WRC NEWSLETTER                                               SUMMER 2018
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WRC Commissioners
September 6, 6:00 pm:

September 10, 4:30 pm:

September 11, 1:00 pm:
Sibling Region Committee

September 13, 5:30 pm:
September 17, 5:30 pm:
September 18, 6:00 pm:
Public Hearing Determination of Energy Compliance
Westminster Town Hall 
September 27, 5:00 pm:
**All Committee Meetings take place in the WRC Conference Room unless otherwise noted.
**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund
Seed Grant
DEADLINE:  Rolling
Grow Grant
DEADLINE: Sept 15, 2018 
For more information click here.

USDA Rural Development - Community Facility Loans & Grants
DEADLINE:  Ongoing (contact USDA office)
For more information click here.

Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Vermont Community Development Program
DEADLINE:  Rolling
Municipal Planning Grants
DEADLINE:  October 1, 2018
Historic Preservation Grants
DEADLINE:  October 1, 2018
Historic Preservation Barn Grants
DEADLINE: Nov 5, 2018

Vermont Agency of Transportation
Transportation Alternatives Grants
DEADLINE: Oct 17, 2018

Vermont Arts Council
Animating Infrastructure Grant
DEADLINE: Dec 10, 2018

Vermont Community Foundation
Special & Urgent Needs
DEADLINE:  Rolling
Spark!  Connecting Community
DEADLINE:  Oct 16, 2018
Brattleboro: Crosby-Gannett Fund
DEADLINE:  Oct 11, 2018
Brattleboro:  Dunham-Mason Fund
DEADLINE:  Oct 11, 2018

Vermont Dept. of Forest Parks and Recreation
Land & Water Conservation Fund
DEADLINE:  Dec 17, 2018 (required pre application 10/15/18)

Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
Rural Economic Development Initiative
DEADLINE:  Rolling

Windham Foundation
DEADLINE: Nov 14, 2018
For more information .
click here

Windham Regional Commission
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
DEADLINE:  Oct 15, 2018

Upcoming Grants will  be a regular column in the  WRC Newsletter, for  a complete 
list please  click here

For additional  information about  grant possibilities  for your projects  please contact Susan at 
2018 Transportation Alternatives Grant Application Announced Due 10/17

This year, Transportation Alternatives Program funding (roughly $2.2 million) is reserved for environmental mitigation (water quality improvement) projects relating to stormwater and highways, including salt/sand sheds. For a copy of the VTrans Transportation Alternatives Program Guide and Application, visit the website.

Applications are due in-hand or by e-mail by October 17, 2018.

Workshop Session 1: September 4th from 6:00pm-8:00pm

Workshop Session 2: September 6th from 1:00pm-3:00pm

The Workshops can be accessed  here.
For more information or for questions, please contact:
Transportation Planner
Windham Regional Commission
(802) 257-4547 * 108 
VTrans Municipal Assistance Bureau - Local Projects 
(802) 793-2395
Comments Sought on "Act 250 at 50"

The legislative commission on "Act 250 at 50" is seeking public input on Vermonters' priorities for the future of the Vermont landscape. The commission has created a brief survey, which can be accessed here

The Vermont Planner's Association has also developed a survey.  The VPA survey is addressed to participants with deep familiarity with Act 250.  If you have experience with Act 250, the VPA survey can be accessed here.

Both surveys are open until mid-September.   

If you feel the survey's don't offer sufficient opportunity to address your particular interests or concerns, you can submit comments directly to the legislative commission using this e-mail address.
Draft 2018 Vermont State Hazard Mitigation Plan Open for Public Comment

The Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management (VEM) invites the public to provide input on the DRAFT 2018 Vermont State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP). VEM is seeking input from the public on the natural hazards that may impact Vermont, the vulnerabilities to those hazards, the capabilities that exist in the State to address the hazards, and the mitigation actions needed to reduce our vulnerability. The DRAFT Plan can be viewed online  here . Written comments are encouraged via email to  Stephanie Smith .  
Executive Director

