Grants will help 41 cities and towns increase housing choice, affordability, and opportunity.

Montpelier, Vt. – The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced $500,000 in Bylaw Modernization Grants to align regulations that support more homes in great neighborhoods. The funding supports 23 projects in 41 municipalities to explore modernizing regulations and addressing the need for increased housing in downtowns, village centers, and surrounding neighborhoods.

“The most common housing constraints we hear about such as the cost of materials, limited workforce, and financing are irrelevant if you can’t get a permit to build,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “This new grant program will help improve the local permitting process in cities and towns that want and need more housing.”

Municipalities will use this new funding to hire a regional planning commission or consulting staff to collaborate with local stakeholders and prepare bylaw updates that expand opportunities for new homes, confront the State’s housing crisis, and ready communities for unprecedented investments in housing and infrastructure. 

“Local leaders across Vermont increasingly recognize that zoning can limit or prevent bringing new homes online that are close to jobs, served by ready infrastructure, and accessible to daily destinations and public transit options,” said Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford.

“Although zoning isn’t the only market force constraining the supply of available homes,” said Senator Michael Sirotkin, Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs and legislative champion of these grants, “Outdated zoning can increase the cost of housing, delay construction, make it harder for companies fill job openings, and will keep Vermont’s economy from reaching its full potential.”

Among the 23 projects receiving the $500,000, 3 multi-town applications (serving a total of 18 municipalities) are partnering to meet local and regional housing needs.  The towns of Randolph, Shaftsbury, and St. Albans will reduce regulatory barriers to housing choice and affordability with support and leadership from the Bennington County Regional Commission, Northwest Regional Planning Commission, and Two-Rivers Ottauqueechee Regional Planning Commission.

From small villages like Shoreham, to Vermont’s largest city, Bylaw Modernization grants are ready to support communities where they are, like Burlington’s project, which will enable neighborhood-scale infill in residential areas in support and partnership with AARP-VT’s Livable Communities Program.

The grants support the implementation of the Department’s Zoning for Great Neighborhoods initiative of 2020, which produced a guide and model regulations designed to make little zoning updates that have a big impact, much easier for local planning commissions, selectboards, and city councils. 

Residents and neighbors ready to support increased housing choice, affordability, and opportunity are encouraged to get involved and support these projects.

For a full listing of all grant awardees click here.