The Town of Warren is a great place to live, but it is becoming difficult for an average family to find a home they can afford in this beautiful Mad River Valley town. The median price for single-family homes is well over $300,000, which puts a decent home out of the reach of a substantial portion of the Town’s population. With an eye towards practical solutions, the Planning Commission asked Smart Growth Vermont to help the Town come up with strategies that make it easier to build moderately priced homes in Warren.
Over the last eight months, Smart Growth Vermont has been working with the Planning Commission to identify possible programs, policies or updates to the town’s zoning bylaw that will remove unintended obstacles to housing affordability. For example, the Town is considering density bonuses to encourage development in and around the village that will promote a compact, walkable layout giving residents alternatives to driving. The Planning Commission is also considering ways to encourage new commercial activities, while maintaining or increasing current housing opportunities.
Warren is working on Village Center Designation in order to provide the tax incentives for current owners of commercial properties to upgrade them, and potential investors to purchase deteriorated, historic private residences for the purpose of converting them into income producing properties. The community also wants to utilize the benefits of the Vermont Neighborhood Program to expand housing options by encouraging well-designed, higher density housing in and around the village.
The town of Bristol is moving ahead with finalizing its new Town Plan. Developed with assistance and review from Smart Growth Vermont, the new plan was recently presented at a hearing where the Planning Commission took extensive comments from the public. The Planning Commission is now revisiting the plan in light of those comments, and will hold future public meetings to gather input. The plan will then go to the Select Board, which is charged with reviewing the plan and approving it for a public vote. The updated Town Plan will go before the voters by Australian ballot, hopefully this fall. Stay tuned for updates!