Quantcast

YCQM: June 16, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: June 16, 2013

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

AND GOOD MORNING, TODAY WE WILL TALK ABOUT A MAJOR ORGANIZATION IN VERMONT THAT HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSERVING AND PROTECTING LAND IN VERMONT BOTH FARMLAND AND FOREST LAND AND ALSO TALK ABOUT MAJOR HOUSING PROJECTS, JOINING US FROM THE VERMONT HOUSING AND CONSERVATION BOARD IS GUS SEELIG AND BOARD MEMBER DAVE MARVIN.

>> THANK YOU.

>> LET'S BEGIN WITH THE OBVIOUS QUESTION, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MEET THE 25 YEAR MARK SINCE YOU WERE FIRST SIGNED INTO LAW?

>> WE TOOK THE OCCASION TO REALLY REFLECT BOTH ON WHAT WE DID AND TO BEGIN TO TALK ABOUT WHAT IS AHEAD OF US BUT THE IMPACT OF THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN FELT IN MORE THAN 200 VERMONT TOWNS AND THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN ALMOST 11,000 VERMONTERS HAVE AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS OR HOMES. WE'VE CONSERVED OVER 600 FARMS, THEY ARE BEING ACTIVITY FARMED AND PUBLIC ACCESS TO QUARTER MILLION ACRES USED FOR PUBLIC RECREATION, WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS, STATE FORESTS, PUBLIC PARKS AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL. WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE INVESTMENT IN ABOUT 57 HISTORIC BUILDINGS THAT ARE USED AS COMMUNITY GATHERING PLACES ACROSS THE STATE AND THEY RANGE FROM MAJOR PERFORMING ART VENUE IN BRATTLEBOROANT RUTLAND TO A PROGRAM, THE RIVER ARTS PROGRAM, SO, THAT ILLS THE SCOPE OF THE PROGRAM AND THE WORK AND WE ARE TAKING STOCK OF THAT AND TRYING ALSO TO LOOK AHEAD AT WHAT THE FUTURE CHALLENGES WILL BE.

>> 25 YEARS AGO, TAKE US BACK, WHY WAS THE PROGRAM NEEDED 25 YEARS AGO, WHAT WAS SORT OF LIKE WE NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND WE NEED TO CONSERVE THIS LAND OR MAKE MOOREHOUSEING AVAILABLE FOR FOLKS.

>> VERMONT IN THE 80S WAS IN A GROWTH SPURT AS FAR AS REAL ESTATE VALUES, THERE WAS A LOT OF CHURNING OF REAL ESTATE, THERE WAS SPAGHETTI LOTS OF CONCERN, THERE WAS RETURN FOR FEDERAL INVESTMENT FOR FEDERAL HOUSING, IT WAS THE REAGAN ERA, THERE WAS A BIG WATER AND LAND CONSERVATION, VERMONT WENT FROM GETTING $2 MILLION A YEAR DOWN TO 300,000, HUD PROGRAMS WERE CUT BACK. WITH THE CHURNING, I THINK VERMONTERS WANTED A WAY TO INVEST AND CONTROL THE STATE'S ECONOMY AND WANTED A NONREGULATORY APPROACH NOT JUST THINGS THAT COME WITH REGULATION, TELLING PEOPLE WHAT THEY CAN'T DO, THEY WANTED SOMETHING THAT INVOLVED THE COMMUNITY INVESTMENT.

>> YOU HAVE SEEN STOWE, YOU HAVE A BUSINESS IN MORRISVILLE, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THIS PROGRAM?

