Act 250, Vermont’s state-level land use regulation, requires that applicants for certain kinds of development obtain a Land Use Permit from the District Environmental Commission. Such a permit is in addition to any local zoning or subdivision permits needed, and these permit processes are independent of each other. To see if a project would trigger Act 250 jurisdiction, applicants can obtain a final Jurisdictional Opinion (JO) from the District Commission. Applicants can also ask a permit specialist to prepare a “project review sheet” which lists other state permits that may be necessary.
In addition to the District Commission, 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 related to environmental, economic, and social effects of the project. Included amongst these is a determination that the development or subdivision is in conformance with the local Town Plan and Regional Plan (criterion 10), which is mandatory.
We strongly encourage Act 250 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. The Regional Plan, including maps, can be found here.
Prior to an application, 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 Act 250, there are other state permits that may be required depending on the type and scale of proposed development.
- Act 250 Application Forms & Guide
- Act 250 Database (Pending permits and issued decisions)
- Agency of Commerce and Community Development: Permit Resources
- 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 protected] – 802-457-3188