ACRPC February Newsletter

Posted on February 4th, 2022 to Uncategorized

The ACRPC Newsletter contains Addison County announcements, events, grants, and trainings for the upcoming month. Please contact [email protected] with questions.

In Remembrance

Friends:

Once again I am writing with sad news in memory of two of our colleagues, David Raphael and Willem Jewett. Both were accomplished men that lived rich, well-loved and rewarding lives. Both balanced an impressive work resume, public service and outdoor activity and family beautifully. Their respective obituaries do a much better job telling their stories than I ever could. I honor and thank both of them and their families for their work with and service to the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.

The Addison Independent obituary honoring David is attached here

David served ACRPC as both a Delegate and Alternate for the Town of Panton on and off for many years, most recently serving as Panton’s alternate and a delegate to our Transportation Advisory Committee.  Even when David was not actively serving ACRPC as a representative from Panton, our professional paths crossed often working with him as Chair of the Panton Planning Commission or in his professional life as a planner and designer in other communities or in cases before the Public Utilities Commission.  David brought an intelligent, thoughtful and good-humored approach to the work he cared deeply about and passionately advocated for causes or clients he championed.  

The Addison Independent’s article honoring Willem’s legislative service is attached here.

Willem served ACPRC as a Commissioner from the Town of Ripton.  Even though he had not served as a member of the regional planning commission for quite some time, moving on to his busy life as a representative and majority leader in the Vermont legislature and his work as an attorney, Willem remained a friend of planning and ACRPC.  I enjoyed many lunches with Willem at the Middlebury Bagel where we would discuss planning and legislative policy.  Willem’s sharp, probing mind always made those conversations both challenging and interesting. More often than not they would end with Willem’s distinctive laughter.  

We have been and continue to be blessed with intelligent commissioners that care about their work and communities.  Thank you. 

Best wishes to all,

Adam

ACRPC Update

Brownfields Funding for Addison County 

If you or a developer in your municipality are considering the development, expansion, or re-use of a site that may be complicated by the release of a hazardous material, please get in touch with ACRPC.

To help bring abandoned and underutilized sites back into reuse, ACRPC has received $100,000 of funding funds for site assessment from the Vermont Brownfields Revitalization Fund. ACRPC also worked with a consultant to apply in December for an additional EPA Community Wide Assessment grant to identify and assess sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, petroleum, and other contaminants. The overall goal of the ACRPC Brownfields Program is to return sites with real or perceived contamination to the marketplace or to be reused for the public good such as parks or green space.

In addition, the Agency of Commerce and Community development (ACCD) will award $10 million in grants statewide to advance the cleanup of Brownfields Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation Act (BRELLA) enrolled sites. The funding must be used to implement approved Corrective Action Plans, following Phase I and Phase II ESA development, so it is important to get this process started. For more information on project eligibility, CLICK HERE.

The ACRPC Brownfields Program will be administered by the ACRPC Economic Development Committee to conduct site assessments and related activities at brownfields sites to determine whether sites are, in fact, contaminated and provide landowners with a better understanding of the funding sources, benefits, tax incentives, liabilities, insurance protection, and other tools available to redevelop sites. The ACRPC Economic Development committee consists of Commissioners representing municipalities with backgrounds in operating small businesses, real estate development, banking and natural resource management.  For more information about the Brownfields Program or to inquire about funding for a specific site, please contact:

Andrew L’Roe 802-388-3141×3 [email protected]

Events

Date TimeMeeting
February 9th7:00 pmACRPC Full Commission Meeting
February 16th6:30 pmTAC Meeting
February 17th7:00 pmACSWMD Meeting
February 23rd6:30 pmACRPC Executive Meeting
This newsletter is financed through the State of Vermont Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the State of Vermont. All programs of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission are ADA accessible.

Announcements

ARPA Updates and Reminders

On January 6th, the US Treasury issued the Final Rule for State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, along with an accessible and helpful overview document. The finalized regulations give Towns much more spending flexibility under the “Lost Revenue” category. All recipients in our region can now classify any portion or the entirety of their awards as Lost Revenue, without having to do any of the calculations formerly required under the interim draft rule. Funds that are categorized as “lost revenue” can be spent on “government services”, which includes any service traditionally provided by a government. There are still a number of restrictions and accounting implications to consider, and VLCT is encouraging all recipients to hold off on ARPA spending until further guidance has been developed.  Waiting until after April 30th to begin spending will also make your town’s first progress report much easier to manage.

