Vermont Next State in Line to End Single-Family Zoning, Ease Parking Requirements

Both houses in the Vermont Legislature have approved legislation to preempt local land use regulations by rescinding single-family zoning and easing parking requirements throughout the state.

2 minute read

May 18, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A picture of the Vermont State Capitol building with fall colors on display on trees in the background.

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The Vermont House of Representatives approved S.100, a land use bill “that would legalize duplexes anywhere single-family homes are allowed and four-plexes if the area is served by water and sewer,” reports Lola Duffort.

The Vermont House’s approval of the bill makes the possibility of statewide zoning reform in Vermont much more likely. According to Duffort, “save for new, time-limited exemptions to Act 250, Vermont’s landmark land-use law, the bill mostly mirrors a Senate-passed version, which largely dealt with municipal zoning reform.”

“The bill would also ease local parking space requirements, which developers say often require housing projects to sacrifice units to make room for over-abundant parking,” reports Duffort. “Residents appealing a zoning permit of an affordable housing project also won’t be allowed to do so on the grounds that it goes against the ‘character of the area.’”

In another reflection of contemporary  process reforms, the legislation would also remove some zoning barriers to building and operating homeless shelters—similar to a recent executive order signed by New York Mayor Eric Adams.

A separate article by Calvin Cutler for WCAX considers whether statewide upzoning legislation such as S.100 can lower housing prices in a housing affordability crisis.

If the legislation gets across the finish line, Vermont would follow in the footsteps of Oregon and California in wielding state preemption to override local control on issues of land use. Colorado failed to approve similar statewide legislation to allow more dense forms of housing earlier in May. Washington State could also join the ranks of state preempted zoning action if bills under consideration in that state legislature are approved.

Monday, May 8, 2023 in VTDigger

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