MONTPELIER, Vt., November 26, 2007 – The state has awarded $880,407 in grants to communities across the state for municipal planning and special projects ranging from a study of affordable housing to another on whether to merge three towns’ emergency services.
Governor Jim Douglas announced the Municipal Planning Grants Monday, which range from money to update town plans to funding for a revitalization plan for White River Junction’s downtown.
“Vermont’s cities and towns will be able to craft plans that promote economic and housing development in our downtowns and village centers, while protecting Vermont’s working landscape from sprawl,” Douglas said. “This is the essence of smart growth.”
The Municipal and Regional Planning Fund was first established in 1988, and now offers grants of up to $15,000 to help Vermont municipalities develop their town plans, and to implement community planning projects. This year the department awarded one special planning grant for Growth Center Planning in Colchester
Through a competitive process, 78 Vermont towns across the state were awarded a total of $880,407 for a diverse collection of planning projects. The vast majority of the projects this year are traditional planning activities such as updating town plans, maps and zoning bylaws.
However, there are a number of unique projects, including a study of motorized and non-motorized transportation options in Morristown; a plan to prevent municipal sewage spills in Poultney; and a field assessment of natural features in Mount Holly.
In addition to Colchester’s special award, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) also provided funding at varying levels to another 5 communities for developing growth centers.
“We are very pleased to receive this grant from the state,” said Brenda Green, Director of Planning and Zoning for the town of Colchester. “Colchester is a growing community, and these funds will help us preserve what makes it special while planning for growth that will keep it vital.”
Growth Centers were created by the Legislature in 2006 and subsequently signed into law by Governor Douglas to encourage communities to plan for denser and mixed use development in appropriate areas. Williston recently became the first town to receive approval for its Growth Center.
Designated communities receive benefits under Act 250, including greater flexibility in reducing impact on agricultural soils and increased options for obtaining revenues to fund infrastructure investment.
The Municipal and Regional Planning Fund was first established in 1988, and now offers grants of up to $15,000 to help Vermont municipalities develop their town plans, and to implement community planning projects.
Funds for the municipal planning grants are allocated by the Vermont Legislature from revenue generated by the property transfer tax. With no local matching funds required, this is one of the few state grant programs accessible to even the smallest of Vermont municipalities. Communities have 18 months to complete their planning projects.
“These grants really just support a great deal of dedication by Vermont’s towns and their volunteer commissioners,” said DHCA Commissioner John Hall, for the DHCA. “They do the hard work.”
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs is part of the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development. For more information please visit: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/MPG.htm
Municipal Planning Grants