Upcoming Grant Opportunities

Road Foremen Meet to talk Stream Permits, Salt Shed, and Outreach

Town Officials Update

WRC to Host Basics of Land Use Planning Training & Planners Roundtable

Amtrak's Vermonter Moves People. And Bikes!

Knowledge Bites! Webinars from the Southern Vermont Economy Project

FEMA Mitigation Funding - Build Resilience!

Southern Vermont Economy Summit

WRC Kicks off 4-Town Housing Collaborative

NEW! Statewide Village Trust Initiative

Windham Resiliency Zone Project Municipalities Continue to Receive Energy Audits

State of VT OPR - Register Today!

From the Director


WRC Calendar

WRC Commissioners

WRC Executive Board

WRC Contact Us

COVID-19 Resources for Our Towns

COVID-19 Resources for Individuals

Flood Recovery Resources


May 1, 6:30 pm:

Planning Coordination Committee

May 2, 11:30 am:

Basics of Land Use Planning

May 2, 6:00 pm:

Energy Committee

May 7, 6:00 pm:

Project Review Committee

May 13, 4:00 pm:

Transportation Committee

May 14, 6:00 pm:

Executive Board

May 16, 12:30 pm:

Planning & Zoning Roundtable, Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro

May 16, 5:30 pm:

Commissioner Orientation

May 23, 5:00 pm:

Natural Resources Committee

May 27, 2024:

WRC offices will be CLOSED in observance of Memorial Day

May 28, 6:00 pm:

Full Commission

Union Hall, Newfane, VT

**All Committee meetings take place virtually via Zoom.

**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.


New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund

Seed Grant

DEADLINE: Rolling 


Grow Grants

DEADLINE: Sept 17, 2024


USDA Rural Development 

Community Facility Loans & Grants

Communities with populations of 20,000 or less

DEADLINE: Ongoing (contact USDA office)


Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Program

Communities with populations of 10,000 or less

DEADLINE: Ongoing (contact USDA office)


Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Community Partnership for Neighborhood Development

DEADLINE: May 31, 2024

Vermont Community Development Program



Better Places



Vermont Arts Council

Arts Project Grants

DEADLINE: April 29, 2024


Vermont Community Foundation

Equitable and Inclusive Communities




DEADLINE: April 30, 2024


Vermont Natural Resources Council

Small Grants for Smart Growth



Windham Regional Commission

Windham Region Brownfields Reuse Initiative

Brownfields Cleanup Grants & Loans

DEADLINE: Rolling 

For additional information about grant possibilities for your projects please contact Susan Westa.

Road Foremen Meet to Talk Stream Permits, Salt Sheds, and Outreach

Several times a year, the heads of our towns’ highway departments get together, most recently in early April at the Dover Town Hall. Whether their title is road foreman, road commissioner, highway superintendent, or DPW director, it’s a chance for them to hear from outside experts, share ideas and discuss topics with each other, and perhaps most importantly, have some informal conversation and catch up. Sometimes selectboard members, town managers and administrators, and VTrans district staff show up, too.

Representatives from 17 towns were at the April meeting. We heard from two Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation River engineers about when you need a Stream Alteration Permit. Come to find out, many small projects don’t need a permit at all. And in emergency situations, repair work can get underway but most certainly notify a river engineer and document, document, document with photographs. 

Some towns in Vermont have applied for state grants to construct a new sand or salt shed. Grant requirements often result in a project that is expensive and perhaps even cost-prohibitive. We heard from Guilford and Athens about functional sheds they built on the cheap, and from Brattleboro on their plans to build a salt shed this summer.

Keeping residents informed of your highway department’s work can help reduce phone calls and complaints, and even make town meeting approval of your road budget easier. Westminster’s Highway Department seems to be a leader in outreach efforts. They have a Facebook page with posts that usually get 50 or more likes; information on snow removal, grading, mud season road conditions and closures due to construction projects are all posted here. An article gets written for the Westminster Gazette each month. Most recently, a highway department open house was a chance for residents to see the garage, the equipment, and ask questions before town meeting. Brattleboro shared their gravel road warning signs and map, to inform drivers of roads during mud season that may be impassable.

Previous topics have included an entire meeting devoted to pavement, with discussion on converting gravel roads to paved, tablets, Emerald Ash Borer, VtCulverts, and the Municipal Roads General Permit.

WRC Annual Town Officials Update

Please help us keep our records and points of contact up to date by sending in your forms as soon as the information is available. Completed forms from previous years are available for your town upon request. 

We are aware that some towns have a delayed Town Meeting, if this is the case for your town, please let us know.

For questions, please contact:  Ashley Collins.

