This page describes a sampling of the many different projects North Country Council is currently involved in or has recently completed.

New Hampshire Broadband Mapping and Planning Program

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded the University of New Hampshire (UNH) approximately $1.2 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in New Hampshire. The program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning. The data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers’ efforts and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them. UNH has partnered with New Hampshire’s nine regional planning commissions including North Country Council (NCC) to assist in the collection of broadband data and development of regional broadband plans. Information gathered from the mapping program will be a key part in the development of the regional broadband plans. The regional broadband plans will serve as guidance documents for communities, policy makers, businesses, institutions, and residents to better understand the availability and need for and utility of broadband now and into the future. All nine plans are to be compiled into a statewide broadband planning document by the NH OEP.

 

North Country Council has completed the draft Broadband Report for the region. A series of public meetings will be held around the region to gather input on the draft before it is formally adopted as part of the North Country Regional Plan. Check our home page for dates and locations. Contact Geoff Sewake at gsewake@nccouncil.org for additional information or to receive a paper copy of the draft.

 

Community Planning

Guided by public meetings and a community survey, North Country Council staff helped the Sugar Hill Planning Board draft that community’s new Master Plan. A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 6 PM at the town office. Download the draft plan here. 

The Carroll Planning Board Master Plan Subcommittee is in the early stages of their Master Plan update. North Country Council staff facilitated a visioning session and developed a community survey to obtain resident and landowner input on a variety of questions. Download the survey results and associated presentationhere.The Conservation Commission is participating in developing recommendations regarding the town’s natural resources, and town department heads will be providing input regarding town facilities.

North Country Council staff is conducting a buildout analysis of the town of Jackson to assist the Planning Board with an update of the master plan and assessment of the consistency of current zoning with the town’s vision.

Groveton Mill Reuse Initiative 

Groveton Mill Reuse InitiativeOver the past several years, North Country Council has focused over $440,000 in resources on activities designed to lay the groundwork for the sustainable redevelopment of the Wausau Mill and Groveton Paper Board properties and the revitalization of this community and the surrounding area. These activities began with a combined heat & power district heating feasibility study and downtown market study of Groveton Village.  See Publications Page for Market study.

More recently, several Brownfields Assessments have been conducted on the Wausau Mill and Groveton Paper Board properties, the wastewater treatment plant, and the lagoon system.  The Assessments indicate some very positive news for the redevelopment of the mill properties. Depending on the final re-use, the extent and type of clean-up required is nothing out of the ordinary for any large industrial site.

The Groveton Mill Re-Use Feasibility Study has concluded that there is excellent re-use potential at the site for technology-assisted agriculture. This would include indoor crop production and value-added products, and could incorporate combined heat and power production.

2012 Update

The next phase of the Groveton Mill Reuse Initiative, funded by EDA and the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation, has been moving forward.

2013 Update  

The engineering study for the engineering estimates for operational readiness and operational/maintenance costs for re-establishing electrical co-generation of power and heat has been completed. The engineering study of the Wastewater Treatment has also been completed.

The GIS maps to identify the best sites for additional natural gas access points focused on the communities of Berlin, Colebrook, Northumberland and Strafford.

The final component for the Groveton Mill Reuse project is a Study of Business Enterprises to Occupy the Groveton Mill Site prepared by Business Planning Associates.  The study lays out conceptual business plans for five businesses including controlled environment agi-culture and aqua-culture, a commercial laundry, medicinal botanicals and culinary herbs, a distillery, and a creamery.  The business plans include market information, production and operating expenses, break even analysis and other information designed to be the starting point for actual business plans.

 

Disaster Recovery and Resiliency

Disaster Recovery and Resiliency NHNorth Country Council (NCC) has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support long-term disaster recovery and resiliency efforts in the North County.  The funding will support a disaster recovery coordinator to work with local officials and business leaders to facilitate long-term economic recovery efforts, as well as the development of a risk-management model for communities in Grafton, Carroll, and Coos counties.  From that model, a comprehensive business disaster preparedness and recovery plan will be prepared, including a prioritized list of key disaster-mitigation infrastructure needs. (Photo courtesy of NHDES)

Solid Waste Technical Assistance

Solid Waste Technical Assistance NCC North Country Council (NCC) obtained a grant from USDA/Rural Utilities Service to provide technical assistance to towns on the subject of solid waste management and recycling in the 2017 fiscal year. Regan Pride is the staff member who is in charge of this project with assistance from Greg DiSanto and Emily Kubicke.

