T he Hampton planning board is in the early stages of creating a road map for the future development of farming in the community.
The plan would be a resource that current and prospective farmers could use as they look to establish or expand their operations.
“Because you have Green Mountain College doing so much with farming and have so many young people who want to farm, and you have so much open land, Hampton is a perfect place for this,” said Bonnie Hawley, chairperson of the planning board.
When complete, it would serve as a sort of master plan and guide decision-making in regards to development in the community.
“It’s something that tells the town what we would like to do,” said Hawley. “It would make sure that the town’s decisions fit what its people want.”
The plan is an outgrowth of a nearly two-year effort by the planning board to create a comprehensive plan for the town.
In August 2010, the board sent out a survey to property owners within the town asking them to rate the importance of different aspects of life in Hampton.
Hawley said most responders were in favor of maintaining the rural and agricultural character of the community and balancing that with some light economic development.
In November of last year, the board began developing and outlining five- and 10-year goals that will be incorporated into the plan.
Last month the board met with Darlene Devoe, an advisor who has worked with communities to develop master plans. She provided suggestions as to how the board should proceed and highlighted resources it could use as they continue.
Hawley said Devoe will meet with the board again this month and present a more formal proposal.
“We need to find someone like Darlene or whomever, to help us focus and get started in a direction and then we can continue on our own,” she said.
Granville a model
Members are modeling the plan after Granville’s, which officials completed last year.
The board has already compiled demographic information from the 2010 census as well as a history of the community. It also has gotten several maps from Washington County that document some of the town’s geographical characteristics and natural resources.
For instance the board has a map that indicates the different types of soil in the area, which could be used by farmers to determine a suitable use for a specific area.
Members plan to take a full inventory of what agriculture is already in the community, which would be included in the plan as well.
Hawley said the next step will be determining a clear direction to follow and then the board can begin collecting information and putting it together. It’s expected the process will take at least another year to complete.
The planning board will continue work on the plan at its next meeting, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25.