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Vermont Neighborhoods Bill Voted out of House Committee

This week the House Committee on General, Housing & Military Affairs voted H.863, the housing creation and housing preservation bill, out of Committee on a 4-3 partisan vote. The bill would authorize the Expanded Downtown Board to designate “Vermont Neighborhoods” – areas in which certain mixed-income housing projects would be exempted from Act 250 review. Such areas would include designated downtowns and growth centers, and village centers served by municipal sewer systems in communities that have adopted plans, zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations.
The bill also creates limited financial incentives for development in these areas, and includes provisions to establish a state rental housing inspection program to ensure apartment safety.
The Vermont Neighborhoods program was developed with the assistance of Smart Growth Vermont as an alternative to the Administration’s new neighborhoods initiative. That bill (H.299) would have exempted scattered, high-end housing projects and subdivisions from Act 250 review while redirecting a portion of the state education fund to municipalities. H.863 is presently before the House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.