On Thursday morning, the House Environment & Energy Committee returned to review their committee amendment to the bill. The changes included the recommended amendment by Commissioner Hanford from the previous day. The amendment also included the language requested by Green Mountain Power, as well as a study on the distribution of utility projects, where they were occurring, and what permits were required. Finally, the amendment would change the 5-5-5 rule to a 10-5-5 framework.
Representative Noyes joined the Committee to discuss a proposal to exempt municipalities with a water system under 20,000 gallons. This language was removed at some point, and Noyes believes that adding it back in would provide more flexibility for towns. He also wanted the potential for municipalities to hold back capacity in the system for specific uses, such as senior housing.
There was some debate about whether or not towns could use this water and sewer capacity in such a way that would prevent certain types of development.
Representative Bongartz commented that the bill was trying to do was to require certain housing density “if you have the capacity” in the town’s infrastructure. It “struck him” that the concept Noyes was proposing would create an “inconsistency” in this framework.
The Committee returned for a very brief meeting on Friday afternoon to vote on the amendment being offered to S.100. The changes in their latest draft were reflective of conversations from the previous day. The Committee voted 10-0-1 in favor.