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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 24 : Municipal and County Government


(Cite as: 24 V.S.A. § 2793)
  • § 2793. Designation of downtown development districts

    (a) A municipality, by its legislative body, may apply to the State Board for designation of a downtown area within that municipality as a downtown development district.

    (1) For applications filed on and after July 1, 2014, the intention to apply for designation under this section shall be included in the plan of the municipality, and the plan shall explain how the designation would further the plan's goals and the goals of section 4302 of this title.

    (2) A preapplication meeting shall be held with Department staff to review the program requirements and to preliminarily identify possible designation boundaries. The meeting shall be held in the municipality unless another location is agreed to by the municipality.

    (3) An application by a municipality shall contain a map that accurately delineates the district and is consistent with the guidelines produced by the Department under subsection 2792(d) of this title. The application shall also include evidence that the regional planning commission and the regional development corporation have been notified of the municipality's intent to apply, evidence that the municipality has published notice of its application in a local newspaper of general circulation within the municipality, and information showing that the district meets the standards for designation established in subsection (b) of this section. Upon receipt of an application, the State Board shall provide written notice of the application to the Natural Resources Board. The Natural Resources Board and interested persons shall have 15 days after notice to submit written comments regarding the application before the State Board issues a written decision that demonstrates the applicant's compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

    (b) Within 45 days of receipt of a completed application, the State Board shall designate a downtown development district if the State Board finds in its written decision that the municipality has:

    (1) Demonstrated a commitment to protect and enhance the historic character of the downtown through the adoption of a design review district, through the adoption of an historic district, through the adoption of regulations that adequately regulate the physical form and scale of development that the State Board determines substantially meet the historic preservation requirements in subdivisions 4414(1)(E) and (F) of this title, or through the creation of a development review board authorized to undertake local Act 250 reviews of municipal impacts pursuant to section 4420 of this title.

    (2) Provided a community reinvestment agreement that has been executed by the authorized representatives of the municipal government, business and property owners within the district, and community groups with an articulated purpose of supporting downtown interests, and that contains the following provisions:

    (A) A delineation of the area that meets the requirements set forth in subdivision 2791(3) of this title and that is part of or contains a district that is listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 470a.

    (B) A capital budget and program pursuant to section 4430 of this title to improve or preserve public infrastructure within the district, including facilities for public transit, parking, pedestrian amenities, lighting, and public space.

    (C) A source of funding and resources necessary to fulfill the community reinvestment agreement, demonstrated by a commitment by the legislative body of the municipality to implement at least one of the following:

    (i) a special assessment district created to provide funding to the downtown district;

    (ii) authority to enter into a tax stabilization agreement for the purposes of economic development in a downtown district;

    (iii) a commitment to implement a tax incremental financing district pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 53 of this title; or

    (iv) other multiple-year financial commitments among the parties subject to the approval of the State Board.;

    (D) An organizational structure necessary to sustain a comprehensive long-term downtown revitalization effort, including a local downtown organization as defined under subdivision 2791(5) of this title that will collaborate with municipal departments, local businesses, and local nonprofit organizations:

    (i) to enhance the physical appearance and livability of the downtown district by implementing local policies that promote the use and rehabilitation of historic and existing buildings, by developing pedestrian-oriented design requirements, by encouraging new development and infill that satisfy such design requirements, and by supporting long-term planning that is consistent with the goals set forth in section 4302 of this title;

    (ii) to build consensus and cooperation among the many groups and individuals who have a role in the planning, development, and revitalization process;

    (iii) to market the assets of the downtown district to customers, potential investors, new businesses, local citizens, and visitors;

    (iv) to strengthen, diversify, and increase the economic activity within the downtown district;

    (v) to recognize and incorporate the map of the designated downtown district into the next update of the municipal plan; and

    (vi) to measure annually progress and achievements of the revitalization efforts as required by Department guidelines developed pursuant to subsection 2792(d) of this title.

    (E) Evidence that any private or municipal sewage system and private or public water supply serving the proposed downtown district is in compliance with the requirements of 10 V.S.A. chapters 47 and 56 and has adequately demonstrated an intent to reserve sufficient wastewater and water allocations to serve the future needs of the designated areas. Any municipality proposing a municipal sewage system and public water supply to serve the proposed downtown district shall provide evidence to the State Board of a commitment to construct or maintain such a system and supply in compliance with requirements of 10 V.S.A. chapters 47 and 56, or a commitment to construct, as applicable, a permittable potable water supply, wastewater system, indirect discharge, or public water supply within no more than ten years. A commitment to construct does not relieve the property owners in the district from meeting any applicable statute, rule, or bylaw regarding wastewater systems, potable water supplies, public water supplies, indirect discharges, and the subdivision of land.

    (3) A planning process confirmed under section 4350 of this title.

    (c) A designation issued under this section shall be effective for eight years and may be renewed on application by the municipality. The State Board also shall review a community's designation four years after issuance or renewal and may review compliance with the designation requirements at more frequent intervals. Any community applying for renewal shall explain how the designation under this section has furthered the goals of the town plan and shall submit an approved town plan map that depicts the boundary of the designated district. If at any time the State Board determines that the downtown development district no longer meets the standards for designation established in subsection (b) of this section, it may take any of the following actions:

    (1) require corrective action;

    (2) provide technical assistance through the Vermont Downtown Program;

    (3) limit eligibility for the benefits established in section 2794 of this chapter without affecting any of the district's previously awarded benefits; or

    (4) remove the district's designation without affecting any of the district's previously awarded benefits. (Added 1997, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1a-3, eff. May 28, 2002; 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 79, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2007, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 16, 2008; 2013, No. 59, § 4; 2017, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.)