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Vermont House Approves Housing Bill

Today, on a vote of 79 to 61, the Vermont House approved H. 863, a bill that provides financial and regulatory incentives to encourage development of housing for all Vermonters. The bill targets these incentives to designated growth centers, downtowns and village centers in communities that have active planning programs and have adopted zoning and subdivision regulations.
The initial bill limited incentives and regulatory exemptions to smart growth locations, including designated growth centers, downtowns and village centers. However, an amendment made on the floor of the House added a provision that extended these incentives and exemptions to more land outside of, but contiguous to, the designated downtown or village center. This amendment had the effect of doubling the total area outside of a downtown or village center that could be eligible for designation.
“Though we are generally pleased with the outcome of the vote, we were disappointed with the weakening of the locational requirement,” said Noelle MacKay, Executive Director of Smart Growth Vermont. “If we are going to reduce Act 250 requirements to promote housing development, we must target these incentives where they are needed most and make the most sense – in our downtowns and village centers where developing housing is more difficult and expensive.”
Smart Growth Vermont has been working with Housing Vermont, the Champlain Housing Trust, the Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Natural Resources Council and other organizations on housing legislation this session.
The bill now moves to the Senate.