Housing advocates make push for land use reform bill

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 5:27 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont housing advocates gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday to show their support for Act 250 reform efforts that could lead to new developments. But environmental groups are cautioning that any changes could have sweeping effects including sprawl in rural communities.

Expanding housing is a top priority for lawmakers and the governor but that will require statewide housing permitting and zoning changes requiring municipalities to allow for denser housing in certain areas.

“We’ve also wondered how many housing units have been lost because developers size their projects to avoid Act 250 altogether,” said Karen Horn with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

The Vermont Natural Resources Council supports municipal zoning reforms included in the bill but they believe lawmakers should wait until research shows that smaller rural communities can handle the new development requirements before making permanent changes. “We don’t think that the safeguards are in place quite yet to show that all towns are really able to address the development pressures and not have Act 250 as a backstop,” said VNRC’s Jon Groveman.

Senate Bill 100 remains in the Natural Resources Committee.

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