Wednesday afternoon, the House Environment & Energy Committee returned to hear from Josh Hanford (Commissioner, Department of Housing & Community Development) on a draft amendment related to the appeals process in Act 250 that allows 10 unrelated persons to petition for an appeal. The language that he was proposing, and that the VNRC and others had agreed to, would prevent such a group from appealing if some component of the project included affordable housing. The previous language that the Committee had passed would allow any “aggrieved” person to appeal except for affordable housing projects.
Members of the Committee agreed that the language being proposed by Hanford was preferable.
- A $300K appropriation from the General Fund for a new housing navigator program.
- Some level of revenue reduction into the Act 250 Permit Fund due to new exemptions being introduced.
- A $40K appropriation from the General Fund for a Rural Recovery Coordination Council.
- A $150K appropriation from the General Fund for the Human Rights Commission to add a new litigator position (focused on fair housing laws).
- A $2.5M appropriation from the General Fund for an eviction rescue fund.
- A $200K appropriation from the General Fund to expand home-sharing opportunities.
- A $500K appropriation from the General Fund for financial assistance with home repair, home improvement, housing transitions, and other services supporting mobile homes and mobile home parks.
- A $2M appropriation from the General Fund for the First-Generation Homebuyer Program.
- A $20M appropriation from the General Fund for the Middle-Income Homeownership Development Program.
- A $20M appropriation from the General Fund for the Rental Housing Revolving Loan Program.
- A $20M appropriation from the General Fund for the Vermont Rental Housing Improvement Program (VHIP).
- A $50M appropriation from the General Fund to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) to provide affordable mix-income rental housing and homeownership units.
During the walk through of the spending items, Chairwoman Lanpher offered a curious suggestion that they add a contingency that these amounts would be appropriated only if “funding became available.” She asked Legislative Counsel to draft such language for them to look at. She noted that the bill is “complex and needs treatment.”
Representative Brennan asked about Act 250 provision allowing “any 10 persons” being able to appeal. That language was being replaced, in the draft before them, by an “aggrieved interested party” standard, which is narrower. Legislative Counsel provided an explanation, but this was subsequently changed by the Environment & Energy Committee.
Lanpher noted that she is expecting the bill to be on the House floor as early as Monday.