The House General & Housing Committee returned to a conversation around setting regional housing targets on Tuesday. Maura Collins (Executive Director, Vermont Housing Finance Agency) had comments regarding the Draft 1.1 that the Committee was reviewing. She was very supportive of the “great changes” regarding the Housing Needs Assessment, with one caveat. She pointed to the Building Homes Together Campaign (Chittenden County) which also set a target but also assumed 25% would be “affordable units.” She noted that in some years that program has come close to meeting the targets but fell short of the “affordable” goals.Read more
The first witness that the House General Committee heard from on Thursday was Chris Donnelly (Director of Community Relations, Champlain Housing Trust) who lead by saying that “the biggest risk we can take is not acting.” He called for “permit reform, Act 250 reform and more in the form of resources to really help low- and moderate-income people.”Read more
Under the current language, appeals must be brought within 60 days following the case being filed with the Environmental Division in the court system. Legislative Counsel worried that this may be a first for courts (having time limits imposed) and worried there may be some constitutional issues here. They will continue investigating and report back.Read more
Judge Walsh introduced himself to the House General Committee and highlighted his 18 years as an attorney after being an engineer. For six years he represented the former Environmental Board and was also in private practice. His experience goes back to before Act 100 and the appeals process.Read more
On Wednesday, three different Committees took up housing and land use issues. The Senate focused on a new proposed Act 250 framework that would change the incentive structure and land access for housing. The House Committees covered some of this as well, but also heard from non-profits asking for more investments in permanently affordable rental housing.Read more
Susan Minter (Executive Director, Capstone Community Action) shared with the House General & Housing Committee on Thursday a report by the Community Action Team reiterating that housing was needed. Minter gave a very similar presentation to the one given in the Senate regarding S.100. The same risks were identified as in the Senate the same powerful stories that demonstrated the need for more housing.
She reiterated, again, that there was no focus on Act 250 or business issues addressed in the bill. Even so, Minter supported the bill as it was.Read more