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Newbury, Vermont | Source: John Knox

IN THIS ISSUE OF NEWS & NOTES

 

TRORC Welcomes New Staff Member Paige Greenfield and Says Goodbye to Chris Damiani | TRORC Wins NADO Innovation Award | Various Energy Incentives Available | Emerald Ash Borer Resources Available | Multiple Conferences Coming Up in Vermont | Ways to Prepare for Electric Vehicle Charging | Make Way for Kids Grants Now Open | State Launches Effort to Collect Toxic Foam From Local Fire Departments

 

TRORC WELCOMES NEW STAFF MEMBER PAIGE GREENFIELD AND SAYS GOODBYE TO CHRIS DAMIANI

 

Chris Damiani is leaving TRORC to become the new Town Planner and Zoning Administrator for the Town of Waitsfield. Chris has been instrumental on our energy program and economic development work for the past three years. He began with us as an AmeriCorp VISTA back in 2015 and was hired full time when his year of service was up. We will miss Chris and wish him the best of luck on his next adventure!

 

Paige Greenfield will be starting with TRORC on October 10 as our new Planner. Paige recently graduated from the University of Vermont and has a strong background in communication skills as the editor of UVM's Headwaters Magazine. She will be with us over the next year, assisting staff with various projects. TRORC welcomes Paige as a new member of our team!

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Paige Greenfield (left) and Chris Damiani (right).

TRORC WINS NADO INNOVATION AWARD

 

TRORC was recently awarded a National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Innovation Award for the Statewide Irene Buyout program that we have been managing over the past seven years in conjunction with Vermont Emergency Management, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The award ceremony will take place at the NADO 2018 Annual Training Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina October 13 – 16.

 

TRORC took the lead in this project that used three different funding sources. TRORC assisted towns and property owners with the home buyout project, money reimbursement, and compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). TRORC initiated and worked with several towns across the state to construct parks on previously flooded residential and commercial properties to provide public access to waterways. This project will result, in 150 households receiving substantial financial benefit, often preserving their life savings and keeping them from foreclosure and ruined credit ratings. One project has removed over 1,000 yards of floodplain fill and a salvage yard. It has left rivers room for new channels and taken out old berms. It has created parks where abandoned buildings would have been left to rot. TRORC is working on preserving a home buyout framework that can be used in the future as needed.

 

For more information about the current status of this project, contact Kevin Geiger at kgeiger@trorc.org.

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The above graphic is that of Rochester Village. The blue arrow is the normal path of the White River, where the yellow arrow is the path it took during Tropical Storm Irene. The buildings with the red X's were bought out in this program. | Source: TRORC

VARIOUS ENERGY INCENTIVES AVAILABLE

Autumn is in the air and it’s time to start thinking of the home heating season.  Many towns in the TRO Region have signed on to become Button Up Community Partners with Efficiency Vermont.  Through the Button Up program, partner communities and TRORC will organize educational workshops to help residents reduce energy costs through weatherization measures such as air sealing and insulation.  Some partner communities will be offering free home energy walk through assessments from vetted contractors.  Stay tuned to the TRORC website calendar for dates and times of weatherization workshops. 

 

In addition, Green Mountain Power is offering incentives for complete weatherization home energy audits and has partnered with lenders for low income financing of weatherization projects that can be paid back on your GMP utility bill.  For more information, visit: https://greenmountainpower.com/product/weatherization/.

 

Interested in less car maintenance and lower transportation costs?  Green Mountain Power is also offering incentives on electric vehicles (EVs).  For a limited time, GMP offers a $5,500 discount and zero percent financing on the 2018 Nissan Leaf in partnership with Freedom Nissan, Nissan of Keene, NH and VSECU.  Coupled with the current $7,500 federal tax incentive, you could save up to $13,000 on the Nissan Leaf.  Plus GMP customers are eligible for a free Level 2 in-home EV charger when you join GMP’s smart home charging program.

 

More information can be found here: https://greenmountainpower.com/product/2018-leaf-power-program. TRORC staff member Dee Gish, a happy Nissan Leaf owner for nearly four years, can also answer questions about EV ownership. 

EMERALD ASH BORER RESOURCES AVAILABLE

 

The recent onslaught of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in the northern portion of the TRO Region has many communities worried about this invasive species. Community planning efforts are underway in several towns in Orange County to learn how to deal with it. Vermont Urban and Community Forestry has created a resource page for communities in regards to EAB management. The Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission is hosting an EAB workshop on November 28 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the UVM Extension office in Berlin. The Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation will be releasing a small grant opportunity for communities to conduct inventories and prepare plans around EAB management.

 

For more information, please contact Tory Littlefield at vlittlefield@trorc.org or Kevin Geiger at kgeiger@trorc.org.

 

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The path the Emerald Ash Borer leaves under the bark of ash trees. This ultimately kills the tree. | Source: VT Department of Fish & Wildlife

 

MULTIPLE CONFERENCES COMING UP IN VERMONT

 

When Governments Cooperate – State Government Municipal Day

This popular training, brought to you by the Agency of Natural Resources with help from allied State Agencies, has expanded for 2018 and now includes a mix of 2 FULL-DAY and 2 HALF-DAY training's at locations around Vermont.