The goals of the grant program are to help municipalities improve the efficiency and quality of their operations and to help protect the environment. We do this through a number of activities including training opportunities, one-on-one assistance, and coordination of household hazardous waste & “special waste” collections.

This year’s work plan has 6 primary activities:

  1. Site visits: We’ll visit 15 transfer stations to provide on-site technical assistance with operating plans, safety, signage, compliance issues, and to share best practices learned from other facilities.Help communities improve efficiency and cost management for solid waste
  2. Organic Waste Management Network: Up to 25% of the solid waste stream is composed of food waste and organic material (yard waste, etc.) This activity aims to expand on pilot programs that were initiated in 2016 to reduce food waste from generators in the region and divert organic materials from landfills.  We initially focused on institutional generators – schools, restaurants, and housing facilities. This year we will work to include food waste from residential and business sources.  The project includes providing information on reducing waste at the source, and connecting generators with end users including food pantries, farms, composting facilities.
  3. Operator Training Workshops: There will be four workshops offered throughout the spring-summer which provide opportunities for operators to earn continuing education credit toward re-certification. Topics include: Organics Management, Full Cost Accounting, HHW Satellite Collections, and Operator Safety.
  4. Environmental Management Systems: An EMS is a plan that outlines the facilities goals with respect to environmental protection. It contains action plans for achieving those goals, methods for measuring progress, a corrective action roadmap, and processes for continuous improvement. Our goal in this activity is to engage 2 towns to develop EMS plans.
  5. Household Hazardous Waste Collections: NCC continues its service for coordinating HHW collections in the regions. We arrange for the vendor, ensure proper regulatory compliance, coordinate volunteers, and track statistics. NCC will assist with 4 HHW collections this year – Plymouth, and Littleton. Whitefield, and Carroll
  6. Group Purchasing Collaboration: In conjunction with our site visits to municipal solid waste facilities, NCC staff will identify equipment and supply needs throughout the region, draft Request for Proposals (RFP) and Memorandum of Understandings (MOU), and assist in identifying vendors for bulk purchasing opportunities.

 

Assistance to Local River Advisory Committees

Ammonoosuc River

In 2007, the Ammonoosuc joined the Connecticut, Pemigewasset, Swift an
d Saco as North Country rivers designated for protection under the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. North Country Council staff worked with the Ammonoosuc River Local Advisory Committee (LAC) to develop a corridor management plan pursuant to RSA 483:10. This work was funded in part by the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund administered by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. To read more about the Ammonoosuc River Corridor Management Plan click here.

Pemigewasset River

North Country Council recently assisted Lakes Region Planning Commission with an update of the Pemigewasset River Corridor Management Plan. The “Pemi” has its headwaters in Franconia and flows through Lincoln, Woodstock, Thornton, Campton, Plymouth  and several Lakes RPC towns before joining the Winnipesaukee River in Franklin to form the Merrimack River. NCC assistance focused on facilitating participation by North Country communities. Click here to download the 2013 Pemigewasset River Corridor Management Plan.

North Country Regional Plan

The state’s nine regional planning commissions were awarded a HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative Regional Planning Grant to update each of their regional plans in collaboration with numerous state partners.

Click on the moose to learn more about the collaborative effort known as “Granite State Future.” From the Granite State Future site you will be able to search by town for comments submitted by North Country residents on-line or via our comments card boxes, and to submit your own comments. Click on the links below to see summaries of discussions held around the region as a starting point on developing the vision, goals, needs and priorities for the North Country Regional Plan.

Dartmouth Regional Technology Center Expansion

The Dartmouth Regional Technology Center (DRTC) received funding from the US Dept of Commerce, Economic Development Administration in the amount of $4,333,786 for the expansion of this very successful business incubator. Ground-breaking took place in May, 2010 and the addition was completed in June, 2012. The existing 32,500 square foot incubator has served 38 high-growth technology start-up companies since opening in 2006, resulting in the creation of over 150 jobs. The demand for laboratory space is high and this is the perfect time to expand the facility to meet this demand. This new 28,000 square foot addition will continue to be a regional economic development driver, attracting new businesses designed to commercialize technology-based innovations in precision technology, biotech, biomedical, environmental and life sciences. Businesses locating at the DRTC are provided with business development services and entrepreneurial education programs through a management contract with Dartmouth College’s “Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) office, located at the DRTC.

