Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Guilford

Welcome to this webpage, dedicated to the community-wide planning process currently underway in Guilford. The Planning Commission, in partnership with Guilford Selectboard, welcomes everyone to take part in crafting a strong future for our town.

Springing from earlier planning efforts here in town, the Planning Commission has engaged Vermont planners, DuBois and King, to lead the entire community through a process to identify core values and potential outcomes, all for Guilford’s future.

How can you get involved?

Any planning process works best when all viewpoints are represented, when all parts of the community become actively engaged.

  • Read this webpage.
  • Attend community forums. Watch for those announcements.
  • Participate in the public survey. It’s coming. Watch for announcements.
  • Share your ideas in a visioning workshop.
  • Get familiar with the several documents that preceded this project. (Listed below, under Guilford documents supporting this planning process.)
  • Contact the Planning Commission with your visions and ideas.

Selecting a planning consultant

The Planning Commission publicized an RFP (Request for Proposal), deadline November 2022. Among 12 viable candidates, the proposal from DuBois and King was selected based on experience, project team, technical ability, project understanding, availability, quality of proposal, references, and cost. The contract with DuBois and King was signed in January 2023. It describes to the proposed scope and timeline for their planning work. (As these things can go, the actual timeline is a couple of months longer than described in the contract.)

During the same time, the Planning Commission recommended that federal ARPA dollars be used to fund the planning process and submitted a request for $45,000 to the ARPA Advisory Committee. The Selectboard accepted the ARPA Advisory Committee report and granted the Planning Commission these ARPA dollars in December 2022. No Guilford tax dollars will be used in the planning process.

The planning process itself

In a nutshell, the planning process works along three tracks

  1. Project Management: Kickoff meeting, Monthly Check-ins, and Ongoing communication.
  2. Document Review and Analysis: Review Existing Documents (see list below), Town Tour, and Systems, Spaces, Infrastructure, and Equipment Analysis.
  3. Public Engagement: Community forums, Public Survey, Visioning Workshop, Plan Development

Overview of public events

June 9 Library Raffle and Concert
June 15 Joint meeting of Conservation and Planning Commissions, meeting video below
July 8 Guilford Business Breakfast
September TBD Community survey
October TBD Community visioning forum

Guilford documents supporting this planning process

Current planning work is built upon prior work found in these documents and reports:

Guilford Town Plan 2022-2030
2022-2027 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan
2022 Town Report
Guilford Path Scoping Study
ARPA Committee report
2017 Energy: Vision, Goals, Discussion, Policies, and Actions Document
Guilford Capital Plan
2014 Green River Corridor Plan
Guilford Community Visit 2014

Additional resources

The following supply further information for any best-practices current planning conversation:

Vermont Natural Resources Council Community Planning Toolbox
Vermont State Fiscal Recovery Fund

What will we end up with?

The Guilford Strategic Plan will be a comprehensive document that sets the stage for how the community will implement its vision of the future. This Strategic Plan will represent Guilford’s commitment to establishing and undertaking priorities, and will provide a day-to-day playbook for Town staff and leadership to shape community services and make critical investments.

Meeting notes, videos

July 8

Business Breakfast Forum, at the Broad Brook Community Center. The following notes were created by DuBois & King.

1. Cross-marketing among businesses is essential. Businesses can reference and endorse each other, such as a hospitality host making connections with area service professionals and producers. 

2. An attractive, visually-coordinated and regularly-updated online and paper business directory was discussed very positively. There are various forms for this, depending on the user or audience, such as:

  • Pamphlet of local products and services 
  • Map-based guide to businesses, which can also highlight recreation opportunities
  • A Guilford Yellow Pages
  • Database of local farmland rental, available retail and event spaces

3. Sometimes business owners make changes to improve systems. Sometimes the nature of the business changes, such as with new technologies, and the business owner has to adapt.

4. Good insights about business challenges: 

  • Workers compensation insurance is a significant hurdle to business growth. 
  • Training workers is expensive, and with the cost of living high, people just come and go. 
  • Reliable electrical service is a core business need. 

