ROCKINGHAM -- The Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development (DEHCD) has awarded the town a grant to develop a design guide for The Island portion the design review district.

The $8,000 state municipal planning grant is similar to the one Rockingham received last year for the design review district's central business downtown sub-district. According to Rockingham Planning-Zoning Administrator Ellen Howard, the two grants go hand in hand.

"I think it's going to be very beneficial to the property owners and the planning commission because it will give visual guides as to what is appropriate and what is not," she said.

Howard previously told the Reformer the money will be used to hire a consultant to develop visual images in a guide people can look through to get an idea of what is acceptable when proposing to the planning any alterations to the exterior of a building. The guides, she said, will also be helpful to members of the Rockingham Planning Commission, which reviews and approves design review applications. Howard said the design guide will complement and is a natural follow-up to the current project, which will create a guide to assist property owners stay consistent with the Rockingham Zoning Bylaw.

According to Howard's office, the municipal planning grant program annually supports a range of locally identified initiatives to improve overall quality of life and promote efficient growth and economic development in Vermont. Rockingham has, in the past, been awarded municipal planning grant funds to develop the Bellows Falls Island Growth Plan, do Town Plan mapping and complete an Aquifer Recharge Study.

"One grant follows the other very well," she said.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.