>> ON THE AGRICULTURAL SIDE, THE NUMBER OF CONSERVED FIRE, OURS WAS CONSERVED THROUGH ANOTHER MECHANISM BUT THE PRINCIPLE IS THE STAPLE FOR THOSE OF US -- IS THE SAME FOR THOSE OF US THAT HAVE THE CAPITOL THAT WE NEVER WOULD BE ABLE TO BUILD UP ACCESS WITHOUT SELLING IT, WE RECEIVED SOME ECONOMIC BENEFIT AND REINVEST IN OTHER PARTS OF THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY. IN OUR CASE IT WAS TO HELP EXPAND OUR MAPLE SYRUP BUSINESS, FOR A DAIRY FARMER TO BUILD A NEW BATHROOM AND TECHNOLOGY. THEN IN THE COMMUNITY AS A HIGHLIGHT AND GATHERING SERVICE WE HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, THE LOCAL PARTNER IS THE MENTAL HOUSING PARTNERSHIP, BUT WE SEE DOWNTOWN MORRISVILLE, FOR INSTANCE, HAS A MAJOR PROJECT TO REPURCHASE POSS WHAT WAS ARTHUR'S DEPARTMENT STORE. SO IN DOWNTOWN JOHNSON THE OLD ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE SITE IS NOW AFFORDABLE HOUSING, SO IT'S REALLY -- THE REACH THE PROGRAM HAS THAT GOES THROUGHOUT OUR COMMUNITY IS AMAZING.

>> YOU MENTIONED YOU DO RAIN CONSERVATION AND DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT FOR LOW HOUSING. HOW ARE THOSE TWO THINGS RELATED? WHY IS IT THAT THOSE TWO ELEMENTS SHOULD BE DONE BY ONE ORGANIZATION RATHER THAN PERHAPS SAYING LET'S MAKE ONE GROUP FOCUS ON THIS AND ONE GROUP FOCUS ON THIS ASPECT?

>> THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION AND I THINK BACK WHEN WE WERE CREATED WE DIDN'T USE THE TERM, IT WASN'T PART OF OUR LEXICON. BUT NOW WE LOOK AT DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION IN ONE LENS. EVEN URBAN COMMUNITIES WANT OPEN SPACE AND I THINK IT ALSO BECAME A VEHICLE FOR STATE POLICY MAKERS BECAUSE THERE ARE EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE TO COME TOGETHER, THE NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY, HEAD OF FINANCING ALL HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IS THIS THE RIGHT PLACE TO BUILD HOUSING, DO WE REALLY WANT TO BUILD IN THE CORN FIELD AND SPRAWL OUT OR TAKE THE OLD WHITE ELEPHANT BUILDINGS AND RESTORE THEM TO PROVIDE QUALITY HOUSING WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE. I THINK THE GOAL IS TO REDEFINE THESE THINGS AS COMPLIMENTARY GOALS RATHER THAN THINGS WHERE PEOPLE WERE COMPETING FOR RESOURCES AND 97% OF VERMONTERS SAID THEIR NUMBER 1 VALUE IS THE WORKING LANDSCAPE IN A SURVEY JUST A FEW YEARS AGO. EVEN IF THAT WAS OFF BY 20 POINTS, THAT IS AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF VERMONTERS THAT WANT THE WORKING LANDSCAPE TO BE INVESTED IN BUT WE NEED PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO LIVE FOR OUR WORK FORCE AND IT'S A GREAT THING TO DO THAT IN A CONCENTRATED WAY AND FIND WAYS TO INSTALL VITALITY TO OUR RURAL COMMUNITIES AS WELL AS OUR LARGER DOWNTOWNS AND AROUND THE COUNTRY EVERY ONE WOULD THINK ALL OF OUR DOWNTOWNS ARE RURAL COMMUNITIES. WHETHER DOWNTOWN IN BRATTLEBORO OR A PLACE TWO MILES AWAY, THOSE ARE ALL PLACES WHERE PEOPLE WANT VITALITY IN THEIR COMMUNITY, THEY DON'T WANT IT JUST TO BE EMPTIED OUT AND SPRAWL INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE.

>> YOU ARE SITTING ON THE BOARD AND GET THESE PROJECTS COMING BEFORE YOU, GIVE ME THE COLLARS. A LOT OF -- GIVE ME THE DOLLARS, A LOT OF MONEY GOES INTO THE ORGANIZATION. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT GETS FUNDED AND WHAT DOESN'T GET FUNDED?

