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Wright's Sugar House, Bethel, Vermont | Source: John Knox

IN THIS ISSUE OF NEWS & NOTES

 

TRORC Completed Water Quality Grant | Need a Generator for Your Community? | EMD Roundtable in February | Updating Your Town Plan | Rochester Awarded Funds for Velomont Trail | Brookfield Receives Village Designation | Regional Plan Working Sessions | Ice Jam/Flooding Seminar | LEMPs Due 5/1 | Regional Wonders: Texas Falls

TRORC Completed Water Quality Grant along Ayers Brook

 

TRORC recently completed an Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) grant focused on scoping potential water quality improvement projects within the Ayers Brook watershed. The Ayers Brook watershed is a tributary to the Third Branch of the White River and stretches across the Towns of Randolph, Braintree, and Brookfield. Historically, Ayers Brook has been classified as impaired due to high levels of streambank erosion, loss of riparian buffers, and habitat alteration. For this project, TRORC partnered with both the White River Partnership (WRP) and the White River Natural Resources Conservation District (WRNRCD) in order to contact landowners and formalize potential river corridor easements, riparian buffer plantings, green stormwater infrastructure projects, and farm best management practices.

 

WRP conducted outreach to landowners to engage their interest in implementing riparian buffers or river corridor easements on their property. Following this outreach, WRP worked with willing landowners to analyze the restoration needs of their land and developed shovel-ready buffer planting designs for future implementation. WRNRCD helped farmers reduce nutrient loading and sedimentation through best management practice (BMP) planning and design. TRORC conducted outreach to two landowners in Randolph whose properties were identified as potential sites for Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects. Landowner interest was confirmed in both locations and TRORC is continuing to follow-up with both owners regarding the potential implementation of bioretention areas and detention ponds on the respective properties.

The scoping and outreach efforts put forth by these three organizations have placed each of the above-mentioned water quality projects several steps closer to implementation and as a result, great strides have been made in the establishment of long-term floodplain protections along Ayers Brook.

 

For more information on this project, please contact Jessica Richter at jrichter@trorc.org.

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Ayers Brook (left) and Ayers Brook Watershed Map (right) | Source: Greg Russ- White River Partnership

Need a Generator for Your Community?

 

TRORC is often asked if there are generator grants available to power Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), shelters, and fire departments. Two grant programs that will become available are the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program. These two programs are funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by Vermont Emergency Management (VEM).

 

Currently, none of these grant programs are open, but they are expected to reopen this spring or summer. It is important to keep in mind that these grants require the applicant to complete a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA), which can take several months to fill out. It is highly recommended that communities and organizations start filling out the BCA in anticipation of these grants reopening in the spring/summer of 2019. Keep in mind that FEMA grants require a 25% match.

 

TRORC is happy to assist in your applications and filling out the BCA, just contact Tory Littlefield at vlittlefield@trorc.org or Kevin Geiger at kgeiger@trorc.org. For more information on these programs, go to https://vem.vermont.gov/funding/mitigation.

 

EMD Roundtable in Royalton this February- Dinner Included!

 

TRORC will be hosting an Emergency Management Director (EMD) roundtable on Wednesday, February 13 at the Royalton State Police Barracks from 6-8 p.m. This is a great opportunity to network with EMDs from around the Region. Agenda items will include best practices, the Local Emergency Management Plan, training needs, and other emergency management related topics. TRORC is exploring the possibility of making this a twice annual event to increase communications between our towns. If you can’t make it to the February roundtable, TRORC will be hosting another one in the fall.

 

Dinner and drinks will be provided at this event. To RSVP or for more information, contact Tory Littlefield at vlittlefield@trorc.org or Kevin Geiger at kgeiger@trorc.org.

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                                                                                       Source: TRORC

Updating Your Town Plan

TRORC would like to remind member towns about things to consider during the Town Plan update process. Depending on when your Plan was updated last, Vermont statutes may have changed. New requirements, such as flood resiliency, forest blocks and habitat connectors have been added over the last few years and must be addressed in Plan updates. TRORC has sample language for each of these new requirements. Also, towns intending to apply for or renew a designation under the Vermont Downtown Program should check to make sure they have the supporting language and, potentially, a map of the current designation in their draft plan.