The EDA grant is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

I hereby certify for the North Country Council that the following described ARRA infrastructure investment has received the full review and vetting required by law and that as the authorized representative of the North Country Council accepts responsibility that the infrastructure investment for the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center expansion project is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

Michael King, Executive Director

For more information, go to www.recovery.gov

Brownfields Assessment Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected North Country Council to inventory and assess Brownfields sites within our planning region. The grant can be used to identify and characterize known or potential petroleum-contaminated site and sites with all other hazardous contamination. The grant is also used to conduct approved Phase I and Phase II assessments. For more information on how this program can help your community, contact Pat Garvin at pgarvin@nccouncil.org or 603-444-6303 ext. 25.

“Stronger Economies Together” (SET)

NCC served on the steering committee of this project and assisted with evaluation of applications to the initiative. USDA Rural Development, in conjunction with the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, is sponsoring “Stronger Economies Together” (SET), a new program that provides strategic planning and other technical assistance to bolster projects in multi-county areas in rural Vermont and New Hampshire. The “Keep Growing Initiative” sponsored by the Ammonoosuc Land Trust (ACT) will receive training and technical assistance tailored to their project in order to achieve their community economic development goals of improving the local food system.  The intent of the program is to foster regional collaboration.  NCC would like to include agriculture as an emerging industrial cluster in the 2012 CEDS update.

Glynwood Foundation Local Agriculture Initiative

Both the SET project and the Glywood Initistive offer synergies with the Groveton Mill Reuse Strategy and may become critical elements of a cluster-based food production strategy.   A “Strategic Economic Plan to Keep Growing” working group convened by ACT proposes to lead grassroots, community-based work to assess our local agricultural economy and local food system, and create a Strategic Economic Plan to Keep Growing. This strategy and action plan will have clear, achievable, measurable outcomes and actions to build a local food movement and agricultural system that creates new business and job opportunities, attracts our own young people back to the area, attracts new agricultural entrepreneurs of all ages, and reinforces and builds on the economic and sustainable community development work of the North Country Council.

I6 Challenge

NCC has partnered with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to create a Proof of Concept Center to commercialize patented wood technology and could be located at the now vacant Groveton Mill. This center would span political boundaries and contribute to the provision of locally derived food, fuels, energy, and sustainable bio-products in the economic and regional context of the northeast.  The Center would make funding, technical assistance and educational services available to partnered businesses.
The Proof of Concept Center being proposed will play a leadership role in the creation and integration of 5 business clusters in the Northeast:  Salix (Willow) Culture and Processing, Water Derived Bio Products (including multiple biofuels), Bio Process Equipment Engineering and Fabrication, Wood Products Enhancement, Combined Heat and Power – Controlled Environment Agriculture – Food Processing, and Power Generation – District Heating.  It will expand economic opportunity and the utilization of wood fiber competitiveness in a socially conscious / environmentally responsible way
The project would develop and apply technological advancements that will:

Redefine the Northern Forest Economy by developing 5 wood fiber based economic development clusters with our business, academic and nonprofit partners; these clusters would introduce technologies that will diversify and expand the business sectors and create tens of thousands of jobs across the entire metropolitan northeast “Megaregion” while extracting maximum value from regional wood resources;

Grow affordable food and fuel for the region at a time when both gasoline and food costs are climbing precipitously;

Develop a minimum of 15 sustainable bio products that will displace fossil fuels and corn based bio materials (like gasoline, corn based  PLA and others) with safe native New England wood fiber based bio chemicals and biomaterials.  These chemicals and materials will be extracted and processed in a safe and environmentally friendly manner from Northern Forest fiber that is grown under sustainable forest practices supporting the new economy and environmental protection goals;

Rejuvenate the wood products economic cluster and enhance the functionality and efficiency of wood chips as a material in existing and future products;

