BRATTLEBORO—This November, the Windham Regional Commission (WRC) will begin updating its regional plan.
The Windham region consists of the 23 towns of Windham County, plus Readsboro, Searsburg, and Winhall in Bennington County, and Weston in Windsor County. This will begin the almost two-year process through which the plan policies, the underlying information (including statistics that describe the status of the region), and the plan text itself, will be reviewed and updated based on current information and developing values and trends throughout the region.
The plan is required by statute to be updated every eight years. This update process will culminate with the adoption of the 2014 Windham Regional Plan.
The plan aims to provide guidance for change in the Windham region. It reflects shared values and concerns of the people who live in the 27 towns, and it discusses issues facing the region. Based on a set of over-arching regional goals and priorities, the plan sets long-term policies for the region.
“The plan establishes the basis for the work of the WRC,” said Chris Campany, executive director of the commission. “It’s the foundation for all that we do in the areas of town planning assistance, community development, energy, transportation, natural resources and emergency planning, as well as the positions we take in state and federal regulatory processes.”
Public participation and comments are essential to this process because public input makes the plan a genuine reflection of the goals of the region. To help facilitate public comment, the WRC has developed a website to collect public input on the current plan: windhamregionalplan.wordpress.com.
“The WRC will still accept input through all the traditional modes, including public meetings, phone calls, letters, and WRC meetings,” said WRC planner Cullen Meves. “Gathering input through a website is another avenue for public engagement in the regional plan update process. Online commenting allows residents to participate in the process within their own schedule and in their own home.”
The site is organized by the chapters of the Windham Regional Plan, with each page containing a chapter description and link to a PDF document of that chapter. Residents are encouraged to either review all of the chapters, or just the ones that are of specific interest to them. After reviewing a chapter, comments and suggestions can be left in a reply box on the website.
The online comment session on the current regional plan will be open until Dec. 31. The Windham Regional Committees will be reviewing all comments on the chapters as they begin editing each chapter of the plan. Another opportunity to comment online will occur after the first draft of the 2014 plan update is completed.
For more information, contact Meves at email@example.com or 802-257-4547, ext. 108.
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