Irasburg to hold town plan hearing March 21

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IRASBURG — The Irasburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed town plan at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Irasburg Town Hall.

It will be the first of two hearings to consider adoption of the plan, entitled “Common Ground.”

The Irasburg Selectboard will hold a second hearing in April prior to a Selectboard vote on adoption of the plan.

Back in October of 2015, 421 Irasburg voters petitioned the Selectboard “to develop a town plan that protects all of Irasburg’s ridgeline from industrial wind development.”

Following the petition, the Irasburg Selectboard appointed a five-member Planning Commission charged with writing a town plan to respond to the voters’ mandate.

In Spring 2016, the Planning Commission conducted a survey of Irasburg citizens to ascertain their views and values on a range of issues from preserving Irasburg’s historic village center, promoting agriculture and forestry, to improving telecommunications.

A series of open meetings and frequent consultation with the Selectboard provided ongoing opportunities for input into the planning process.

“The Planning Commission heard many different voices and perspectives as we developed the plan,” said Planning Commission Chair Michael Sanville. “Irasburg voters, the Selectboard, the regional planning commission, the state legislature and state agencies, environmentalists, developers, educators, property owners, neighboring towns—not all of them agreed, but we listened to all of them. Writing a plan that balances all of these different interests is a challenge. Our goal was finding common ground.”

Early in its work, the Commission adopted three basic principles to guide the planning process.

“We developed the Irasburg town plan in accord with the principles of respect for the environment, sound economics, and regard for community values,” said Lori Royer, an Irasburg farmer and member of the Commission. “Every chapter of the town plan is based on these principles.”

Planning Commission member Molly Veysey, director of Orleans County’s Old Stone House Museum and coordinator of the Leach Public Library’s After-School Enrichment Program, noted that adopting a town plan will have many benefits for Irasburg.

“A town plan gives Irasburg standing in state hearings and regulatory proceedings,” Veysey said. “It will allow Irasburg to apply for state, local and foundation grants, and it sets forth a vision for Irasburg’s future based on citizens’ expressed values.”

The Planning Commission is encouraging citizens to review the draft town plan on the Leach Library website at https://www.leachpubliclibrary.org/town-plan-2019.html.

Printed copies are available for review at the Town Clerk’s Office and in the library.

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