WILMINGTON -- The village master plan that the Conway School of Design submitted, which has been circulating in town, is by no means the final word for future development in the downtown.
Wilmington Selectboard member Susie Haughwout, who acts as liaison to the Planning Commission, spoke of the plan at the Aug. 21 Selectboard meeting.
"It turns out no one was really anticipating that it would have such a heavy emphasis on zoning until it came out in a report," she said. "We talked about it and hope those won't get by us in the future."
The Planning Commission had finished up revising zoning documents and submitting it for Selectboard review a week before that meeting.
Haughwout mentioned that the commission had talked about how reading the new zoning documents would be important for members of the downtown program Wilmington Works Board.
At the same meeting, the Selectboard was updated by the Wilmington Works Board Co-Chairs Lisa Sullivan and John Gannon, who made it clear that discussion of the Conway School plan was not over. Feedback will still be collected by members of the Wilmington Works Board and the committees surrounding the downtown program board.
The co-chairs wanted to inform the Selectboard that the firm Arnett and Muldrow had already visited the town and will be returning in September. The state had provided Wilmington Works with a planning grant to be used for hiring the firm.
There will be a several meetings starting Sept. 11, which will focus on gathering input for the eventual adoption of a village design plan by Arnett and Muldrow Associates.
"Arnett and Muldrow will most likely ask for an individual meeting with the Planning Commission," said Wilmington Economic Development Specialist Gretchen Havreluk. "They don't do it with every town but it's because of the Conway School plan."
Sullivan said there had been some confusion between the various boards and committees in the town. She said the importance of defining the roles of the different groups in town was something that the Wilmington Works Board was "very aware of in general."
It was specifically mentioned that Wilmington Works did not exist when the Conway School students held their public meetings in town, starting back in May.
The two students that came from Conway School, Kim Smith and Renee LaGue, asked residents and town officials for feedback and ideas. They said their underlying goals for the project focused on community development, economic revitalization and ecological well-being.
During the time of the public meetings, Havreluk told the Reformer that the Conway School was recommended to the town through the Windham Regional Commission.
While most residents in town have their favorable parts of the Conway School plan and their less than favorable parts, the feedback has been mostly positive.
Before completing the update, Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy mentioned that most downtown program organizations have a director who coordinates meetings between various groups. He had previously worked as the Town Community and Economic Development Director in Bennington, which was part of the Vermont Downtown Program.
"They don't have one yet but I assume they're moving forward on (having one)," he continued.
Sullivan said the Wilmington Works Board was currently seeing what would be necessary in upcoming weeks. The downtown program board had discussed the possibility at its last meeting. Gannon thought that the support of the Selectboard was there yet.
"There's been a lot of activity," said Selectboard Chairwoman Meg Streeter. "It's really good."
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