BCRC Program Areas
The BCRC maintains a comprehensive regional plan that provides background information on the region and a policy framework for planning and development. The commission participates in state land use proceedings for projects of regional impact and participates in region-wide studies and initiatives in areas ranging from housing to forest resource planning. The BCRC also maintains a full-service geographic information system (GIS) that enables analysis of geographic data and production of high-quality maps.
The BCRC provides support to towns and villages in the preparation of municipal plans and zoning and subdivision regulations, and with technical assistance in development review when needed. The commission also works with local planners to complete special studies in areas such as: low-impact development, capital budgeting, downtown/village center/growth center designations and plans, energy, natural and historic resources, parks and open space planning, housing, and other areas.
The BCRC contracts annually with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to ensure that local transportation projects and priorities are coordinated with the state. In addition to reviewing plans for improvements to state highways and bridges, the BCRC has worked on corridor management plans, regional rail service plans, bicycle and pedestrian plans, public transportation plans, and a plan for improvements at the WH Morse State Airport. The commission also is available to provide technical assistance to towns and has helped towns complete required nfrastructure inventories and traffic studies.
The BCRC is engaged in a number of environmental programs, cooperating with the Bennington County Conservation District, US Forest Service, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and other organizations on projects including regional forest plans, river basin protection plans, water quality studies, and through its Brownfields Initiative, assessments and clean-up planning for contaminated properties.
The BCRC maintains a program in sustainable community development that focuses on identification and improvement of local assets that support economic development in the region. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to: workforce, housing, education, local food systems, downtowns, energy and natural resources, and special community amenities. The commissionís work is coordinated with efforts of municipalities and other regional organizations. Data, mapping, strategic planning, and grant-writing assistance is available to support general economic development, workforce development, infrastructure improvements, growth center Designations, and other projects. The BCRCís Brownfield Initiative, funded by an EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant, provides funding to investigate real or perceived contamination on abandoned or underutilized sites in an effort to return them to active use. Emergency Management Planning: The BCRC assists municipalities by facilitating the emergency operations and all hazards planning processes. In addition, the BCRC assists with Continuity of Government planning, Continuity of Operations planning, hazard mitigation planning, National Flood Insurance Program, and grant applications for funding under the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program, VEM generator grant program, FMA, HMEP, and HMGP programs. The BCRC also provides technical and administrative assistance to the countywide Local Emergency Planning Committee (District 7), and facilitates planning for and implementation of tabletop and full-scale emergency response exercises utilizing emergency response agencies and personnel.
The BCRC has prepared a comprehensive regional energy plan that provides direction to all of the commissionís program areas. The BCRC has worked on energy conservation initiatives with local energy committees, Efficiency Vermont, and business organizations. Support for renewable energy initiatives, participation in Section 248 reviews before the Public Service Board, and assistance to towns and organizations attempting to develop local food and local economy initiatives are undertakings that fall under the commissionís energy work program.
The BCRC provides assistance to municipalities in the areas of solid waste planning and hazardous waste collection event management, and oversees implementation of an eight-town solid waste implementation plan.