Local residents, including high school students, interested in getting involved with town government have several opportunities with vacancies on the planning commission and the natural resources and conservation committee.
The seven-member planning commission has two regular positions to fill as well as a non-voting spot for a student, typically a high schooler.
Commission Chair Jason Grignon said experience with planning and zoning issues is helpful but it’s most important for applicants to have an interest in “participating in the discussions that help shape the town’s direction.”
The planning commission meets on the second and fourth Thursday each month at 7 p.m. Both vacancies would fill unexpired time on terms with one ending in spring 2021 and the other in 2022, according to town Planning and Zoning Director Dean Pierce.
The commission last year spent much of its time updating the Town Plan which guides town growth and future regulatory updates, Gringon said.
The group next is looking at drafting proposed amendments to part of the zoning ordinance that affects development along the Route 7 corridor. It also anticipates working with the selectboard and other boards, commissions and groups to prioritize and implement the recommendations in the new plan, Gringon added.
Another opportunity for volunteers, Gringon noted, is new informal Energy Group. Its creation came out of the Town Plan update process and it will focus on energy efficiency, conservation and generation efforts, he said. That group meets monthly on the first Wednesday.
The nine-member Natural Resources Committee has one regular position to fill as well as an opening for a student member, Albert said. The committee meets monthly on the second Wednesday. The regular member’s term would end in April 2022, Pierce said.
A key role for the committee is to look at development proposals headed to town regulatory bodies to offer feedback regarding natural resources protection.
The committee also works with landowners and the town regarding properties that may be opportunities for land conservation and it recommends adding to a town land conservation fund each year to help pay for protecting land often with the help of local and state land trust organizations, Albert said.
Some committee members have interests or training in conservation issues, while others learn from their experience, Albert said.
All of the student positions are non-voting and run for one year. They allow young people opportunities to get firsthand experience with local government, Gringon said. Additionally, Pierce said there is a student opening on the bike and pedestrian paths committee.
Those interested in any spot are encouraged to talk with committee chairs or Pierce. Applications should be made to Town Manager Lee Krohn. Appointments to committees, boards and commissions are made by the selectboard.