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Erving Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan is Available for Review and Comment

The Town of Erving’s draft Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Resiliency Plan is available for public review and comment. Click here to read the MVP Plan and/or attend the Erving MVP public meeting, held in conjunction with the Erving Select Board meeting on March 25th at 6:35 pm at Erving Town Hall.  Public comments will be accepted during the meeting as well as during a public comment period from March 18th through April 1st. You may hand in your comments at the public meeting or submit them online at www.erving-ma.gov/emergency-management/pages/municipal-vulnerability-preparedness.

You may also mail comments to:

Franklin Regional Council of Governments
12 Olive Street, Suite 2
Greenfield, MA 01301
Attention: Evan Abramson

A Framework for Resilience: Responding to Climate Change in the Deerfield River Watershed report just released

A Framework for Resilience is the first watershed-based climate change resiliency plan in the Commonwealth.  The Deerfield River Watershed includes all or a portion of fourteen Franklin County towns: Ashfield, Buckland, Bernardston, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne.    A watershed can provide a framework for understanding the interconnectedness of natural systems and the built environment as well as how climate change stressors can affect several towns simultaneously.  FRCOG’s report provides the 14 towns of the Deerfield River Watershed with information about how the climate change stressors – Changes in Precipitation, Rising Temperatures and Extreme Weather – will likely impact three important sectors – Natural Resources & Habitat, Human Health & Welfare, and Local Economy & Infrastructure.  The recommendations described in FRCOG’s Plan were designed to be:

  • Achievable (within the power of towns and individuals to implement);
  • Address multiple climate stressors and benefit multiple sectors; and
  • Build resiliency at multiple scales (property, town, and watershed).

The reality of private land holdings and fourteen town boundaries in the Deerfield River Watershed require watershed-scale approaches to climate resiliency.  Working in partnership with their watershed neighbors, towns can build a coalition of resilience that improves not only the climate resiliency of each watershed town, but over time, creates a more resilient Deerfield River Watershed.  FRCOG will be reaching out to stakeholders and convening a Resilient Deerfield River Watershed (Resilient DRW) coalition to work across town boundaries to build resiliency at the watershed scale. This project was completed with grant funding received from the Baker-Polito administration’s FY17 Community Compact Program’s Efficiency & Regionalization Grant Program.

DRW Framework for Resilience

 

Short Term Rental Law Materials for Towns

On March 7, FRCOG hosted a session by Atty Kelli Gunagan of the Municipal Law Division of the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Participants included boards of health, select boards, planning boards, building inspectors, and town administrators. Many municipal boards and departments have things to consider in response to the changes in the new law, from local taxation to zoning, registration, health inspection and more. Below are materials from the workshop for those who were unable to attend, or want digital copies:

Overviews:

Information on local option taxes and community impact fees:

Information on local bylaws and zoning changes:

Other Materials provided at the 3/7 workshop:

 

 

 

Public Review of the Draft Massachusetts State Bicycle Plan until January 31, 2019

The Massachusetts State Bicycle Plan is currently out for public review and is accepting comments until January 31, 2019.  Please visit the MassDOT website for further information and links to the full version of the Plan.

MassDOT is focused on making the Commonwealth’s transportation system more sustainable – to make it safe for people to choose to walk, bike, and take transit for more of their daily trips.  The Plan is important because residents, members of the business community and visitors choose to use a bicycle for daily trips, choosing bike to work, to school, to run errands, for recreation or to reach transit locations.

The Draft Plan defines a vision for Massachusetts in which all people have a safe and comfortable cycling option for short trips.  The goal is to have a plan which presents an action-oriented strategy which will lead to increased use of trails for short trips made by bicycling.  Travel on designated bike and pedestrian thoroughfares will also lead to safer conditions, helping to prevent injuries and fatalities.  The draft plan goes into further detail about the state of biking today.

In addition to the Plan, a companion document was created, called the Municipal Resource Guide for Bikeability, in recognition of the important role local cities and towns play. The purpose of the guide is to support cities and towns in their efforts to improve bikeability as the vast majority of roadways and shared use paths statewide are under local ownership. A draft guide was released in November of 2018 and an updated version will be published with the final Bicycle Plan early next year.

For more information on the Bicycle Plan and to provide feedback: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/bicycle-plan.

Notice of Public Comment regarding Transportation Enhancements Funding

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) intends to use a portion of Transportation Enhancements funding originally approved in the 2009 Transportation Improvement Program for the Mohawk Trail and the Connecticut River Scenic Byway, on the Route 112 Scenic Byway instead.  The funding will be used for land protection as originally intended. This notice invites all interested parties who wish to comment on this change to submit them to the FRCOG during the public comment period running from December 21, 2018 to January 14, 2019.  For further information, or to submit comments, please contact the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, located at 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield, MA, by calling (413) 774-3167 ext. 125, or emailing giannini@frcog.org.

CPHS Health District Celebrates 6th Birthday

Members of the Boards of Health and Select Boards in the Cooperative Public Health Service health district’s eleven member towns gathered on November 29th to celebrate their sixth year of collaborating to provide high quality public health protections to residents. We were also joined by state Department of Public Health Office of Rural Health and Office of Local and Regional Health staff and a member of the Mohawk Trail Regional school staff!  After dinner, speakers addressed a health topic of great concern to our region: adolescent health, especially as regards vaping and marijuana, and what local actions towns can take to protect youth.  You can review the presentations here:

Staff also reviewed highlights of the past year. and our Public Health Nurse, Lisa White, received an award from the organizers of National Rural Health Day for being a Rural Health Community Star!

CPHS Public Health Nurse Lisa White receives her National Rural Health Day Community Star award from a member of the state nominating committee, Kirby Lecy.

 

Birthday cake featuring frosting septic system, food inspection equipment, ticks, and Lisa’s award! From Baked in Shelburne.

Group photo with our district birthday cake, an annual tradition!

 

Reports of High Risk Stream Crossings in the Deerfield River Watershed are now available.

Reports of High Risk Stream Crossings in the Deerfield River Watershed are now available. The information in the reports and maps is from a pilot project completed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) that assessed the vulnerability of road-stream crossings to precipitation events. FRCOG planning staff compiled this information for each Franklin County town within the watershed as part of the FY18 Franklin Region Unified Planning Work Program. The purpose of the maps and reports are to help municipal officials and public works staff prioritize bridge and culvert upgrades in their town. The reports also provide information on how to make road-stream upgrades more resilient to current and projected precipitation conditions, and lists potential funding sources for upgrading crossings. The town reports are available here.

New Labor Market Blueprint

As a member of the Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Core Team, FRCOG is partnering with the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board and others to implement strategies of the Pioneer Valley Labor Market Blueprint. The Blueprint was developed to better align the work of economic development, workforce and education partners for the purpose of creating strong talent pipelines for our three-county region.