Executive Director
Ext. 106

Associate Director
Ext. 108

Office Manager
Ext. 107

Finance Manager
Ext. 103

Senior Planner
Ext. 112

Regional Transportation Planner
Ext. 109

Transportation Planning Tech
Ext. 114

Ext. 116

Senior Planner
Ext. 110

Senior Planner
Ext. 111

Senior Planner
Ext. 113

WRC Hosting Basics of Land Use Planning Training & Planners Roundtable!

The WRC will be hosting two events in May for Planning Commission, ZBA, and DRB members, and municipal planners and zoning administrators. 


Basics of Land Use Planning and Regulation Training

Thursday, May 2nd from 12 – 1:30 p.m. via Zoom

The Basics of Land Use Planning and Regulation training provides an overview of the statutory authority for planning and zoning in Vermont, and best practices for meetings, public hearings, and the decision-making process. The training is geared towards Planning Commission, ZBA, and DRB members, but municipal staff are also welcome to attend. The training will be recorded and posted on WRC’s website.


Windham Region Planners Roundtable

Thursday, May 16th from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. at Community Meeting Room A, Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main Street, Brattleboro (with Zoom option)

The roundtable meeting will be for municipal planners and zoning administrators, and Planning Commission, ZBA, and DRB members. There will be a short presentation by WRC staff on the HOME Act followed by an open discussion about current issues and challenges towns are working on. Lunch will be provided.

Please register to Matt Bachler at mbachler@windhamregional.org by Thursday, May 9th and let us know of any dietary restrictions. 

If participating remotely, please visit WRC’s website for Zoom access information for both of these events. 

Amtrak’s Vermonter Moves People. And Bikes!

Did you know you can bring your bike on Amtrak’s Vermonter? WRC’s GIS planner did just that following a meeting at UMass Amherst in late March. After catching a ride down to UMass in Chris’s truck, Jeff rode his bike on the Norwottuck rail trail to Northampton, where he caught the northbound Vermonter back to Brattleboro. 

What was it like? Northampton station’s elevated level boarding platform—where the platform is at the same height as the car’s door—made rolling the bike onto the train a breeze. Inside one of the cars are two bike racks. Because this trip was short (only an hour), and the train wasn’t crowded, it was possible to simply wheel your bike into the area reserved for passengers who need accessible seating. At Brattleboro and Bellows Falls, you’ll need to carry your bike up or down the trail car’s narrow steps, which can be more challenging than it sounds. The good news is Brattleboro’s station upgrade will include a level boarding platform in the next year, making rolling your bike on and off a breeze!

Want to combine a bike ride with a train trip? If you’re in Bellows Falls, you can bike the 30 or so miles to Brattleboro (the New Hampshire side of the river offers easier biking) and take the 4:56pm northbound train back from Brattleboro. Or catch the train in Bellows Falls at 12:30 pm and begin your biking journey north from Brattleboro a half hour later. 

Starting from Brattleboro? Consider a trip to Greenfield, which involves between 20 and 30 miles of biking depending on the route you follow. You can take the 1:02pm train from Brattleboro and bike back from Greenfield or get yourself and your bike to Greenfield by 4:22pm and hop aboard the northbound train. If you have 40 to 50 miles in you, a trip to Northampton is also an option.

FEMA Mitigation Funding – Build Resilience!

Following the July 2023 flooding, an unprecedented amount of FEMA hazard mitigation funding is available to Vermont towns and other eligible applicants for projects that reduce the risk of flooding or other hazards. Entities interested in applying do not need to have damages from that event. Towns and other eligible applicants seeking funding for hazard mitigation projects must complete the Pre-Application Form by June 21, 2024. Pre-Applications will be evaluated for eligibility, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness. Projects found to meet these requirements will then be invited to apply, provided technical assistance (if requested), and submitted to FEMA once completed, by late 2024. 

The best use of this funding is implementation projects, such as property buyouts and elevations, floodproofing, floodplain restoration, and upsizing bridges and culverts. Because the amount of funding available is huge ($90 million), this is a chance to take on big projects you otherwise wouldn't consider. To be eligible, feasible, and cost-effective your town must have a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) in place or currently be working on one. Having a record of sustained damage is very helpful, as most projects require passing a ‘Benefit Cost Analysis’ to be eligible – buyouts up to a certain cost threshold being the exception to that. Grants typically require a 25% local match, though Vermont Emergency Management currently has a General Fund allocation that will cover the match for property buyouts. If your town has a project that you’re wondering about eligibility, either contact Alyssa or fill out the VEM Form at the link above. Take some time to consider possibilities, and don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity!

