Planning Commission Minutes, 02.21.2023

Planning Commission DRAFT Minutes
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m., 236 School Rd, Guilford VT

Planning Commission members attending: Julie Holland, Charles Light, Jeannette Tokarz, Zon Eastes (Selectboard liaison)

Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m.

Recognition of the Public:  Jen McDuffie, Dan Mallach & Emily Lewis from Dubois & King

Rules and Procedures: No changes. Follow Robert’s Rules and basic respect and civility

Changes to Agenda:  None 

Jeannette moved to accept the minutes from 1/18/23.  Charlie seconded and motion was carried.


Jen McDuffie presented a report about the grant program from the Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP) that is divided into three parts:

  1. Offers a free energy audit of municipal buildings. Guilford has four municipal buildings, but only two meet the qualifications–the town garage and the library. The library would have priority as the garage’s large space and frequently open doors make it a less attractive option. The application will be available in March.
  1. Community Capacity Mini Grants up to $4,000 for education, communications, meetings, energy fairs, outreach of all kinds to build community support for non fossil fuel, alternative energy, and conservation efforts to combat climate change.
  1. Municipal Funding Grants of up to $500,000 for weatherization, replacing heating systems, solar systems, big alternative energy projects that will maximize the benefits of cutting energy use. These will not be available for another year. Implementation funds are meant for high priority municipalities and Guilford does not qualify for the first round as the town’s income level is too high. However, since this is a very large pool of money and the list of the highest priority qualifying towns is quite small, it may make sense for Guilford to apply if we had the right project.

During this presentation, Julie had to leave because of a family emergency and our quorum was lost. The meeting continued as purely informational. We also did not hear the presentation that Julie was to make about the meeting with Rep. Sara Coffey and Sen. Wendy Harrison at the Coffee with Coffey get together.

Dan Mallach and Emily Lewis from our strategic planning team at Dubois & King went over the timeline for their project that will run from March–October or November. The extra month might be necessary for increased public engagement.  There are now scheduled about 4-5 sessions for public review.

One of the first steps is the review of existing public documents. Simultaneously, the D&K team, with members of the Planning Commission, will visit areas that are deemed important for planning purposes including centers for possible development in Algiers and Guilford Center, but also other locales that define the town like the Green River Bridge, landmark farms, historical sites, ponds and the forests and fields that dominate Guilford. Note to include representative(s) of Conservation Commission as well.

To increase pubic participation, putting up signs and bulletin boards that encourage feedback and participation at meetings in places like the Guilford Store, Town Hall, Broad Brook Community Center, Fairgrounds, new pavilion in Algiers, etc; setting up informational tables at events like the Fair, Guilford Free University, community meals, dances, music, plays and other events; publicizing through the Front Page Forum and the Guilford Facebook page; contacting businesses in town, as well as farmers, and finding out their priorities and incorporating that as part of the discussion

We discussed what are the metrics of success?

  • Offer a good 5–10 year vision/plan that is actionable for Guilford.
  • Choose goals and plan strategies to implement them.
  • Try to listen to all stakeholders, even ones that are hostile or won’t participate.
  • Try to look at the process as the product.
  • Leveraging as much federal and state money as possible to meet Guilford’s priorities.
  • If it is community driven, it will be successful.
  • Educating the community about the available possibilities.

Planning Commission will have a table at Town Meeting to communicate about land use regulation, Act 250, grant opportunities, rebates, etc.

Jeannette offered up the reading material below:

Climate Change and Land Use whitepaper, Chittenden County RPC-3 minutes se_Standard-Resolution_20220427.pdf

ARPA Grant opportunities: -10 minutes

Climate migration into the CT Valley series by WRC: Feb 23, 2:30-4 pm-1 minute

The next PC meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2023 at 6:30 at the town offices.