The Mad River Valley Planning District’s (MRVPD) steering committee is beginning the work of creating a five-year strategic plan to guide the focus of the tri-town district.
At a June 8, 2023, meeting members of the steering committee (which includes one planning commissioner and one select board member from Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston, as well as a representative from Sugarbush, the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission) discussed the steps needed to create a five-year strategic plan and what components it might include.
Possible components discussed were environment, conservation, climate resiliency along with readiness for dealing with environmental catastrophe. Another component contemplated was demographics and population, including issues such as child care, changing populations, development pressure and demand on public facilities and infrastructure. Discussion also included governance as a component and breaking down barriers in The Valley.
Through the discussion, members of the steering committee agreed to next steps which include reviewing the Town Plan goals of each town and comparing them to see if the current MRVPD vision is still valid. That vision statement can be found here: https://mrvpd.org/vision-statement/ .
After that review takes place, the next step is to review a five-year framework against the planning district’s annual data report to see what the data reveals and whether the local Town Plans are in sync with the data, explained steering committee chair and Warren Select Board member Bob Ackland.
“From this exercise, the MRVPD will determine the appropriate strategies for the next five years, establish the priorities, and then develop objectives and related tasks that are Mad River Valley-centric,” he added.
Ackland said that a third input to the work will be the feedback received from a January 12, 2023, community meeting with the organizations that fund the planning district (the towns and Sugarbush) as well as other community stakeholders and nonprofits.
Prior to the discussion about the five-year plan, steering committee members held a roundtable with members discussing town by town and Sugarbush work. During that discussion, Sugarbush representative Margo Wade, the resort’s director of planning and compliance, reported that resort parent company Alterra is funding two new lifts next summer. Those lifts are Heaven’s Gate at Lincoln Peak and Northridge at Mount Ellen. Wade said it was going to be a hustle to complete permitting for the two projects.