The Mountain Times

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Area towns win planning grants

KILLINGTON - Killington is one of 46 towns receiving some of the $450,000 in municipal planning grants, according to a statement from Gov. Peter Shumlin's office.

"These grants provide local communities with the tools they need to map their economic future while protecting their natural environment," Shumlin said in the statement. "The downtown development and job creation in Newport, for example, would not be moving forward today without the planning grant assistance which helped that community develop a vision for its future and then work to bring it to fruition."

Killington received $14,024 to, according to the municipal planning grant summary, "create a smart growth plan for the Killington Road Commercial District that examines existing infrastructure, current zoning bylaws and public investments that recommend enhancements to the physical environment to improve the gateway to the town and ski resort."

Town Planner Richard Horner said that meant the funds would be used to study ways to make the Killington Road commercial corridor more appealing to visitors.

"I haven't met with the planning commission yet," Horner said. "But basically, we'll be looking to study how best we can improve the aesthetics of the area, make it prettier. We'd like to maximize its potential."

Horner said he would be meeting with the planning commission early in January.

Killington is not the only area town receiving funds. The town of Mendon was awarded $8,000 to review and update their subdivision regulations in order to bring them into compliance with state law, the town plan and zoning regulations.

"We received notice of the grant from the state on December 12," said town administrator Sara Tully. "The planning commission is working on a press release. We haven't executed a contract yet, so it will probably be in early January."

An attempt to reach planning commission chairwoman Terry Corsones was not successful.

Other towns and cities receiving grants include: Poultney, which was granted $7,084 to update their zoning bylaws; Rutland City, $8,000 to update the town plan to include housing needs assessment, the capital improvement plan, improve flood resiliency, address blighted properties, and focus on renewable energy policies; and Ludlow, given $7,980 for zoning and subdivision bylaw updates.

According to Noelle MacKay, Commissioner of the Department of Economic, Housing, and Community Development, "These planning grants help turn the residents' aspirations for their community into local policies that determine what can be built, where it will be built, and what it will look like. These local decisions are critical as we all work hard to revitalize our downtowns and villages, prepare for our economic future and build stronger neighborhoods."

The planning grants support a range of locally identified initiatives to improve the living and working environments and promote efficient growth and development. The Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development (DEHCD) selected projects from a pool of requests from 61 communities requesting over $610,000.

The funds will be distributed through regional planning commissions. The full list of towns awarded grants and what they will be used for can be found at http://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accd/files/Documents/strongcommunities/cd/mpg/MPGAwardListFY13.pdf.