energy Committee took a considerable amount of testimony on the bill, but in the end, the bill died in the Committee and the Solid Waste Districts were unsuccessful in their efforts to get an increase in surcharge.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the staff for their hard work these last couple of months. The RPC has undertaken a number of new programs and there has also been an expansion of many of our existing programs such as the  Vermont's Clean Water Act, Healthy Communities Initiatives, Transit Planning, and Solid Waste without any significant increase in staffing levels.  The staff has accepted this challenge with professionalism and good cheer. Keep up the great work.

Tom Kennedy, AICP
Executive Director
Emergency Management
LEOP Annual Update
The annual deadline for submitting Local Emergency Operations Plans is approaching. In order to meet Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) and grant requirements, all Vermont municipalities must update and adopt a Local Emergency Operations Plan between town meeting day (March 1 st ) and May 1 st and submit the updated plan to the SWCRPC.  T here have been a few modifications for the LEOP Base Plan in 2016.   Please contact Allison to learn more about the updates and for assistance updating the document.

Additional information about the LEOP, including the guidance document and new appendices, can be found
Upper Valley Energy Roundtable
Mark your calendars!  The 9th annual Upper Valley Energy Roundtable will held on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at the Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT.  This event is a great opportunity to learn what your colleagues in other towns across the region are doing related to energy and energy efficiency.   For more information click here.
Natural Resources
Vermont Clean Water Act Presentations
On February 24th, the SWCRPC hosted several presentations about how the Vermont Clean Water Act will affect municipalities.  A large audience, including town managers, selectboard members, town staff, the RPC board and interested individuals heard three presentations on the following topics:
  • Jim Ryan on upcoming municipal roads general permit,
  • Marie Caduto on Basin Plans and their implementation, and
  • Ryan Patch on the draft agricultural rules.
For more information about the Clean Water Act click  here  or contact  Dan Potter .
Transportation News
Region Does Well with Strong Communities, Better Connections Grantsheading
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) partner to provide the Strong Communities, Better Connections (SCBC) Program, which annually funds projects that help align land use planning and community revitalization efforts with transportation investments.  Approximately $200,000 is available annually through this program to municipalities located outside of Chittenden County.  This year, the state received 10 applications, requesting over a half a million dollars in funding.  Only three projects were funded two of which are in southern Windsor County in the towns of Springfield and Chester.

The Town of Chester's project will involve developing an action plan for the designated village center and creating strategies for streetscape enhancements, economic development and village revitalization.

The Town of Springfield will create a downtown streetscape plan for Main Street and identify strategies to connect to the river and improve parking and bike/pedestrian improvements in the Designated Downtown.

A special thanks goes out to Jason Rasmussen who worked with both towns in preparing the grant applications.
New Chester Road Erosion Inventory
In January 2016, SWCRPC finalized a new Road Erosion Inventory Report for the Town of Chester.  The report was funded by the VT Better Backroads Program, VT Transportation Planning Initiative (TPI) and the Town of Chester.  It focuses on the 12 major road erosion sites that were identified in these inventories, giving information about the known issues at the site, potential solutions, and estimated costs.  It also assesses the priority for addressing the site's issues and includes a budget as well as potential funding sources.  SWCRPC is planning to assist several other towns with similar inventories in the next few years - particularly as details of the Act 64 municipal roads general permit are finalized.   To see the Chester report, click here.
Funding Opportunities - Grants & Loans
Vermont Arts Council Cultural Facilities Grant Program
Funding is available to enhance, create, or expand the capacity of an existing building to provide cultural activities for the public.  Applications are due on May 2, 2016.  For more details, go here.

Working Lands Enterprise Board Announces $550,000 in Available Grant Funds
The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) recently announced the opening of this year's grant cycle and the availability of approximately $550,000 in grant funds for the 2016 program year.  These grants will fund forestry and agriculture projects that enhance Vermont's communities, economy, and culture.  To view the applicant guide click here.

Vermont Community Development Grants
The Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) assists communities on a competitive basis by providing financial and technical assistance to identify and address local needs in the areas of housing, economic development, public facilities, public services, and handicapped accessibility modifications.
For more details go here.

USDA Rural Development
A number of funding opportunities are available through the USDA Rural Development office, such as rural business development grants, community facilities, water, and waste disposal loan and grant programs.   For more details visit this site.  

Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA)
There is no formal application process as projects are considered on a first-come, first-served basis.  Contact Steve Rohde (603) 229-0679 or e-mail  srohde@northernforest.org .

The Vermont Farm Fund
More info at this site.
Meadow Drive Project Completed
The construction of the Meadow Drive CDBG-DR project has been completed.  The SWCRPC would like to thank Aldrich and Elliot, the engineers on the project, as well as the contractor, Adams Trucking and Excavation, for completing the job on time and under budget. A special thanks also goes to Cindy Ingersoll, the SWCRPC Community Development Specialist, for the excellent job she did administering the grant.
Meadows Drive
Vermont Clean Water Act Outreach
Staff members from the SWCRPC have been busy visiting selectboards and planning commissions to discuss the Vermont Clean Water Act and its various implications for towns.  Visit the SWCRPC's Water Quality Page for more information or contact Dan Potter
New maps online 
T o celebrate the new year, the SWCRPC has increased our online mapping capabilities. Check out the new online map portal here   and let us know if you'd like to have an online map component to an upcoming town project!  It's a great way to explore data from home or to collect data using the online portal.  For more information, contact Katharine Otto.
SW/WC Solid Waste District
How Much do you Know About Recycling in Vermont? 
Test your knowledge by taking our survey ; it's on the District's Facebook page.

The District's spring household hazardous waste collections are scheduled as follows:

Saturday, May 14
Springfield Transfer Station
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Plymouth Town Offices 
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, May 21
Windsor Goodyear Building
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
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