What is Our Town, Our Future?
Our Town, Our Future is a community planning process designed to help people who live, work and play in Richmond choose the future they want for the community. In 2015 and 2016, Richmond’s Town Plan Committee and Planning Commission will host a series of activities and events designed to:
- Gather broad public input about Richmond
- Build a vision for our future, looking 20 years ahead
- Make choices and define strategies for Richmond's land use, economic development, environment and community
- Lead to a new community-supported Town Plan
- Build community and momentum for taking action
What will be happening and when?
The Our Town, Our Future process will include several distinct phases and many activities and opportunities to participate. Read more about the Timeline >
- Summer & Fall 2015: Community visioning & engagement activities
- Winter 2015 & Spring 2016: Community forums & workshops
- Summer 2016: Plan drafting & review
Who are you? Who’s organizing this process?
The all-volunteer Town Plan Steering Committee is organizing the Our Town, Our Future process to encourage extensive community participation in Richmond's town planning process. The input will be used by the Committee and the Planning Commission to update Richmond’s Town Plan. More than 20 community members and leaders are volunteering with this project, representing a wide range of Richmond’s neighborhoods, interests and demographics. It will include many local residents, stakeholders, businesses and organizations. Read more about the Team >
- The Planning Commission is assisting with and supporting this process and the Selectboard has endorsed this process
- Richmond’s Town Planner, Clare Rock, and town staff in the Planning & Zoning Department are coordinating the project
- Community Workshop LLC, a small Vermont consulting firm, is helping us to plan community engagement activities and facilitate events
- This process is funded by a Municipal Planning Grant from the Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development
How does this impact me?
This process and Richmond’s new town plan will impact everyone who lives, works and plays in Richmond. We will be drafting a 20-year vision for Richmond, which will help to prioritize decisions and articulate the future we want for our town. That will lead to a new Town Plan, which will guide everything from development decisions to investments in infrastructure, municipal services and recreation offerings, strategies for economic development and conservation and more. Your participation is essential to making sure the final plan reflects the vision and priorities YOU have for YOUR town.
Will my input really matter?
Yes. We are committed to running a process where everyone’s ideas matter and everyone has a chance to be heard. Likewise, community members should openly and respectfully listen to each other’s ideas. We’ll offer a wide range of opportunities for people to share input. We can’t guarantee that the final plan will align perfectly with your ideas and opinions, but we can guarantee that your input matters. We’ll work to create a final plan that balances everyone’s priorities and needs.
What will come out of this process?
The primary products will be a community vision and a new Town Plan, which we hope will be adopted by the community in spring 2016. In addition, there are numerous other potential impacts and outcomes:
- We will relay all ideas and concerns to town departments, local organizations, and volunteers (maybe you!) who can do something about it. We can’t do everything at once, but we’ll do our best to take on the community’s top priorities.
- The process of bringing the community together to talk about Richmond’s future can build relationships and increase communication. We hope this will improve our future planning processes and increase community involvement.
What is a community vision and why do we need it?
Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” That’s true for communities too. A community vision is a broad-based statement about what we want and imagine for Richmond’s future. It focuses on assets and positive qualities that we want to see or create, and gives us a target to shoot for. It is not a law or policy itself, but it can directly inform decisions about policies and strategies and it helps us prioritize actions and choices. Developing a vision can bring the community together and find areas of consensus or common ground.
What is the Town Plan and why do we need it?
A Town Plan is a roadmap for the future. Once we agree on a vision, or what we want for Richmond’s future, the Town Plan tells us how to get there. It includes sections on different aspects of the community – like economic development, land use, conservation and natural resources, and social services. It lays out concrete strategies and timelines for getting there and assigns responsibilities. By state law, town plans must be reviewed, revised and re-adopted every five years. Check out the Town Plan and other planning documents >
How is this different than past planning efforts?
Our current Town Plan was re-adopted in 2012, based on the 2007 plan, and informed by 2000 Census data. We have not developed a new, comprehensive strategy to guide Richmond’s future in close to 20 years and our current plan is now based on outdated information. Richmond has never had a community vision, and this is the first time in nearly 20 years that we’ve had a broad community engagement process that brings community members together to talk about what they want for Richmond’s future.
Our most recent planning efforts– flood hazard regulations and zoning changes, for example – involved decisions about only one aspect of the community and did not include broad outreach efforts to involve community members. By involving the whole community in this process, we will ensure that the final vision and plan reflect the full range of opinions of people who live, work and play in Richmond.
How can I learn more and get news about the project?
- Explore our website
- Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @richmondvtfuture
- Stop into the Planning & Zoning office and check out Town Center project wall
- Come to a Town Plan Committee meeting, 2nd & 4th Weds, 5:30 PM
How can I get involved?
Here are some of the ways you can get involved. Do you have other ideas?
- Take the vision survey (on paper or online)
- Write your thoughts on the roving chalkboard wall, or host it at your site
- Share your feedback via text message, Facebook & Instagram
- Visit us at a booth at farmers markets, sports games & other events around town
- Come to the Our Town, Our Future 4th of July parade, booth and activities
- Host or participate in a community conversation
- Come to the September visioning forum & community celebration or fall community workshops on critical topics for Richmond’s future
- Review and provide feedback on the draft plan
- Volunteer with Our Town, Our Future activities or outreach
- Help with community improvement projects identified through this process
- Spread the word to your friends & neighbors, hang posters in your business, etc.