Vermont Floodplain Management publication

There is a new publication available titled “Preparing for the Next Flood; Vermont Floodplain Management.” It was developed with the assistance of the Vermont Law School’s Land Use Institute, and includes information on roles and responsibilities in preventing flood damage, state and local roles in floodplain management, information on what a flood plain map is and is not, protecting property and what is a taking, and why meeting the minimum flood plain standards may not be enough. These booklets are available at CVRPC’s office and staff will bring them to meetings to deliver. If you are in Montpelier, please stop by.

Energy Efficiency Funds for Vermont

It’s time to keep an eye on the VT Dept of Public Service web site for the application announcement. Periodically it will be good to check in at this link, http://publicservice.vermont.gov/energy/ee_cedf.html. We will continue to keep you informed as soon as we hear anything about application packages and deadlines, etc. Be sure to check our blog at www.centralvtplanning.org for the latest news.

VERMONT – $9,593,500 awarded today
Vermont will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to undertake projects that enhance energy efficiency and expand the use of renewable energy at the state and local level. In addition to grants to smaller cities and counties, a portion of the sub-grant funds will also be awarded to 11 regional planning commissions for county-level energy efficiency related projects, including energy audits, efficiency installations, and energy planning.

Vermont will use the remaining Recovery Act funding to establish the Clean Energy Development Fund, a financial incentive program that will allow the state to maximize the impact and sustainability of clean energy projects by leveraging Recovery Act funds. The program will provide incentives for the installation of renewable energy technologies on government buildings, energy efficiency retrofits for schools and municipal buildings, energy audits for school buildings, and the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, which supports the reduction of petroleum use in the transportation sector. Vermont’s EECBG activities will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, and create and save green jobs statewide.

2nd Annual Emergency Preparedness Conference

Vermont Emergency Management will be hosting the second annual Emergency Preparedness Conference to be held in Killington on Tuesday November 3, 2009.

Course offerings range from flu planning and preparedness to municipal damage reporting to hearing about the numerous resources available in emergency response.

Registration is now open at www.vemvt.com.

Flu Update 09.15.09

A message from the Vermont Department of Health

Like a snowstorm, we can’t stop the flu from coming – either the regular, seasonal flu or the new pandemic flu. It’s more important than ever that Vermonters know the precautions and the actions they can take to prepare now.

The new pandemic flu – novel influenza A (H1N1), sometimes called swine flu – has not gone away. This virus is the predominant flu virus in circulation in the U.S. and worldwide. The Vermont Department of Health and many partners in state government and the private sector have been working intensively this summer to prepare for the coming flu season, which is certain to be complex.

‘Know what to do about the Flu’ Forums will be held during September, Emergency Preparedness Month, and beyond to brief local leaders and residents about preparations now underway. The forums are sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Emergency Management. State officials and public health experts will be on hand to discuss preparations the state is making – including plans for offering H1N1 vaccine to those groups of people most at risk for serious illness – as well as the actions communities and individuals can take to cope with the flu.

Sept. 22 – Burlington Hilton
Sept. 29 – Rutland Holiday Inn
Sept. 30 – Springfield High School
Oct. 1 – Lyndon Institute

All forums will be run from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

‘Know what to do about the Flu’ PSAs will begin soon on TV, radio and in print. With the help of Montpelier resident Willem Lange, Vermonters will be reminded to get vaccinated, take actions to help keep illness from spreading, stay home if you’re sick, and if you need medical attention, call your health care provider first. And meanwhile, stock up to stay home – in case you or someone in your family is too sick to go out.

Newest Flu Action Guides – New and detailed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is now available for a variety of sectors, starting with schools. Each set of guides is offered with a helpful communication toolkit that includes sample letters, action steps, fact sheets, etc.

Go to www.flu.gov to find these, along with webcasts, videos, Qs&As;, eCards, PSAs and more. Also check the Health Department’s website at healthvermont.gov for Vermont-specific information and resources, with links to flu.gov – or dial 2-1-1. Also follow us on Twitter – twitter.com/healthvermont.

Newest guidance –
Small businesses – http://flu.gov/professional/business/smallbiz.html
Businesses, employers and workplaces – http://www.flu.gov/professional/business/toolkit.html
Institutions of Higher Education (technical schools, colleges & universities) – http://flu.gov/professional/school/higheredtoolkit.html
Schools K-12 – http://flu.gov/professional/school/toolkit.html
Childcare and Early Childhood – http://flu.gov/professional/school/childtoolkit.html

Flu Vaccination – Vaccine for the regular seasonal flu is starting to come into the state, and nearly everyone is recommended to get that vaccination as early as possible. Ask your health care provider about vaccine, or go to healthvermont.gov to find a public flu clinic: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/flu/flu_clinics.aspx.

