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PC works on growth center application

08/23/2007

By Lisa Loomis

If current population trends continue, the population of Waitsfield will rise from its 2005 census level of 1,719 to somewhere between 2104 and 2,580 by 2030. If the historic rate of job growth in Waitsfield continues, the number of jobs in 2005 -1,403 -- will increase to somewhere between 2,034 and 2,135 by 2030.

The population increase and the increase in jobs will require more housing, an anticipated 350 new housing units. A majority of those new housing units, at least 176 of them, will need to be accommodated in Waitsfield's designated growth center in Irasville.

Those statistics come from planner Brandy Saxton of PlaceSense, who is working with the town of Waitsfield on preparing the town's application for a designated downtown/growth center.

At the August 21 meeting of the Waitsfield Planning Commission, planners met with Saxton to hear her preliminary analysis of population trends and job growth in Waitsfield over the next 33 years. She told the commissioners that she used several different sources for the population growth and job growth projections. The historical population and job growth data she provided came from the U.S. Census Bureau and the State of Vermont. Her data showed a population of 1,300 in Waitsfield in 1980. By 1990, the population had grown by 122 to 1,422. By 2000 it had grown to 1,659.

In 1980 there were 702 jobs in Waitsfield. In 1990 there were 932. In 2000 there were 1,268 and in 2005 there were 1,403.

In 1980 there were 521 households with an average household size of 2.50. In 1990 there were 574 households with an average size of 2.48. In 2000 there were 734 households with an average household size of 2.26. Her projections show household size shrinking to 2.11 by 2030.

Saxton prepared the stats and projections as a first step towards identifying the potential need for services, infrastructure and housing in Irasville, the area the town has targeted for growth.

Waitsfield is involved in a two-part process, one seeking to create a Tax Incentive Finance District (or a TIF) where the town can capture increased tax revenue from development and use it to offset the cost of infrastructure such as municipal sewage and water. The second part is applying for state designated growth center designation for Irasville, which brings with it increased eligibility for state and federal planning funds and other benefits.

At this week's meeting, Saxton went over the growth projections with planners and discussed the boundaries of both the designated growth center as well as the Waitsfield Village Center.

To qualify for the growth center designation, at least 51 percent of projected future growth in housing units must be within a town's designated growth center.

Contact Lisa Loomis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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