The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 004 : Permits(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 6085)
§ 6085. Hearings; party status
(a), (b) [Repealed.]
(c)(1) Party status. In proceedings before the District Commissions, the following persons shall be entitled to party status:
(A) the applicant;
(B) the landowner, if the applicant is not the landowner;
(C) the municipality in which the project site is located, and the municipal and regional planning commissions for that municipality; if the project site is located on a boundary, any Vermont municipality adjacent to that border and the municipal and regional planning commissions for that municipality; and the solid waste management district in which the land is located, if the development or subdivision constitutes a facility pursuant to subdivision 6602(10) of this title;
(D) any State agency affected by the proposed project;
(E) any adjoining property owner or other person who has a particularized interest protected by this chapter that may be affected by an act or decision by a District Commission.
(2) Content of petitions. All persons seeking to participate in proceedings before the District Commission as parties pursuant to subdivision (c)(1)(E) of this section must petition for party status. Any petition for party status may be made orally or in writing to the District Commission. All petitions must include:
(A) A detailed statement of the petitioner's interest under the relevant criteria of the proceeding, including, if known, whether the petitioner's position is in support of or in opposition to the relief sought by the permit applicant, or petitioner.
(B) In the case of an organization, a description of the organization, its purposes, and the nature of its membership.
(C) A statement of the reasons the petitioner believes the District Commission should allow the petitioner party status in the pending proceeding.
(D) In the case of a person seeking party status under subdivision (c)(1)(E) of this section:
(i) If applicable, a description of the location of the petitioner's property in relation to the proposed project, including a map, if available;
(ii) A description of the potential effect of the proposed project upon the petitioner's interest with respect to each of the relevant criteria or subcriteria under which party status is being requested.
(3) Timeliness. A petition for party status pursuant to subdivision (c)(1)(E) of this section must be made at or prior to an initial prehearing conference held pursuant to Board rule or at the commencement of the hearing, whichever shall occur first, unless the District Commission directs otherwise. The District Commission may grant an untimely petition if it finds that the petitioner has demonstrated good cause for failure to request party status in a timely fashion, and that the late appearance will not unfairly delay the proceedings or place an unfair burden on the parties.
(4) Conditions. Where a person has been granted party status pursuant to subdivision (c)(1)(E) of this section, the District Commission shall restrict the person's participation to only those issues in which the person has demonstrated an interest, and may encourage the person to join with other persons with respect to representation, presentation of evidence, or other matters in the interest of promoting judicial efficiency.
(5) Friends of the Commission. The District Commission, on its own motion or by petition, may allow nonparties to participate in any of its proceedings, without being accorded party status. Participation may be limited to the filing of memoranda, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and argument on legal issues. However, if approved by the District Commission, participation may be expanded to include the provision of testimony, the filing of evidence, or the cross examination of witnesses. A petition for leave to participate as a friend of the Commission shall identify the interest of the petitioner and the desired scope of participation and shall state the reasons why the participation of the petitioner will be beneficial to the District Commission. Except where all parties consent or as otherwise ordered by the District Commission or by the Chair of the District Commission, all friends of the Commission shall file their memoranda, testimony, or evidence within the times allowed the parties.
(6) Reexamination of party status. A District Commission shall reexamine party status determinations before the close of hearings and state the results of that reexamination in the District Commission decision. In the reexamination of party status coming before the close of District Commission hearings, persons having attained party status up to that point in the proceedings shall be presumed to retain party status. However, on motion of a party, or on its own motion, a Commission shall consider the extent to which parties continue to qualify for party status. Determinations made before the close of District Commission hearings shall supersede any preliminary determinations of party status.
(d) If no hearing has been requested or ordered within the prescribed period, no hearing need be held by the District Commission. In such an event, a permit shall be granted or denied within 60 days of receipt; otherwise, it shall be deemed approved and a permit shall be issued.
(e) The Natural Resources Board and any District Commission, acting through one or more duly authorized representatives at any prehearing conference or at any other times deemed appropriate by the Natural Resources Board or by the District Commission, shall promote expeditious, informal, and nonadversarial resolution of issues, require the timely exchange of information concerning the application, and encourage participants to settle differences. No District Commissioner who is participating as a decisionmaker in a particular case may act as a duly authorized representative for the purposes of this subsection. These efforts at dispute resolution shall not affect the burden of proof on issues before a Commission or the Environmental Division, nor shall they affect the requirement that a permit may be issued only after the issuance of affirmative findings under the criteria established in section 6086 of this title.
(f) A hearing shall not be closed until a Commission provides an opportunity to all parties to respond to the last permit or evidence submitted. Once a hearing has been closed, a Commission shall conclude deliberations as soon as is reasonably practicable. A decision of a Commission shall be issued within 20 days of the completion of deliberations. (Added 1969, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 10, 11, eff. April 4, 1970; amended 1973, No. 85, § 9; 1989, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1993, No. 82, § 4; 1993, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 30, 31, eff. March 15, 1995; 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 55, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 236; 2013, No. 11, § 25.)