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The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online does not include the actions of the 2024 session of the General Assembly. We expect them to be updated by November 1st.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 24 : Municipal and County Government

Chapter 076A : Historic Downtown Development

(Cite as: 24 V.S.A. § 2791)
  • § 2791. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) “Community reinvestment agreement” means an agreement among municipal government officials, business leaders, and community groups pursuant to subdivision 2793(b)(2) of this title.

    (2) “Design review district” means a district created pursuant to subdivision 4414(1)(E) of this title.

    (3) “Downtown” means the traditional central business district of a community that has served as the focus of socio-economic interaction in the community, characterized by a cohesive core of commercial and mixed use buildings, some of which may contain mixed use spaces, often interspersed with civic, religious, residential, and industrial buildings and public spaces, typically arranged along a main street and intersecting side streets that are within walking distance for residents who live within and surrounding the core and that are served by public infrastructure such as sidewalks and public transit. Downtowns are typically larger in scale than village centers and are characterized by a development pattern that is consistent with smart growth principles.

    (4) “Downtown development district” or “downtown district” means a district delineated by the municipality and designated by the Downtown Development Board under section 2793 of this title.

    (5) “Local downtown organization” means either a nonprofit corporation, including a nonprofit corporation established by the Vermont Economic Development Authority, or a board, council, or commission created by the legislative body of the municipality, whose primary purpose is to administer and implement the community reinvestment agreement and other matters regarding the revitalization of the downtown district under subdivision 2793(b)(2) of this title.

    (6) “Historic district” means a district created pursuant to subdivision 4414(1)(F) of this title.

    (7) “Certified historic structure” means a certified historic structure as defined in the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 47(c).

    (8) “Special assessment” means a tax assessment pursuant to chapter 87 of this title or a municipal charter, among all commercial owners, or a significant portion thereof, within a downtown development district to impose an incremental tax assessment above the amount otherwise assessed, for the purposes of supporting downtown interests.

    (9) “Tax stabilization agreement” means a contract executed pursuant to either section 2741 of this title or 32 V.S.A. § 5404a to provide a stable and predictable tax rate or assessment on properties in a downtown development district.

    (10) “Village center” means the core of a traditional settlement, typically comprised of a cohesive mix of residential, civic, religious, commercial, and mixed use buildings arranged along a main street and intersecting streets that are within walking distance for residents who live within and surrounding the core. Industrial uses may be found within or immediately adjacent to these centers. Village centers are typically smaller in scale than downtowns and are characterized by a development pattern that is consistent with smart growth principles.

    (11) “New town center” means the area planned for or developing as a community’s central business district, composed of compact, pedestrian-friendly, multistory, and mixed use development that is characteristic of a traditional downtown, supported by planned or existing urban infrastructure, including curbed streets with sidewalks and on-street parking, stormwater treatment, sanitary sewers, and public water supply.

    (12) “Growth center” shall have the same meaning as under section 2793c of this title.

    (13) “Smart growth principles” means growth that:

    (A) Maintains the historic development pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside.

    (B) Develops compact mixed-use centers at a scale appropriate for the community and the region.

    (C) Enables choice in modes of transportation.

    (D) Protects the State’s important environmental, natural, and historic features, including natural areas, water quality, scenic resources, and historic sites and districts.

    (E) Serves to strengthen agricultural and forest industries and minimizes conflicts of development with these industries.

    (F) Balances growth with the availability of economic and efficient public utilities and services.

    (G) Supports a diversity of viable businesses in downtowns and villages.

    (H) Provides for housing that meets the needs of a diversity of social and income groups in each community.

    (I) Reflects a settlement pattern that, at full build-out, is not characterized by:

    (i) scattered development located outside compact urban and village centers that is excessively land consumptive;

    (ii) development that limits transportation options, especially for pedestrians;

    (iii) the fragmentation of farmland and forestland;

    (iv) development that is not serviced by municipal infrastructure or that requires the extension of municipal infrastructure across undeveloped lands in a manner that would extend service to lands located outside compact village and urban centers;

    (v) linear development along well-traveled roads and highways that lacks depth, as measured from the highway.

    (14) “Important natural resources” means headwaters, streams, shorelines, floodways, rare and irreplaceable natural areas, necessary wildlife habitat, wetlands, endangered species, productive forestlands, and primary agricultural soils, all of which are as defined in 10 V.S.A. chapter 151.

    [Subdivision (15) repealed effective July 1, 2018; see note set out below.]

    (15) “Vermont neighborhood” means an area of land that is in a municipality with an approved plan, a confirmed planning process, zoning bylaws, and subdivision regulations, and is in compliance with all the following:

    (A) Is located in one of the following:

    (i) a designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center; or

    (ii) an area of land that is within the municipality and outside but contiguous to a designated downtown, village center, or new town center and is not more than 100 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown, 50 percent of the village center, or 75 percent of the new town center.

    (B) Contains substantially all the following characteristics:

    (i) Its contiguous land, if any, complements the existing 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 is consistent with smart growth principles.

    (ii) It is served by either a municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the Agency of Natural Resources.

    (iii) It incorporates minimum residential densities of no fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, and higher densities for duplexes and multi-family housing.

    (iv) It incorporates neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns and networks of sidewalks or paths for both pedestrians and bicycles that connect with adjacent development areas.

    (16) “Neighborhood planning area” shall have the same meaning as under section 2793e of this title.

    (17) “Neighborhood development area” shall have the same meaning as under section 2793e of this title.

    (18) “Department” means the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development.

    (19) “District coordinator” means a district environmental coordinator attached to a District Commission established under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151.

    (20) “Infill” means the use of vacant land or property within a built-up area for further construction or development. (Added 1997, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 28, 2002; 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 78, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2005, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 28, 2008; 2009, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 59, § 2; 2013, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 27, 2014.)