St Albans wins growth center approval

first_imgThe City of St. Albans now has a state-designated Growth Center, a move that will help streamline permitting for future development and pave the way for additional benefits to support development in the town.The Vermont Downtown Development Board approved the city’s Growth Center plan at its meeting on Tuesday, setting the boundaries of the district roughly the same as the city limits.“Growth Center designation is a very important step for St. Albans,” said Kevin Dorn, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development and chairman of Vermont Downtown Development Board. “While the city might seem pretty well built out, there is in fact a lot of development opportunity on brownfield sites, infill, and underdeveloped sites.”St. Albans becomes the sixth municipality to obtain growth center and joins Williston, Bennington, Colchester, Montpelier and Hartford.“The City has recently completed a Master Plan for Downtown Development that identified ten key redevelopment sites in the City,” said Dominic Cloud, City Manager.  “This new designation is an important tool in our conversations with developers.”Growth Centers were signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas in 2006 to encourage communities to plan for denser and mixed use development in appropriate areas. Designated communities receive benefits under Act 250, including development in the growth center given greater options to comply with requirements to mitigate the impact on prime agricultural soils and some projects possibly being exempted from review.Municipalities with a designated Growth Center may also more easily meet the requirements for a Tax Increment Financing District, which allow the town to keep some of the additional property tax revenues generated by development instead of sending them all to the state, a program designed to support investment in water, wastewater and transportation infrastructure.To gain this designation St. Albans had to demonstrate to the Downtown Board that it had undertaken a rigorous planning process that ensured state standards would be met, including:That it meets the statutory definition of a Growth Center, as demonstrated in the Town Plan and is implemented in the Town’s bylaws;  That the Town has or has planned for the roads, water and wastewater systems, and other infrastructure necessary to support the planned growth;That the Growth Center be adjacent to and support an existing Designated Downtown or Village Center;That the Growth Center be compact, dense and protect natural and historic resources both within and outside the growth center;That it be designed to accommodate a majority of growth anticipated by the municipality over the next twenty years; and include a mix of uses, including affordable housing.For more information about the Growth Centers Program, please visit: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/GrowthCenters.htm(link is external)Source: Commerce Agency. 7.30.2010last_img

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