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Group OKs Monkton energy plan

MONKTON — The Addison County Regional Planning Commission has approved the Monkton Town Plan and Enhanced Energy Plan have been approved by the Monkton Planning Commission (MPC) has announced.
To be approved the “Monkton Town Plan 2020-2028” had to be compatible with the Addison County Regional Plan, include the elements required by Vermont law and be consistent with the state’s planning goals. 
The sections covered are Housing, Education and Child Care, Utilities and Facilities, Transportation, Economic Development, Natural Resources and Land Use, and Energy. Included are a number of informative maps. 
The Energy section took on an expanded role this time to become “The Enhanced Energy Plan” in order to address the state’s 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan, the goal of which is to wean Vermonters off fossil and non-renewable energy sources and move to renewable energy sources. 
Also, having an approved energy plan in compliance with the enhanced energy requirements will enable Monkton to achieve “ substantial deference” instead of “due consideration“ in section 248 applications for energy generation facilities such as commercial solar, wind etc. That is to say the town can now provide input on location and screening of commercial facilities etc.
Prior to completing the plan the MPC did a number of studies to gather the necessary information. These included: Complete streets, Viewshed study, Geologic and Hydrology study, Planning and Zoning Survey and an Energy Report. The local planning commission also held an open house, the town held two informational meetings and two hearings (MPC and selectboard). The plan was put to a town vote at this year’s March town meeting and passed overwhelmingly (805 yes and 182 no).
The plan includes up-to-date information about the community, including population, demographic and economic data.  The land use section contains a number of maps and guides, future growth and development based on an understanding of the land base, historic and land use patterns, the unique character of land including topography and flood plains and on identified values and priorities of Monkton residents. The land use plan provides information necessary to create zoning districts. 
The Monkton Town Plan is not meant to be regulatory, but to guide subsequent regulations. The MPC will use this town approved plan to update and provide revisions to the Monkton Unified Planning Document.
On behalf of the MPC, planning commission member Ivor Hughes passed on thanks to all those town residents and members of the Energy Committee who provided input and comments over the last year who helped provide a plan that outlines the vision for all aspects of what the town would like to see happen over the next eight years.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Ivor Hughes.

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