Monkton seeks community input for town plan update

MONKTON — Every number of years each municipality in Vermont must update its town plan per the requirements of the Vermont statutes, and this year Monkton’s is due for revision.
The last Monkton Town Plan was issued in 2014. While it is the Monkton Planning Commission’s responsibility for this update, commission members believe it is necessary and desirable to engage town residents in dialog concerning the town’s future.
Thus during 2018, the Monkton Planning Commission will host a series of forums to give community members opportunities for discussion and solicit their input. Some preliminary work in this area has already been performed with the townwide survey held last year (results are available on the town website, monktonvt.com).
The town plan helps develop a picture for the future and sets out clear goals for economic development, housing, infrastructure and environmental health. It provides a framework toward attaining community aspirations, land use regulations and land conservation.
The plan can help a community identify priorities for funding, grants, capital improvement program and other public and private local initiatives such as farmland protection, housing development and recreational facilities. It underpins the official town map and guides local regulatory decisions.
Vermont law requires the inclusion of several elements in the plan; these elements have varied degrees of importance for different communities facing their own set of issues. These elements relate to future growth, land use and development, housing both moderate- and low-income, preservation of rare and irreplaceable natural areas, an energy plan, economic development, transportation and flood resiliency.
The plan details the programs and projects to achieve goals and objectives that the town deems important. It forms a basis for municipal regulations and serves as a foundation for zoning and subdivision regulation (known as the Unified Planning Document, or UPD) and bylaws to protect shorelands and flood-hazard areas.
Later in the year, after considering all the inputs and consolidating them, the planning commission will issue the revised Monkton Town Plan, at which time residents will get a further opportunity to comment. The plan then goes to the selectboard, which may or may not make further changes. The intention is to have the plan ready for a town vote on Town Meeting Day 2019.
Some additional information is that the Monkton Energy Committee has recently been successful in securing a grant to help in writing a town energy plan. This will be a great resource in writing the energy element of the town plan.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Ivor Hughes, clerk of the Monkton Planning Commission. 

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