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Action Alert: Attend a Virtual Public Meeting to Help Modernize Act 250 and Protect Vermont’s Environment

This Thursday, December 14th, from 5:30-7:30pm, the Vermont Natural Resources Board (NRB) will hold a virtual public meeting on a draft report that recommends updates to Act 250, Vermont’s historic statewide land use program.

Participate in the virtual meeting to let the NRB know that the draft report must call for changes to Act 250 to meet the challenges Vermont faces today.

Act 250, Vermont’s land use law, was designed to help protect Vermont’s natural resources, communities and working lands from poorly planned development over 50 years ago. Since its enactment, many new challenges have emerged and the latest report has important recommendations to better address the housing shortage in smart ways, while better protecting our natural resources and addressing threats posed by climate change. Find more information on VNRC’s position on Act 250 reform, and the core recommendations we’re advocating as Vermont works to modernize the policy for the challenges we are facing today, here.

The draft report includes recommendations that would expand Act 250 to better protect forests and maintain forest health, create a process to identify important natural resources that deserve heightened review, and create a process to encourage development in our downtown areas.

The draft report does not include an important recommendation to reform the NRB to hear appeals of Act 250 permits. This would strengthen the NRB’s ability to directly shape how Act 250 is applied, and address the delays and expense associated with the current appeals process through the courts.

Below are four key points about the draft report that you can share at the NRB public meeting to help protect Vermont’s natural resources and improve the Act 250 process:

  • Update Act 250 to address the impacts of climate change which includes flooding that harms development along streams and rivers.
  • Ensure the final report contains strong recommendations to expand Act 250 jurisdiction and criteria to protect the health of our forests and other critical natural resources through a road rule to limit fragmenting development, and a process to review development in sensitive natural resources.
  • Vermont needs more housing, and Act 250 should encourage housing in and around our downtowns based on careful planning.
  • Move appeals to an improved expert NRB to shape how Act 250 is applied and reduce the expense and time it takes to move appeals through the court system.

Thank you for joining Thursday’s public meeting and weighing in to improve the Act 250 process and protect Vermont’s environment. Your voice matters.