2013 Planning and Zoning Statute Amendments

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Developmented has provided a summary of planning and zoning laws and amendments enacted during the 2013 session is now available for download here. Highlights include:

  • Flood Resilient Communities Element Required in Municipal and Regional Plans –This requirement goes into effect on July 1, 2014.  DHCD interprets this effective date to mean that any municipal or regional plan adopted or readopted after July 1, 2014 must include a flood resilience plan element.  Those plans adopted before that date will continue to remain in effect until expiration or until they are amended or readopted, at which point they must include the new flood resilience plan element. The bill also requires the Agency of Natural Resources to establish a program to aid and support municipalities in adopting the new plan element.
  • New Neighborhood Development Area Designation – Application guidelines available here.  The Vermont Neighborhoods designation is replaced with the new Neighborhood Development Area (NDA) designation. The NDA designation broadens the potential benefit areas to include 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 mile “walksheds” or rings around designated Downtown, Villages, and New Town Centers. The Act also requires all new and renewal Village Center and Downtown applications after July 1, 2014 to  have the designated areas incorporated into town plans.
  • Energy Standards, Zoning Permits and Certificates of Occupancy – Provisions of this bill require administrative officers to provide applicants with building energy standards when issuing applicable zoning permits and also require the permittee to provide the administrator with the required Residential Building Efficiency Standards Certificate prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. Free copies of the Vermont Residential Building Energy Code Handbook are available from the Department of Public Service (contact kelly.launder@state.vt.us )