BRATTLEBORO—The process for adopting the 2018 Town Plan is almost complete. In scheduling two public hearings, the Selectboard brought it closer to the finish line.
At the April 3 regular Selectboard meeting, Planning Director Rod Francis gave a brief summary of the updates his staff and the Planning Commissioners made to the document.
There weren’t many, Francis said. “It’s not a really significant shift” from the last revision, he said, which occurred in 2013 and was a major overhaul. “The basic direction of the 2013 Town Plan stands,” he said.
The Planning Commissioners and the Planning Department staff have fact-checked the Town Plan and made changes where necessary, Francis said. “We’ve made sure that it conforms to current statutory requirements, and it’s ready to be re-upped,” he added.
Most of the noticeable changes are about verb tense, Francis said. The 2013 Town Plan included goals for the town; this version notes which ones happened or are in effect.
Other changes include updated information on land use and zoning, flood concerns, and the downtown master plan.
The downtown master plan section of the document is crucial, Francis said, to the town’s application to renew the Downtown Improvement District, which facilitates access to state funding and tax credits for improvements and renovations to properties in the business district.
“We need a duly warned and adopted Town Plan before we can have the downtown designation application heard” by the state, Francis said.
Now that the Planning Commission has held public hearings on the Town Plan and given their approval, it’s up to the Selectboard to do the same.
The Board voted 4-0 to hold public hearings on May 1 and May 15.
If the public or the Selectboard wants to make major changes as a result of comments from the hearings, the Planning Commissioners will revise the document and go through the hearing process again, Francis said.
Selectboard member Tim Wessel recommended interested parties read the Town Plan. “You learn so much,” he said, and added, “it’s such a fascinating document in general.”
“We do have a good plan for our town,” Wessel said.