HALIFAX -- With the assistance of a municipal planning grant, the process of making amendments to zoning and bylaws will begin soon.
"It's just getting under way," said Windham Regional Commission Senior Planner John Bennett.
On Jan. 30, Bennett told the Reformer that he had attended a meeting with a member of the Halifax Planning Commission and regional commissioner to talk about where to begin. A draft of a contract had been written up and is in the process of getting signed.
According to a document outlining the statewide Municipal Planning Grant Program for fiscal year 2014 projects, the grant will aid in updating the town's zoning regulations to address fluvial erosion hazards and developing draft subdivision regulations. It will also assist the commission with making certain changes in the language between the current Town Plan and new zoning.
"The issue is to try and make the zoning accurately reflect what's called for in the Town Plan," said Bennett. "That has to do with land use activities in given districts."
He mentioned that a big part of this process will be addressing the fluvial erosion hazards, which will assist the town in regulating development and redevelopment in areas that are likely to erode.
The commission will be amending its zoning to address where waters have been known to flood.
Since Tropical Storm Irene flooding had a big impact on Halifax and other towns around the state, there has been a push for mapping the areas that are likely to flood.
The $8,000 grant makes the commission eligible to receive assistance with this work through the middle of May 2015.
"We certainly hope to finish the work by then," said Bennett.
In Halifax, there is talk about the commission handing its amendments over to the Selectboard for interim adoption.
Because voter approval at Town Meeting is required for the amendments to be authorized, the interim adoption will guarantee protection is in place before March 4, 2015. Statute says that interim bylaws adopted by a legislative body should protect the public's health and general welfare.
In other municipalities, these are quicker processes because the selectboard will adopt amendments at a public hearing after the commission holds its own public hearing.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.