Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD)
10/01/18 6:00 PM
Grants ranging from $2,500 to $22,000 to Vermont municipalities and grants of up to $35,000 to municipal consortia for community planning, development, and revitalization activities. The purpose of this program is to promote the state’s land use goal of maintaining compact urban settlements separated by rural lands.
The Municipal Planning Grant (MPG) Program funds a wide range of municipal planning projects as allowed by 24 V.S.A. §4306 (b) and (c). Projects that promote Vermont’s historic settlement pattern will be given priority.
Grant funds are regionally apportioned, based on the percentage of municipalities with confirmed planning processes within each of Vermont’s 11 regional planning commission (RPC) regions. Eligible municipalities compete within their region for grant funding. Funding decisions are made by the DHCD Commissioner, based on the competitive criteria. Low scoring applications will not be funded.
The Municipal Planning Grant Program supports a wide range of projects relating to planning and land use, and promotes cooperation, collaboration and the exchange of ideas. Eligible projects must have a clear connection to planning and implementation of the municipal plan and will be reviewed for conformance with the Regional Plan.
Funds may be used to:
-Underwrite expenses for public meetings and hearings, informational workshops citizen surveys, outreach, and notification costs
-Support research, data collection, capacity studies, inventories, and mapping
-Pay consultants, interns, regional planning commission staff, or legal fees associated with the project
-Purchase development rights, easements, and titles of properties for housing and conservation purposes identified in the municipal plan
-Purchase materials needed to produce a plan, bylaw, or implement or administer the project -- like writing supplies, maps and copies
-Conduct other non-prohibited activities
Projects further the following priorities:
a. Housing. Bylaws or infrastructure projects that increase housing options in compact, walkable and mixed-use neighborhoods. For example, this could be a project that prepares the community for a Neighborhood Development Area designation.
b. Infrastructure. Planning (master, capital, general) and design for public infrastructure in State designated areas.
c. Vibrant Centers. Specific-area master planning in State designated downtowns and villages.
d. Active Transportation/Recreation. Planning for walk/bike connections linking State designated centers to regional networks and/or local recreation amenities.
e. “Placemaking”. Planning or implementation for revitalizing and programming public places in State designated centers.
f. Water-Related Bylaws. Municipal bylaws that implement State basin plans, municipal plans, stormwater master plans, river corridor protection, and/or green stormwater infrastructure and promote improved water quality and flood resilience.
g. Planning for Village Wastewater. Activities to support wastewater solutions in designated villages to supplement other funding programs, or if other funding is not available. Applicants must consult with MPG staff before applying for a wastewater project.
h. Potential to Serve as a Statewide Model. The project outcomes or products are likely to benefit other municipalities and can serve as an example or template for similar communities statewide.
Bonus Points for State Designated Areas:
Projects are in or related to the following designations will receive bonus points:
c. Neighborhood Development Area/New Town Center/Growth Center
d. Plan and bylaw amendments to prepare for a new Downtown, New Town Center, Neighborhood Development Area, or Growth Center designation application after consultation with DHCD
Other Competitive Factors:
When application scores are tied and only one can be selected for funding, preference will be given to the municipality without a recent Municipal Planning Grant, or for the plan/bylaw that is most out-of-date. Otherwise these factors will not influence ranking of applications.
GrantWatch ID#: 174774
Municipalities may apply for any dollar amount between $2,500 and $22,000.
Consortia application grant awards are capped at $35,000.
MPG projects must be completed within 18 months.
Projects must be completed and all funds spent by May 31, 2020.
Municipalities with large, multi-year projects are encouraged to separate projects into related, stand-alone phases that produce a defined product upon completion and then apply for another phase each year. However, because funds are allocated competitively each year, MPG support for subsequent phases cannot be guaranteed.
Who May Apply:
Municipalities with a local planning process that has been confirmed by September 30, 2018, are eligible to apply for grants. To be confirmed, an adopted plan must be approved by a regional planning commission and the municipality must maintain efforts to provide local funds for municipal and regional planning purposes as required by 24 V.S.A. §4350.
Municipalities without a confirmed local planning process may apply for funding but only to create a municipal plan approvable by the RPC. They must also have voted to provide local funds for municipal and regional planning purposes. Grant proposals from municipalities that have received RPC recommendations to bring their plan into compliance with statewide requirements must address the changes identified by the RPC.
Municipal organizations other than the planning commission (such as the conservation commission) may apply for a grant, but only with prior approval of their town’s planning commission and legislative body. Each municipality may submit only one application per year.
Municipalities may not receive funding if they are (a) suspended or debarred by the Federal Government; (b) delinquent in submitting their subrecipient annual reports; or (c) delinquent in submitting their Single Audit Reports (if required).
Two or more municipalities may apply jointly for a consortium application. Applications must address a shared issue and identify a lead municipality for financial administration of the project. The RPC may serve as grant administrator for consortia (see consultant selection below). All municipalities in a consortium must have a confirmed local planning process by September 30, 2018. No member of a consortium may apply for an individual MPG the same year.
Definition of Municipality:
For the purposes of the Municipal Planning Grant Program a municipality is defined by 24 V.S.A §4303(12). Under this definition an incorporated village is not considered a separate municipality unless the village adopts its own plan and one or more bylaws either before, concurrently with, or subsequent to such action by the town.
Funds may not be used to:
-Support political activities
-Support projects incompatible with the Regional Plan
-Pay regional planning commission dues
-Reimburse expenses incurred before the grant is awarded
-Subsidize tax mapping (see Mapping Requirements below)
-Pay planning commissioners, select board members, or municipal staff
-Capitalize a “reserve” fund for use beyond the grant period
-Purchase computer hardware, software licenses or subscriptions, or other equipment not related to a specific grant funded planning event
-Pay for the cost of administering the MPG grant such as municipal or regional staff time for documenting grant expenditures and submitting the progress report and close-out
-Support plans, bylaws and policies that violate the State or Federal Fair Housing Act. Fair Housing Training is available to all grantees and is encouraged for projects which relate to housing and/or revisions to zoning bylaws.
Application Training - sign up for a GoToWebinar training on using the system and preparing a competitive MPG application on Wednesday, August 8 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm. Contact Jenni Lavoie for more information and to register. Space is limited.
There is a minimum cash match requirement of 10% for all applicants. Projects with match amounts greater than 10% receive additional points in the competitive criteria.
Any source of cash match funds may be used: federal, other state grants, municipal, private, or nonprofit. In-kind contributions or contribution of staff or others’ time cannot be offered as a match. Documentation of match funds is required at the close-out of the grant. If a project is completed with less than the total project cost expended, the match funds required will be reduced proportionately.
-RPC Confirmation of Municipal Planning Process: September 30, 2018
-Application Deadline: October 1, 2018 @ 6:00 p.m.
-Award Decisions: Early December 2018
-Mid-Project Report Due: August 31, 2019
-Project Completion and All Funds Spent: May 31, 2020
-Final Report and Products Submitted: June 30, 2020
Up to 30% of the award is made on a reimbursement basis.
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Jenni Lavoie, Administrative Services Coordinator