The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
Subchapter 004 : Permits(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 6081)
§ 6081. Permits required; exemptions
(a) No person shall sell or offer for sale any interest in any subdivision located in this State, or commence construction on a subdivision or development, or commence development without a permit. This section shall not prohibit the sale, mortgage, or transfer of all, or an undivided interest in all, of a subdivision unless the sale, mortgage, or transfer is accomplished to circumvent the purposes of this chapter.
(c) No permit or permit amendment is required for activities at a solid waste management facility authorized by a provisional certification issued under section 6605d of this title; however, development at such a facility that is beyond the scope of that provisional certification is not exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
(d) For purposes of this section, the following construction of improvements to preexisting municipal, county, or State projects shall not be considered to be substantial changes and shall not require a permit as provided under subsection (a) of this section:
(1) municipal, county, or State wastewater treatment facility enhancements that do not expand the capacity of the facility by more than 10 percent, excluding the extension of a wastewater collection system or an expansion of the service-area boundaries of a wastewater treatment facility;
(2) municipal, county, or State water supply enhancements that do not expand the capacity of the facility by more than 10 percent;
(3) public school reconstruction or expansion that does not expand the student capacity of the school by more than 10 percent;
(4) municipal, county, or State building renovations or reconstruction that does not expand the floor space of the building by more than 10 percent.
(e) For purposes of this section, the replacement of water and sewer lines, as part of a municipality’s regular maintenance or replacement of existing facilities, shall not be considered to be substantial changes and shall not require a permit as provided under subsection (a) of this section, provided that the replacement does not expand the capacity of the relevant facility by more than 10 percent.
(f) A permit application for a development for which a certificate of need pursuant to section 6606a of this title is required shall be accompanied by such certificate.
(g) The owners or operators of earth removal sites associated with a landfill closing, other than the landfill site itself, shall obtain a municipal zoning permit in lieu of a permit under this chapter, unless the municipality chooses to refer the matter to the District Environmental Commission having jurisdiction. At the District Commission level, the matter will be treated as a minor application. If municipal zoning bylaws do not exist, the excavation application shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter as a minor application.
(h) No permit or permit amendment is required for closure operations at an unlined landfill that began disposal operations prior to July 1, 1992 and that has been ordered closed under section 6610a or chapter 201 of this title. Closure and post-closure operations covered by this provision are limited to the following on-site operations: final landfill cover system construction and related maintenance operations, water quality monitoring, landfill gas control systems installation and maintenance, erosion control measures, site remediation, and general maintenance. Prior to issuing a final order for closure for landfills qualifying for this exemption, a public informational meeting shall be noticed and held by the Secretary with public comment accepted on the draft order. The public comment period shall extend not less than 14 days before the public meeting and 14 days after the meeting. Public comment related to the public health, water pollution, air pollution, traffic, noise, litter, erosion, and visual conditions shall be considered. Landfills with permits in effect under this chapter as of July 1, 1994, shall not qualify for an exemption as described under this section.
(i) The repair or replacement of railroad facilities used for transportation purposes, as part of a railroad’s maintenance, shall not be considered to be substantial changes and shall not require a permit as provided under subsection (a) of this section, provided that the replacement or repair does not result in the physical expansion of the railroad’s facilities.
(j) With respect to the extraction of slate from a slate quarry that is included in final slate quarry registration documents, if it were removed from a site prior to June 1, 1970, the site from which slate was actually removed, if lying unused at any time after those operations commenced, shall be deemed to be held in reserve, and shall not be deemed to be abandoned.
(k)(1) With respect to the commercial extraction of slate from a slate quarry, activities that are not ancillary to slate mining operations may constitute substantial changes and be subject to permitting requirements under this chapter. “Ancillary activities” include the following activities that pertain to slate and that take place within a registered parcel that contains a slate quarry: drilling, crushing, grinding, sizing, washing, drying, sawing, and cutting stone; blasting, trimming, punching, splitting, and gauging; and use of buildings and use and construction of equipment exclusively to carry out such activities. Buildings that existed on April 1, 1995, or any replacements to those buildings, shall be considered ancillary.