Associate Director

Office Manager

Finance Manager

Senior Planner



Senior Planner

Transportation Planner

Londonderry's Town Plan Receives Certificate of Energy Compliance

Londonderry is the first town in the Windham Region to have the enhanced energy element go through the regional review for a determination of energy compliance, and is the first of our towns to receive it!. The Town of Londonderry participated in the first round of Windham Regional Technical Assistance with the development of an enhanced energy element. The town started working on planning process in 2017 alongside Westminster and Vernon. The plan contains an analysis of current energy consumption, targeted consumption and conservation for the year 2050, and an analysis of energy generation potential and siting within the town. The WRC Energy Committee reviewed the enhanced energy element, hosted a public hearing and determined the element was consistent with the State standards, and recommended a positive determination of energy compliance to the Full Commission. The Commission supported the recommendation bu a unanimous vote.

With their plan deemed Energy Compliant, the municipal plan has more standing ("substantial deference") before the Public Utilities Commission in Section 248 proceedings regulating the siting of new energy generation development.

WRC has issued a request for letters of interest from towns interested in developing enhanced energy elements. WRC anticipates assisting at least 3 towns with this planning effort. Letters will be accepted until September 28, 2018.  This may be the last year the state will provide funding for us to assist towns with this planning.
Feel Good Heat

The Windham Wood Heat Initiative, through the Windham Regional Commission, has officially become a supporter of the Feel Good Heat campaign. The campaign is a collaborative effort by environmental and community development non-profits, wood pellet producers, and automated wood heat systems distributors across New England and New York. Together, the collaborative is growing energy independence here at home, creating local jobs and supporting our forested landscape. The Windham Wood Heat Initiative offers financial incentives towards the installation of modern wood heating systems, and the Windham Regional Plan supports the modern wood heating market as it creates opportunity for our local forest industry. By becoming a supporter, Windham Regional Commission will receive access to educational resources and graphics as well as support from Northern Forest Center in publicizing and promoting wood heat in Windham County.
WRC Awards Grant to Red Clover Commons for Rooftop Solar
The Windham Regional Commission is pleased to announce $66,000 from the third round of the Windham County Renewable Energy Program has been awarded to the development of rooftop solar on the Red Clover Commons. The Energy Committee received three strong applications and chose this project based upon its responsiveness to program priorities. The installation will serve the elderly and disabled affordable housing development which is managed by a consortium of non-profit entities including Brattleboro Housing Partnerships, Housing Vermont, and Red Clover Commons Limited Partnership. The energy project will include an educational component, displaying energy generation and consumption on a screen in the shared lobby space. The development, which is located on a redeveloped Brownfields site, will be completed before May 2019.

The Windham Regional Commission's Windham County Renewable Energy Grant Program (WCREP) offers matching grants for renewable energy generation projects within Windham County. The funding is awarded through the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF). This is part of the funding that was dedicated for use in Windham County as part of the State's settlement agreement with Entergy Vermont Yankee.
New England Youth Theatre Ribbon Cutting  Take Two

On July 14th the New England Youth Theatre (NEYT) had a ribbon cutting to celebrate completion of the second phase of its brownfields clean up construction of the Glendon Mayo Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater and classroom. This project was made possible thanks to the support of many local donors who purchased commemorative bricks and benches. The town of Brattleboro assisted in the planning  phases of the project through its Brownfields program. The WRC  supported the project with a $30,000 grant from its Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund. In 2013, NEYT received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which supported both this project and the 2015 remediation of the parking lot and front lawn.

NEYT has worked with the EPA, Vermont Department of Conservation, Town of Brattleboro and Windham Regional Commission for many years to address the contamination of its property. NEYT's property, including the former Tri-State Auto building and Livery Building, has a long history of industrial use. As a result, those buildings and the soils surrounding NEYT were contaminated with lead, asbestos, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
For more information contact Susan McMahon at x114.
Facilitating Local Input into the Hinsdale-Brattleboro Bridge  Grant Application
The Windham Regional Commission recently convened a meeting of local and state stakeholders to discuss the downtown and regional development plans and opportunities within the vicinity of the planned and existing Hinsdale-Brattleboro Bridges in support of the NHDOT's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or "BUILD" Grant application. This meeting was the first of its kind to incorporate information about local project opportunities into a large scale bi-state infrastructure grant application. The parties to the development of the grant proposal were receptive to value added by local development plans and opportunities. A similar application was submitted but not funded last year. We hope a successful application this year will lead to further local coordination on projects of this scale.
Additional information about the Hinsdale-Brattleboro project and planning efforts located here.

