The Vermont Statutes Online
[Section 2793d repealed effective July 1, 2018; see note set out below.]§ 2793d. Designation of Vermont neighborhoods
(a) Designation authorized. The Vermont Downtown Development Board may designate a Vermont neighborhood in a municipality that has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title, and has a designated downtown district, a designated village center, a designated new town center, or a designated growth center served by municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the Agency of Natural Resources. An application for designation may be made by a municipality or by a landowner who meets the criteria under subsection (f) of this section. An application by a municipality or a landowner shall be made after at least one duly warned public hearing by the legislative body. If the application is submitted by a landowner, the legislative body shall duly warn a joint public hearing with the appropriate municipal panel, which hearing shall be held concurrently with the local permitting process. Designation pursuant to this subsection is possible in two different situations:
(1) Per se approval. If a municipality or landowner submits an application in compliance with this subsection for a designated Vermont neighborhood that would have boundaries that are entirely within the boundaries of a designated downtown district, designated village center, designated new town center, or designated growth center, the Downtown Board shall issue the designation.
(2) Designation by Downtown Board in towns without growth centers. If an application is submitted in compliance with this subsection by a municipality or a landowner in a municipality that does not have a designated growth center and proposes to create a Vermont neighborhood that has boundaries that include land that is not within its designated downtown, village center, or new town center, the Downtown Board shall consider the application. This application may be for approval of one or more Vermont neighborhoods that are outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, village center, or new town center. The application for designation shall include a map of the boundaries of the proposed Vermont neighborhood, including the property outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, village center, or new town center and verification that the municipality or landowner has notified the regional planning commission and the regional development corporation of its application for this designation.
(b) Designation process. Within 45 days of receipt of a completed application, the Downtown Board, after opportunity for public comment, shall designate a Vermont neighborhood if the Board determines the applicant has met the requirements of subsections (a) and (c) of this section. When designating a Vermont neighborhood, the Board may change the boundaries that were contained in the application by reducing the size of the area proposed to be included in the designated neighborhood, but may not include in the designation land that was not included in the application for designation. A Vermont neighborhood decision made by the Board is not subject to appeal. Any Vermont neighborhood designation shall terminate when the underlying downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center designation terminates.
(c) Designation standards. The Board shall determine that the applicant has demonstrated all of the following:
(1) The municipality has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, and has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title.
(2) The cumulative total of all Vermont neighborhood land located within the municipality but outside a designated downtown district, designated village center, or designated new town center is not more than 100 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown district, 50 percent of the village center, or 75 percent of the new town center.
(3) The contiguous land of the Vermont neighborhood complements the existing designated downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and the contiguous land, in combination with the designated downtown development district, village center, or new town center, is consistent with smart growth principles established under subdivision 2791(13) of this title;
(4) The Vermont neighborhood shall be served by one of the following:
(A) a municipal sewer infrastructure; or
(B) a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the Agency of Natural Resources.
(5) The municipal zoning bylaw requires the following for all land located within the Vermont neighborhood:
(A) Minimum residential densities shall require all the following:
(i) No fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, exclusive of accessory apartments.
(ii) Higher density for duplexes and multi-family housing.
(B) Neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns that include the following:
(i) Pedestrian scale and orientation of development. Networks of sidewalks or paths, or both, are provided and available to the public to connect the Vermont neighborhood with adjacent development areas, existing and planned adjacent sidewalks, paths, and public streets and the designated downtown, village center, or new town center.
(ii) Interconnected and pedestrian-friendly street networks. Street networks are designed to safely accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles through the provisions of sidewalks on at least one side of the street, on-street parking, and traffic-calming features.
(6) Residents hold a right to utilize household energy conserving devices.
(d) Vermont neighborhood incentives for municipalities and developers. Incentives for Vermont neighborhoods include the following:
(1) The Agency of Natural Resources shall charge no more than a $50.00 fee for wastewater applications under 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4) where the applicant has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system. This limitation shall not apply in the case of fees charged as part of a duly delegated municipal program.
(2) Act 250 fees under 10 V.S.A. § 6083a for residential developments in Vermont neighborhoods shall be 50 percent of the fee otherwise applicable. Fifty percent of the reduced fees shall be paid upon application, and 50 percent shall be paid within 30 days of the issuance or denial of the permit.
(3) No land gains tax under 32 V.S.A. chapter 236 shall be levied on a transfer of undeveloped land in a Vermont neighborhood which is the first transfer of that parcel following the original designation of the Vermont neighborhood.
(e) Length of designation. Initial designation of a Vermont neighborhood shall be for a period of five years, after which, the State Board shall review a Vermont neighborhood concurrently with the next periodic review conducted of the underlying designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center, even if the underlying designated entity was originally designated by the Downtown Board and not by the State Board. However, the Board, on its motion, may review compliance with the designation requirements at more frequent intervals. If at any time the State Board determines that the designated Vermont neighborhood no longer meets the standards for designation established in this section, it may take any of the following actions:
(1) require corrective action within a reasonable time frame;
(2) remove the Vermont neighborhood designation, with that removal not retroactively affecting any of the benefits already received by the municipality or land owner in the designated Vermont neighborhood; and
(3) prospectively limiting benefits authorized in this chapter, with the limitation not retroactively affecting any of the benefits already received by the municipality or land owner in the designated Vermont neighborhood.
(f) Alternative designation in towns without density or design standards. If a municipality has not adopted either the minimum density requirements or design standards, or both, set out in subdivision (c)(5) of this section in its zoning bylaw, a landowner within a proposed Vermont neighborhood may apply to the Downtown Board for designation of a Vermont neighborhood that meets the standards set out in subdivision (c)(5) of this section by submitting:
(1) a copy of the plans and necessary municipal permits obtained for a project; and
(2) a letter of support for the project issued to the landowner from the municipality within 30 days of the effective date of a final municipal permit.
(g) Termination of program; transition. Notwithstanding subsections (a)-(f) of this section:
(1) On and after July 1, 2013, the State Board shall not grant a municipality a designation under this section unless the municipality filed a complete application for such a designation prior to July 1, 2013. Any such complete application filed prior to July 1, 2013 shall be approved or denied based on the requirements of this section.
(2) On and after July 1, 2013, a Vermont neighborhood designated under this section shall be eligible for benefits pursuant to subsections 2793e(f) and (g) of this title.
(3) On and after July 1, 2013, when the State Board reviews a Vermont neighborhood designated under this section either for purposes of renewal or on its motion, the State Board shall apply the requirements of section 2793e of this title. If the Board finds that those requirements are met, the Vermont neighborhood shall be redesignated as a neighborhood development area under section 2793e of this title. If the Board does not find that those requirements are met, the area shall have no designation under this section or section 2793e of this title. (Added 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 28, 2008; amended 2009, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2011, No. 52, § 23a, eff. May 27, 2011; 2013, No. 59, § 6.)