Upper Valley Towns to Study Growth With Help of State Aid

Norwich — A handful of Upper Valley towns in the Green Mountain State will split about $44,000 in state-funded planning grants to study growth and development next year.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced the grant recipients, which include Norwich, Newbury, Royalton, Sharon and West Fairlee. Statewide, 42 communities will be awarded about $450,000 in the 2014 fiscal year.

Noelle MacKay, commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development, said in a news release that the municipal planning grant program “helps communities develop the necessary planning and implementation tools, and it makes it easier for families, communities and entire regions to thrive.

“Jobs, businesses, transportation options, and affordable places to live are dependent on proactive, community-driven local plans and land-use policies,” MacKay said.

The department offered the following project descriptions for municipalities receiving grants:

∎  Norwich will develop a master plan and implementation program for an area to the south and east of Norwich Village.

The plan will look at open space, commercial and mixed-use development and affordable housing. Norwich will receive $10,667 in state funding, with a local match of $1,333.

∎  Newbury will develop strategies for updating its Town Plan. State funding will be $8,008, with a local match of $4.

∎  Royalton will update its Town Plan to more closely align with state and regional planning goals. State funding will amount to $10,641, with a local match of $1,320.

∎  Sharon will update its Town Plan to align with recommendations from the regional planning commission and to clarify the community’s long-term vision. The town will be awarded $10,320 in state funding, with a local match of $1,160.

∎  West Fairlee will develop a “community-inspired vision” for the re-use of the municipally-owned Bean Hall site, located within the village center. State funding will be $4,428 with no local match.

The Department of Housing and Community Development selected projects from a pool of 63 communities requesting over $733,000.

Ben Conarck can be reached at bconarck@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.