Hunger Mountain Co-op accepting Cooperative Community Fund grant applications

News Release — Hunger Mountain Co-op — July 29, 2013

MONTPELIER — Hunger Mountain Coop is now accepting grant applications from local businesses, organizations and initiatives that are doing work to enrich the Central Vermont Community and further The Coop’s Mission of building a dynamic community of healthy individuals, sustainable local food systems and thriving cooperative commerce. “The Cooperative Community Fund is another way for our Coop to work together to further our collective vision of a more healthy and sustainable community in Central Vermont,” said General Manager Kari Bradley.

The Hunger Mountain Coop Council (The Coop’s governing Board of Directors) created the Hunger Mountain Cooperative Community Fund in 2005 as a charitable giving program. The Fund provides financial support to businesses, organizations and initiatives aligned with The Coop’s Mission. In 2012 The Coop awarded a total of $3,600 in grants to Granite City Grocery, Vermont Foodbank and Fat Toad Farm for exciting new projects. The Fund has grown steadily thanks to generous donations from The Coop’s Member-Owners and community. The Fund’s Advisory Committee anticipates being able to continue to make grant awards on an annual basis. The Fund will be used to support local businesses in need of start-up capital, to fund construction of key infrastructure projects like community kitchens, and to encourage local activism on food-related issues in central Vermont.

Applications and more information can be found at The Coop (623 Stonecutters Way in Montpelier) or online at www.hungermountain.coop. Applicants must submit their application by September 16th and The Coop will announce their decisions at The Coop’s Annual Meeting on November 10th. Anyone can make a tax-deductible donation to the Hunger Mountain Cooperative Community Fund, Member-Owner or not. More information can be found online at www.hungermountain.coop or by calling 802-223-8000 ext. 202.

2013 Recreation Trails Program Grants Available

This year’s 2013 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant Applications are now available on the VT Dept. of Forest, Parks and Recreation website!  If there are trail projects identified in your community in need of funds for NEXT year (spring/summer of 2014), you can apply now for a $20,000 grant!  Applications are due September 15, 2013. 

~ Visit this link to learn more:  http://www.vtfpr.org/recgrant/trgrant.cfm

Technical assistance can be obtained from trail professionals around the state, many whom are members of the Vermont Trails & Greenways Council (VTGC).  VTGC serves as a clearinghouse for trail information.  To learn more what the Vermont Trails & Greenways Council has been doing check out their website @:  http://vermonttrailsandgreenways.org/

And, here’s webinar (for a small fee) that may interest many of you, sponsored by American Trails:

John Favro will be presenting “Building Your Trail Right the First Time” that is taking place next Thursday, July 18 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific.  For more information, go to: http://www.atfiles.org/store/shop/webinar-building-your-trail-right-first-time/

Online: Vermont Healthy Community Design Resource

The Vermont Department of Health is pleased to announce that  The Vermont Healthy Community Design Resource: Active Living & Healthy Eating has been posted on VT DOH’s website.  This new publication is designed to help Vermont’s public health advocates and just regular folks in their efforts to promote healthier places to live. 

In addition to the full document, each subsection is posted as stand-alone files.

Link to the full document: :  http://healthvermont.gov/family/fit/documents/active_living_healthy_eating_community_design_resource.pdf

Link to sub sections: http://healthvermont.gov/family/fit/target.aspx#community

 The Resource may also be found by searching the VDH A-Z index under ‘Healthy Community Design’.

New Pre-Disaster Mitigation & Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Opportunities

FEMA just announced the application period will open on Friday, July 19, 2013 for the FY 13 Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant programs.   These are the nationally competitive FEMA mitigation grant programs.     PDM funding nationwide is set at $35 million and FMA funding is set at $120 million.   These funding sources may provide additional grant opportunities beyond the current HMGP program in connection with damage incurred  from TS Irene and/or the spring 2011 flooding events.     

All PDM and FMA applications are submitted online in FEMA’s e-Grants portal at https://portal.fema.gov    If you intend to submit either a PDM or FMA application, please contact me and DEMHS will assist you in setting up an account, including a user name and password.   If you have already received a user name and password from previous rounds, you may use this to submit  a new application.   

