Communication / Collaboration with community engagement and input:
Connecting with community members in rural VT can be challenging, however public input is vital to the democratic process. We would like to reach out to stakeholders using a variety of approaches, such as public round tables and community building events to cultivate a culture of communication and trust between local officials and the public. This includes listening to the voices of young people in Pawlet, who have the strongest stake in our future. Through community collaboration, respectful treatment of one and other and thoughtful decision making we can work together to solve the complex issues that come with living in rural Vermont. Together we can create a roadmap in envisioning Pawlet.
West Pawlet currently has vacant homes while at the same time, finding access to affordable housing is a barrier to families interested in making Pawlet their home. Tapping into resources such as grants and tax incentives at the state level we hope to create a neighborhood development plan that includes access to affordable housing. We will also encourage the Planning Commission to take up simple zoning adjustments that can help alleviate the rental housing shortage.
Broadband access for all residents:
Access to high speed internet in every household is necessary to gain equitable access to educational opportunities, for local businesses to compete in our economy, and in the time of Covid, to access medical appointments as well as participate in our local government. We plan to continue to support the town of Pawlet’s long term plan which involves working with the Otter Creek Communications Union District to bring fiber connections to places that commercial carriers overlook.
Building an inclusive community:
Representation matters and we envision a community where individuals feel safe and welcomed regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, differently abled or socioeconomic class. A diverse collection of people brings a diverse collection of ideas. We also hope to ensure our town’s services and places of public accommodation are equally accessible to everybody, and to remove barriers so that those needing support can access the resources which are available to them.
Make both villages safer/ more pedestrian friendly:
A scoping study is currently underway to come up with concrete plans for how to make the dangerous intersection of Hwy 30, Hwy 133, and School Street safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. We hope to pursue a grant, in the future, for a similar study in West Pawlet. In the mean time, installing a few public benches in strategic spots could improve the pedestrian experience, especially in West Pawlet because of the Rail Trail.
Preservation of our natural beauty:
The flooding brought by Hurricane Irene, and other flood events in the last few years, showed us how fragile our watersheds are, and how climate change is already affecting our town. We will continue to work with the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District to preserve the Flower Book watershed. Promoting renewable energy use and weatherization (and the associated rebates and incentives) is another important step. So is making sure our zoning regulations first, encourage the sort of development that suits our beautiful rural and agricultural landscape, and second, are enforced.