By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
Making housing creation easier in Vermont will help draw down the state’s crisis, leaders said Tuesday.
Senate Bill 100 was the topic of discussion at Gov. Phil Scott’s weekly press conference. The bill, if enacted, would work to increase the supply of affordable housing construction in Vermont by promoting homeownership and broadening housing opportunities in the state.
Scott said Vermont “desperately needs” to make it easier to build homes in the areas of the state that need it most.
“Many of the decades-old regulations we have in Vermont, at both the state and municipal level, were literally designed to have the opposite effect,” Scott said of Vermont law affecting housing creation.
Ted Brady, executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, said the legislation “ignores the largest obstacle” when it comes to housing creation, the state’s decades-old Act 250. The act is known as the state’s land and use act and was passed in the 1970s.
“Cities and towns are going to continue playing their role in addressing the housing crisis,” Brady said. “And it’s really important to know, though, we can’t do it without the state’s help. S100, unfortunately, as drafted, ignores the largest obstacle of housing development in the state of Vermont, and that’s Act 250.”
Scott said that over the past six years as governor, he has worked with the Legislature to secure a $37 million housing bond. At the time, it was the largest investment in housing the state has ever seen, he said, while leveraging nearly $200 million in private investments designed to help address the state’s lack of housing.
“That’s why when we first began receiving historic federal funding two years ago, I said we must continue to make housing a top priority,” Scott said. “And we were successful in getting the Legislature to agree. We now have what would have been an unthinkable amount of money just six years ago dedicated to housing to help address our critical need.”
Scott said that money is only a portion of the answer.
Brady pointed to Burlington, Winooski, and South Burlington as areas that have put all the housing reforms currently contained inside Senate Bill 100 in use as it pertains to municipal zoning. He said those towns are still running into problems.
The bill, which was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday, calls for allowing units to more easily tap into water and wastewater infrastructure and allowing four or more units per acre for housing.
“Towns are ahead of the curve in many parts of the state on solving the crisis,” Brady said. “But year after year, the state continues to study the number one problem, which is ACT 250, and is just not doing their part to solve this crisis.”
Richard said his company focuses on housing projects that range between two and 20 units in denser populated areas, but Act 250 is preventing his company from developing smaller-scale projects, under the 1055 rule. The rule mandates that only a certain number of housing units can be placed over a defined area of land.
4 thoughts on “Governor, housing officials question proposed housing legislation”
Welcome to the people’s republik ov vermont.
They need to review all bills over 4 years old because of the change in many of our towns in Vermont and also federal government laws. This is a good thing so make the change. May a settlement outside a big city for those doll house for the older people passed wanting to make a family.
Act 250 is a cover story. In the end, human potential will be impacted; under the guise of environmentalism.
The vision behind this is that develop…land USE is a mortal sin…That our aspirations for wise use is delusional and needs to be crushed. When will we return to the original value that folks use of their property is their business and our roll is only to influence them as neighbors. Isn’t the use of laws and regulations to corral them the mortal sin here? There is a spirit of individual independence to Vermontishness. Isn’t this kind of centralized management antithetical to that spirit?
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