Montpelier – The Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) and Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) applaud the passage of S.100, the “Housing Opportunities Made for All” bill, by the Vermont House of Representatives on a 135-11 vote today. The bill is now headed back to the Senate for concurrence.
“Vermont does not have enough homes – in quantity or diversity – to meet the needs of current and future residents. Where, how, and what type of homes are built matters when addressing Vermont’s dual housing and climate crises,” said Kati Gallagher, Sustainable Communities Program Director at Vermont Natural Resources Council. “S.100 as passed by the House and Senate supports equity, affordability, and environmental sustainability by encouraging housing in higher densities in areas in and around Vermont’s town centers.”
Increasing housing choice and affordability in Vermont’s downtowns and village centers is a critical climate solution. The Vermont Climate Action Plan identified compact settlement (also known as smart growth) as a “cross-cutting pathway”and key strategy to address climate change. Critically, smart growth reduces reliance on cars by providing access to public transit, walkability, and other low-cost/low-carbon transportation options.
Restrictive zoning enacted across the country has exacerbated inequality, loss of forest and farmland, and transportation-related climate pollution. Reforming local zoning laws is one critical step to supporting more homes on less land. These land use laws raise home prices, encourage development to consume unnecessarily excessive land, and push homes further away from town centers – requiring Vermonters to drive longer distances to get to where they need to go.
“This bill takes important steps to address our housing crisis in thoughtful ways, and we look forward to continuing to work toward sustainable development strategies next year, informed by the current evaluations underway related to Act 250 modernization,” said Lauren Hierl, Executive Director at Vermont Conservation Voters. “We hope the Senate will concur with S.100 as passed by the House, and send this bill to the Governor so Vermont can provide much-needed support for affordable homes, community resilience, farm and forest viability, and climate resilience.”
Kati Gallagher, Vermont Natural Resources Council, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Hierl, Vermont Conservation Voters, email@example.com