Our Work

VNRC On Call to Support Communities in Face of Adverse Court Ruling

April 2009

Vermont municipalities that want to protect important natural resources and wildlife habitat face additional challenges in the wake of a Vermont Supreme Court decision, and VNRC is available to help communities navigate the new legal landscape.

Last year the Vermont Supreme Court issued a decision (In re Appeal of JAM Golf, LLC) which has far-reaching implications for Vermont communities engaged in land use planning, development regulation and natural resource protection. The court struck down a South Burlington zoning bylaw protecting an array of natural resource features, including wildlife habitat, on the basis that the bylaw did not specify sufficient conditions and safeguards to guide applicants and decision makers.

Sharing the concerns of many communities, VNRC, the Land Use Institute of the Vermont Law School and the Vermont Planners Association in March cosponsored a workshop on the important court decision. VNRC staffers Jamey Fidel and Brian Shupe each moderated panels that explored the legal implications of the court decision and how communities should respond to it. An overview of the case, detailed summary of the day’s proceedings, and some of the presentation materials are available on the Law Schools web page at: http://vermontlaw.edu/x4045.xml

For additional information on how VNRC can help your community to protect wildlife habitat and other natural resources, learn about technical assistance program here.

or contact Brian (bshupe@vnrc.org) or Jamey (jfidel@vnrc.org) .