Roll Call: House passes more demanding Act 250 development process

Editor’s note: Roll Call is published by the Ethan Allen Institute.

S.234, an act relating to changes to Act 250, passed in the State House of Representatives on May 3, 2022, by a vote of 99-43.

Purpose: The purpose of S.234 is to promote “smart growth,” affordable housing, healthy forests, working lands, and reorganize oversight of the Act 250 process.

The new permitting process adds “undue adverse impact on forest blocks (or) connecting habitat” to the list of reasons an Act 250 permit could be rejected. This is addition to the other reasons laid out in the old Act 250 process: if the development is in flood hazard areas, interferes with the natural beauty of an area, would destroy or significantly imperil necessary wildlife habitat, among others.

Businesses turned down for their initial Act 250 development permit can appeal the rejection for a $295 fee, with 10-20 appeals expected annually. S.234 creates neighborhood development areas (NDA), or areas that already have economic development. Development in NDA areas are exempt from Vermont’s land gains tax, and can receive reduced fees for Act 250 and wastewater permits.

Vermont’s Joint Fiscal Office estimates this will increase state spending by $1,184,000 in F2023, and between $744,000 – $1,394,000 in future years. Much of this money would go fund the salaries of a new “Environmental Review Board,” taking on the duties of the old Natural Resources Board. Beginning in F2024, the ERB full time director and 4 half-time ERB members will earn $480,000 annually and a staff attorney will earn $105,000. The rest of this money will be spent on a $150,000 report in F2023 for studying development in downtowns, and $650,000 for Municipal Bylaw Grants for helping Vermont towns alleviate the cost of updating land use and development bylaws.

Analysis: Those voting YES believe updating Act 250 will reduce Vermont’s carbon emissions, preserve natural habitat for wildlife and funnel housing and commercial development into downtown areas.

Those voting NO believe S.234 adds more regulatory requirements to an already byzantine process. This will make getting Act 250 permit approval more difficult, making the permitting process even more uncertain and costly of a proposition. The net result being the economic development gets more expensive, making business startups and housing even more difficult to come by.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Tuesday, May 3, 2022: “Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 99. Nays, 43” (Read the Journal, p. 1552 – 1591).

Watch the floor debate on YouTube.

HOW THEY VOTED

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – NO
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre City) – YES
Norman Arrison (D – Weathersfield) – YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – NO
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – YES
Alyssa Black (D – Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D – Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D – Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D – Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – NO
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – YES
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – ABSENT
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D – West Windsor) – YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) – YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – V
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland City) – NO
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Karen Dolan (D – Essex) – YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – NO
Kate Donnally (D – Hyde Park) – YES
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland City) – NO
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – NO
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) – YES
Rey Garofano (D – Essex) – YES
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – NO
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – NO
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) – NO
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – NO
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – NO
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – NO
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Kascenska (R – Burke) – NO
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – YES
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Larry Labor (R – Morgan) – NO
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) – YES
Wayne LaRoche (R – Franklin) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES
Samantha Lefebvre (R – Orange) – NO
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – NO
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – NO
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – NO
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – NO
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans City) – YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – NO
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre Town) – NO
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Michael Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – NO
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D – Burlington) – YES
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – YES
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – YES
Michael Nigro (D – Bennington) – YES
Robert Norris (R – Sheldon) – NO
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – NO
William Notte (D – Rutland) – YES
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – YES
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport City) – NO
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – ABSENT
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – NO
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – ABSENT
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – NO
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – NO
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – YES
Katherine Sims (D – Craftsbury) – YES
Taylor Small (P/D – Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – NO
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – ABSENT
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – NO
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – YES
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland Town) – ABSENT
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Maida Townsend (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – YES
Matt Walker (R – Swanton) – NO
Tommy Walz (D – Barre City) – YES
Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – YES
Kirk White (P/D – Bethel) – YES
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D – Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R – Granby) – NO
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Famartin
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5 thoughts on “Roll Call: House passes more demanding Act 250 development process

  1. Just yesterday, there was an article posted about Herr Scott’s concern about population trends and the effect on tax burdens. Gee, if you make it more expensive and cumbersome to establish businesses and homes in this state, it isn’t rocket science to figure out why the population trend is the way it is.

  2. Sounds a lot like agenda 21 or agenda 2030.

    The ultimate goal being you will own nothing and be happy*

    * rulers will own everything and you’ll be our slaves, at the very least by taxation and complete regulatory control of your body, your kids and your property.

  3. It astounds me…these legislatively indoctrinated silly people …the D’s, the progressives, the Socialists. VT needs good jobs & manufacturing. How does making Act 250 tougher help that? Business and the jobs they create give income, job benefits (insurance) and taxes. I just cannot beleve that these Liberals think ALL of VT should be ruled by one fixation….climate change. Making Act 250 tougher will never, ever stop climate change. You cannot change Mother Nature. But it will have a negative effect to jobs, incomes and taxes. Did ya’ ever think that people and companies do not have to be in VT? WHO pays the income taxes & crestes badly needed good jobs then? Do the Liberals in legislature HONESTLY think they can save the climate world, by their actions in TINY VT? ….With toiugher act 250 and some electric cars that few Vermonters can afford? VT has a hard & fast established FOUR SEASONS. MOTHER NATURE TAKES CARE OF THAT. We can see 20-25 below zero in winter and 90 degrees in summer….that is a swing of 120 – 125 DEGREES! So tell me – with a straight face….these 120-125 degree annual swings of temperatures in VT…are all cause by humans in VT & climate change? Or coudl it be Mother Nature – who has ruled VT weather/climate for thousands of years- the REAL driving climate force?? OMG….these people are near insane & indoctrinated bobble-heads 🙂

  4. these people can buy my house — so they can have their park and let me escape to a state in America.

  5. Great, more grifter jobs and bloated bureaucratic pocket picking will certainly turn things around!

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