PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING MINUTES of January 25, 2024
COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: Kate Gehring, Jane Douglas, James Bressor
OTHERS PRESENT (Newfane Town Office): None
OTHERS PRESENT (Zoom): Gary Fox, Ann Golob
CALL TO ORDER
Kate called the meeting at 6:09 pm.
ADDITIONS/AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Kate moved to adjust the agenda, to begin with a discussion of possibly using ARPA funds to establish a revolving loan fund and the conversation with Gary Fox, development director for the town of Rockingham. James seconded. Passed unanimously.
Gary provided an overview of Rockingham’s revolving loan fund (RLF), noting that the town loans funds to both businesses and individual property owners. A five-member RLF committee, which meets three or four times annually, evaluates loan applications and recommends whether to support the request or not; the selectboard makes the final decision. The interest rate is kept close to prime.
Rockingham’s RLF policy gives a preference to owner-occupied multi-unit housing. Funds are often used for upgrades and safety improvements; they can also be used to convert properties to create an additional unit. Loans are generally no more than $20,000. The town has approved five to six housing loans over the past two years. Repayment has been good.
A motion was made by James and seconded by Jane to approve the January 11, 2024, minutes. Unanimously approved.
Development Review Board update: No DRB member is present.
Kate reported that the planning commission will likely meet with a candidate soon.
Use of ARPA funds as a revolving loan fund for housing—update & discussion:
Bylaw Modernization Grant:
Kate said she would share a recent correspondence from the Windham Regional Commission, and she asked all planning commission members to review the WRC’s recommended bylaw changes before the February 8 meeting.
Broadband update, Deerfield Valley Communications District:
Jane said some members of the communications district staff and board would soon meet with legislators in Montpelier.
Report-back from town meetings and/or selectboard meetings:
Newfane/Townshend/Brookline Joint Planning Commission Brainstorm—update:
Agenda setting for next meeting: Commission members agreed that the WRC’s Bylaw Modernization proposals will be on the agenda for the next meeting. Kate said the commission will invite a representative of the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust to a future meeting.
Planning Commission vacancies (1 vacant seat): Kate reported that two individuals continue to express an interest in serving.
A motion was made by James and seconded by Jane to adjourn the meeting at 7:34 pm. The motion carried unanimously.