Working toward Safe, Healthy and Affordable Housing
TRORC is working with many partners to ensure that people in the region have safe, healthy and affordable homes that contribute to their communities’ vitality. We believe in a diversity of housing to meet the varied needs of our residents, and that housing should largely be located near municipal and commercial centers and coordinated with public utilities and municipal infrastructure. We work at the state, regional and local level to reach our housing goals.
Our work on housing at the state level includes representing the region’s position on housing to the Vermont State Legislature, supporting the public awareness campaign of the Vermont Housing and Finance Agency and working with the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Department of Economic Development (DED) to obtain funding for education as well as construction.
At the regional level, TRORC works with abutting regional commissions to understand our neighbors’ growth pressures and plan to mitigate the possible impacts on our region. We have served on the board of the Upper Valley Housing Coalition, encouraging the partnership of public and private entities concerned with the availability and affordability of housing. We support the work of the existing housing trusts, such as the Twin Pines Housing Trust in White River Junction, facilitating communications with member towns where housing is needed and the project conforms with our Regional Plan policies. We work to keep the region informed of housing needs, based on available data, particularly advocating for the senior population and the needs of working families. And finally, we endeavor to craft our regional policies with the understanding that the choices we make on each of our regional issues, (transportation, economic development, basin planning, etc), impacts the supply and cost of housing.
We are a party to any permitting for housing developments that are large enough to require review under Act 250. We work with the applicant and the District Environmental Commission to ensure that the project not only creates housing, but does so in an appropriate way and in an appropriate location.
The local level is where most planning and regulations affect what kind of housing will be built and where. This is because in our region, most of the new housing built consists of single homes built a few at a time. There are currently very few housing developments to evaluate under Act 250. To this end, we assist our towns in addressing the location, type, scale, energy efficiency and density of housing in their local plans and regulations. We encourage regulations and plan language which makes use of multi-family housing development, inclusionary zoning, mixed uses, and planned unit developments (PUDs).
In some cases, actions are needed to safely increase housing density in core growth areas. We can assist towns with public sewer and water improvement projects, environmental due diligence, housing planning and construction grants, and revisions to regulations to allow the adaptive reuse of space in abandoned or underutilized buildings for housing, including the rehabilitation of second and third floors above downtown commercial spaces. In our local assistance, we recognize that solutions to a housing shortage must be balanced with other local planning objectives.
Keys To The Valley Housing Initiative
Ensuring that those who want to stay here, or come here, have safe and affordable places to live is key to the long-term sustainability and success of our region. Therefore, in 2019 to 2020, the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission have joined together to help address this critical issue.
The Keys to the Valley Initiative must lead to action, so we will emphasize the way our homes fit into the puzzle of this place through transportation, regulation, environment, community, health, employment, and more. The Initiative will undertake community engagement and participation, thorough data analysis and develop implementable strategies for creating (or recreating) homes that are needed by our community members. To learn more about this tri-regional housing study, visit the Keys To The Valley webpage and sign up to receive project updates.
- Tools To Address Local Housing Needs
- Twin Pines Housing Trust
- Vital Communities Workforce Housing
- USDA Rural Development’s Rural Housing Service
- Vermont Community Development Program
- Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB)
- Thriving Communities Campaign
- Vermont Housing Data
- Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA)
- Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA)
- Vermont Housing Needs Assessment
- 2016 VT Out of Reach Report
Kevin Geiger, Senior Planner
[email protected] – 802-457-3188 ex. 20