From the Director, April 2015 - Consistency of Intent in Town Plans
What is the role of town plans in the state's energy generation siting process? There was a robust conversation about this topic at our March Full Commission meeting. It was generated by the Windham Regional Commission's review and subsequent approval of the Windham Town Plan. At issue was the Town of Windham's policy of not supporting industrial wind development on its ridgelines.
Next Village and Downtown Revitalization Workshop Series: Making Things Happen
Join us on May 6th to learn that villages and downtowns in southern Vermont have undertaken to bring renewed vitality to their communities. The Friends of the West River Trail will highlight the steps they took to revitalize the South Londonderry Depot and the West River Trail. This event will offer valuable opportunities to network with other local communities and regional and state entities. from your peers the work.
WRC's 50th Anniversary
In observance of the 50th anniversary of the Windham Regional Commission, we'll be sharing perspectives about the history the Commission and our service to our towns throughout 2015. This includes presentations at WRC meetings, articles in our news briefs, and videos.
Highlights from the Emerald Ash Borer Workshop
Just ask the hundreds of communities that have already experienced the arrival of the exotic emerald ash borer (EAB): despite their small size, this iridescent green insect can have devastating impacts to our forests. Within a 6 to 12-year time period, the EAB can cause nearly 100% mortality of ash trees (which is one of the 10 most common trees in Vermont), leading to significant risk to public and private infrastructure, public safety, and our forest communities. Unfortunately, the burden of dealing with the impacts of the EAB falls heavily upon municipalities, utility companies, and landowners.
Public Transit on Rte. 30? We'd like to know your thoughts!
WRC staff has collaborated with VTrans, Connecticut River Transit and Deerfield Valley Transit Association on a study that examines the feasibility of establishing public transit to serve the West River Valley/Route 30 corridor. We need to know who the potential users might be, where they might travel from and to and for what purpose (i.e., medical needs, work, pleasure, shopping, etc.), what time of day they would want to travel, and whether there might be seasonal differences.
WRC Releases Forest Stewardship Report
Do you know what threats, both global and local, face our forests and our forest economy? Are you concerned that climate change and invasive species could change the composition of forests as we know them? Is Windham County really the “Timber Capital of Vermont?” The Windham Regional Commission’s recently-released report, “Landscape Based Forest Stewardship,” provides insight into topics such as these, including what strategies exist to preserve the region’s forestlands.
Windham Region hosts “A Roadmap to Energy Efficiency” Roundtable
Energy efficiency: less risk than the stock market, often better returns. The economic and environmental merits of energy conservation and efficiency have long been touted, but navigating the process of weatherizing homes and upgrading heating systems can be a difficult and confusing one. On January 20, 2015, citizens from throughout the Windham Region packed the conference room at the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust building in Brattleboro, VT. The event was co-sponsored by the NeighborWorks Heat Squad, Brattleboro Climate Protection, Sustainable Energy Outreach Network, and the Windham Regional Commission.
Upcoming Grant Opportunities
Study of Economic Impacts to Tri-County Area Due to Vermont Yankee Closure is Released
On December 29, 2014, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VY) will no longer operate as an energy production facility. When fully operational, the facility had over 600 workers, most living in Windham County, VT; Cheshire County, NH; and Franklin County, MA. For over 40 years, VY has been an important component of this region’s economy. So what is the magnitude of economic impact to our tri-state region due to the discontinuing of operations and decommissioning of VY, especially the loss of local income? This is a question that four regional economic development planning organizations are seeking to answer. These organizations are: the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, and the Windham Regional Commission. A study completed by the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute that begins to provide some insight can be found here: UMDI Study of Economic Impacts of VY Closure.
WRC Engages with the Clean Energy Development Fund
The Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) will distribute half of the funds in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Program Plan in or for the benefit of Windham County (equal to roughly $2.6 million of the $5.3 million available statewide). The Windham Regional Commission has been actively engaging with the CEDF Board to support a program plan for Windham County that will provide the greatest benefit to the region.
The Windham Regional Plan is Approved!
We are pleased to announce that the Windham Regional Plan was approved by a unanimous vote on September 30, 2014 during the meeting of the Windham Regional Commission. This concludes our regional plan update process that began in October 2012. We wish to extend our gratitude to everyone who participated in this effort.