 

Half-day sessions cost just $10 (coffee and snacks provided!) and include a single-track agenda with an opportunity to stay for an option lunch-time brown-bag session.  Workshops take place in Springfield (Thurs, Oct 25) and Essex Junction (Fri, Nov 2).

 

Full-day sessions cost $25 (morning coffee and lunch provided!).  The Montpelier (Fri, Oct 26) training features a morning plenary session and 17 different workshops from which to choose.  The Rutland (Thurs, Nov 1) training offers a single-track agenda with a comprehensive agenda.

 

Find agendas, workshop descriptions and printable brochures to share with your colleagues here: http://anr.vermont.gov/about_us/special-topics/municipal-day.

 

VT Statewide Housing Conference

Registration is now open for the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference on November 13th and 14th, 2018. The conference is held every two years in November. For a limited time, the registration fee is offered at a discounted early-bird rate. This year's conference will again be held at the Hilton Burlington but with exciting changes and more options focused on the impact Vermont communities have on housing affordability.

 

An inspiring line-up of interactive, cutting-edge sessions will focus on specific municipal policy tools and community case studies. The conference features exceptional national speakers as well as state and local experts ready to share tools and best practices for improving housing affordability and creating vibrant, thriving communities.

 

The 2016 conference drew over 400 housing professionals, including legislators, town and regional planners, advocates, developers and bankers. Register here: https://www.vhfa.org/conference/.

 

WAYS TO PREPARE FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING

 

The Community Planning and Revitalization Division in the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is excited to announce meeting-ready guidance to help planners and planning commissioners prepare and update local regulations that welcome electric vehicle charging stations.  

 

The link below offers up the latest electric vehicle trends hitting the Green Mountain State and outlines SEVEN easy ways to support electric vehicle charging in your local regulations.   Early adoption of charging stations can mean new customers and earnings for local businesses, and if you don’t know how much drivers could save “per gallon” by going electric, you’ll want to give this a read.  By the time you hit number five, the planner within might just nerd-out on this game-changing technology.

 

DHCD is welcoming your feedback on this resource and encourages you to take it to your next planning commission meeting. You may also want to forward it to business, conservation, and energy leaders in your town.  Have questions or feedback?  Contact jacob.hemmerick@vermont.gov.  

 

There is new funding available to install charging stations.  To learn more about the $2.4 million in grants for electric vehicle charging stations announced by Governor Scott last week, visit the Department of Housing and Community Development website.  We are pleased that this program adds to the list of State-funded grants giving priority points to Vermont’s designated centers (a program administered by the Department that encourages smart development in compact centers and neighborhoods).  The first round of charging station grants are due November 30, 2018.  For more information about the grant program, contact gary.holloway@vermont.gov or visit the Department of Housing and Community Development’s website.  Technical assistance for EVSE grant applicants will be available through Drive Electric Vermont, and the Vermont Department of Building and General Services’ vendors will offer tailored support for municipalities and schools.

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MAKE WAY FOR KIDS GRANTS NOW OPEN

 

In 2019, Vermont Birth to Five (VB5) will be investing $400,000 in new and existing child care programs across the state to address the critical shortage of high-quality child care in Vermont. These funds will be used for construction, capital improvements and program changes that result in increased capacity; workforce development efforts; and equipment and materials needed to enrich early learning environments and the wellbeing of children served in newly created child care slots. For more information on the grant program and to apply, go to http://vermontbirthtofive.org/make_way_for_kids/.

 

DOWNTOWN TAX CREDITS AWARDED TO BRADFORD AND BETHEL

 

Governor Phil Scott announced $2.8 million in state tax incentives for sixteen projects across the state that will ultimately support $324 million in downtown and village center construction and rehabilitation efforts. Of the sixteen that got awarded, Bradford and Bethel in our region were awarded!

 

257 Main Street, Bethel - The Blossom Block, in the heart of Bethel's village center, was built in the 1850's. It is the largest and most prominent building in downtown. Vacant for several years, the building was purchased by a local builder and investor in 2016 who has begun a phased project to rehabilitate the building. The project includes ground-floor retails space including a grocery/general store and a bakery, second floor office space, and a third floor boutique hotel, with 4-5 suites. Tax credits will support exterior repairs to this important historic structure as well as code and fire safety upgrades. 

 

174 Main Street, Bradford - A former "five and dime" store closed for many years, this central downtown building will be re purposed as a modern multi-use community facility. The entire building will be updated with new electrical, plumbing, insulation, fire alarm system, security, and data wiring. It will be leased by The Space on Main, Inc., a nonprofit, which will manage a WiFi fiber internet network, shared office space, a wellness office, a large conference room, a dedicated maker space, and an artists' gallery, to provide space for co-working, hands-on maker projects, conferences, meetings, training programs, classes, and community events. 

 

See the other awardees here

 
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