The Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) granted $1,500 to the Town of Hyde Park through VNRC’s Small Grants for Smart Growth Program. Hyde Park will use the funds to complete a guide that helps property owners better navigate the local permit process when seeking the permits required to develop their land.
In addition to helping applicants interpret regulatory language, “Do You Need a Local Permit?” will emphasize the connection between protecting natural resources and achieving smart growth principles that improve the community’s health, resilience, and sustainability.
“Until now, a lack of concise and streamlined local information has contributed to negative permit application experiences,” said Ron Rodjenski, Hyde Park Town Administrator. “The 2017 Municipal Plan encourages Hyde Park landowners to comply with smart growth principles when they build, and the implementation of those objectives requires that the local development review process be informative, clear, and predictable.”
Hyde Park’s permit guide is currently in the draft stage. The Small Grant funds will assist in the project by supporting public input, review from permit specialists and planners, graphic design, and publication. The resulting user-friendly document will integrate with the Town’s website.
“Hyde Park already has several zoning provisions that support smart growth, such as overlay districts supporting connected natural resources and village vitality. We are looking forward to seeing how their permit guide helps not only Hyde Park landowners, but also other communities looking to illustrate and interpret their own local permit regulations,” said Kate McCarthy, Sustainable Programs Community Director at VNRC and the administrator of Small Grants for Smart Growth.
The Small Grants for Smart Growth Program, launched by VNRC in 2018, provides seed money for community-based, local initiatives related to smart growth, including 1) advocacy for better land use through municipal planning, regulations, or advocacy in the permit process; and 2) initiatives in the following areas provided they relate to smart growth: transportation; housing; conservation, including agriculture, forestry, and historic preservation; and downtown and/or village center development or restoration.
Small Grants are made possible with assistance from Beth Humstone, co-founder of the Vermont Forum on Sprawl and former VNRC Board Chair, and her son, Chris Gignoux.