Inclusionary Zoning in Vermont


The term “inclusionary zoning” is used to identify various zoning methods that municipalities may or must use to provide affordable housing for people with low to moderate incomes.  Inclusionary zoning provisions basically require that a developer build, or fund, a number of affordable units calculated as a percentage of the total units in a development. This requirement may be supplemented by incentives such as allowance of smaller lot sizes or smaller homes, or waiver of fees.  Inclusionary zoning is an affirmative means of countering “exclusionary zoning,” the term for zoning methods, such as large lot-size requirements, that have the effect of preventing the development of affordable housing within a municipality.

In many states, exclusionary zoning methods have been found to be unconstitutional or are prohibited by statute.  In some states, statutes or court decisions require municipalities to employ inclusionary zoning methods.  Two landmark decisions illustrate the progression and the rationale. In South Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mt. Laurel (Mt. Laurel I) (1975), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that Due Process and Equal Protection required a municipality to provide realistically for affordable housing to the extent of the municipality’s “fair share” of regional needs, but imposed no specific remedy. Eight years later in Mt. Laurel II, the Court found that Mt. Laurel’s revised zoning regulations remained “blatantly exclusionary.” The decision spelled out specific standards for determining “fair share” and specific requirements and remedies for the use of inclusionary methods. At the Court’s urging, the New Jersey Legislature in 1985 adopted a Fair Housing Act establishing a state agency to monitor and support implementation of the Mt. Laurel II mandate1.

Statutory Provisions – This section provides a list of provisions that apply specifically to Vermont.

Resources – This section provides a list of further resources that provide more detailed information on this topic.

Related Issues
Housing for All

Related Tools
Inclusionary Zoning

1 Mt. Laurel I, 67 N.J. 151, 336 A.2d 713 (1975), appeal dismissed 423 U.S. 808 (1975); Mt. Laurel II, 92 N.J. 158, 456 A.2d.  390 (1983). See N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 52:27D-301–329.