Contribute to the urban food supply of the 5 Northeast Megaregion cities from the 142 + counties described in the RPA Megaregion Study with food that is safe, secure and local; moreover it will be delivered with a lower carbon footprint than food that is brought from great distances;

Introduce new technologies to agriculture and strengthen conventional farming with new energy producing sustainable crops that conserve the environment and improve water quality in the Northeast’s 2 great rivers (the Hudson and the Connecticut);

Transform the New England  “Megaregion” into an efficient energy production region and enhanced food production region, while we strengthen economic infrastructure in the process;

And present a model strategy to repurpose 75 brownfield paper mill sites and other post industrial sites in the Northeastern 6 states saving 50,000 jobs, stabilizing 75 communities and hundreds of counties; at the same time it will spin off numerous “second wave” businesses.

Colebrook Flood Mitigation Grant

 NCC wrote and is administering a $1.4 million grant on behalf of the Town of Colebrook to make flood mitigation repairs and improvements on the Mohawk and Connecticut Rivers. The work on the Mohawk River in the downtown area will stabilize the riverbank and bury water lines more deeply. The work on the Connecticut River at the Colebrook Industrial Park will remediate years of flood damage which caused the riverbank to dangerously erode. Match funding for the this project facilitated through NCC includes the support of NH DES, NH Fish and Game, the NH Conservation Commission and the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation.

Androscoggin Valley Regional Refuse Disposal District (AVRRDD) Gas Pipeline Project

This was a $5 million clean energy project with EDA participation just shy of $1 million. The completed project will supply the Cascade Mill in Gorham with a tap into the Portland Natural Gas line and will utilize landfill gases formerly flared at the Mt. Carberry Landfill to create energy at the mill. This new affordable energy supply has been deemed essential to the mills current and future competitiveness as a heavy industrial site which creates quality jobs. There are approximately 200 jobs and $50 million in county gross product to be retained by this project. Although the awarded EDA funds will be turned back due to the new owner of the mill no longer needing federal support, NCC was an integral partner in attracting major new investment the Gorham Mill.

MWVEC Tech Village Expansion

NCC has assisted the MWVEC in receiving a Northern Borders regional commission (NRBC) grant to extend an access road and utilities to business park acreage behind the EDA funded incubator building. There are two companies who are interested in locating in the business park upon completion of the access road.

Littleton/GCEDC/Rotobec CDBG

Rotobec is a company located in the EDA-funded Littleton Industrial Park which is expanding. NCC is assisted the business and the Grafton County EDC by writing a CDBG grant for a low interest business loan through the EDC.

North Country Rideshare

North Country Council received Federal Transit Administration funds through NHDOT to develop, launch and promote “North Country RideShare”: an initiative to promote NH RideShare, a free carpool matching service, and provide public education to increase participation in the program in the North Country. North Country RideShare will offer some residents an alternative to single occupancy vehicle commutes, and, for others who have no vehicle at all, a means to travel to employment where none now exists. Finding an alternative means to and from employment or appointments will reduce commuting costs for community members, saving money in the long run.

 

Innovative Land Use GuidebookNH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) logo

North Country Council is pleased to announce the publication of Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques – A Handbook for Sustainable Development The Handbook was written collaboratively by staff of the state’s eight regional planning commissions, with input from NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), NH Office of Energy and Planning, and NH Municipal Association. The project, spearheaded by the NH Association of Regional Planning Commissions, was funded through the NHDES Regional Environmental Planning Program (REPP).The purpose of the Handbook is to provide details on how to develop and create innovative land use controls as established under RSA 674:21 Innovative Land Use Controls.

Sample Handbook Topics:

Lot Size Averaging – One Size Does Not Fit All
Conservation Subdivision
Agricultural Incentive Zoning
Stormwater Management
Steep Slopes and Ridgeline Protection
Habitat Management
Wetlands Protection
Protection of Groundwater and Surface Water Resources
Shoreland Protection: The Importance of Riparian Buffers
Flood Hazard Area Zoning
Access Management
Preserving Dark Skies
To view or download the entire Innovative Land Use Planning Techniquesguidebook, or specific chapters, go to the NHDES website.

If your community is interested in free assistance using one of these innovative land use techniques, or would like to learn more about them, please contact Tara Bamford at tbamford@nccouncil.org or 603-444-6303.