Third Planning Commission community workshop in Chester

Chester Planning Commission. Photo by Barre Pinske

CHESTER, Vt. – Chester’s Planning Commission will host the third in a series of up to four workshops upstairs in Chester’s town hall on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 at 6:30 p.m., as well on Zoom.

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

Staff from the Mount Ascutney Regional Commission (MARC) will present information on housing needs, including findings from the recent Keys to the Valley project and more recent data and information. Keys to the Valley is a housing initiative spearheaded by three regional planning commissions in southern Windsor County and the greater Upper Valley area. The Keys to the Valley project documents our need for homes across a bi-state, 67-town region, and presents a roadmap for tackling this crisis at the local, regional, and statewide level.

The study found that about a third of the region’s residents pay too much for housing. It also found a significant need for new housing construction to address the estimated need: approximately 10,000 new units in total and 318 new units specifically in Chester by 2030. The study also found that these new homes should be the types that are within resident’s price range. Generally speaking, these would be of the so-called “missing middle” housing types, such as accessory dwellings, duplexes, converting large existing buildings into three to four apartments, and smaller homes that are suitable as starter homes or enable aging residents to downsize and remain in the community.

This discussion will help to identify what types of homes the zoning bylaws should better enable through streamlined permitting procedures and dimensional standards.


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