ARLINGTON - The Arlington Planning Commission met on Thursday to discuss the current town plan and the process of drafting a new, more comprehensive plan. The current town plan, which expires at the beginning of October, is in the process of being renewed for the next five years. The commission has already approved the plan, and will hold a public review at their next meeting, on Oct. 24. At that point the approved town plan will go to the Select Board, who will hold their own public review and then approve the plan. The commission estimates that the process should be complete by Jan. 1.
However, the commission hopes to have a new town plan ready for approval sometime during 2014. The Bennington County Regional Commission is aiding them in this endeavor, however, since the writing of the last plan, many of the maps and data packets have gone missing, so much of the work will have to be redone. Michael Betcher, a regional planner the BCRC, estimates it will take about 130 hours to complete work on the new town plan. "It's amazing how long it takes to do something you'd think wouldn't take that long," said Betcher.
The BCRC and the planning commission are applying to the State Land Commission for a grant that would cover the cost of this work. According to the BCRC, the grant process is competitive, but Arlington presents a good case because of the town's dedication to smart growth, an urban planning theory that puts focus on concentrated, mixed-use, walkable population centers to combat urban sprawl. "That's what the state is most concerned about right now, smart growth and keeping things compact," said Betcher. If the town was approved for the grant, it would have 15 months to complete the project.
The planning commission requested that the BCRC complete their draft of the plan by the end of January, so that the plan can be presented to them at their January meeting and voted on and discussed at the February meeting. The planning commission meets on the fourth Thursday of every month, at 7p.m. at the Town Hall.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at
email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.