Flood Hazard Maps and Regs

It is still not known yet when the Washington County D-FIRM maps will be ready and by what date towns will have to update their flood hazard regs. However, it’s looking like next spring will be the earliest for the regs to be updated. It’s best not to wait too long, though, because as we know time has a habit of flying by. I want to draw your attention to the Vermont River Management’s web site and the 4 options of flood hazard regulations that a town can choose, although the first one is not recommended by the Department. Scroll down toward the end of this web site page www.vtwaterquality.org/rivers/htm/rv_floodhazard.htm and find the section on flood hazard regs. While you’re scrolling, however, check out some of the fine material that is available on the site and from River Management that might be helpful in making decisions about flood hazard regulations and erosion control. If for some reason, the lengthy web site address doesn’t get you to the right place, then go to www.vtwaterquality.org, click on river management, and then flood hazard, and then scroll aways. Remember, too, to ask CVRPC for assistance.

Roads & Rivers Workshop, Thursday Oct. 23, 12-2pm, Lunch Provided

CVRPC with the City of Montpelier will be hosting a two hour workshop presented by the Better Backroads Program in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources River Management Program. You observe a flume model of a stream, in which they will set up real-life examples of conflicts that occur in managing roads and rivers. Demonstrations on the flume will show the potential impacts and long-term effects of culvert installations and bank stabilization projects and how to best manage roads to prevent damage from storm events and flooding. The following site has a powerful video showing a flood taking out a road and culvert in Freeport Maine: http://www.wmtw.com/video/17144859/index.html Discussion will focus on stream processes, recommended road maintenance techniques, regulations involved with stream projects, and potential funding sources for grants.

The workshop will be held at the Montpelier City Garage, Thursday Oct. 23, 12-2pm, lunch will be provided.

To register, please contact Steve Gladczuk or Clare Rock at CVRPC (229-0389), so we can make sure there are enough chairs and food.

VTrans to Improve Transportation Options through New “Go Vermont” Program

In January, Governor Douglas proposed a new program entitled “Go Vermont” for communicating all transportation options in VT. This new program expands upon and replaces the current “Vermont RideShare” program that has traditionally focused only on carpool and vanpool services. Public transit routes, rail, carpool and vanpool services, bike/ped and park and ride information will all be linked through this program. The website and promotional materials will act as a “one-stop shop” for those looking at reducing their energy costs and footprint. Go to http://www.connectingcommuters.org/ for more information.
In addition to the expanded scope of the Go Vermont program, there will be major improvements to the carpool and vanpool services. The Carpool “matching” process will improve dramatically this Fall as VTrans launches automated carpool matching software that will provide an immediate e-mail response to online registrations and will accommodate those who are looking to find a match for their daily commutes or for a single trip only. Registrants will also receive an Emergency Ride Home Benefit that pays up to $70 for travel expenses in the event of an unforeseeable circumstance, and takes the worry out of ridesharing. This benefit can be used twice per month and up to 6 times per year.
VTrans has named VPSI, Inc. as the third-party vanpool provider that will coordinate these services. This approach will allow VTrans to promote a professional vanpool service and off-set the per-seat costs by way of a monthly subsidy payment. The requirements will be for a group of people to get together (minimum of 8) and devise a commuter trip that works for everyone. The group will have to choose who is going to be the primary driver, back-up driver and the overall vanpool coordinator. A 30-day contract will be offered to the drivers and coordinator and the group would then receive a new van within 30-60 days. Maintenance, insurance, and fare collection will all be managed by VPSI. The Emergency Ride Home Benefit extends to vanpool participants, too.
For more information, please contact the Go Vermont program coordinator at 1- 800-685-RIDE or ross.macdonald@state.vt.us.

Energy Workshops

CVRPC and VECAN, the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, are hosting a series of regional energy meetings to inspire, support, and offer assistance to local energy committees. At our first meeting in July attendees learned about the resources available to energy committees and how to start a committee. We had a packed house, a testament to the timeliness of the issue.
At the next regional energy meeting, energy committee members and other interested groups are invited to learn about “Button Up Vermont,” a campaign that will provide information on how to host a home energy-saving workshop. Folks will receive educational materials to distribute to residents, and will explore opportunities for joint workshops with neighboring communities. “Button Up Vermont” is a partnership between Central Vermont Community Action Council, with funding from the Vermont Agency of Human Services, VECAN, and Efficiency Vermont. The next regional energy meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Montpelier City Hall. For additional information and to sign up for the meeting, contact clarerock@cvregion.com.

2008 Regional Plan Adopted

Seventeen Central Vermont Commissioners voted a resounding “yes” to adopt the 2008 Central Vermont Regional Plan, including the Regional Transportation Plan, at the September 9, 2008 meeting of the Commission. Adopting a regional plan requires a 60% affirmative vote of the member town representatives; 60% for CVRPC is 14. We adopted the Plan with a 74% vote! The 2008 Plan becomes effective in 35 days, on October 14, unless a majority of the member towns’ legislative bodies vote to veto the Plan and provide notice to CVRPC. We believe that the Commissioners represent their towns’ vision of the Region and that the Regional Plan will become effective October 14. The Commission worked long and hard to have a thorough, participatory process that reflects the philosophies and views of its member constituents. We hope that you read the Plan and take note of the Housing element, including the Housing Distribution Plan, and use the Regional Plan as a guide for building local plans. The Regional Plan is on our website, and CD’s will be distributed to member towns in the next few weeks. If you would like a CD, please contact Laurie Emery at cvrpc@cvregion.com. Happy reading!

Did You Know?

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority is putting together a database of landowners where cell towers, antennae, and cables can be located. Hilltops, silos, barns ,church steeples, existing towers and some rooftops may qualify.
If you are interested in making your property available for a communications provider to consider using to deliver services, please review the criteria established at www.telecomvt.org
The list that VTA accumulates will be made available to legitimate communications providers. The providers will then contact the owners to discuss their needs and requirements with them.

Stormwater Mitigation Grant Program

VTrans is accepting applications for the Stormwater Mitigation Grant Program, deadline September 30, 2008. The maximum amount is $150,000. Municipal projexts must demonstrate how it will reduce or eliminate stormwater pollution generated by or, directly associated with, existing public roads and road maintenance activities. Eligible activities include: Engineering & Design; Construction; and Other (such as equipment). There is a 20% Local Match Requirement. In-Kind Match is allowed. Montpelier and Moretown have already benefited from this program. Grant applications and additional information are available at the following web site: http://www.vermontlocalroads.org/new/stormwater_grant/in_kind.htm or contact Steve Gladczuk, CVRPC Senior Transportation Planner, 229-0389. The web site includes information on the Grant Summary, Process, In-Kind Match, and the Application.

Just in!

Training for use of the Municipal Planning Grant online application will occur on September 11 at 7 p.m., September 17 at 9 a.m., or September 23 at noon. This training will be done via conference call so you will need to register. Please do so by contacting Sue Minter at sue.minter@state.vt.us or call her at 802/828-3119. Happy training!!

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

We received word late last week that the Joint Fiscal Committee and the Administration have agreed to a rescission plan to address the downgrade of the state revenue forecast. Consequently the eleven regional planning commissions around Vermont have been told that we will receive a 5% reduction in our state appropriation for the current fiscal year, with possibly another hit to come in January.

This will put our state revenues about on par with that of Fiscal year 07!! It will mean that we will have to make changes to our already very tight operating budget.

The Municipal Planning grant program will also receive a 5% cut.

One step forward, two steps back.