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Planning Statutes and Rules



All State statutes can be found online. Direct links to key planning-related statutes are provided below.

Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act and Associated Statutes (2012)
In addition to Title 24 VSA Chapter 117, this document also contains sections of law related to land use planning including: common law, general rights (Title 1, Chapter 5), state agency planning (Title 3, Chapter 67), the review criteria of Act 250 and agricultural land conservation (Title 10, Chapters 34, 151 and 155), municipal administrative procedures (Title 24, Chapter 61) the Downtown Development Act (Title 24, Chapter 76A), conservation commissions (Title 24, Chapter 118), impact fees (Title 24, Chapter 131), and distribution of the property transfer tax for planning (Title 32, section 9610(C)). These laws are in effect as of July 1, 2012.

 DHCD issues annual or biennial memos to local planners and regulators after the Legislature adjourns, summarizing any statutory amendments to planning-related statutes:

Municipal and Regional Planning and Development (Act 200)
Title 24 VSA Chapter 117 – Defines how local, regional and state land use planning will occur in Vermont and establishes a framework for regulatory and non-regulatory implementation.  The rules for municipal regulation of land through zoning and subdivision bylaws are described in Sub-chapters 7-12.

Statewide Planning Goals
Title 24 VSA Chapter 117, Section 4302 – The goals governing land use planning and regulation in Vermont are articulated in this introduction to Chapter 117.  Substantive goals (addressing development patterns, transportation, economic development, etc.) as well as process goals encouraging broad participation and coordination are provided.

Municipal Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA)
Title 24 VSA Chapter 36 – MAPA specifies development review procedures (rules of procedure) for quasi-judicial boards. Municipalities that seek to conduct on-the-record review are required to adopt MAPA – otherwise it is optional.

Adoption and Enforcement of Ordinances and Rules
Title 24 VSA Chapter 59 – Municipal legislative bodies (select boards, city councils, etc.) may adopt ordinances and rules that may overlap with land use regulations. Any local ordinances for public works, nuisances, telecommunications facilities, etc. should be considered when crafting local zoning and subdivision regulations.

Historic Downtown Development 
Title 24 VSA Chapter 76A – This chapter governs the Vermont Downtown Development Board and the designation programs that support revitalization and smart growth. The designations are: Downtown, Village Center, New Town Center, Growth Center, and Vermont Neighborhoods.

Impact Fees
Title 24 VSA Chapter 131 – Municipalities experiencing high levels of growth may require impact fees to help pay for public facility improvements (schools, roads, waste water treatment, etc.) that are necessary to serve new development. This statute defines the parameters for adopting impact fees.

State Land Use and Development (Act 250)
Title 10 VSA Chapter 151 – Act 250 is Vermont’s unique statewide land development regulation.  The program is administered by the Land Use Panel of the Natural Resources Board. Both the Statute and the Rules are needed to determine what types of projects require a permit and how applications will be reviewed. 

Open Meeting Law
Title 1 V.S.A. Chapter 5, Sections 310-314 – All public meetings of any government entities in Vermont must meet the minimum notice, public access and reporting requirements of the Open Meeting Law.

Conservation Commissions
Title 24 V.S.A. Chapter 118 – Conservation Commissions may be created by municipalities to promote the conservation of natural resources. Procedural guidelines and statutory powers and duties are defined in this statute. 

Billboard Law
Title 10 V.S.A. Chapter 21, Section 481-506 – Vermont’s statewide law prohibiting billboards also applies to other types of signs.  Local bylaws regulating signs need to be coordinated with the provisions of this statute.