While we wait for more guidance, this is a good time to be doing outreach to your communities to gather input on project ideas and spending priorities. ACRPC is happy to assist with facilitating community dialogues.

Towns and Villages that received local ARPA allocations are required to submit their first project and expenditure reports by April 30, 2022. The US Treasury recently issued a user guide for how to navigate the reporting portal. We strongly recommend that you review the user guide and take the necessary steps to ensure you have access to the portal well in advance of the reporting deadline. 

For more information, please visit VLCT’s website. If you have any questions about ARPA regulations or would like help with community outreach, please contact Andrew at [email protected], 802.388.3141 ext 3.

Community Solar Online Info Session

This February, show Earth some love — sign up for solar and save on your electricity bill! Learn more about this 100% community-owned solar project based in Peacham. The 150 kW array is open to all GMP customers, whether you rent or own, already have solar, or just want to get started with one kilowatt or two. Join the Feb 9 online info session to learn more and ask questions. Join Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, Feb 9, 7:00 PM  by CLICKING HERE.

Bylaw Modernization Grants Awarded in Addison County

Three Addison County towns were awarded Bylaw Modernization Grants, a one-time funding opportunity by the Department of Housing and Community Development to support local zoning updates designed to increase housing opportunities in existing neighborhoods. The towns of Bristol, Lincoln and Shoreham were awarded funds in order to pursue the work of addressing housing issues in their communities. 

Community Wastewater Solutions for Rural Vermont Village Centers

On Wednesday January 26th, Addison County Regional Planning Commission hosted a virtual workshop presented by Juli Beth Hinds, AICP of Birchline Planning LLC. Below is a synopsis of the presentation and a link to the recording. ACRPC wanted to share this resource with our community members who may have missed the presentation or would like to learn more about the process.  Watch the presentation on Youtube HERE.

The lack of wastewater capacity, and the need for funds for technical and construction assistance, hinders adaptive re-use and development in many of Vermont’s village centers. New and more flexible models using funds through Vermont’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the recent ARPA Village Wastewater Program can offer new and more incremental ways to address local wastewater needs and encourage increased housing opportunities. This workshop provided examples of innovative approaches and solutions from Vermont towns and discussed ways to get started with a local process. 

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy RFP

The Strategy Committee of the West Central Vermont CEDS is soliciting qualified firms to assist with engagement with traditionally underserved populations, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income residents and communities. This consultant will have experience creating, scheduling, and conducting public outreach with numerous and diverse groups of stakeholders to assist with the creation of the CEDS. Find the RFP available HERE. Responses are due no later than 5pm on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.

Save the Date! – Walk Bike Summit

In partnership with Vermont Agency of Transportation, and along with a number of other participating organizations and sponsors, the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, in concert with the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County will host the statewide Vermont Walk/Bike Summit at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury, VT on May 6, 2022. Find out more on their website HERE

Local Motion – Vermont Winter Bike/Walk Challenge

Join Local Motion, CATMA, and GoVT! for the 2022 Vermont Winter Bike/Walk Challenge starting on Monday, January 31st and running through Friday, February 11th, concluding on International Winter Bike to Work Day. Participants who record a bike ride or walk on the GoVT! Smartphone app or Go!VT Website at least twice during the Challenge will be entered to win prizes from Vermont businesses. Download the app to start logging your trips!

Ferrisburgh Receives Bruhn Grant to update the Union Meeting Hall

The Union Meeting Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, is a unique gothic-style brick building with multi-paned windows in the Ferrisburgh Town Center. The building has been used as a community gathering place since 1840, and is the site where abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave a fiery speech about freedom and equality in July of 1843. The $100,000 Bruhn Grant grant will support major structural, roof and chimney work necessary to keep the building stable and safe.

Grants and Funding

Community Grants

Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Available Grant Programs

Following the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the federal administration has provided the following information on currently available or planned infrastructure programs. This list includes links to agency websites, application timing, and descriptions. Highlighted programs were selected based on their size and cross-cutting objectives. Using these available sources of funds, cities can begin to plan to build in-line with President Biden’s economic, equity, climate and resilience, Made in America, and labor goals. The White House will also be releasing a comprehensive guidebook of all available funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the coming weeks.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Help Make Your Community a Better Place!

