Chester Planning Commission hosts community workshops

Photo by Barre Pinske

CHESTER, Vt. – The Chester Planning Commission will be hosting the first in a series of up to four workshops on Monday July 18, 2022 at 6:30 p.m., at the Chester Town Hall and via Zoom.

As many are aware, our state is currently experiencing a shortage of affordable housing. The purpose of these workshops is to gather citizen input to assist in broadly updating Chester’s Unified Development Bylaws with a focus on implementing steps to help ease the local housing shortage.

Public participation in this process is important in helping to shape and refine our zoning bylaws in ways that will benefit the entire community. The workshops will also serve to keep the public informed as this important work proceeds. These workshops will provide an opportunity for our citizens to help shape the future of our town.

“I hope many of Chester’s citizens will become involved as well as staying informed through these workshops,” said Hugh Quinn, the chair of the Chester Planning Commission during a recent discussion.

The Chester Town Plan, the Village Center Master Plan, and a recent zoning audit will help inform the needed changes to the zoning bylaws. The Planning Commission will also utilize a guide entitled “Enabling Better Places: A Zoning Guide for Vermont Neighborhoods,” which was produced by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development for use at the town level. This guide recommends making incremental changes rather than attempting to fully rewrite a town’s zoning bylaws in a single process. Each of these documents can be downloaded from the town’s website at www.chestervt.gov/planning-commission.html.

This project is funded by a bylaw modernization grant through the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant allows the Town of Chester to utilize the expertise of Jason Rasmussen, the executive director of The Mount Ascutney Regional Commission. Once completed, the overall project will incrementally update Chester’s Unified Development Bylaws with a particular focus on modernizing our bylaws to better address local housing needs and village revitalization goals.

The Zoom link for any who prefer to attend remotely is www.us02web.zoom.us/j/81029256359.

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