>> IT'S A DIFFICULT PROCESS BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY WORTHY PROJECTS. WE LOOK FOR LEVERAGE, THERE ARE A LOT OF STATE DOLLARS GOING INTO THE PROGRAM THERE ARE ALSO PRIVATE DOLLARS AND FEDERAL DOLLARS, WE LOOK AT LEVERAGE FROM OUR PARTNERS. WE LOOK AT THE QUALITY OF THE UNDERLYING ASSET, IN THE CASE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND STATE WIDE SOIL COMES FIRST, WE LOOK HOW THE PROJECT MIGHT BENEFIT THE PUBLIC, DUAL BENEFITS WHERE WE GET RECREATIONAL BENEFITS FROM ACCESS TO WATER BODIES OR RIVERS AND STREAMS. IT'S A WHOLE METHOD OF RANKING BY POLICY PRIORITIES AND IT IS VERY DIFFICULT, THE CHOICES ARE TOUGH BECAUSE THE PROJECTS THAT GET TO US ARE ALL WORTHY PROJECTS.

>> YOU MENTIONED FLOOD RESILL YENCY, DOES THAT TAKE UP A BIGGER PIECE OF THE EQUATION SINCE IRENE?

>> I WOULDN'T SAY IT TAKES UP A BIGGER PIECE OF THE EQUATION, IT'S MORE INTENTIONAL. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN IMPORTANT BECAUSE CONSERVATION OF SUB PLAINS AND AGRICULTURAL PLANNED HAS ALWAYS BEEN PROVIDING FLOOD RESILIENTY. ALSO ON THE HOUSING SIDE HOW CAN WE LOCATE HOUSING THAT IS BETTER FLOOD PROOFED OR IN THE APPROPRIATE PLACE.

>> A LOT OF OUR WORK INVOLVES TALKING WITH OTHER PARTNERS, WE ARE FORTUNATE THAT OF THE THOUSAND UNITS THAT ARE INVESTED IN ONLY A HANDFUL WERE AFFECTED BY IRENE. WE TALK TO COMMISSIONS AND ASK IS THIS IN THE FLOOD ZONE OR FLOOD WAY BEFORE WE MAKE INVESTMENT. WE RESPONDED TO IRENE IN A NUMBER OF WAYS, THERE'S A FEMA BUY-OUT PROGRAM WE HAVE CONTRIBUTED $2 MILLION THAT WILL HELP THOSE VERMONTERS HOMES WHO ARE IN HARM'S WAY. THAT WAY WE DON'T MAKE INVESTMENT BUT HELP VERMONTERS TO GET THE VALUE OF THEIR HOME. THERE HAS BEEN INTEN CHUPPAL WORK AS WELL -- INTENTIONAL WORK AS PELL. BOTH MUNICIPALITIES AND INDIVIDUALS CAN APPLY TO US. THERE WAS PLANNED DEVELOPMENT IN AN AREA THAT WOULD CLEARLY FLOOD. THEY CAME TO US AND SAID WE REALLY WANT TO BUY THIS BUT WILL YOU HELP SO WE DON'T HAVE DEVELOPMENT THAT WILL FLOOD IN THE FUTURE.

>> YOU HAVE RESTORED PROPERTIES IN THE PAST. DID YOU DEBATE WHETHER IT MORE AFFORDABLE TO DO REHAB OLD PROJECT OR WOULD IT BE MORE AFFORDABLE TO BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP. WOULDN'T IT BE EASIER SOMETIMES ON SOME PROJECTS TO BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP RATHER THAN REHAB THAT MAY BE WORTHY BUT YOU ARE NOT GETTING AS MUCH AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

>> THAT'S A CONSTANT DISCUSSION AMONG OUR BOARD MEMBERS, WE WERE LUCKY TO HAVE A DEVELOPER ON OUR BOARD, TOM WEAVER, WHO HELPED US FOCUS ON THAT ISSUE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS AVAILABLE TO HELP WITH HISTORICAL BUILDINGS THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION IS A FEDERAL TAX CREDIT, SO OFTEN WHAT WE FIND IS THAT WHILE A REHAB MIGHT BE MORE EXPENSIVE, THAT TAX CREDIT HELPS BRING THE COST IN LINE WITH WHAT NEW CONSTRUCTION WOULD BE. THE OTHER THING WE LOOK AT IS WHAT ARE THE OTHER COMMUNITY IMPACTS, THERE IS A BUILDING UP IN RICHMOND VERMONT, THE OLD SWEET-CUMMINGS PLANT. THEY CAME AND ASKED IF THERE WAS SOMETHING WE COULD HELP. BY THE TIME WE RESTORED IT, TWO BUILDINGS HAD TO COME DOWN. BUT IF YOU LEFT THE COMMUNITY WITH THE BUILDING ROTTING THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN OTHER COSTS SO THAT HAS TO GO INTO THE EQUATION.