Whether you are dreaming of more parks and green spaces, a vibrant main street, colorful public art projects, community gardens, or cultural events, Better Places grants can help turn your idea into a reality.  The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Community Foundation, and Patronicity are thrilled to announce the launch of  Better Places, a statewide community grant program that empowers Vermonters to create vibrant and inclusive public places in the hearts of Vermont communities.  Those who are interested in the Better Places program can learn more on Thursday, February 10th, at 11am by attending the program launch webinar. Register here or visit the website to learn more.  

AARP Livable Communities Grant

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. This year, applications will be accepted for projects to improve public spaces; housing; transportation; civic engagement; diversity, equity and inclusion; support efforts to build engagement for programs under new federal laws; and other innovative ideas that support people age 50 or older.

Deadline: Applications due by 5 p.m. (ET) March 22

Learn more HERE and contact our community planner, Katie Raycrot-Meyer for more information at [email protected] 

Food Hub Infrastructure Support

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) has received funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) to expand capacity and market access for Vermont’s nonprofit food hubs. Funding will support two to eight food hubs to help with critical infrastructure needs, enabling hubs to support more farm and food businesses, expand their workforce, and advance their ongoing efforts to access larger metropolitan markets.  Applications are due February 25, 2022 at 2:00pm EST.

For information and application materials, visit Food Hub Infrastructure Support | Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (vermont.gov).  Program questions can be directed to Julia Scheier (she/her), Emerging Issues Specialist, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, at [email protected]

VHCB Housing Funding

VHCB invites applications for the new housing funding according to the following schedule for upcoming information sessions, application deadlines and board meeting dates over the next several months. CLICK HERE

Application Due Date: February 25, 2022 for May 13 consideration

Contact Jenny Hyslop, VHCB Housing Director, (802) 828-5539, [email protected]

Transportation Grants

New Funding Through Downtown Transportation Fund

The DTF is intended to support safe, multi-modal and resilient transportation systems that support the downtown and village center economic development and revitalization efforts. DTF projects may apply for $20,000 to $140,000 of “add on” clean water funding for eligible storm water implementation projects. 

Application Deadline: March 7, 2022 @ 5:00 p.m. 

For more information CLICK HERE

Please contact Gary Holloway, the Downtown Program Manager at 802-522-2444 if you have questions or need assistance with the DTF application.  

Energy Grants

USDA Pilot Energy Program 

The Department is making up to $10 million available to help people living in rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will help them cut their energy costs and contribute to the nationwide effort to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change. 

For more information: CLICK HERE

Letter of Intent Due: On or Before April 19, 2022

Submit Completed Applications: July 18, 2022

EV Charging for Residents of Multiunit Housing

A $1 million grant program was launched to provide funding to owners of affordable and non-profit multiunit housing who would like to provide electric vehicle charging for residents. The application deadline is April 1, 2022. CLICK HERE

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Funding

Look for upcoming information from the State and your RPC about how to apply for the renewed EECBG funding following the passing of the federal Infrastructure Act. For more information on eligibility and how this funding can be used CLICK HERE

Water Quality Grants

2022 Clean Water Workforce Capacity Development Phase I

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Clean Water Initiative Program (CWIP) is requesting proposals for the 2022 Clean Water Workforce Capacity Development Project. This work is separated into two phases. Phase 1 will fund a Contractor to conduct an assessment through outreach to current and potential partners that conceptualizes the capacity challenges that need to be addressed, and that outlines which investments in capacity building will lead to accelerating adoption and implementation of clean water projects state-wide. Up to $60,000 is available to achieve the scope of work and deliverables outlined in this Request for Proposals.

  • Release Date: January 28, 2022
  • Questions Due: February 11, 2022, 12:00 pm
  • Proposals Due: February 25, 2022, 4:00 pm
  • View Request for Proposals

This agreement is supported by the state Clean Water Fund (CWF). The goal of the CWF is to support projects that reduce sediment and nutrient pollution, including phosphorus, from runoff and soil erosion that discharge into the state’s rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. 

Tools and Training

GMP Home Resiliency and Battery Storage Webinar

Interested in learning more about improving your home’s resiliency while cutting costs and carbon? Join your Regional Planning Commissions and Green Mountain Power at 7 pm on February 8th for a webinar to learn how GMP’s battery storage programs can help you stay powered up, while also reducing carbon emissions and lowering costs for all GMP customers. Register for this webinar with HERE.

