Tools for Land Use Planning

Land use planning and regulation in Vermont takes place mainly at the town level, there being no county government to speak of.  All lands in Vermont are located within towns and with very few exceptions there are no unincorporated areas.  A state-level land use permit process, called Act 250, applies to larger development projects, except things like power generation and cell towers, which are generally regulated at the state level under a process known as a 248 Public Service Board proceeding .  New water or wastewater systems, as well as most subdivisions, are regulated at the state level as well through regional offices.

Town Planning Manual

The purpose of this manual is to provide a guide for municipal planning commissions in fulfilling their role and responsibilities as set forth in 24 V.S.A. Chapter 117, the Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act. A major role of the municipal planning commission is to develop the municipal plan. The 2016 Planning Manual provides information that will help the planning commission with this complex task, from designing the planning program to adopting the plan.

Module 1: The Municipal Plan Module 1: The Municipal Plan – New and up-to-date guidance to help citizen planners build consensus on the community’s top priorities and develop concrete action steps that local leaders can achieve.
Module 2: State Designation Programs Module 2: State Designation Programs – A concise guide on the five state designation programs and their benefits — along with case studies that show how communities have used the designations to achieve their goals.
Module 3: Best Practices in Plan Implementation [Forthcoming 2017] – until Module 3 becomes available, refer to the Vermont Land Use Planning Implementation Manual – a package of 30 topic papers introducing a wide range of concepts, tools, and techniques for helping communities achieve their planning goals.

Plan Resources:


Staff Contact

Kevin Geiger, Senior Planner
kgeiger@trorc.org – 802-457-3188