5. Are there options on some business’ properties, with the wastewater capacity, to house employees? Accessory dwelling unit regulations were changed in 2021 to give property owners more options. The Vermont Housing Improvement Program can help with new and upgraded units. Learn about the VHIP here.

6. DV Fiber, a non-profit broadband internet service, is coming to Guilford in the next 2 years. It will be available to all properties for hookup and service. Think ahead about making a switch. 

7. There is technical and financial support available for local businesses. Adam Grinold was at the breakfast forum. He is Executive Director of Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies. There are funding opportunities for small businesses, reach out. Adam also highlighted BDCC’s Pipelines & Pathways Project, a career access and readiness program for high school age students.

8. It is useful to tap into the “communal memory” of business owners, at regular forums like this one. There was a Businesses in Guilford (BIG) group – bring it back. Mentorship pipelines should be nurtured through business incubators.

9. A local job board would let people know about local opportunities. It would fill a particular need for high school students. Also list barter opportunities and internships. 

10. Maddy Arms of the Vernon Planning Commission joined the breakfast forum. She spoke highly of this gathering, and looks forward to our towns’ businesses supporting each other’s success.

June 15

Joint meeting of the Conservation and Planning Commissions. The Guilford Conservation Commission and the Planning commission held a joint public meeting, facilitated by DuBois and King. The following notes were created by DuBois & King. BCTV published a video of the meeting.

1. The Character of Guilford is tied closely to the land and the people.

2. It would be useful to get first-hand knowledge about the land and town to new neighbors– history, plants and wildlife, views, and traditional trail linkages. 

3. People want to make well-informed choices about their properties and the community. Layering maps of natural features is one good tool. For example, seeing where wetlands, forest blocks, and wildlife crossings line up is good information to help landowners make choices about where to locate buildings, driveways, gardens, etc. 

4. There should be clarification of what conservation of property means and what landowners may expect, particularly regarding the Vermont 30×30 and 50×50 goals.

5. The GPI property in Algiers brings several important issues to the fore: 

  • Views of open land is part of Guilford’s character
  • Wildlife preservation is highly valued
  • Targeted “issue forums” are useful, to come together and learn and discuss Town topics
  • “Keep the heart of Guilford.”

6. Community gardens are good for people. Particularly for people that don’t get outside enough, having garden space nearby is healthy. 

7. The major tree blowdown from the March storm sparked discussion around public safety, wildlife conservation, waterway management, regulations and landowner initiative.

8. A lack of fences and abundance of dirt roads has characterized Guilford for a long time. 

9. “Guilford feels like home.” The next generation should be able to afford to live in Guilford, on family land or elsewhere. 

10. Acknowledgement of current and future threats to the land from things such as climate change, fires, floods, development, chemicals.

11. Sharing knowledge about Guilford’s natural features and wildlife is the core mission of the Conversation Commission. They are a great resource, and the Natural Resources Inventory should be available soon.

June 9

Guilford Library Raffle and Concert, Guilford Fairgrounds. Notes from that event, compiled by DuBois and King.

1. Long-time trail users, whether bikers, hikers or runners, are finding that some properties around Guilford are now posted against their use. There could be multiple reasons for this (multiple reasons for some individual owners, multiple reasons across different properties), including simple lack of awareness of historic use, issues with some users going off established trails (maybe unintentionally, maybe not), concerns about hunting. This issue seemed to feed into a larger desire to mark and maintain off-road connections throughout Guilford. 

2. People do want safe routes to walk or bike around town, on and off road. 

3. One builder mentioned the challenging economies of scale in building single-family homes, as well as the basic business challenge of attracting and maintaining workers that can live locally. 

4. Regarding the Fairgrounds itself:

  • People would like public transportation for children to get to after-school programs that could be held there, or just to hang out until a parent can pick them up. 
  • Many mentioned the desire for community gardens.
  • Some people were not sure if the various facilities at the Fairgrounds are open to the public without a reservation
  • There was a great deal of interest in having a pool, particularly a “natural pool” that has the safe design and water quality of a standard rectangular pool but with more of a swimming-hole design and feel. Recognition of course of lifeguard staffing, capital and maintenance costs.
  • Hold a Community Day!

Contact us

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