What is Act 250?
Historic downtowns, stunning views, and active working lands are quintessentially Vermont. So, too, is Act 250, the legislation that has guided development in the state since 1970, with the goals of safeguarding our farms and forests from sprawl, protecting our natural resources, and helping our towns balance growth with community health and safety.
Act 250 is an environmental review and permitting process that regulates development in Vermont by reviewing the largest development projects for their potential impacts on the surrounding area. There are ten criteria used to evaluate a project, related to issues such as water, transportation, and conformance with local and regional plans.
Act 250 is administered by the Natural Resources Board (NRB), an independent entity in the Executive Branch of Vermont State government. NRB’s primary function is to administer Act 250. Read more at the NRB website.
How has Act 250 shaped Vermont?
There are many ways the Vermont you know and love today has been shaped by Act 250. Here are just a few:
- Wonder why Vermont has managed to limit big-box sprawl? Act 250 has played a major role.
- Along with other state policies, Act 250 has helped minimize real estate speculation in Vermont, making our state less vulnerable to economic downturns.
- Act 250 has protected vital wildlife habitat, such as bear habitat and deer wintering areas, helping to ensure that we have healthy wildlife populations in Vermont.
- Act 250 has provided a voice for Vermonters in helping shape significant projects that include major ski area expansion, quarrying, major housing developments, and industrial development.
Modernizing Act 250
Now is our chance to shape how the law can better serve Vermont in the next 50 years.
In 2020, we're advancing a carefully balanced package that will make Act 250 better for the environment, business, communities, and interested citizens.
Act 250 Priorities
Keeping forest blocks intact
Ensuring the livelihood of working farms and the safeguarding of natural resourcesRead More
Making Vermont more resilient against climate change
Regulating new development in a way that reduces energy use and helps us deal with climate changeRead More
Promoting compact development to enrich downtowns and villages
Reducing sprawl and discouraging scattered, incremental developmentRead More
Updating scientific criteria relating to water resources
To address protection of rivers, streams, headwaters, floodways, shorelines, and wetlandsRead More
Act 250 News
VNRC statement: Maintaining citizen access to Act 250
Maintaining citizen access and strong local involvement in Act 250 is a priority for VNRC. This is reflected in the package of recommended changes to Act 250 that we presented…
Brian Shupe: How can Act 250 work better?
Find below the text of Brian Shupe’s commentary in the Times-Argus this week. As Vermont’s primary land development law turns 50 years old, it is time for a major modernization…
Brian Shupe: Setting the Record Straight on Act 250
I am writing in response to Linda Joy Sullivan’s Op/Ed addressing Act 250, Vermont’s nearly 50-year-old development regulation, published in the Manchester Journal. With extensive Vermont experience in land use…