More On the Natural Resources Overlay
Wildlife, clean water, forests, fields and hilltops are vital parts of Jericho’s rural character and prosperity, and are highly valued by residents. Jericho’s Conservation Commission (CC) and Planning Commission (PC) have been working together to make sure Jericho’s important natural heritage isn’t lost and that it will be here for future generations of residents. They developed updates to Jericho’s Land Use Regulations that protect Jericho’s natural resources in the form of a Natural Resources Overlay (NRO) district. The Planning and Conservation Commissions have been working with these recommendations to update the Land Use Regulations over the last year a half and has completed their review, with feedback from the community and from local and state experts. See below for information regarding the process.
In discussing the NRO, along with multiple regular Planning Commission meetings, in the spring of 2019 the Planning and Conservation Commissions hosted:
An Information Session in the cafeteria at the Jericho Elementary School on the evening of March 20. Jens Hilke, from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, shared a presentation about how Jericho has been working for many years to identify and preserve the Town's vast natural resources. He also discussed how and why they should be protected. Members of the PC and CC and town staff also briefly talked about the draft Natural Resources Overlay they are working on for the Land Use and Development Regulations. More on that below...
Local Resident, Bernie Paquette, was also there and posted pictures and information on his Jericho Blog about the evening.
Here is the PowerPoint presentation from the evening.
A Workshop on April 3 to discuss revisions to the Natural Resources Overlay District in the Land Use Regulations and hear citizens’ feedback at the Jericho Elementary School.
During this meeting the public heard a brief overview from Jens Hilke, from the VT Department of Fish and Wildlife, of the science behind the natural resource inventory gathered by ecologists in 2013-2014. Members of the Planning Commission and the Conservation Commission then presented the draft Natural Resources Overlay. The remainder of the night involved small groups looking at fictional case studies to apply the NRO standards and came up with specific comments, concerns and issues to help further refine the NRO. The PC an CC continued to refine the document based on comments received.
Bernie Paquette, was also there and posted pictures and information on his Jericho Blog about the evening. Thanks Bernie!
Held Office Hours and Site Visits in May where our Jericho neighbors signed up to meet with planning staff and members of the Conservation Commission for an assessment of the impacts of the NRO on their parcels. A site visit was offered as a follow up, where the NRO was ground truthed and mitigation measures, if any, were discussed. This was a great opportunity to discuss real concerns held by the community and understand how the NRO provides specific criteria and standards so development can occur in a way that does not permanently destroy the resource and its ecological function.
Check out the Article in the March 15 edition of the Mountain Gazette about Jericho's Natural Resources
Please see this Q&A document where we responded to the questions raised in the workshop.
To date, there have been 13 versions of the Natural Resource Overlay District. Changes have been made through the process in response to community feedback.
Following these meetings and outreach, the PC held a public hearing on the draft NRO, which also includes some other changes to the general development regulations. See below for a summary of the public hearing and related documents, below in the July 3 meeting summary.
More Information on the recent History of Natural Resource Planning:
In 2013, Jericho, Bolton, Richmond and Huntington, worked with Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife and other professionals to inventory the valuable forest resources, rare species, significant natural communities and large connected habitat blocks that exist in each community. Known as the Science to Action Project, the towns worked with state experts to create maps that show where the important natural resources are. Workshops were held, and dozens of residents discussed how natural resources affect their quality of life.
Science to Action Report
Interactive Science to Action Maps
In 2016, new natural resource maps were included in Jericho’s updated Town Plan. Using this new and better data, the Conservation Commission has offered specific recommendations to the Planning Commission about how Jericho’s zoning regulations could be updated to follow state guidelines and to do a better job of protecting the local natural heritage.
Click below to view related documents (note some of these are already referenced above with imbedded links):
Natural Resources Presentation 3/20/18
The Science to Action Report
Community Strategies for Vermont's Forests and Wildlife - A Guide for Local Action
Conserving Vermont's Natural Heritage - a Guide for Community-Based Planning
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Natural Resources Overlay District
The adopted Land Use Regulations with NRO, Section 6.7