 

Finally, it is important that local and regional plans across the state become more closely aligned by statutory planning goals and plan structural requirements. If you intend to seek regional approval of your town plan (it is optional but suggested you do), take a look at the last Town Plan Review document from TRORC to ensure you address areas that needed a little work last time around. Please check our website on your town's page for the last review.

 

If we are working with you on an update, TRORC will ensure you are provided with the information and language you need to comply with state law and allow for regional approval. If we are not working with you directly, we would be happy to take a quick look at a final draft prior to local hearings to ensure you have met statutory requirements. As always, please call our office with any questions you have!

Rochester Awarded CDBG Funds for a Study on the Velomont Trail

 

Congratulations to the town of Rochester on its recent award of $60,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds! The town is partnering with the VT Huts Association and the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) to help fund the study of the Velomont trail location and design through Granville, Hancock and Rochester; identify potential hut locations in these three communities; and perform an economic impact analysis for each community.

 

The Velomont Trail would connect the six Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) chapters with a single point to point multi-use mountain bike trail (seen on the map below). TRORC assisted the town, VT Huts Association, and VMBA on the grant application and will continue supporting with grant administration. This project highlights TRORC’s efforts to encourage and grow our place-based economic assets.

 

For more information about the project, visit: https://www.rastavt.org/velomont/ or contact Rita Seto at rseto@trorc.org.

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Proposed Map to Connect Six VMBA Chapters | Source: R.A.S.T.A.

Congratulations to Brookfield on Village Designation!

 

Last month, The Vermont Downtown Development Board approved Brookfield’s Village Designation requests. The Village Center Designation program is a non-regulatory state program that provides benefits to communities and income producing properties for the purposes of revitalizing and sustaining villages and downtowns. Income producing properties can receive tax credits for revitalization projects in the designated areas. Designated villages receive priority consideration on some state grant programs as well.

 

As part of our economic development work, TRORC was pleased to assist Brookfield with their applications, and as always, we continue to offer our assistance to other communities seeking to enter the program.


For more information about the Village Designation program, contact Jessica Richter at
jrichter@trorc.org.

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Brookfield Village Center – looking onto Stone Road | Source: Perry Kacik

Regional Plan Working Sessions

 

TRORC is in the process of revising the 2017 Regional Plan. As part of this process, we are seeking input on potential changes to the Plan from our communities. Join us:

 

March 6, 2019, 6:00 p.m. at the Bethel Town Hall
March 13, 2019, 6:00 p.m. at the Space on Main in Bradford


The Regional Plan is a policy statement on appropriate development, improvement and conservation of the Region’s physical and human resources, consistent with the elements and goals of V.S.A. Title 24, Chapter 117. Its purpose is to give guidance to TRORC itself, as well as developers, non-profits, municipalities and other political subdivisions in the Region, and the State of Vermont. We look forward to hearing your input! Please contact Peter Gregory for more information at pgregory@trorc.org or at 802-457-3188.

Spring Ice Jam/Flooding Seminar in White River Junction

 

Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) will be holding its annual inter-agency seminars for local emergency management officials on ice jams and spring flooding. These sessions include professionals from VEM, the National Weather Service, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Agency of Transportation, and TRORC.

 

This seminar will provide information on conditions that may result in spring flooding, and measures to prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events. This seminar is a good fit for all local jurisdictions and regional entities.

 

Hartford Town Office, White River Junction,

Tuesday, February 19 from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

 

For more information, contact Ben Rose at ben.rose@vermont.gov.

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An Ice Jam in Brattleboro January 2019 | Source: WCAX

Reminder: LEMP’s Due Starting After Town Meeting Day

 

This is a reminder that the new Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP) is due May 1st, after Town Meeting (March 5th this year). The LEMP is replacing the old Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP), so it is expected that this first year the new LEMP will take longer to fill out. A current local emergency plan is also required for municipalities to receive federal preparedness funds and increased state reimbursement through the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF). The new LEMP format is supposed to make it more user-friendly for towns during a disaster.

 

TRORC has funding to help towns fill out the new form. If interested, contact Tory Littlefield at vlittlefield@trorc.org. Tory will be emailing towns after Town Meeting day with the new formats.

 

To download the template in a word document, go to https://vem.vermont.gov/plans/lemp.

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