Vermont Community Revitalization Program Overview and Updates

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation from the ZA Roundtable on June 26, focusing on Vermont Community Revitalization and State Designation, including program updates and the new Neighborhood Development Area program. Fact sheets sharing the benefits of State Designation and more information on each program are available for download here.

The second half of the Roundtable was set aside for general discussion regarding zoning administration in the Region. Questions arose surrounding planning for high density development and addressing public concern surrounding affordable housing.

For more information on the aforementioned topics, visit the links below:

Please feel free to e-mail or call CVRPC at (802) 229-0389 with any questions.

Municipal Planning Grants announced – applications due September 30

Communities all around Vermont are using Municipal Planning Grants (MPGs) to help revitalize downtowns, become more resilient to flooding, and to address a variety of local challenges. This year the legislature made $476,544 available for MPGs. The increase from last year’s funding recognizes the impressive accomplishments of the towns and cities that received these grants.

Up to $20,000 will be awarded to eligible municipalities chosen through a competitive selection process. See the FY15 MPG Program Description for details on eligibility, funding and the competitive criteria. Grant applications are due September 30, 2014.

A wide range of municipal planning activities are eligible for funding but projects that fit into one of the following priorities will have a higher likelihood of receiving grants.

a. Municipal Plan updates for the purpose of:

  • Addressing inconsistencies with statewide planning goals or the Regional Plan
  • Flood resilience planning

b. Bylaw updates for the purpose of:

  • Correcting clear conflicts with the Municipal Plan
  • Implementing the flood resilience recommendations of the Municipal Plan

c. Special Projects for Designated Areas (Downtowns, Village Centers, New Town Centers, Neighborhood Development Areas or Growth Centers)

All applications must be submitted through our online grants management system, but you are strongly urged to develop the application off-line first. Please use the page-by-page Application Instructions and the Sample Application, both located on our MPG webpage to work out the details of your project and the narratives for your application. Note that starting this year, grant funds can no longer be used for municipal staff time or grant administration.

Training for the online application system and preparing a good MPG application will be offered through GoToMeeting on Thursday, August 7th from Noon – 12:45. Contact DHCD staff here for more information and to register. Space is limited.

DHCD staff looks forward to helping to fund your community planning efforts. Please don’t hesitate to contact Annina Seiler if you have questions or need assistance with your MPG application.

Montpelier, Barre City, and Waterbury awarded CDBG-DR funds

Sen. Leahy, Gov. Shumlin Announce Community Development Grants at Celebration of CDBG Program’s 40th Anniversary

$3.9 million in housing and accessibility grants awarded to ten communities

MILTON, Vt. – U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. Peter Shumlin today marked the 40th anniversary of the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program by announcing nearly $4 million for projects across the state. The announcements were made during a celebration at the home of Kerry McManamon, who bought her house with down-payment assistance funded by the program and the help of the Champlain Housing Trust. The Town of Milton and CHT received the largest grant of the day for home repairs and homeownership assistance in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties.

“From Ludlow to Lyndon, the awards we make today are just a few examples of the difference CDBG makes in the lives of Vermonters.” said Gov. Shumlin. “Hundreds of homes will be created, made safer, more energy-efficient and affordable. Some of our most treasured historic libraries and public spaces will be made accessible to those with disabilities.”

“The CDBG Program has a proven track record here in Vermont, and it is the single largest federal investment in community and economic development. This timely announcement of nearly $4 million represents a diverse range of projects, and an even greater range of partners who have come together to improve the quality of life for all Vermonters,” Sen. Leahy said.

“Since the program’s inception in 1974, more than $400 million in CDBG grants have been invested inVermont,” he added. “The CDBG Program is an invaluable tool for communities that seek to preserve and grow jobs, spur economic growth, support first time homeowners, and provide critical support services to low and moderate income Vermonters.”

CDBG is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and has been administered in Vermont by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development since 1983. Through its Vermont Community Development Program, ACCD makes CDBG grants to communities to assist low and moderate-income persons through job creation, affordable housing, public services and public facilities.

“For decades, the CDBG program has helped Vermonters said ACCD Secretary Patricia Moulton. “None of this would be possible without the support of Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch who fight for CDBG funding in Washington year after year.”

“Both the beauty and the strength of the program are the collaborations at the local level that bring projects to life,” said Jennifer Hollar, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development. “Since the program began, 191 Vermont communities have put CDBG funds to work benefiting over 340,000 Vermonters,” added Josh Hanford, VCDP Director. “In the last five years alone, we’ve helped 34 businesses create over 390 new jobs and improved housing for 2,280 households.”

“Without the help of CHT and funding through the CDBG program, I wouldn’t be a homeowner today. Programs like this are so important to help working people like me afford to buy a home and put down roots in my community,” said Ms. McManamon.

VCDP awards the competitive grants based on the recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Secretary Moulton.

The awards made today follow.