>> YOU WANTED TO ANSWER?

>> NO, THAT'S IT.

>> ARE YOU CONCERNED FUNDING FROM THE STATE COULD POTENTIALLY DROP AS WE SEE THE BELT TIGHTENING IN MONTPELIER LIKE IN THE PAST TWO YEARS?

>> WE HAVE SEEN OUR FUNDING GO UP AND DOWN, WE ARE TIED TO THE PROPERTY TAX THAT IS NOW ON THE WAY UP. WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR CASE JUST AS ANY PROGRAM DOES. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK WE TRY TO IMPRESS LAWMAKERS WITH IS THIS IS AN INVESTMENT PROGRAM AND THERE ARE MANY WORTHY THINGS GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO DO AND IT HAS AN ONE YEAR BENEFIT. YOU FUND A SERVICE, YOU FUND THE STATE POLICE, IT HAS A BENEFIT THIS YEAR. ONE OF THE CASES WE DO TRY TO MAKE IS THE BENEFITS THAT WE BRING TO VERMONTERS WILL HAVE -- AND THE INVESTMENT THEY ARE MAKING WILL HAVE BENEFITS FOR MULTIPLE YEARS. WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR CASE JUST AS ANY OTHER WORTHY PROGRAM NEEDS TO MAKE ITS CASE EVERY YEAR AND I THINK I'M PROBABLY MORE CONCERNED THAT WE ARE IN A TIME AS WE WERE IN THE 80s WHERE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS RETRENCHING AND WE WILL SEE LESS SUPPORT FROM OUR FEDERAL PARTNERS THAN WE HAVE AND THAT WILL MEAN, JUST AS DAVE TALKED ABOUT, HOW COMPETITIVE THINGS ARE, OVERALL THERE WILL BE LESS DOLLARS TO LEVERAGE FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND LESS PROJECTS WILL BE COMPLETED.

>> YOU ARE COMPETING AGAINST EVERY ONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY FOR THOSE DOLLARS TIED TO CONSERVATION AND HOUSING OR IS THIS A SITUATION WHERE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES CAN GET EARMARKS FOR THIS APPROPRIATION?

>> WE ACTUALLY DID BENEFIT FROM SOME EARMARKS, SENATOR LEAHY HELPED WITH NORTHGATE APARTMENTS, SENATOR SANDERS WAS ABLE TO GET SOME MONEY FOR RETROFIT DOWN IN WEST RUTLAND IN AN OLD SCHOOL THAT HAD BEEN VACANT AGAIN FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. THOSE THINGS ARE GONE AND THERE ARE SOME PROGRAMS THAT VERMONT HAS ENTITLEMENT TO BY STATUTE BUT CONGRESS IS CUTTING BACK ON CDBG AND BLOCK GRANTS TO THE STATE. IN TOTAL I WOULD SAY IF VERMONT HAD BEEN SEEING $35 MILLION A YEAR IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN HOMES WE ARE DOWN $5 MILLION FROM THREE YEARS AGO AND THE BELT WILL CONTINUE TO TIGHTEN. CONSERVATION PROGRAMS AT THE MOMENT SEEM MORE STABLE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING CALLED REGIONAL EQUITY BUT IT WILL BE A TOUGHER ROAD TO GO THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS I WOULD IMAGINE THROUGH THE FEDERAL SUPPORT.

>> WHAT ABOUT PRIVATE SUPPORT, I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE TAKING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE DOLLARS, HOW ARE THEY DOING?