Vaccine for the new H1N1 flu is also expected to start coming into the state by mid-October, and planning is underway to offer this new vaccine in a variety of settings, including schools. Stay tuned for details. The new H1N1 vaccine is recommended to go first to those groups of people who could be most seriously affected if they became ill:

pregnant women
household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age
healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
all people from 6 months through 24 years of age
people age 25 through 64 who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza

For more information – Check healthvermont.gov, flu.gov – or dial 2-1-1 (for information or help in English or in any language).

Nancy Erickson
Communication Director
VT Department of Health
802-863-7281
nericks@vdh.state.vt.us

Energy Money/ARRA Vermont

Energy
Energy Stimulus Update – August 31, 2009

Weatherization

Vermont will receive approximately $16.8 million over a 3 year period. Funding will go to program activities including weatherization job training and grants to Community Action Program agencies to deliver weatherization services in the community. For more information about the Weatherization program, see information from the Office of Economic Opportunity.

State Energy Program (SEP)
Vermont is to receive $21,999,000 in ARRA funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency under the State Energy Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. These funds will expand the size and scope of the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF). State program development and implementation is now underway in the following areas.

Renewable Energy Grant and Loan Programs
ARRA SEP funding will create additional grant and loan funding opportunities for small- and large-scale renewable energy projects through the Clean Energy Development Fund. Funding opportunity announcements for grants and loan programs administered directly by the Fund will be posted through the Fund’s site. Other supported renewable energy activites include:
• The Vermont Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which provides incentive payments for grid connected and net metered solar photovoltaic and wind systems, solar hot water systems, and small-scale hydropower systems.
• Planned support for loans from independent lenders for small-scale renewable energy projects.
• A Wind Mapping and Anemometry Loan Program. Requests for proposals are expected to be issued in Sept. 2009.

Public Serving Institutions Efficiency & Renewables
The CEDF will offer a competitive program for public-serving institutions (government buildings, nonprofit public and private universities, colleges, and hospitals) to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable generation. $2,000,000 in funding will be available through this program. A request for funding proposals is currently expected to be released in September 2009.

Vermont Telecommunications Authority
$2,000,000 in funding has been appropriated to the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) to make grants for the installation of small-scale wind turbines and associated towers on which telecommunications equipment is to be collocated and which are developed in association with the VTA, up to $10,000 per turbine.

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
$2,000,000 in funding has been appropriated to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) to make grants and deferred loans to nonprofit organizations for weatherization and renewable energy activities, including assistance for nonprofit owners and occupants of permanently affordable housing. Applications for funding under this program will be made through VHCB.

Residential Building Energy Standards
SEP funding will support work to update Vermont’s Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES).

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG)

This formula grant program allocated Vermont approximately $10,300,000 in block grant funding for a variety of efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Approximately $9.8 million will come through the state and the rest directly to Vermont cities and towns. Of this $9.8 million, 40% ($3.9 million) is allocated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to the State Energy Program and 60% ($5.7 million) is allocated to cities and towns not receiving a direct allocation from DOE. The Department of Public Service has submitted an application to the DOE on behalf of the state for the funds coming to the state, and an award is expected during or before the fall of 2009.

Additional EECBG Funding Opportunities for Vermont Cities, Towns, and Regional Planning Commissions

A competitive request for proposals from Vermont municipalities which did not receive EECBG funding to the Clean Energy Development Board is currently expected in September 2009. Available funding will be approximately $4.88 million. $880,000 in funding for Vermont’s eleven regional planning commissions has also been allocated.

All Fuels and Thermal Efficiency Programs
Approximately $2.3 million in EECBG funding will be provided to local Community Action Program agencies to expand access to thermal efficiency services for Vermonters not eligible for services under the Weatherization program funding. See your local Weatherization Office for eligibility information.

Renewable Energy Programs
Additional EECBG funding not distributed to municipalities will be used to fund additional opportunities for renewable energy projects through the Clean Energy Development Fund programs.

Background Materials–Other ARRA Energy Programs

Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), Congressional Research Service, March 3, 2009. (PDF)

Other Links: U.S. Department of Energy ARRA Funding Opportunity Announcements.
Non-ARRA Energy Efficiency and Renewables Program

If you need information on existing loan and grant programs for new energy generation, please visit the Vermont Department of Public Service’s Energy Efficiency and Renewables website.

If you are a consumer and seek information regarding home or business efficiency programs, please contact Efficiency Vermont at 802-860-4095, or call toll-free 1-888-921-5990, or visit their website at www.efficiencyvermont.com.

Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans and Congratulations!

