Tools for Land Use Planning

Land use planning and regulation in Vermont mainly takes place 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 by the Public Utility Commission under a process known as a Section 248 proceeding. New water or wastewater systems, as well as most subdivisions, are regulated at the state level as well through regional offices. Subdivisions may also be regulated by Act 250 and at the town level.

Land Use Primer Presentation

For those interested in the basics of Land Use Planning and how it may relate to your community, we have created a land use primer. Please feel free to download the document (Land Use Primer document) and visual presentation materials (Land Use Primer Powerpoint). We have many training opportunities available to town officials and the public, including pre-made information sheets such as the primer, videos or presentations, and in-person trainings. You can find what we have available here. If you would like to invite us to your town to present the material to the public or one of your town committees, please contact Kevin Geiger at our office.

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 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 
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 
A concise guide on the five VT designation programs and their benefits — along with case studies that show how communities have used the designations to achieve their goals.


Staff Contact

Kevin Geiger, Chief Planner
[email protected] – 802-457-3188 ext. 3003