>> QUITE WELL, OUR PARTNERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE. A TREM EM DOWSE AMOUNT TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS, WE SEE CONSERVATION PROJECT, IT'S REALLY REMARKABLE HOW MANY PRIVATE AND FOUNDATION DOLLARS GET BROUGHT TO THE TABLE. I WANT TO MENTION WE WERE FOCUSED ON CONSERVATION AND HOUSING. THESE ARE ECONOMIC PROGRAMS AS WELL, ENGINES. THE BUILDING OF BUILDINGS ARE JOBS. IN THE CASE OF AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION PROGRAMS, THESE HELP SUSTAINING LANDSCAPE AND AGRICULTURAL DOLLARS ARE MOSTLY EXPORT DOLLARS THAT BRING FUND BACK TO VERMONT AND CONTRIBUTE TO A VIABLE AG ECONOMY. AND MORE AND MORE WE ARE MOVING INTO THE FOREST SECTOR AS WELL. WE HAVE A VERY COMPELLING STORY.

>> YOU HAVE BEEN IN THIS FOR A COUPLE DECADE, WHY IS HOUSING SO EXPENSIVE IN VERMONT?

>> WELL, HOUSING IS EXPENSIVE EVERYWHERE AND A QUESTION WE ALWAYS ASK IS COMPARED TO WHAT? WE ARE MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THE BOSTON AND NEW YORK MARKETS, MORE EXPENSIVE THAN THE HEARTLAND AND TEXAS. WE DON'T -- WE HAD A CONSULTANT A FEW YEARS AGO LOOK AT THIS QUESTION. WE HAVE A DIFFERENT CLIENT THAN OTHER STATES, BUT I THINK VOLUME IS THE BIGGEST THING. I THINK THERE ARE OTHER FACTORS. WE BUILD TO A DIFFERENT STANDARD IN VERMONT BECAUSE OF THE LONG WINNERS, WE PUT PREMIUM ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND TIGHT THERMAL CELLS, THAT IS A COST. YOU MENTIONED HISTORIC FABRIC IS MORE EXPENSIVE AND WE OFFSET IT WITH A TAX CREDIT BUT THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION, NOT JUST IN HOUSING ARENA BUT ANYTHING ONE BUILDS IS GOING UP FASTER THAN ANY OF OUR WAGES GO UP AND THAT HAS CAUSED THIS PROBLEM TO CONTINUE TO BE A STRESSFUL ONE.

>> DO YOU HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CONSERVATION MAKING LAND PRICES GOING UP AND THAT CONTRIBUTING TO THE HIGHER HOME PRICES OR IS THAT A FACTOR THAT DOESN'T MAKE ENOUGH OF A DIFFERENCE TO AFFECT THE MARKET?

>> I DON'T THINK I HAVE SEEN THAT YET. I THINK THAT THAT IS A LEGITIMATE THING TO EVALUATE AND WORRY ABOUT, ONE OF THE THINGS, THE NAY SAYERS SAID ALL THE LAND WE WOULD CONSERVE, ALL THE FARMLAND COULD GROW UP TO BRUSH AND CERTAINLY OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS HASN'T BEEN THE CASE AND THERE'S A GREAT VIBRANT AGRICULTURAL RENAISSANCE GOING ON THAT WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE BY OURSELVES BUT WE HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO. WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IS THERE IS SUCH A DEMAND FOR LAND THAT IT IS FARMERS WHO ARE ACTUALLY BIDDING THE PRICES UP AGAINST EACH OTHER AND THE VALUE OF CONSERVED LAND IS QUITE HEALTHY.

>> LET'S TAKE A SHORT BREAK AND WE WILL TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE VERMONT HOUSING CONSERVATION BOARD WITH OUR

>> WELCOME BACK. WE ARE TALKING WITH AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS CELEBRATING AN ANNIVERSARY, 25 YEARS OF THE VERMONT HOUSING AND CONSERVATION BOARD. WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT PROJECTS. WHAT IS THE FUTURE, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROJECTS AND THEMES YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

