MRVPD – April News!

Building on Tradition: Waitsfield’s Vibrant Villages

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Waitsfield Planning Commission, Town Staff, and the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD), Waitsfield’s proposed boundary for its Neighborhood Development Area was approved by the Department of Housing & Community Development on March 25th, 2024!

This landmark designation, coupled with recent strides in zoning bylaw modernization and the development of plans for a proposed municipal wastewater system, is set to streamline the introduction of new and infill housing options close to the cherished village center. It accomplishes this by reducing the time and cost of state permitting in areas within walking distance of commercial centers — whether converting a wing of a house into an apartment or developing an entirely new neighborhood. It’s a pivotal step towards smart growth, placing an emphasis on thoughtful development that enhances the village’s charm and livability. This aligns perfectly with Waitsfield’s long-term vision, as articulated in the 2023 Waitsfield Town Plan, to transform its village areas into bustling, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use hubs.

The collective undertaking between Waitsfield, MRVPD, and our engaged community stakeholders showcases a strategic, collaborative approach to community development. By leveraging state programs alongside local planning efforts, we are laying the groundwork for a sustainable, thriving future for the Mad River Valley.

2024 MRV Wellbeing Survey Announcement!

The MRVPD is excited to announce the upcoming launch of the 2024 MRV Wellbeing Survey. The survey is expected to launch around late April to early May and will help us better understand what community needs are, or are not, being met. This initiative seeks to gather qualitative insights, enriching MRV planning efforts in a manner that complements the quantitative data presented in the MRV Annual Data Report. Through this project, we aim to foster a more comprehensive understanding of our community’s well-being.

Now in its third year, the MRV Wellbeing Survey is meant to provide our community with a deeper understanding of how the MRV’s people, environment, and local economy are doing. The survey is part of a broader project to make community-level data more relevant, accessible, and usable (the “MRV Community Dashboard”); by asking residents directly how they’re doing, the survey can fill in some of the gaps and provide new information that complements traditional metrics. The result is an unprecedented community resource that strengthens community capital, resilience and transparency by providing insight on more subjective topics such as “social connectedness,” “education & culture,” and “material wellbeing,” which we know to be critical to individual and community health but are not (and generally cannot be) measured through traditional data sources.

Reflecting on 2022’s survey, we had a significant turnout with 500 responses, capturing about 10% of our population across Warren, Waitsfield, and Fayston. This initial effort provided us with valuable baseline data, and now, we’re setting our sights on increasing both the volume and diversity of responses. Achieving this goal is crucial for us to accurately gauge community wellbeing and, consequently, to enhance our service to the MRV community.

Keep your eye out for more info, and feel free to reach out to Sam Robinson ([email protected]), MRVPD’s Community Planner, if you have any thoughts or questions!