Town of Bradford – $30,000

Planning grant to develop plans, specifications and bid documents to make the historic Woods Library fully accessible and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City of Newport – $30,000

Planning grant for a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment and the redesign of the Gardner Memorial Recreation Park in downtown Newport.

Town of Waterbury – $50,000

Grant to assist in bringing the historic Janes Building, the town library and part of the new municipal office complex, into full compliance with state and federal accessibility requirements

Town of Putney – $300,000

Grant to assist in the rehabilitation and creation of 11 units of affordable housing at the historic Laura Plantz property, by the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust.

Town of Hartford – $388,433

Grant to assist in the rehabilitation of eight properties and 34 units of affordable housing by Twin Pines Housing Trust scattered throughout the town of Hartford. One property will be replaced with a highly energy efficient Irene Cottage.

Town of Ludlow – $425,000

Grant to assist Black River Housing Limited Partnership (Housing Vermont and W&WHT) to rehabilitate 22 units of affordable rental housing at Black River Overlook. The project will result in more affordable rents, highly energy efficient units heated by a wood pellet boiler, a new well and improved drinking water system.

City of Montpelier – $510,000

Grant to assist in the rehabilitation of 19 units of affordable rental housing on Barre Street in Montpelier, VT. This housing currently serves very low income residents and provides them with peer support and others services within walking distance to public transportation, grocery stores and other community amenities.

City of Barre – $800,000

Grant to assist Central Vermont Community Land Trust (CVCLT) and Housing Vermont (HVT) improve the City’s housing stock by demolishing three distressed buildings and replacing them with two new highly energy efficient buildings providing 28 units of affordable family housing and commercial space for CVCLT’s new office. The project is part of the City’s revitalization and master plan.

Town of Lyndon – $450,000

Grant to Rural Edge for the continuation of the regional Northeast Kingdom Housing Rehab Revolving Loan Fund, a three county housing rehabilitation fund that provides loans, grants and financial counseling to low income residents and homeowners.

Town of Milton – $875,500

Grant to assist Champlain Housing Trust continue its regional Housing Rehab Revolving Loan Fund in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. This funding will provide for up to 50 rehab loans and counseling services for up to 800 households. The residential rehabilitation loans help homeowners who otherwise would not be eligible or could not afford conventional bank financing. The loans allow them to make needed life and safety repairs and energy efficiency improvements.

More information about the Vermont Community Development Program and CDBG is available at: http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities.

 

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2014

 

Contact:

Susan Allen, Office of the Governor, 802-279-8493

John Goodrow, Office of Senator Patrick Leahy, 800-642-3193

Jennifer Hollar, Housing and Community Development, 802-793-7346

Vermont Water Quality Public Hearings: July 29, August 5, and August 8

The Watershed Management Division (WSMD) is announcing three public hearings to take public comment on the proposed amendments to the Vermont Water Quality Standards. The meetings will be held:

  • July 29, 2014, 10 AM: Winooski Room, National Life Building, 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, Montpelier, VT. This meeting will be offered by webinar/teleconference as well.
  • August 5, 2014, 5:30 PM: Fox Room, Rutland Free Library, 10 Court Street, Rutland, VT.
  • August 8, 2014, 1 PM: Eastside Restaurant, 47 Landing Street, Newport, VT. This meeting will be held coincident with the Memphremagog Watershed Association‘s annual watershed workshop. All members of the public are welcome to the 1 PM public hearing.

These amendments are being proposed as part of the triennial review of the Vermont Water Quality Standards, as required by the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposed amendments to the Rule consist of four components:

  1. Housekeeping changes associated with the transfer of rulemaking authority from the Natural Resources Board (NRB) to the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) (e.g. replacing references to the NRB with references to ANR), pursuant to Act 138 (2012), Sections 20-28;
  2. Revisions to the E. coli criteria for the protection of waters for swimming for consistency with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) guidance under Section 304(a) of the CWA;
  3. Numerous technical revisions to toxic substances criteria contained within “Appendix C” of the current Rule, including the addition of criteria for chloride (de-icing salt) for consistency with EPA’s guidance under Section 304(a) of the CWA;
  4. The addition of new phosphorus criteria framework for lakes and ponds and wadeable streams to comply with EPA’s National Strategy for the Development of Regional Nutrient Criteria promulgated under Section 304(a) of the CWA.

Click here to view the full text of the Water Quality Standards, with proposed markup. Technical support documentation for the bacteria, Appendix C, and nutrient criteria amendments are also provided on that page.

Key Dates:

  • The public notice of availability will be posted here on June 25, 2014 and comment will be accepted beginning on that date.
  • Information on webinar access for the July 29, 2014 meeting will be provided approximately one week prior to the event.
  • The deadline for written public comment is August 22, 2014.

WSMD looks forward to hearing from the public and stakeholders regarding the proposed amendments. Comments may be submitted electronically to Neil Kamman at neil.kamman@state.vt.us or in writing at 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, Montpelier, VT 05620. Commentors using email are requested to use the subject heading “Public Comment on Water Quality Standards” in their correspondence.

