Planning for Act 148
The Vermont Legislature passed Act 148, the Universal Recycling Law, in 2012. The law seeks to increase the amount of material that is recycled by phasing out what can be sent to landfills, including banning recyclables, food scraps and yard debris from landfills. The law also seeks to provide more choices and convenience for Vermont residents, businesses and institutions to foster recycling and composting. The Vermont Agency of Natural Re
Stamford: Hazard Mitigation Draft
The Town of Stamford has completed a draft hazard mitigation plan intended to identify mitigation measures for potential natural hazards that could affect the town. If you have comments or questions, please contact Michael Batcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-442-0713 x 2 by August 21, 2014.
Bill Colvin Runs More than Community Development Programs
BCRC’s Sustainable Community Development Program Director, Bill Colvin, also is a runner—and a good one. After completing the Vermont City Marathon over the Memorial Day weekend, Bill returned to Bennington to run the UCS Go the Distance 5K, and won! Bill covered the hilly route in 20:11, just edging out the second place finisher, his wife, Jessica.
The United Counseling Service of Bennington County organizes the annual 5K to hel
BCRC Completes Study of Bicycle Parking
For the past ten weeks, Pete Domine, the BCRC’s Transportation Program Intern, has been working with staff to create a Bicycle Parking Report for the region. Bicycle parking facilities at key destinations are a necessary part of a community’s cycling infrastructure. Providing plentiful and functional bicycle parking will encourage the use and continued growth of this mode of tr
BCRC’s Office and Staff Continue to Grow
The BCRC is welcoming Kiah Morris to the staff as a part-time employee who will be overseeing work funded by a Vermont Department of Health grant while also directing the Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT). Pete Domine also will be joining us as a part-time employee, working on solid waste management projects and transportation planning studies.
VT Standard River Management Principles and Practices
The VT Rivers Program has been under development for a decade but since Tropical Storm Irene, a number of important policies and regulations have been developed and updated. Some of the key rules, permit information, and management guidelines can be found at the Rivers Program website:
Loan Limits Increased for Agricultural and Forestry Borrowers
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has announced that aggregate loan limits for agricultural and forest products borrowers have increased substantially. Effective July 1, 2014, the statutory limit on the aggregate outstanding loan balances to any borrower at any time through VEDA’s agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), has gone from $1.355 million to $2.0 million.
VACC is a
Municipal Planning Grant Applications Now Available
The Department of Housing and Community Development has released application materials for this year’s municipal planning grant program. 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
Green Mountain National Forest Schedule of Proposed Actions
The Green Mountain National Forest has released the July 1 to September 30, 2014 edition of the Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA), which can be reviewed on their website.
More detailed information about specific projects is available at GMNF Projects.
Manchester Depot Street Re-Design Public Meeting
The BCRC will present an updated Depot Street Corridor Study at the Manchester Planning Commission meeting on Monday, July 21 at 7 p.m. in the Kilburn Room in Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public and comments are welcome. The study recommends changes to Depot Street to make it a safer and more appealing for cyclists and pedestrians. For more information, contact
Manchester Depot Street Re-Design Public Meeting
Efficiency Vermont is working with Vermont municipalities to encourage their residents to build more energy efficient homes. As part of this effort, EV and the Energy Code Assistance Center have prepared a new Municipal Guide to Vermont Energy Codes and Above-Code Programs. This resource document provides background informati
Solar Energy Property Tax Changes
The Legislature made some important changes to solar property tax law in an effort to create more consistency while maintaining incentives. The State Education Fund now exempts systems 50kW and under from state tax (up from 10kW) and removes the sunset provision in 2023 that would have caused the 50kW exemption to automatically expire. Systems over 50kW will continue to be taxed at a rate of $4/kW.
A new methodology for municipal
Shoreland Protection Act Informational Meeting July 21 in Woodford
As you may already be aware, this May the Vermont General Assembly passed shoreland protection legislation that applies to activities within 250 feet of a lake’s mean water level for all lakes greater than 10 acres in size. The Shoreland Protection Act (Chapter 49A of Title 10 §1441 et seq.), effective July 1st of this year, establishes a new state regulation for guiding shoreland development. The intent of the Act is to prevent degradatio
Summer 2014 Solid Waste Management Newsletter
There are numerous opportunities in Bennington County for recycling clothing, shoes and other textiles. This Summer 2014 BCRC Solid Waste Management Newsletter lists locations where residents can bring used clothing for reuse or recycling. The main requirement is that clothing be clean and odor free.
Working Land Enterprise Grants Awarded
Wilcox Ice Cream receives funding to support manufacturing
The Working Lands Enterprise Board announced this year’s grant recipients from its “Enterprise Investment” area, awarding approximately $300,000 to 19 grantees in 11 counties of the state representing the agriculture, forestry and forest products sectors, (3 forestry projects and 16 agriculture projects), leveraging over $350,000 in matching funds.