For more information or for questions, please contact:
Transportation Planner
Windham Regional Commission
(802) 257-4547 * 108
WRC Energy, Natural Resources, and Project Review Committees Visit Deerfield Wind

On a sunny and breezy Wednesday afternoon in August, 15 members from the Windham Regional Commission made the trip up to the Deerfield Wind development in Searsburg. Members from the Energy, Natural Resources, and Project Review Committees, as well as three staff members, met with the plant supervisor and an Avangrid representative. They were given a tour of the Operations and Maintenance building and then drove up the access road to see the wind turbines themselves.

The development is a 30 megawatt capacity installation with 15 turbines on two ridges (7 on one, 8 on the other) located in Searsburg and Readsboro. The turbines are 78 meters from the base to the hub, and the blades are 128 feet long. The whole turbine base to tip of the blade is 365 feet. The turbines are spaced far enough apart to avoid an overlap of the "wash" or turbulence created by the rotation of the blades from one to the other. The blades feather depending on the strength of the wind to optimize their performance. These turbines have installed lights which only are activated at night if an aircraft is within a certain radius- around 15 miles. This avoids lights blinking constantly every night.

Rural Economic Development Initiative

The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), a program of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, helps rural communities access the funding they need for community and business development.  REDI provides grant writing assistance to rural communities and small businesses interested in applying for federal funds and other funding sources when applicable. Funds can be used to hire a grant writer, complete a necessary step to make a grant application more competitive (such as a business plan or engineering), and in some cases to help make a fundraising plan for a project. 

The focus of REDI is on working lands projects (such as dairy processing, value-added food enterprises, phosphorus removal technology, and composting facilities), outdoor recreation projects, and community-based economic development (such as historic preservation projects). Funding is targeted to small communities, so projects should be located in or serving communities under 5,000 in population.

It is intended to complement and support the assistance the Regional Development Corporations and Regional Planning Commissions already provide.

For more information and to discuss potential projects, please get in touch with Liz Gleason at  liz@vhcb.org (802-828-3370) or click here
Growing Interest in Community Wastewater and Water Systems for Villages

The region seems poised to turn a corner on recognition of what the absence of community wastewater and water systems means for the long-term sustainability of our villages. Engagement this month by town planning commission and Selectboard members has prompted the creation of a "Village Wastewater and Water Cohort" that will support a group of peers as they work to explore village needs related to wastewater and water.

In early August the WRC hosted representatives from the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Agency of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to learn more about rules and regulations related to wastewater and water, how other communities have identified problems and solutions, and what resources are available to support planning and system development. At the end of August the WRC reconvened the Windham Region towns that attended the early August meeting to see if they'd like to create a multi-town peer group to explore village planning, village wastewater and water problem identification and system planning. The answer was yes, and thus the tentatively-named Village Wastewater and Water Cohort has been created.

In the immediate term the WRC is working with the group to create a consortium municipal planning grant application to:
  • Conduct a village wants and needs assessment (visioning).
  • Identify existing wastewater and drinking water conditions. This would likely include parcels, well locations, septic locations, soils, water tables, home surveys, aggregate estimate water use and wastewater discharge, water testing, limits/obstructions (i.e. roads, streams and corridors, etc.)
  • Identify potential wastewater and drinking water solutions (pre-scoping).
In the near-term, a representative from a town that is completing a drinking water feasibility study for its village has offered to share the findings with the group and the experience of the study process. In the longer-term, this group will guide the WRC in providing the support our towns want and need as they explore the role of community wastewater and water in retaining existing homes and businesses in our villages, and what is necessary to sustain our villages for the long-term.

If you are interested in being a part of this wastewater and water peer group, please email and let us know!
Windham Regional Commission 
139 Main Street, Suite 505
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 257-4547
Fax: (802) 254-6383