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Berlin State Hwy – Bridge Closure

A meeting was held on June 12, 2014 at the VTTC (form VTrans Materials Lab) to received comments from the area communities (Barre, Berlin and Montpelier) relative to the closing of the Berlin State Hwy Bridge # B1 that crosses over VT Route 62 for joint repair work.

Schedule

Berlin State Hwy’s Montpelier ramp will be closed for two week for bridge join repair.  The project construction schedule is (July 8,2014 to July 23,2014). These dates are tentative based upon further review of the traffic management plan. If changes are needed to this schedule, proper notice will be made by VTrans.

Traffic

VTrans Traffic Design staff commented that there is a project this summer on the series of traffic signals along US 302 (Barre-Montpelier Rd.) beginning at the bottom of Berlin State Hwy (Benjamin Falls Rd) and extending to the Price Chopper Dr. intersection. These traffic signals are all linked and coordinated. The traffic signals at the VT 62/N. Main St. intersection in Barre City are owned and operated by Barre City. These signals are linked to operate in conjunction with traffic signals further south along Main St. in Barre City.  Traffic signal adjustments as a result of the additional traffic created by this short two week bridge closure are difficult to anticipate and may not be worth the effort given the short duration of the project.

Additional Changeable Message Boards will be installed on Interstate 89 north of Exit 5 (Williamstown/Northfield) for northbound traffic and south of Exit 9 (Middlesex) for southbound traffic in an attempt to route traffic away from Exit 7 and the construction site.

Public Announcement for the Project

The project will be added to the Agency’s 511 website.

Brent Curtis will include the project in his weekly construction announcements.

Advance signing will be in place at least on week prior to closing of the bridge.

Structural Design

There was general discussion relative to the structural design of the project with thoughts on materials and methods to shorten the construction and bridge closure period. These ideas will be considered and discussed in-house and potentially with the contractor.

Please contact James B. McCarthy, PE Operations Division Vermont Agency of Transportation email – JB.McCarthy@state.vt.us or phone – 802-505-1451 with any questions/concerns.

Mad River Valley Economic Summit and Community Picnic: June 4

The Mad River Valley Economic Summit andphoto2 Community Picnic was held yesterday, June 4, at the Lareau Farm Inn in Waitsfield. The event, hosted by the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) and the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, drew over 200 community members from the district’s three municipalities and beyond. Attendees enjoyed a delicious spread of food donated by local vendors and a presentation, moderated by Noelle Mackay, that highlighted findings from two economic studies recently conducted in the Valley—the Mad River Valley Economic Study and the Vermont Downtown Action Team (V-DAT) Reports for Waitsfield and Warren Villages.

photo6The Mad River Valley Economic Study was funded by a Municipal Planning Grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and a contribution from the Chamber of Commerce. Consultants from the SE Group, Birchline Planning, LLC, and Doug Kennedy Advisors aimed to understand and quantify the Valley’s economic profile and health by analyzing relevant data, conducting interviews, identifying key industry sectors, and exploring prospects to support the future of the Valley. To view the full report, please click here.

V-DAT, in conjunction with the Vermont Downtown Program, worked with Warren and Waitsfield last year to develop long-term economic development plans and strategies based on strengthening place-based identity, economic vitality, and resilience. Lead consultant on the project, Tripp Muldrow, presented the results. The full reports will be available in August, 2014.

The Summit focused on an economic history of the Valleyphoto7 over the past three decades, as well as more recent trends, opportunities, and challenges that will play a role in the future. Attendees were given the opportunity to provide input on a variety of different sectors (i.e. Agriculture, Food Systems, Tourism and Recreation, Manufacturing, etc.) and their potential roles in the economic future, vitality, and resilience of the Valley using a dot exercise. To provide additional input on the Valley’s economy, please take this quick survey. Input will be accepted until August 1, 2014. A follow-up event will occur in the Fall in order to further identify the Valley’s potential and strategies to make the community’s vision a reality.

For more information, visit www.mrvpd.org, e-mail mrvpd@madriver.org, or call (802) 496-7173.

Stormwater Management Webinar: June 11

Webinar: From the Ground Up – A Grassroots Approach to Stormwater Management

Overview: Stormwater runoff poses a significant threat to Vermont’s waterways from both a water quantity and water quality standpoint. The sheer magnitude of stormwater related issues throughout the state requires a certain level of regulatory control. But regulation alone will only get us so far. Education, outreach, technical assistance, financial incentives, and voluntary implementation are also needed. Luckily, local organizations are making a concerted effort to provide these services to citizens and communities alike. In this webinar, we’ll hear from some of the people and organizations who are pushing for better stormwater management at the local level. Presenters will highlight successful projects and initiatives, discuss challenges, and answer questions from the audience. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about some great programs and initiatives being undertaken at the local level.

When: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 12:30-2:30 PM

Where: Your Computer

Register: http://tinyurl.com/p99k85m

Presentations by:

Hosted by:

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