SIXTEEN Central Vermont communities have had their pre-disaster mitigation (PDM) plans approved by FEMA! Those 16 towns are: Barre City, Barre Town, Berlin, Cabot, Calais, Duxbury, Marshfield, Middlesex, Montpelier, Moretown, Northfield, Orange, Plainfield, Waitsfield, Woodbury, and Worcester. PDM plans for Fayston, Warren, and Williamstown are awaiting FEMA’s approval. That only leaves 4 more to go!! Congratulations to you all for following through on this planning work. The communities with approved plans are thereby eligible for disaster migitation implementation grants to resize culverts or do other work to avoid flooding. Great work, people!!

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy-ARRA $

U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
EERE News
DOE to Fund up to $454 Million for Retrofit Ramp-Ups in Energy Efficiency
September 14, 2009
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced a new $450 million program designed to catalyze a nationwide energy upgrade that experts estimate could save $100 million annually in utility bills for households and businesses. The Recovery Act’s “Retrofit Ramp-Up” program will pioneer innovative models for rolling out energy efficiency to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in a variety of communities. Much like past roll-outs for cable TV or the Internet, the Department of Energy (DOE) intends to create models that, when undertaken nationally, will save consumers billions of dollars on their utility bills and make the huge savings of energy efficiency available to everyone.

“Energy efficiency isn’t just low-hanging fruit; it’s fruit lying on the ground. We have the tools to reduce energy use at home and at work and to provide huge savings to families and businesses on their energy bills. But use of these technologies has been far too limited because we lack the simple and effective ways for people to access them,” said Chu.

“The ‘Retrofit Ramp-Up’ program will support large-scale models that can open new energy efficiency opportunities to whole neighborhoods, towns, and, eventually, entire states,” continued Chu. “The Recovery Act will allow innovative communities to demonstrate a variety of sustainable business models that can be replicated across the country.”

The Request for Information (RFI) being issued today is for competitively selected local energy efficiency projects. This competitive portion of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program will target community-scale retrofit projects that make significant, long-term impacts on energy use and can serve as national role models for grassroots energy efficiency efforts. The DOE is seeking public comment on this newly funded program under the Recovery Act. Public comment ends on Sept. 28, 2009.

The DOE is accepting feedback on both the competitively-selected portion of the EECBG program for up to $390 million for neighborhood-scale building retrofits, as well as up to $64 million for local governments that were not eligible to receive the formula grants announced earlier this year. The EECBG program empowers local communities to make strategic investments to meet the nation’s long-term goals for energy independence and leadership on climate change.

This first topic area under the funding solicitation will target a select number of innovative programs that are structured to provide whole-neighborhood building energy retrofits. These will be projects that demonstrate a sustainable business model for providing cost-effective energy upgrades for a large percentage of the residential, commercial, and public buildings in a specific community. Possible approaches could include innovative partnerships between the public and private sector, utility retrofit and audit programs, alternative financing, retail partnerships, and others. The DOE will award up to $390 million for these projects.

The second topic area for up to $64 million is reserved for cities, counties and state-recognized Indian tribes that were not eligible to receive population-based formula grant allocations from DOE under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. These funds are intended to help expand local energy efficiency efforts and reduce energy use in the commercial, residential, transportation, manufacturing, or industrial sectors.

“The aim of the ‘Retrofit Ramp-Up’ program is to jump-start an industry that makes energy efficiency savings easy to access and available to everyone. By encouraging partnerships between local governments and effective private enterprises, we hope tune-ups for buildings will become as accepted as tune-ups for cars. These efforts will save Americans millions of dollars, reduce carbon pollution, and create new green jobs,” said Chu.

View the Request for Information. Public comment is requested by Sept. 28, 2009. The funding opportunity announcement is expected to be released in early October, following the public comment period.

For more information on the EECBG program, visit the program’s Web site.

Fair Housing Workshop

Removing Barriers to Strengthen Communities:
Fair Housing: Affordable Housing and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing at the Local Level

October 1, 2009 6-9pm
Thatcher Brook Primary School
Stowe Street, Waterbury VT

Hosted by the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission

Designed to provide relevant information to realtors, lenders, affordable housing developers, property managers, and municipal officials this workshop will:

 provide an introduction to Vermont and federal fair housing laws;
 discuss the current regulatory barriers to fair housing choice in Vermont;
 examine the legal requirements impacting municipal zoning practices;
 review available tools that enable municipalities to comply with those requirements; and
 explore planning concepts designed to encourage the development of affordable housing.

All municipalities receiving community development grants from the Vermont Community Development Program must complete a Fair Housing Training as a condition of funding. Any municipality dealing with issues such as affordable housing, group homes, residential care facilities, requests for accessibility modifications, or seeking VCDP funding, cannot afford to miss this workshop.