Upcoming VECAN Webinar

Climate Progress? A Mid-Session Legislative Update

Wednesday, February 16th, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

In this workshop, get an overview of what’s happening in the 2022 legislative session to advance clean energy and climate progress. On the heels of the first required Climate Action Plan and an unprecedented amount of federal funding at the state’s fingertips, hear what policy makers are advancing, what that could mean for climate progress and for you and your communities. Register here

Upcoming VLCT Webinars and Workshops

Town Meeting Tune-Up: Join us, February 10, 2022 10:00 am, for our annual Town Meeting Tune-Up! Ed Chase, Westford Town Moderator will deconstruct the annual town meeting process step by step. LINK

Digital Access: Key Elements for Inclusion of Disabled People

Inclusive Arts Vermont has partnered with the Vermont Arts Council to offer a series of workshops on improving digital access to arts programming for the inclusion of disabled people. There are nine workshops altogether. All workshops will be held on the first Tuesday of the month, through July 2022. Recordings will be posted on our website after the event. Learn more and register here.

Weatherization and the Windows Conundrum Webinar: February 24, 12:00pm

Do you think that replacing windows will be the best bang for your buck to reduce heating costs? Wondering if you should repair or replace them? In this session, we will discuss the reasons why it may be better to weatherize your home before you replace your windows, and other ways to mitigate commonly experienced issues around windows. We will explain where your weatherization dollars and efforts will have the most impact, and alternative options to replacing windows that may be better for your wallet. Join CCRPC and Efficiency VT on Thursday, February 24th, at 12:00pm. Please register here.

Online Forest Pest First Detector Course: For the Birds

This winter 2022 online Forest Pest First Detectors course will train participants to identify the signs and symptoms of common forest invasive pests of concern: emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and Asian longhorned beetle, spotted lanternfly and tree-of-heaven; jumping worms, oak wilt, and beech leaf disease. For this special version of the course, we are partnering with birder organizations, such as Vermont Audubon, on a new unit exploring the relationship between invasive insects, forest health and bird populations. Tentative course dates are February 21st – April 15th and the course will include three live webinars and three optional field trips. Sign up here to indicate interest and receive notification when registration opens.

Community Wildlife Program at Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department Trainings

Please join us for one of these informative webinars or in-depth trainings!

Follow these links to see the description below.

Registration and more information is available on our Trainings page where you can also find our library of previously recorded sessions. Contact Jens Hilke, [email protected] for more information.

Workshop Series: Habitat Connectivity and Biodiversity in the Champlain Valley

Sponsored by The Vermont Master Naturalists Program, Middlebury Area Land Trust, and Otter Creek Audubon.

Backyard Mapping Tools for Understanding

Habitat Connectivity and Biodiversity Online Workshop via ZOOM

Wednesday, February 16 th, 2022 at 7:00-8:00 PM

Join Tina Scharf, local wildlife biologist, for a workshop introducing practical mapping technologies that can be used in your local neighborhood. With the lens of simple mapping tools, Tina will highlight the ability to better understand the role of habitat connectivity and biodiversity in our own backyards. She will draw on examples of this from her work mapping the diverse Ganley-Roper land in Weybridge and the neighboring Collins Conservation Farm.

Participants must register by registering through this link. If you have problems registering, please contact Bill Roper: [email protected].

Backyard Wildlife Tracking and Habitat Identification

Saturday, February 19 th , 2022

Two workshops (limited to 12 participants for each): 9:30-11:30am and 1:00-3:00pm

Join local wildlife biologist, Tina Scharf, for a winter wildlife walk focused on tracking and animal habitat within the 80 acres of the Ganley-Roper land in Weybridge. Tina will highlight how this land has been thoughtfully mapped and managed to better understand habitat connectivity, biodiversity, and the many creatures that depend on this ecosystem.

Participants must register by registering through this link. If you have problems registering, please contact Bill Roper: [email protected]

Upcoming courses:

  • Saturday, May 21 st , 2022- Backyard Bird Habitat and Connectivity with Mark LaBarr of Vermont Audubon.
  • Wednesday, June 8 th , 2022- The Bigger Picture: Habitat Connectivity and Biodiversity
  • Mapping of The Champlain Valley Online workshop via Zoom with Monica Pryzperhart of Vermont Master Naturalist Program.

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