Warren takes collaborative effort in Town Plan

  • Published in News

The members of the Warren Select Board and the planning commission received a community survey that will guide them in revising Warren’s Town Plan.

The survey was 10 pages and had 32 questions. The last question on the survey asked respondents to prioritize $100 worth of town spending.

Roads and bridges topped the list, averaging $22. The next two spots were taken by affordable and special needs housing and public safety, each with $10. The fourth through seventh highest choices were economic development, energy conservation, sidewalks, paths and trails, and land conservation, which all finished with $9.

The last four were parks and recreation, emergency preparedness and public transit, and finally, “other.”

The survey had a variety of other questions on it. The survey asked people to provide three words that come to mind when they think of Warren. “Beautiful” was the strong front-runner with 100 people thinking it.

The conditions of roads were rated, for the most part “good.” The affordability of housing was rated “poor” and most people thought that open spaces should be preserved along Route 100.

Bob Ackland, a member of the select board, wants the select board to work closely with the planning commission while they look at the Town Plan.

“I’m looking for a joint participation between the planning commission and the select board to say where is the town going in the future,” Bob Ackland, a member of the select board, said at the board’s August 22 meeting.

The rest of the select board members agreed, including Randy Graves, who also sits on the planning commission.

“I’d be surprised if one person on the planning commission objected to that,” Graves said.

Ackland and Graves both agreed that there has not been a lot of collaboration between the two groups in the past when the Town Plan has been in revision. Usually, the planning commission creates a draft and sends it to the select board to approve.

Both groups will have some help while they work through the Town Plan. The town received a municipal planning grant through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The grant was for $12,000 and has a $2,000 town match.

With the money, the planning commission hired Brandy Saxon, a community planner who worked on Waitsfield’s Town Plan in 2010 and has worked with numerous other towns throughout Vermont.

Saxon compiled the survey to gauge the taxpayers’ priorities before she began her work with the planning commission.

The select board will reach out to the planning commission chair, Mike Ketchel, to plan a joint meeting later in the fall so the two groups can discuss the Town Plan.

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Tagged under Warren Town Plan