The Vermont Downtown Development Board today announced that the City of Montpelier has been awarded Growth Center Designation. In action taken Monday by the Vermont Downtown Development Board, the designation comes after several months of discussion between Montpelier, the Downtown Board and its advisory group. Growth Centers were enabled by the legislature in 2005 to encourage communities to plan for denser and mixed use development in areas surrounding the state s downtowns and village centers. I am very pleased that Montpelier has received this designation, which will help support the City in its planning efforts, Governor Jim Douglas. This is why I signed the Growth Center bill, to encourage communities to create more compact and dense mixed use development in appropriate areas.Montpelier s Growth Center is located in the area surrounding and including the City s Designated Downtown. Designated Growth Centers have several important benefits that help support increased development. Of particular importance is that housing and mixed use projects that include an affordable housing component may not need Act 250 review. In addition, the City may also more easily meet the requirements for a Tax Increment Financing District, which would allow it to access state funding to support investment in water, wastewater and transportation in the district.To gain this designation the Town had to show the Downtown Board that it had met state standards including:The Growth Center meets the statutory definition, is included in the Town Plan and is implemented in the Town s bylaws;The Town has or has planned for the roads, water and wastewater systems, and other infrastructure necessary to support the planned growth;The Growth Center be adjacent to an existing Designated Downtown or Village Center, and that the Growth Center support such areas;It protect natural and historic resources both within and outside the growth center;It be designed to accommodate a majority of growth anticipated by the municipality over the next twenty years; andIt include a mix of uses, including affordable housing. This is very consistent with the Governor s promotion of growth in these targeted areas, and with the legislature s Growth Center bill passed in 2005, said Kevin Dorn, Chairman of the Downtown Board and Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. At the same time, we will be reducing development pressures on important natural resource lands outside the designated areas.Several other communities are working toward Growth Center Designation, including Hartford and St. Albans City.For more information about the Growth Centers Program, please visit: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/GrowthCenters.htm(link is external).Source: State of Vermont.