The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : AGRICULTURAL AND MANAGED FOREST LAND USE VALUE PROGRAM(Cite as: 32 V.S.A. § 3755)
§ 3755. Eligibility for use value appraisals
(a) Except as modified by subsection (b) of this section, any agricultural land, managed forestland, and farm buildings that meet the criteria contained in this subchapter and in the rules adopted by the Board shall be eligible for use value appraisal.
(b) Managed forestland shall be eligible for use value appraisal under this subchapter only if:
(1) The land is subject to a forest management plan, or subject to a conservation management plan in the case of lands certified under 10 V.S.A. § 6306(b), that is filed in the manner and form required by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and that:
(A) Is signed by the owner of the parcel.
(B) Complies with subdivision 3752(9) of this title.
(C) Is approved by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
(D) Provides for continued conservation management or forest crop production on the parcel for 10 years. An initial forest management plan or conservation management plan must be filed with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation on or before October 1 and shall be effective for a 10-year period beginning the following April 1. Prior to expiration of a 10-year plan and on or before April 1 of the year in which the plan expires, the owner shall file a new conservation or forest management plan for the next succeeding 10 years to remain in the program.
(E) The Department may approve a forest management plan that provides for the maintenance and enhancement of the tract's wildlife habitat where clearly consistent with timber production and with minimum acceptable standards for forest management as established by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
(F) The Department, upon giving due consideration to resource inventories submitted by applicants, may approve a conservation management plan, consistent with conservation management standards, so as to include appropriate provisions designed to preserve areas with special ecological values; fragile areas; rare or endangered species; significant habitat for wildlife; significant wetlands; outstanding resource waters; rare and irreplaceable natural areas; areas with significant historical value; public water supply protection areas; areas that provide public access to public waters; and open or natural areas located near population centers or historically frequented by the public. In approving a plan, the Department shall give due consideration to the need for restricted public access where required to protect the fragile nature of the resource; public accessibility where restricted access is not required; facilitation of appropriate, traditional public usage; and opportunities for traditional or expanded use for educational purposes and for research.
(2) A management report of whatever activity has occurred, signed by the owner, has been filed with the Department of Taxes' Director of Property Valuation and Review on or before February 1 of the year following the year when the management activity occurred.
(3) There has not been filed with the Director an adverse inspection report by the Department stating that the management of the tract is contrary to the forest or conservation management plan, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for forest or conservation management. The management activity report shall be on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation in consultation with the Commissioner of Taxes and shall be signed by all the owners and shall contain the tax identification numbers of all the owners. All information contained within the management activity report shall be forwarded to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, except for any tax identification number included in the report. If any owner satisfies the Department that he or she was prevented by accident, mistake, or misfortune from filing an initial or revised management plan that is required to be filed on or before October 1, or a management plan update that is required to be filed on or before April 1 of the year in which the plan expires, or a management activity report that is required to be filed on or before February 1 of the year following the year when the management activity occurred, the owner may submit that management plan or management activity report at a later date; provided, however, no initial or revised management plan shall be received later than December 31, and no management plan update shall be received later than one year after April 1 of the year the plan expires, and no management activity report shall be received later than March 1.
(c) The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation shall periodically review the management plans and each year review the management activity reports that have been filed.
(1) At intervals not to exceed 10 years, that Department shall inspect each parcel of managed forestland qualified for use value appraisal to verify that the terms of the management plan have been carried out in a timely fashion.
(2) The Department shall have the ability to enter parcels of managed forestland for the purpose of inspections. The Department may bring any other staff from the Agency of Natural Resources that have the expertise to evaluate compliance with this chapter or staff that may be required to ensure the safety of the Department while conducting the inspections.
(3) If that Department finds that the management of the tract is contrary to the conservation or forest management plan, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for conservation or forest management, it shall file with the owner, the assessing officials, and the Director an adverse inspection report within 30 days after the conclusion of the inspection process.
(d) After managed forestland has been removed from use value appraisal due to an adverse inspection report under subsection 3756(k) of this title, a new application for use value appraisal shall not be considered for a period of five years, and then the forest management plan shall be approved by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation only if a compliance report has been filed with the new forest management plan, certifying that appropriate measures have been taken to bring the parcel into compliance with minimum acceptable standards for forest or conservation management.
(e) Any applicant for appraisal under this subchapter bears the burden of proof as to his or her qualification. Any documents submitted by an applicant as evidence of income shall be held in confidence by any person accepting or reviewing them pursuant to provisions of this subchapter, and shall not be made available for public examination, whether or not such person is subject to the provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(6).
(f) To maintain eligibility for use value appraisal under this subchapter, on or before November 1 of each year, the owner of agricultural land or buildings enrolled in the use value program as agricultural land or buildings shall certify in writing under oath to the Commissioner that the agricultural land or buildings enrolled by that owner continue to meet the requirements for enrollment in the use value program at the time of the certification. In the event the owner of agricultural land or buildings enrolled in the use value program fails to certify on or before November 1 of each year as required under this subsection, the Commissioner may waive the certification requirement, provided the Commissioner obtains, through other means, satisfactory information that the agricultural land continues or agricultural buildings continue to meet the other requirements for enrollment. The form of the certification shall be made on a form specified by the Director of Property Valuation and Review.
(g) Any applicant for a use value appraisal or any beneficiary of a use value appraisal must be in good standing with the Department of Taxes pursuant to subsection 3113(g) of this title to be eligible or to maintain eligibility for use value appraisal under this subchapter. (Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 4, 5; 1987, No. 57, § 4, eff. July 1, 1988; 1987, No. 76, § 18; 1993, No. 49, § 26; 1995, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 15, 1996; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 287; 1997, No. 60, § 68e; 2001, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. June 21, 2002; 2007, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. June 10, 2008; 2011, No. 59, § 10; 2011, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 47, eff. May 15, 2012; 2013, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 16d; 2015, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. May 25, 2016; 2017, No. 75, § 12; 2017, No. 194 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2019, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2021; 2021, No. 43, § 1.)