>> CLEARLY, I THINK WE WOULD WANT TO SEE THE PROGRESS WE MADE CONTINUE AT A STEADY RATE AND THERE IS A LONG PIPELINE OF PROJECTS AND INTERESTED PEOPLE THAT WANT TO WORK WITH US. I THINK ONE OF THE TRENDS WE WILL SEE IN ELDER HOUSING IS THAT WE WILL -- WE ARE WORKING ON A PROGRAM CALLED SASH RUN BY THE CATHEDRAL SQUARE ORGANIZATION THAT IS BRINGING SERVICES TO THE ELDER HOUSE HIS SITES THAT WE ARE DEVELOPING AROUND THE STATE WITH THE INTENTION OF HELPING PEOPLE STAY AT HOME, REDUCE FALLS, STAY HEALTHIER, REDUCE THE COST OF HEALTHCARE. ANOTHER THING THAT PICKS UP STEAM IS THE FARM VIABILITY PROGRAM THAT WORKS ON TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO FARMS AS THEY SEEK TO BE MORE COMPETITIVE, AS THEY ADAPT TO CHANGING MARKETS AND TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY OF WHAT IS AVAILABLE THROUGH DIVERSIFICATION IN SALES, THAT IS A TREND WE WILL WANT TO BUILD UP ON. I'M HOPEFUL WE WILL TRY TO EXPAND THE MODEL TO THE FAR SECTOR AND BEGIN TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN THAT REALM AS WELL.

>> THE FARMING INDUSTRY IS GOING THROUGH A TRANSITION AND GOING THROUGH MORE DIVERSIFICATION, SOME TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE COMMODITY BUSINESS. DO YOU SEE THAT WORKING ON SOME OF THE PROJECT, DO YOU SEE IT CONTINUING IN THAT DIRECTION? IS THERE A CHANCE PEOPLE CAN MAKE MONEY OFF ALL THIS?

>> THE ANSWER TO THOSE QUESTIONS IS YES, ALL OF THEM. THERE IS CONTINUED INTEREST IN GROWING AND DIVERSIFIED PROGRESS. THAT MEANS SMALLER PROJECTS BECAUSE IT IS NEAR AN URBAN AREA. IF YOU ARE GROWING VEGETABLES YOU MAY WANT TO GROW CLOSER TO AN URBAN SETTING. WE ARE SEEING IT THROUGHOUT DAIRY AGRICULTURE BECAUSE THERE IS LOTS OF DIVERSIFICATION IN DAIRY SO IT'S NOT ALL CONVENTIONAL MILK, A LOT IS ORGANIC OR OTHER RUMENANTS. THE MAPLE SYRUP INDUSTRY IS GROWING, IT'S DIVERSIFIED AGRICULTURE. YES, WE ARE SEEING MORE PROJECT, MORE DIVERSITY AND A REALLY INTERESTING SPAN, IT GIVES ME A LOT OF ENCOURAGEMENT WHEN PEOPLE START TALKING ABOUT THIS 10, 15 YEARS AGO, MANY OF US WEREN'T SO MUCH SKEPTICAL BUT WORRIED IT WOULD COME TO FRUITION WE WOULD SEE THE DIVERSIFICATION WE THOUGHT WAS NECESSARY TO MAKE OUR FARM ECONOMY MORE SUSTAINABLE AND LESS VULNERABLE, IT IS HAPPENING.

>> AND THERE ARE MORE PROJECTS TO BE DONE, SOME OF YOUR CRITICS WOULD PROBABLY SAY SLOW DOWN, YOU HAVE DONE ENOUGH, WE DON'T NEED TO CONSERVE AS MUCH LAND AND WE CAN'T DO IT ALL, WE NEED TO FOCUS ON OTHER THINGS. YOU BELIEVE IT'S ENOUGH THERE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE THAT HASN'T BEEN DONE?

>> WE ACTUALLY DID SLOW DOWN OUR CONSERVATION EFFORTS. WE JUST HELPED A GROUP IN BOLTON BUY 1100 ACRES THIS WEEK AND THAT WAS THE LARGEST ACQUISITION OF STATE LAND IN A DECADE. IF YOU COMPARE IT FROM WHERE WE WERE IN THE DEAN YEARS THERE WAS A BIG SLOW DOWN. WE HAVE CONSERVED LESS THAN 20% OF THE FARMLAND IN VERMONT. WHEN YOU ASK VERMONTERS HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF 80% OF FARMLAND WAS DEVELOPED OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS MOST WOULD SAY NO, THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING FOR THE STATE. WE HAD A PRESENTATION FROM THE MAYOR OF BARRY, THEY ARE FOCUSED ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE COMMUNITY AND IMPROVING ITS QUALITY. WE ARE ABOUT TO BREAK GROUND IN DOWNTOWN SHELLBURN ADJACENT TO THE MOTHER HOME PARK ON TWO PROJECTS. ONE WITH CATHEDRAL SQUARE THAT WILL BRING 80 UNITS OF HOUSING TO THE VILLAGE. WE CONTINUE TO SEE BIG NEEDS THERE AND THERE CONTINUES TO BE GREAT STRESSES IN THE HOUSING MARKET.

