Act 250 Overhaul (S.311/H.687) - April 17, 2024

Senator Bray opened up the Senate Natural Resources Committee meeting on Wednesday morning by stating that they are “evaluating elements” of S.311 to be integrated into H.687. Indicating that the plan was to vote the bill out today while they wait for “Counsel makes any changes… for things that we can resolve, non-showstopper issues… the plan is to set aside a basket of those, and we will have about a week during which Senate Economic Development will evaluate.”  See draft 3.1.

One sticking point was Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The bill would exempt them from Act 250 review but there are doubts about the language being ironclad on how many ADUs are allowed per permitted existing development. There was also some concern about them being used for side businesses or STRs instead of long-term rentals.

The bill pushes out the expiration date of the priority housing project exemption from Act 250 review. It also expands eligibility for projects within a half mile of a designated development center (as long as it doesn’t cross any municipal boundaries).


They returned that afternoon to review Draft 4.1 of the bill. Legislative Counsel had done some cleanup on the sections copied from S.311 earlier in the day. Some of the changes included:

  • Removing all sunset language from Act 47
  • Pushes back the sunset of the Priority Housing Project (PHP) exemption one year but also added the requirement to be within ½ mile of a designated downtown area.
  • The interim housing exemptions within Tier 1 mapped areas will be restricted for “areas within in mapped river corridors and floodplains.”
  • Increasing the individual tax credits for downtown and village centers up to $100k for certain projects and increases the total cap of the program from $3M to $5M.

The Committee voted 5-0-0 in favor of the bill.

Afterwards Senator MacDonald stated – “I don’t see how this bill makes housing available for people who cannot afford it?” Senator McCormack agreed “it does not… I am embarrassed we get this far and the end of the bill… does not seem to connect with the inability and the unwillingness of builders to build for people who don’t have that much money.”

Bray was less pessimistic, saying that “who knows how all these provisions will play out… people have said the market will be responsive to regulatory change… we have seen PHPS start since (Act 47) changes went into effect July 1st” PHPs are required to have 20% of their units be affordable. “It’s not the whole answer, it’s a piece of an answer,” he argued.

Senator White interjected that she has “respect [for] the positions of skepticism of both the senior senators of the committee because they’ve got the institutional knowledge around it,” but cautioned that she was “sure the bill is already on a path to get vetoed by the Governor. And I worry that a veto will ultimately lead to us getting even less close to having affordable housing for all Vermonters.”

MacDonald retorted that “I don’t see how this gets us close.”

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Donate Volunteer Reduce Property Tax Burden


get updates