Presented by:
Ellen Maxon: Vermont Human Rights Commission (HRC)
Julie Kelliher: Vermont Department of Economic, Housing, & Community Development (VDEHCD)
Kevin Stapleton: CVOEO Fair Housing Project (FHP)

How to Register – Space is limited. Call Dani Fuoco, CVOEO Fair Housing Project, 802-864-3334 x 109 or email dfuoco@cvoeo.org

Updated Flood Hazard Regulations

Updated model flood hazard area regulations are now available on the VT DEC website:
http://www.vtwaterquality.org/rivers/htm/rv_floodhazard.htm

If a community is updating their flood hazard or zoning regulations then these models may be valuable to the work of the Planning Commissions.

The table below briefly describes the four models and includes links to pdf versions of the texts.

Model 2 is appropriate for a municipality that does not have zoning and does not have access to Fluvial Erosion Hazard Maps. Model 2 includes administrative text and can be adopted under Chapter 117 §4411 and/or §4424.

Models 3 and 4 are appropriate for municipalities that have existing zoning and Fluvial Erosion Hazard Zone maps. Model 3 assumes that the municipality has little current exposure to flood hazards and may permit new structures outside of the floodway and the Fluvial Erosion Hazard Zone where such structures are accessible by dry land access.

Model 4 clearly prohibits new structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area and the Fluvial Erosion Hazard Zone, and is less complex to administer.

Model 5 is for communities with zoning that do not have access to Fluvial Erosion Hazard Zone maps.

Links to Models
(PDFs) NFIP Compliant? Use Address Erosion Hazards? Cumulative
Benefits / Cost
for Town VT DEC Recommended?
2.0 Inundation Hazard
Yes Stand Alone No High Yes
3.0 Inundation and Erosion Hazard
Yes Zoning Attachment Yes Moderate Highly
4.0 Flood Hazard
Yes Zoning Attachment Yes High Highly
5.0 Inundation Hazard – Zoning
Yes Zoning Attachment No High Yes
For Word .doc versions of the models please contact ned.swanberg@state.vt.us

The models provide recommendations from VT DEC for flood hazard area regulations that meet or exceed the standards required for the National Flood Insurance Program. VT DEC recommends that Planning Commissions adopt the models and make changes as needed to remove any other contradictions or confusing elements in their effective texts. Communities can further integrate the language with existing zoning or make other changes as appropriate. When the Planning Commission has a final draft text, please forward the text to VT DEC ( ned.swanberg@state.vt.us ) for review. The review will identify any areas that do not meet or exceed the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. After the Planning Commission makes any necessary changes it should be reported to the Selectboard for adoption.

Communities in Chittenden and Washington Counties now have a Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Studies available. Community officials are encouraged to review the data and submit any requests for corrections before the end of November. Planning Commissions should schedule their work so as to complete adoption by the Selectboard of the updated flood bylaw by the end of March 2010.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Ned Swanberg
Flood Plain Management – River Management Program
802.241.4596 Phone
802.241.4537 Fax
ned.swanberg@state.vt.us

VEM/FEMA Benefit Cost Analysis Training

To all applicants for the HMGP and PDM-C FEMA grant programs:

Since a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is required for all FEMA grant programs, we will be conducting an intensive two-day BCA workshop on October 14-15, 2009 at Vermont Emergency Management offices in Waterbury. A grants overview will also be given during this training session. All HMGP and PDM-C grant applicants are strongly encouraged to attend this important workshop. The training is provided free-of-charge;lunch will be provided. Please mark your calendars accordingly.

This workshop is for mitigation project applicants only; planning grants do not require a BCA.

All those who will be attending the BCA training are required to complete an online course prior to the classroom training session. There are two online courses available which can be accessed on the BCA Helpline website: http://www.bchelpline.com/training.html

Introduction to Benefit-Cost Analysis Training Course: This training is for those who are not currently familiar with the BCA program or are in need of a refresher: http://www.bchelpline.com/PreReq/index.htm (Total time needed: approximately 3.5 hours)

Bridge Training Course: This training is for users familiar with the previous BCA program to ensure that they are aware of the new terminology and elements of the new tool: http://www.bchelpline.com/Bridge/index.htm

For the classroom training in Waterbury,VEM will provide training manuals and computers with the appropriate BCA software installed. If you are attending the BCA workshop, please bring with you any technical information in connection with your specific project proposal, including: total project costs, traffic count, frequency of flood or storm events, past repair costs or past damages, etc.

Please confirm your attendance at this workshop by sending me an e-mail message no later than Oct. 1, 2009 (rdoherty@dps.state.vt.us). As always, contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding FEMA mitigation grants or their requirements.