(2) Activities that are ancillary activities that involve crushing may constitute substantial changes if they may result in significant impact with respect to any of the criteria specified in subdivisions 6086(a)(1) through (10) of this title.
(l)(1) By no later than January 1, 1997, any owner of land or mineral rights or any owner of slate quarry leasehold rights on a parcel of land on which a slate quarry was located as of June 1, 1970, may register the existence of the slate quarry with the District Commission and with the clerk of the municipality in which the slate quarry is located, while also providing each with a map which indicates the boundaries of the parcel which contains the slate quarry.
(2) Slate quarry registration shall state the name and address of the owner of the land, mineral rights, or leasehold rights; whether that person holds mineral rights or leasehold rights or is the owner in fee simple; the physical location of the same; the physical location and size of ancillary buildings; and the book and page of the recorded deed or other instrument by which the owner holds title to the land or rights.
(3) Slate quarry registration documents shall be submitted to the District Commission together with a request, under the provisions of subsection 6007(c) of this title, for a final determination regarding the applicability of this chapter.
(4) The final determination regarding a slate quarry registration under subsection 6007(c) of this title shall be recorded in the municipal land records at the expense of the registrant along with an accurate site plan of the parcel depicting the site specific information contained in the registration documents.
(5) With respect to a slate quarry located on a particular registered parcel of land, ancillary activities on the parcel related to the extraction and processing of slate into products that are primarily other than crushed stone products shall not be deemed to be substantial changes, as long as the activities do not involve the creation of one or more new slate quarry holes that are not related to an existing slate quarry hole.
(m) No permit is required for the replacement of a preexisting telecommunications facility, in existence prior to July 1, 1997, provided the facility is not a development as defined in subdivision 6001(3) of this title, unless the replacement would constitute a substantial change to the telecommunications facility being replaced, or to improvements ancillary to the telecommunications facility, or both. No permit is required for repair or routine maintenance of a preexisting telecommunications facility or of those ancillary improvements associated with the telecommunications facility.
(n) No permit amendment is required for the replacement of a permitted telecommunications facility unless the replacement would constitute a material or substantial change to the permitted telecommunications facility to be replaced, or to improvements ancillary to the telecommunications facility, or both. No permit is required for repair or routine maintenance of a permitted telecommunications facility or of those ancillary improvements associated with the telecommunications facility.
(o) If a designation pursuant to 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A is removed, subsection (a) of this section shall apply to any subsequent substantial change to a priority housing project that was originally exempt pursuant to subdivision 6001(3)(A)(iv)(I) of this title on the basis of that designation.
(p) No permit or permit amendment is required for a priority housing project in a designated center if the project remains below any applicable jurisdictional threshold specified in subdivision 6001(3)(A)(iv)(I) of this title.
(q) For the purposes of reviewing any combination of electrical distribution and communications lines and subsidiary facilities that, standing alone, constitutes a development for purposes of this chapter, the actual and potential impacts considered by the Board or District Commission under subsection 6086(a) of this title shall not include actual or potential impacts of the construction of other improvements to be served by those lines and subsidiary facilities.
(r) In situations in which the construction of improvements for any combination of electrical distribution and communications lines and subsidiary facilities, standing alone, constitutes a development subject to the jurisdiction of the Board or District Commission under this chapter, subsequent construction of improvements for any combination of electrical distribution and communications lines and subsidiary facilities not identified or reasonably identifiable at the time construction commences, standing alone, shall be considered new construction of improvements and shall not be considered a material or substantial change to that previously permitted development.
(s)(1) No permit amendment is required for farming that:
(A) will occur on primary agricultural soils preserved in accordance with section 6093 of this title; or
(B) will not conflict with any permit condition issued pursuant to this chapter.
(2) Permits shall include a statement that farming is permitted on lands exempt from amendment jurisdiction under this subsection.
(u) A building constructed prior to January 1, 2011 in accordance with subdivision 6001(3)(D)(iv) of this title shall not be subject to an enforcement action under this chapter for:
(1) construction or any event or activity at the building that occurred prior to January 1, 2011; and
(2) any event or activity at the building on or after January 1, 2011 if the building is used solely for the purpose of an agricultural fair.