New Universal Recycling Law - Act 148
Vermont’s new Universal Recycling law establishes uniform standards and requirements for recycling across the state that will facilitate re-use of valuable materials that would otherwise be landfilled. There is a potential to at least double the amount of materials recycled in Vermont. Recycling
materials and compositing food scraps and leaf and yard debris will save money, lower Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions (estimated 38% improv
Flood Resiliency Guide
A property owner's guide to re-building for flood resiliency was produced by Peg Elmer of Community-Resilience.org with help from numerous organizations and individuals. It provides guidance and links to resources for property owners interested in learning how they can make their properties less vulnerable to flood damage.
Pat Moulton Powden to Head Commerce and Community Development
Pat Moulton Powden will replace current ACCD Secretary Lawrence Miller in June. Secretary Miller will become senior advisor to the Governor and Chief of Health Care
Reform. Pat has held several key posts in state government, including Chair of the Natural Resources Board, Labor Commissioner, and most recently as Deputy Secretary of ACCD. She currently serves as the executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. Pat
Open Studio on the Molly Stark Byway
Vermont residents rave about Open Studio Weekend. Experience it for yourself to find out why. On May 24 and 25, 2014, participating art and craft studios welcome visitors for browsing, conversation and sales. Artists and artisans located along and near the Molly Stark Byway will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Meet the makers of fine furniture, glass,
pottery, garden art, paintings, and more and take a behind-the-scenes look at how it's m
Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference
May 19—21, Manchester, NH
Antioch University New England and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regions 1 and 2 are hosting a regional conference for local planners, decision-makers and educators to understand how to create healthy resilient communities that are better prepared to handle severe weather and climate impacts.
The first two days of the conference are about Building Resilient Communities
New Report from FEMA: Integrating the Local Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan into a Community’s Comprehensive Plan
FEMA developed this GUIDEBOOK to explain and demonstrate how to integrate natural hazard mitigation concepts into local comprehensive plans. The guidebook describes the benefits of integration, provides examples of how it can be accomplished, reviews existing state authorities and regulations, and highl
Act 250 Data Shows Most Cases Reviewed as Minor Applications and Few Denials
An average of 356 Act 250 permits were applied for, statewide, each year between 2008 and 2013. Of these permits, 80% were treated as minor (meaning that the applications did not require a hearing). If the District Environmental Commission finds that a proposed project is not likely to significantly or adversely affect the environment under the Act's ten review criteria, it is generally treated as a minor application which can proceed on a
Regional Plan Update Progress
BCRC staff have been working with the Regional Plan update committee over the past several months. The “People” and “Landscape” chapters of the Plan will be completed by mid-June when they will be posted on our website. We will review and discuss those sections at our regular meeting in July—look for a notice!
VT Low-Impact Hydropower Screening Proposal Being Developed
A proposal is being developed for consideration that may result in assistance and expedited review of hydroelectric projects located at existing dam sites (such as the projects currently being pursued on the Walloomsac and Hoosic Rivers in our region). The initiative would see the Vermont Public Service Department, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development coordinate efforts to assist dev
Renewable Energy Atlas Provides Easy Access to Information On Wind, Solar, Hydroelectric, and Other Resources
The Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont is a tool for identifying, analyzing, and visualizing existing and promising locations for renewable energy projects. You can click on a town (or several towns or county / counties) and select from a thorough suite of renewable energy options: biomass, effic
Mixed Use Development Concept for Downtown
The BCRC has worked with local officials in Bennington to create a concept for a mixed use development project in the downtown area. The project could include a mix of retail, residential, community, and open space uses. Its location in the downtown would help to revitalize surrounding properties and bring new life to the area. The town has expressed an interest in
2014 Bike-Ped Grant Application
VTrans has released the applications for this year’s bicycle and pedestrian grant program. The Bike/Ped Program provides funding for either a scoping study or a design/construction project for the following facilities:
Bicycle lanes (on-road facility delineated with pavement markings and signs)
Shoulders (generally a minimum of 3-feet wide to accommodate bicyclists)
Pedestrian crossing imp
Municipal Planning Grant Applications to be Released in June
The Department of Housing and Community Development will announce the details of the FY15 Municipal Planning Grants (MPGs)
Planning and Zoning Forum
June 4 - Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee
Land use officials from around the state will discuss important topics in planning and zoning regulation at this workshop. Representatives from the Environmental Division of the Superior Court will discuss decision making with municipal land use officials and present an introduction to the mediation process. Other experts will weigh in on enforcement of land use decision and regulations, conducti