Act 250 and other Permitting
Act 250, Vermont’s land use regulation, requires that applicants obtain a Land Use Permit from the District Environmental Commission or (on appeal) the Vermont Environmental Court prior to commencing a major development or subdivision. Such a permit is in addition to any local zoning or subdivision permits needed. To see if a project would trigger Act 250 jurisdiction, applicants can obtain a final Jurisdictional Opinion (JO). For more information on JOs, please go use the Frequently Asked Questions link below. Applicants can also ask Act 250 staff to prepare a “project review sheet” which lists other state permits that may be necessary.
In addition to the Commission/Court, parties that may be involved in the review of a project include State Agencies, the TRORC, the Town Selectboard and Planning Commission where the project is to be located, abutters, and other potentially affected individuals or organizations. Prior to granting a permit, affirmative findings must be made with respect to ten criteria contained in the law (10 VSA Section 6086, see link below). Generally, these relate to the environmental, economic and social effects of the project on the community, Region, and State. Included amongst these is a determination on whether the development or subdivision is in conformance with the local Town Plan and Regional Plan (criterion 10).
We strongly encourage applicants to review the language in their local Town Plans and the Regional Plan prior to preparing an application. Many Town Plans can be found under the specific town (use toolbar on right). The Regional Plan is available for download here, and Regional Plan future land use area maps can be found on each town page.
Applicants have the legal burden to demonstrate that the intended use meets with the goals and policies expressed in the Regional Plan. Regional Commission staff can offer informal advice when projects are being conceived, which may save much time and money during the permitting process. Applicants are also encouraged to contact the District Environmental Commission staff and the ANR Permit Specialists early in project development in order to avoid costly and time-consuming delays. In addition to Act250, there are other state permits that may be required depending on the type and scale of proposed development.
Act 250 & Other Permitting Resources
- Act 250 Application Forms & Guide
- Act 250 Database (Pending permits and issued decisions)
- Act 250 Electronic Submission Guidelines
- Act 250 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Agency of Commerce and Community Development: Permit Resources
- District Environmental Commission Boundaries Map
- State of Vermont Permit Handbook
- State Statute – Vermont’s Land Use and Development Law (Act 250)
- Vermont Environmental Court
- May 25, 2016 – NewVista and Land Use Law presentation
Kevin Geiger, Senior Planner
email@example.com – 802-457-3188