(v) A permit or permit amendment shall not be required for a development or subdivision in a designated downtown development district for which the District Commission has issued positive findings and conclusions under section 6086b of this title on all the criteria listed in that section. A person shall obtain new or amended findings and conclusions from the District Commission under section 6086b of this title prior to commencement of a material change, as defined in the rules of the Board, to a development or subdivision for which the District Commission has issued such findings and conclusions. A person may seek a jurisdictional opinion under section 6007 of this title concerning whether such a change is a material change.
(w)(1) A permit or permit amendment shall not be required for a change to a sport shooting range, as defined in section 5227 of this title, if a jurisdictional opinion issued under subsection 6007(c) of this title determines that each of the following applies:
(A) The range was in operation before January 1, 2006 and has been operating since that date.
(B) The range has a lead management plan approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation under chapters 47 and 159 of this title that requires implementation of best management practices to mitigate environmental impacts to soil and water.
(C) The change is for the purpose of one or more of the following:
(i) To improve the safety of range employees, users of the range, or the public.
(ii) To abate noise from activities at the range. A qualified noise abatement professional may certify that a change in a sport shooting range is for this purpose and this certification shall be conclusive evidence that a purpose of the change is to abate noise from activities at the range.
(iii) To remediate, mitigate, or reduce impacts to air or water quality from the range or the deposit or disposal of waste generated by the range or its use.
(2) Obtaining a certification described in subdivision (1)(B)(ii) of this subsection shall be at the option of the range’s owner.
(x)(1) No permit or permit amendment is required for the construction of improvements for any one of the actions or abatements authorized in this subdivision:
(A) a remedial or removal action for which the Secretary of Natural Resources has authorized disbursement under section 1283 of this title;
(B) abating a release or threatened release, as directed by the Secretary of Natural Resources under section 6615 of this title;
(C) a remedial or removal action directed by the Secretary of Natural Resources under section 6615 of this title;
(D) a corrective action authorized in a corrective action plan approved by the Secretary of Natural Resources under section 6615b of this title;
(E) a corrective action authorized in a corrective action plan approved by the Secretary of Natural Resources under chapter 159, subchapter 3 of this title; or
(F) the management of “development soils,” as that term is defined in subdivision 6602(39) of this title, under a plan approved by the Secretary of Natural Resources under section 6604c of this title.
(2) Any development subsequent to the construction of improvements for any one of the actions or abatements authorized in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
[Subsection (y) repealed effective January 1, 2026.]
(y) No permit or permit amendment is required for a retail electric distribution utility’s rebuilding of existing electrical distribution lines and related facilities to improve reliability and service to existing customers, through overhead or underground lines in an existing corridor, road, or State or town road right-of-way. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to exempt projects under this subsection from other required permits or the conditions on lands subject to existing permits required by this section. (Added 1969, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 6, 7, subsec. (a), eff. June 1, 1970, subsec. (b), eff. April 4, 1970; amended 1989, No. 218 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1989, No. 276 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 17a, 17b, eff. June 20, 1990; 1989, No. 282 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. June 22, 1990; 1991, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. June 9, 1992; 1993, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1993, No. 208 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1995, No. 30, § 2, eff. April 13, 1995; 1999, No. 93 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2; 2001, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 7c, eff. May 28, 2002; 2003, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 38, § 15, eff. May 21, 2007; 2009, No. 54, § 53; 2009, No. 54, § 54, eff. June 1, 2009; 2011, No. 18, § 3, eff. May 11, 2011; 2011, No. 53, §§ 4, 4a, eff. May 27, 2011; 2013, No. 11, § 25; 2013, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. June 1, 2014; 2015, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 2017, No. 69, § H.4, eff. June 28, 2017; 2017, No. 74, § 17; 2017, No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 30, 2018; 2021, No. 170 (Adj. Sess.), § 20, eff. July 1, 2022; 2021, No. 182 (Adj. Sess.), § 31, eff. July 1, 2022; 2023, No. 47, § 19b, eff. July 1, 2023; 2023, No. 53, § 16, eff. June 8, 2023; 2023, No. 78, § C.124, eff. June 20, 2023.)