LUDLOW, Vt. – The Ludlow Planning Commission met Tuesday, April 17 to continue work revising the Ludlow Municipal Development plan. The Planning Commission received a grant to receive help rewriting the current town plan. Board member Terry Carter acknowledged, “There was a lot of great input in our last meeting,” which was well attended by over 30 community members.
Alan Isaacson added that the Planning Commission needed to continue to work on their vision but they “need to be careful about what the town can do versus what the citizenry or other organizations can do.” Board Chair Alan Couch agreed, saying that it all comes down to money.
Discussion turned to lowering the speed limit in town. According to board member Logan Nicoll, “If we’re trying to make a walkable town, I think the speed limit is a great place to start. I think that’s a good goal.” Although there was disagreement about whether the town had any control over the speed limit through town, Isaacson agreed to petition business owners to have the speed limit lowered. He added that it doesn’t make sense that the speed limit through town is 30 mph and on Route 100 South it is 25 mph.
Jason Rasmussen, who is helping the planning commission revise the town plan, outlined the key themes that were gleaned from the March meeting, which included the need for population growth, a strong and diversified economy that was not solely reliable on Okemo, a vibrant village center with a nice walkable village area, a place with a lot of activities, and a quality school. He acknowledged that school choice may or may not be seen as a positive.
Isaacson agreed that being attractive to new businesses would then translate into increased population but asked, “How do you get that to happen, and where do you start?”
Carter suggested that fiber optics, good internet, and broadband would attract business. Agreeing that was something the town couldn’t do itself, she then mentioned that Cavendish citizens were spearheading efforts to bring broadband to their town. She suggested that they invite Cavendish to a future meeting or reach out to them. “Let’s find out what they know.”
As talk turned to specific edits to the vision statement and stated goals in the Municipal Town Plan, suggestions were made to reorder some of the bullets, for example focusing more on business and population growth and less on agriculture and farming. There was also a suggestion to remove “resort” from the vision statement, saying that Ludlow should be more than a resort town. After some additional push and pull concerning the rural emphasis in the plan, Rasmussen agreed to revise and reorder the goals based on their comments and make some changes to the vision statement to present at the next meeting.
Rasmussen also agreed to find out more information from the Windsor Windham Housing Trust concerning increasing affordable housing, which was also seen as a concern to Ludlow townspeople. There was a suggestion that WWHT might provide some information prior to the next meeting or perhaps come and do a presentation.
The Orton Family Foundation, which was a resource suggested by Okemo owner Diane Mueller, will also be explored further. They offer a comprehensive program that specifically helps small towns organize and achieve their goals.
Isaacson also asked Rasmussen to find out information about a possible USDA World Development Grant or Vermont Community Development Program adding, “Can we get a synopsis about what they can do for us, what they can offer?”
Rasmussen agreed to go even further and assemble a page or two with possible grants and programs that might be able to help the group.
As the meeting was wrapping up, Nicoll mentioned an upcoming Energy Conference happening at the Montshire Museum on Tuesday, May 8 from 5 – 8 p.m. He said it would be a good opportunity “to see what other towns are doing” and suggested that Ludlow might want to develop an energy committee.
The next Ludlow Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15 at 6 p.m.