Congrats to Hubbardton Planning Commission

Awarded 'Town Plan of the Year'!

The Battlefield isn’t the only thing to put this small Rutland County town on the map these days.

The Hubbardton Town Plan won Plan of the Year, an award presented by the Vermont Planners Association at a reception in the Vermont Statehouse.

“It’s so awesome and it really captures the spirit of our town,” said Hubbardton Planning Commission Chair, Shawn DuBois. “It was very professional, like a real magazine that you go and pick up off the shelf. It really is amazing.”

The plan was written by the Hubbardton Planning Commission with technical assistance from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) through the Municipal Planning Grant program.

The award recognizes plans that exemplify a visionary approach and expand the envelope of planning.

“It was written to be digestible and understandable,” said RRPC planner Elysa Smigielski. “Something that everyone from planning commission members to prospective residents would be interested in reading.”

“I think people love it,” said DuBois. “Not just the plan, the whole process. And the amount of response that we had—an overwhelming response!”

Hubbardton Planning Commissioners went door-to-door to promote a townwide forum and to engage the community in the planning process. Themes that came out of the forum, which was attended by over 90 residents, formed the basis for the Plan’s action items.

The updated Hubbardton plan clearly articulates the community’s vision for the town’s future with a concise narrative, accessible layout, and engaging graphics.

“The Hubbardton Planning Commission created a trailblazing plan,” said RRPC executive director, Ed Bove. “It’s an example of collaboration at its best: a town committee, citizens, and their regional resource –us working together for a great outcome. We were glad to help produce the graphics and layout, but they did the hard work. They deserve this award.”

The Hubbardton Plan is much shorter than previous plans; scraping away layers of boilerplate language, and allowing Hubbardton to speak for itself about how the town will maintain and enhance the character of the town through a concise, actionable, and realistic implementation plan.

Other planning award recipients include the “Bethel Better Block” initiative, which won Project of the Year; Pamula Loranger, Colchester, who won Citizen Planner of the Year; the Town of Bolton, which won Planning Commission Citizen Board of the Year; and Steve Lotspeich, a Community Planner with the Town and Village of Waterbury, who won of the 2017 Mark Blucher Planner of the Year Award for professional planners.

Mark Blucher Planner of the Year Award is named for previous RRPC executive director, Mark Blucher, who lead that organization for 27 years before passing way in 2012.

These awards have recognized outstanding achievements in community planning in Vermont for 20 years. Nominees come from all corners of Vermont and represent the best in local, regional, and state planning by citizen and professional planners over the last year.

According to Vermont Planners Association’s President Mark Kane, “This year’s award recipients are exemplary of the important and ongoing efforts of planners to support a better and more vibrant Vermont.”

Leading the way!

In January 2017, the Town of Pawlet adopted river corridor protections in its Unified Bylaws. Pawlet is the first town in the Rutland Region to approve zoning regulations that recognize the state’s new mapped river corridors.

A river corridor includes both the channel and the adjacent land and is designed to identify the space a river needs to reestablish and maintain stable “equilibrium” conditions. In other words, if the river has access to the floodplain and meander area within this corridor, the dangers of flood erosion can be reduced over time. In Vermont, most flood-related damage occurs outside the floodplain and Special Flood Hazard Areas.

Because of the changed bylaws, new development in the town’s floodplains and river corridors is now limited. Also, for those smaller streams in town, Pawlet’s new bylaws exceed the state’s recommendation of a 50-foot buffer by requiring a 100-foot buffer. This adds even more flood and stormwater protection to a town that has experienced serious flooding issues in the past.


Cooperative planning in the region.

© The Rutland Regional Planning Commission