WILMINGTON -- After the tedious process of changing zoning bylaws and district maps, the Planning Commission will begin embarking on its next task.
"We have to look at the grant agreement and accept it," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy. "But the Windham Regional Commission has already laid the groundwork for working with the Planning Commission on this. They were struggling to get through the bylaw changes. Now, they're going to start on this. I believe they've already started setting up meetings for this."
Last week, it was announced that Wilmington would be one of five towns that will received financial assistance made available through the Vermont Community Development Program's Municipal Planning Grant Program. Brattleboro, Rockingham, Whitingham and Halifax were other local towns that will benefit from the program for fiscal year 2014.
Essentially, the Wilmington project will include evaluating the historic review district, signage and waiver process. There also will be a site review for preservation and agriculture if there are enough funds.
The grant will go towards any costs incurred from working with representatives from the Windham Regional Commission.
"Wilmington received a grant to work on updating their zoning, in particular the historic review district in the center of the village," said Windham Regional Commission Senior Planner John Bennett. "This is all good in a number of perspectives including economic development and revitalization. And I think they're going to address flood resilience."
The total budget of a project that will be in support of the Wilmington downtown is $15,000. A total of $12,667 was awarded through the program with the remaining 30 percent, or $2,333, matched by the town. If the requested funds were over $8,000, towns were required to match the difference by 30 percent.
Murphy told the Reformer that Planning Commission Chairwoman Wendy Manners had done most of the work related to submitting the application with assistance from Bennett.
"The MPG's (Municipal Planning Grants) are offered every year by the state," he added. "It seemed like a very competitive year. We got it in early for the application process."
On Sept. 24, the Selectboard discussed the application and moved to approve submitting it.
Bennett said other towns did not receive grants because funding was short.
"There was only $40,000 worth of funding and $90,000 worth of applications," he added. "Wilmington is to be congratulated. Their chair did an awesome job putting together the application."
The last time Wilmington received an MPG was in 2012. The funds were for assistance with reviewing the zoning bylaws, which were approved by the Selectboard on Nov. 20.
Murphy believes the Planning Commission will have until May 2015 to utilize the grant funding.
"There will be opportunities for public input on several different occasions as they move forward on this," he said. "But they're not ready for it quite yet."
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.