WRC Kicks off 4-Town Housing Collaborative

The WRC is working with the towns of Jamaica, Londonderry, Weston, and Winhall to explore solutions to address both workforce and affordable housing needs. Planning for housing is a challenge, especially in rural communities with limited capacity and without infrastructure. WRC has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) Center for Resilient Metro Regions in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Foundation’s Communities by Design (CxD) program to assist the communities. This is a voluntary effort led by the town’s Planning Commissions and Housing Committees. It is not binding but designed to help the town’s think about addressing housing needs in new ways.

The first phase of the project will be a housing needs assessment led by a UMass graduate student who will gather and analyze data. This work will build off of previous efforts in the communities. The housing needs assessment will identify gaps in housing tenure, housing types, housing locations, and housing affordability and burdens.

In September 2024 the AIA Foundation’s CxD program will lead a four-day in-person workshop, which will include extensive community engagement with a volunteer neutral multidisciplinary team of subject matter experts (e.g., planner, landscape architect, housing). The AIA team will also be supported by students from the UMass Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning program. The final product will include a presentation of options, approaches, and recommendations, including best locations, typologies, mix, and policy considerations and a final strategic report. If this process is successful, we may replicate it among groups of towns throughout the Windham Region.

Pictured above is a brand-new small-scale multifamily building in Fairlee, VT that Sue Westa visited with the Incremental Development Alliance group from Rockingham, VT.

NEW! Statewide Village Trust Initiative

A new program, the Village Trust Initiative, will help 20 Vermont communities with populations of 2,500 or less identify and implement revitalization projects in their historic villages. The Initiative is made possible with the support of a Congressionally Directed Spending award from Senator Leahy. The Initiative is a collaboration between the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and the Vermont Community Foundation.

Potential community projects might include reopening a general store as a community-owned business or improving accessibility to underutilized second floors in historic town halls, or even beginning to transition large single-family homes into village-scaled affordable housing. 

Please click here for additional information. 

DHCD held a workshop featuring their new 'Homes For All' program; which is designed to support small-scale developers.

Windham Resiliency Zone Project

The Windham Resiliency Zone Project mission is to lower the frequency and duration of power outages in high need towns of southeastern Vermont. Currently the project is working with Athens where we are in the public outreach and technical assessment phase. We hope to hold our first public forum in the next month or two where the project team will present a variety of technical mitigation actions, ongoing work and have critical location discussions with town residents.

The project has recently expanded to Townshend with a meeting for town officials to discuss the project while our partner, Green Mountain Power, works with circuit and outage data to prepare easily digestible visuals for the upcoming public process. The town is excited about the possibilities this project presents and we are looking forward to working with Townshend residents.

Unfortunately, our efforts to bring an AmeriCorps VISTA on board were not successful. The project is now looking to work with an area college or university to house a graduate assistant with WRC for at least a portion of the project timeline. We hope to provide real world experience for an area student interested in emergency and energy planning issues.

If you would like to know more about this project or to learn if your community is classified as “high energy burdened” please contact Mike McConnell at 802-257-4547 ext. 110. 

Municipalities Continue to Receive Energy Audits

The Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP) is continuing to complete site visits to conduct Energy Assessments of municipal buildings. Energy contractors hired to complete these audit reports have been diligently working on reports and site visits, but they are further behind than anticipated at this point. If your municipality has not received its energy report, or your municipality has yet to have a site visit, please be aware of the back-up. Your report or site visit should be coming soon!

The Guilford Library receiving a blower door test.

State of VT Office of Professional Regulation Residential Contractors: Register Today!

Helpful Links:

From The Director

Housing: What can towns, and the region, really do about creating more?

We’re deep in a housing crisis that was decades in the making. What can towns, and the Windham Regional Commission, do about it? Towns can actually take concrete steps to create favorable conditions for more housing. Regions can help with higher-level planning and support of municipal efforts, but we don’t have the authority to take the actions that towns are empowered to take like planning and building infrastructure, streamlining zoning and permitting, and even providing access to land. To that end it's often supporting the work of towns where we can make the most difference.

First, some context. According to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) in a blog post from April 4th,“The median sales price of primary homes sold in Vermont reached $325,000 in 2023, increasing by 5% during that period compared to the prior year, according to recent Vermont Property Transfer Tax (PTT) records… In tandem with increasing prices, the annual number of primary homes sold has decreased each year since 2020. 5,759 homes were sold in 2023, more than 2,000 fewer than the prior year and 3,000 fewer than each year from 2019-2021. The number of homes sold in 2023 is the lowest annual total in Vermont since 2012 when the housing market was still dealing with the impacts of the Great Recession…The median price of new homes has increased dramatically in the state since 2019, increasing from $365,569 up to $616,500 in 2023. This represents a 68% increase in the cost of a new home since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.” In its 2023 Vermont Housing Investment Fund Annual Report, VHFA stated Vermont’s per unit cost of multi-family rental development has increased 76% since 2018 and is now around $500,000. You can find this information and more at https://vhfa.org/.

