VHCB Awards $1.9 Million to Build Housing, to Conserve Farmland and Protect Forestland and Water Quality 

Press Release
March 26, 2019
Contact: Gus Seelig –
gus [at] vhcb.org 828-3250; Jen Hollar – jennifer [at] vhcb.org 793-7346

VHCB Awards $1.9 Million to Build Housing, to Conserve Farmland and Protect Forestland and Water Quality 

At a meeting on March 15, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $731,500 in VHCB funding, $127,500 in federal funds, and $1,130,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funds for the development of 24 new homes in St. Albans, pre-development work on a neighborhood revitalization project in Windsor, and a pilot program to support the development of accessory apartments in Burlington. Additionally, 250 acres of farmland will be conserved in Orange and Chittenden Counties, and 287 acres of forestland in Dummerston with public access for hunting and walking will be conserved.

Gus Seelig, VHCB Executive Director, said, “With these awards, the Board is supporting community based groups around the state that are working to improve and increase housing opportunities and to conserve land for agricultural use, to protect forestland and preserve wildlife habitat and water quality, and to provide public access for recreational uses.”

Illustration of housing
 Lincoln Brown illustration of Congress & Main Housing to be built in St. Albans

St. Albans – On Maiden Lane, the Champlain Housing Trust will partner with a private developer, using $975,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funds to construct 24 new apartments serving moderate-income households.

The City of St. Albans is leading this major downtown redevelopment effort and will demolish four substandard buildings, perform environmental cleanup, and provide the site with a garage and foundation. In January, VHCB awarded funding for an adjacent development that will revitalize Maiden Lane with 30 new homes affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Residents will be relocated during construction. In addition to the two housing developments, the site will include underground parking and commercial space for retail and restaurants, classrooms for the Community College of Vermont, and office space for the Northwestern Vermont Medical Center.

City Manager Dominic Cloud said, “We are thrilled to start on this work which will transform the center of our downtown. We appreciate VHCB’s support as we replace substandard housing with high quality, new housing affordable to households at a range of incomes.“

Windsor – The Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT) will use $40,000 to develop a plan that will build upon the work spearheaded by the Windsor Improvement Corp. (WIC) to revitalize the historic Jarvis Street neighborhood, improving homes and raising them out of the flood plain. Elements of the plan would include working with the town and WIC on streetscape and sidewalk improvements, reconfiguring traffic patterns, and adding a boat ramp at the end of the street. The planning process will explore the feasibility of a scalable model of revitalizing the neighborhood, which consists of 24 single-family homes adjacent to the Connecticut River, and raising the homes above the flood plain. Financing strategies to support the rehabilitation of current owner occupied homes in the neighborhood will be developed as well as an acquisition-rehab-resale strategy for homes currently owned by investors. The funding award will be used for architectural and engineering studies, a market study which includes community engagement, and the development of marketing materials for the homes.

Burlington – HomeShare Vermont will work with the City of Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO), using $75,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funds on a 3-year pilot program to develop standard designs for one-bedroom or efficiency apartments, either as separate buildings or additions to existing single family homes, to serve low-income and senior housing needs. Together, HomeShare and CEDO will develop an outreach and educational campaign, pursue policy changes to fa­­cilitate development of accessory apartments, provide technical assistance to homeowners, and perform marketing, screening, and matching of prospective tenants with the homeowners. The program is modeled after a successful effort in Brattleboro.  

Farmland Conservation – In Williamstown and South Burlington, the Vermont Land Trust will use $416,000 in VHCB funding and $127,500 in federal funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect 250 acres of farmland on two farms. Water quality protections will be incorporated in the conservation easements, establishing riparian buffers along stream banks and a wetland protection zone.

  • The Bread & Butter Farm in South Burlington will purchase 191 acres of conserved farmland to expand their existing, diversified operation which includes a farm store, café, CSA, livestock, and educational offerings. The farm currently has four full time employees and 12 seasonal employees.
  • In Sheldon, the Vermont Land Trust will purchase an additional legal restriction—an option to purchase at agricultural value—on a previously conserved farm using $130,000 in VHCB funding. The transaction will assist with the transfer of this dairy farm to the next generation and help maintain the farm’s affordability to farmers in the future. 

Dummerston – With $150,000 in VHCB funding, the Green Mountain Conservancy will work with the Vermont Land Trust to acquire and conserve 287 acres of forestland to protect a critical wildlife corridor, preserve biodiversity, support resilience against climate change, and protect water quality. The Deer Run Nature Preserve is located at the southern end of the 16-mile Putney Mountain ridge. Conservation will protect the habitat of over 60 bird species, important wildlife habitat, and preserve permanent public access for hunting and walking. Water resources include three miles of tributaries of the West River, 1.4 acres of wetlands, and vernal pools that provide critical breeding habitat for a number of species. The Green Mountain Conservancy will develop public footpaths on the property that will be accessed from a parking area and kiosk on Camp Arden Road.  A second phase of the project is envisioned to protect an additional 636 acres of forestland and over three miles of West River frontage.   

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The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board supports the creation and preservation of affordable housing and the conservation of agricultural and recreational land, forestland, and historic properties with public use.