>> I WOULD ASSUME MOTH PEOPLE THINKS CHEATHAM COUNTY HAS THE LARGEST LOW COST HOUSING, ARE WE SEEING AS MUCH NEED IN BEDROOM COMMUNITIES AS OUR CITIES?

>> I THINK IF YOU ASK THE CITY THEY WOULD LIKE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, WE DO HOUSE THE POOREST OF THE POOR BUT ALSO THE WORK FORCE. WE HAD A PRESENTATION THE OTHER DAY FROM A RESIDENCE OF NORTHGATE APARTMENTS WHICH WAS THE BIG PROJECT WE HELPED PRESERVE BACK IN 1989 AND THE PERSON SPOKE AND TOLD THEIR STORY HELPING VERMONT STUDENT, THIS HELPS THE WORK FORCE AS WELL AS THE POOREST OF THE POOR.

>> ARE CITIES STRUGGLING MORE WITH THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING QUESTIONS THAN THE RURAL AREAS?

>> WE HAVE TO BE FOCUSED ON PERMANENT AFFORDABILITY WHICH INCLUDE THE NEED TO MAKE SURE THE HOUSING IS ENERGY EFFICIENT. IN RURAL AREAS WE HAVE LOTS OF SINGLE HOMES AND GROUP HOMES AND MOBILE HOME PARKS WE ARE LOOKING AT OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY THERE, SO THERE IS A REAL NEED THROUGHOUT THE STATE IN EVERY CORNER AND IN EVERY SMALL VILLAGE AND HAMLET AS WELL AS CHEATHAM COUNTY.

>> YOU MAY SEE A NEED FOR NEW UNITS AS WELL AS REHABILITATION. WE HAD UPPER FLOORS DEVELOPED AS HOUSING. THERE ARE AREAS AND WAYS TO COMBINE OUR GOALS EVEN IN OUR SMALL VILLAGES THAT MEET A NUMBER OF COMMUNITY NEED.

>> YOU MUST BE FOCUSED ON WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE JAY PROJECT. WHAT ARE YOU SHARING WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS WITH THE EXPANSION THAT IS UNFOLDING, THAT'S A BIG PROJECT AND WILL HELP MANY PEOPLE BUT WHAT ARE YOU HEARING FROM YOUR NEIGHBORS?

>> I THINK IT DIRECTLY IMPACTS WHERE WE LIVE AND I THINK PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE QUESTIONS YOU ASKED, WHERE WILL THEY LIVE? WILL THEY HAVE TO DRIVE A LONG WAY? WILL THERE BE HOUSING? ADEQUATE TRAINING? MUCH MORE TO COME ON THAT.

>> AND ARE YOU READY TO WORK WITH THE PARTNERS.

>> WE'VE BEGAN TO HAVE DISCUSSIONS ASSESSING THE NEED, PLAN FOR THAT AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE DO IS SOMETIMES DO PLANNING GRANTS AND FEASIBILITY GRANTS TO HELP PEOPLE GET READY FOR THOSE KIND OF THINGS AND THOSE SORTS OF DISCUSSIONS ARE HAPPENING AND I WOULD IMAGINE THAT WILL BE PART OF OUR WORK OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS AS WELL AS WE WILL CONTINUE TO HELP COMMUNITIES RECOVER FROM IRENE. THERE'S A BIG PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECT IN BRAT BRATTLESBORO THAT HAS FLOODED FOR FOUR TIMES.

>> THANK YOU, WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU, GUS SEELIG AND DAVE MARVIN FROM THE HOUSING AND CONSERVATION BOARD. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS YOU CAN CONTACT THE BOARD OR CONTACT US. HAVE A GOOD DAY. . CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.