Brattleboro and Londonderry both completed housing studies recently. The former found current demand exceeds 500 units, and the latter found current demand for more than 300 units. We’re awaiting region by region information from VHFA but suffice it to say that current aggregate demand - not future - in the 27 towns of the Windham Region is no doubt in the thousands. To develop housing in the numbers needed and at an economy of scale that reduces costs per unit, the future lies in multifamily housing. The cost of a standalone single family detached home on a subdivision lot or out in the woods, what most people probably visualize as local housing for local Vermonters, is out of financial reach for the majority of our neighbors. In the absence of a considerable rise in incomes for Vermonters, a collapse in construction prices, and a collapse in land prices, we need to think about the development of well-sited multi-family housing in walkable and bikeable neighborhoods with access to goods and services and, ideally, work.

What can the Windham Regional Commission do? We own no assets, nor do we have the ability to tax to raise public dollars to invest in the infrastructure (water, wastewater, sidewalks, roads, public services, etc.) necessary to support housing at scale, meaning housing developed in sufficient numbers to achieve economies of scale in materials, construction, and paying for the related support infrastructure. Our role in permitting is indirect - our plans only come directly into play through Act 250 when District Environmental Commissions take regional plan policy under advisement (i.e., our regional plan policies do not determine Act 250 permit outcomes). We can identify at a high level where infrastructure exists to support the development of housing in the numbers needed, areas that are well-suited to additional housing if the corresponding infrastructure existed, areas that are less likely to be at risk of flooding and other hazards, and where in the region compact settlement expansion makes the most sense. Where we can make the most difference is supporting towns in their work.

What can towns do? It’s not necessarily easy, but it is pretty straightforward and absolutely essential. We can help.

  • Recognize the need for housing and commit to planning for housing. Creating conditions for local housing for local residents is a local responsibility. This must be a priority of both the selectboard and the planning commission, and for it to be their priority, it must be a priority of the residents of the town. It is at the town level where land use and infrastructure decisions are made. We can help explain the Vermont land use planning context and why decision-making at the local level is essential.

  • Recognize the current and future housing realities. While this can certainly include single-family detached housing, as noted above, unless there’s a dramatic positive change in Vermonters’ incomes and a dramatic decrease in land and construction costs, the future of housing is multifamily. The WRC can work with the planning commission and selectboard to think through what housing solutions could make the most sense for your town. This may lend itself to…

  • Intermunicipal housing conversations. It could be that the best housing solution for the residents of your town will ultimately be found in a neighboring town. It can be very difficult to do some things on a town by town by town basis. Housing is one of those. Some towns are better suited for housing than others because existing settlement patterns lend themselves to new housing and neighborhood development, land is available for compact settlement that is not likely at risk of flooding, there's existing infrastructure and the ability to expand that infrastructure, and other very practical considerations. The WRC can support these conversations. We’re piloting a 4-town housing planning discussion in the northwest corner of the region among Jamaica, Londonderry, Weston, and Winhall with the assistance of UMass-Amherst and the American Institute of Architects Community by Design program. The outcome of the discussion won’t be binding on any town; the goal is to think beyond town boundaries. If the outcome is ultimately useful, we’ll expand this approach to other clusters of towns in the region. In some cases, it could make sense to think beyond state lines, in which case we’d engage with our counterparts in NH or MA to work with their respective towns.

  • Build infrastructure. Housing at scale cannot be built in the absence of public water and wastewater. Developers can build their own wastewater and water systems, but that drives up costs even higher, making housing affordability even more unattainable. The WRC has gained experience working with towns designing and preparing to build community wastewater systems intended primarily to support existing uses within villages. We can help you think through the infrastructure planning and development process, and we can support that work if the town chooses to go forward.

  • Affect Housing Development Cost Factors. Towns can’t directly affect major housing costs like labor and materials, but it is possible for towns to provide land. Some towns already own land that could be well-suited to housing development, and others may want to create a land bank or other land purchase mechanisms to incentivize housing development. The WRC can work with towns to explore what options might make sense. And while towns can’t set interest rates, they can establish tools such as revolving loan funds to lend money at more favorable rates than what is commercially available. The amount of capital needed to establish the fund to support significant new housing would likely be beyond the capacity of most of our towns, but smaller amounts could be made available to make improvements to retain existing housing or create new apartments within existing buildings, or for pre-development costs associated with larger projects. As with any lending there is a risk of loss, but the WRC could help towns explore what possibilities might make sense.

  • Make permitting easy. Towns that have zoning and permitting can make the regulatory pathway clear, predictable, and quick. The WRC has been working with towns on updating their zoning for housing, and we can advise on permitting processes.
Address: 139 Main Street, Suite 505
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 257-4547
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