 All applications must be submitted online no later than October 18, 2013.   There are no extensions possible for submitting past the FEMA deadline.    The PDM and FMA project selection process is very competitive, and it’s fair to say that the standard for FEMA approval is higher than for an HMGP application.    Projects are selected for funding by a FEMA National Review panel, and there will be no opportunity to submit documentation missing from your initial application.   The only possible exception to this policy is for planning grants.  FEMA funding decisions will be made in spring, 2014 for PDM or FMA project submissions.

Feel free to contact Ray Doherty (contact info below) or your RPC if you have any questions or concerns regarding this new FEMA grant opportunity. 

Ray Doherty,  State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Vermont Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security (DEMHS)
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT  05671
Tel  (802) 241-5258  (office)
Email:  ray.doherty@state.vt.us

2013 Planning and Zoning Statute Amendments

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Developmented has provided a summary of planning and zoning laws and amendments enacted during the 2013 session is now available for download here. Highlights include:

  • Flood Resilient Communities Element Required in Municipal and Regional Plans -This requirement goes into effect on July 1, 2014.  DHCD interprets this effective date to mean that any municipal or regional plan adopted or readopted after July 1, 2014 must include a flood resilience plan element.  Those plans adopted before that date will continue to remain in effect until expiration or until they are amended or readopted, at which point they must include the new flood resilience plan element. The bill also requires the Agency of Natural Resources to establish a program to aid and support municipalities in adopting the new plan element.
  • New Neighborhood Development Area Designation – Application guidelines available here.  The Vermont Neighborhoods designation is replaced with the new Neighborhood Development Area (NDA) designation. The NDA designation broadens the potential benefit areas to include 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 mile “walksheds” or rings around designated Downtown, Villages, and New Town Centers. The Act also requires all new and renewal Village Center and Downtown applications after July 1, 2014 to  have the designated areas incorporated into town plans.
  • Energy Standards, Zoning Permits and Certificates of Occupancy – Provisions of this bill require administrative officers to provide applicants with building energy standards when issuing applicable zoning permits and also require the permittee to provide the administrator with the required Residential Building Efficiency Standards Certificate prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. Free copies of the Vermont Residential Building Energy Code Handbook are available from the Department of Public Service (contact kelly.launder@state.vt.us )

Local Officials: Take the FEMA Risk Awareness Survey

FEMA needs your help!

Since 2010, FEMA has annually conducted a nationwide survey on risk awareness of U.S. local officials. Survey results track trends and inform federal agencies and state and local communities how to most effectively engage and support communities toward advancing mitigation actions to reduce vulnerabilities to natural hazards.

It is now time to take the 2013 local official survey.

If you are currently a U.S. local official, please follow this link and take this 15-minute survey by July 31, 2013. Survey responses will be collected only during this limited time, so please don’t delay. Your individual responses will be kept confidential and anonymous.

We value your input. By participating, you will provide FEMA and other agencies with the information necessary to better engage communities in efforts to build a safer stronger nation.

Take the survey now: https://svy.cfigroup.com/cgi-bin/qwebcorporate.dll?idx=DB6QFC

If you have questions about either survey, please contact Vince Brown at Vincent.Brown@fema.dhs.gov. We appreciate your support.

Solar Permitting Training for Planners, Solar Project Developers and Installers

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Vermont Public Service Department and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets will offer a day-long training and informational session on Ground-Mounted Solar Electric Generation Permitting and Siting.

The technical training is intended for solar project installers and developers, including environmental consultants and attorneys who work with solar project developers. Regional and municipal planners, community energy committees and other groups or individuals interested in learning more about solar siting best practices are welcome to attend.

The training will be offered on July 22, 2013 at the Green Mountain Club Headquarters in Waterbury Center, VT and will be free of charge. The day-long session will cover a broad range of topics, with a particular focus on the State’s wetlands and storm water rules and regulations as they relate to solar project siting – including information and resources related to wetland identification, delineation and avoidance.

In addition to the wetlands and stormwater technical training, the day’s agenda will include guidance for the consideration of:

  • floodplains and river corridors,
  • river and stream buffers,
  • wildlife habitat,
  • rare, threatened and endangered species,
  • perimeter fencing and safety,
  • secondary containment,
  • aesthetics,
  • decommissioning,
  • primary agricultural soils, and
  • the conservation or current use status of a parcel

The training will provide an overview of the Section 248 Public Service Board permitting process, as well as the other collateral permits projects may require from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The session will conclude with a discussion of technical assistance, grants and other incentives available to solar projects.

To register or for a complete agenda contact Billy Coster at billy.coster@state.vt.us or 802-595-0900.