On October 12th the Northwest Hills Council of Governments adopted a new Regional Plan of Conservation and Development. The Plan focuses on strategic actions that the Council of Governments can take along with its 21 member municipalities and other regional partner organizations to move the region forward in meeting its land use goals over the next ten years.
Based on survey results and feedback from 1,382 regional residents, 586 high school students, input from the planning and zoning commissions in the 21 member towns, and six focus group sessions, the Plan focuses on six regional goals:
- Attract and retain young residents
- Protect water quality and natural resources
- Support farm businesses and protect farmland
- Strengthen our town centers and Main Streets
- Meet the needs of our older adult residents and
- Continue to foster regional collaboration and resource sharing.
The Plan also contains three advisory regional policy maps and a Regional Recreational Trail Network Map. The Conservation Policy Maps show drinking water watersheds, riparian buffers, wetland soils, large contiguous forest habitats and prime farmland soils. The Sustainable Growth Policy Map shows areas that have access to public water, sewer, and/or public transportation as well as each town’s village/town center area.
The actions detailed in the Plan will guide the COG’s workplan and spur further collaboration with the region’s municipalities as well as its local and regional conservation, housing, and economic development organizations. The COG will be publishing an on-line toolkit that will assist its municipalities and partner organizations with implementing the Plan’s strategies.