Vermont Real Estate Development and Act 250 – The Basics


In the middle of the 1960s, two new intercity highways, I-89 and I-91, started and functioned in Vermont, making it much easier to access Vermont for outside visitors, especially those from Boston and New York. This raises concern among residents and the legislation of Vermont that land processing or expansion will increase significantly and may have a negative impact on the legendary virgin mountainous environment of the state as well as on the economy of the state. Increased visitor and car traffic led many to believe that everything from the viewpoints and the open spaces to wetlands, wildlife habitats and overall quality of life could be affected by such a great change. However, the most important thing about this article was the concern about the excessive development of real estate.

In the early 1970s, Vermont adopted Law 250, the first real law of the state, which laid down strict rules for the development of land use. Speaking in general, anyone who wants to develop more than ten acres of land, with more than ten common units or more than 2500 feet high, is now undergoing a rigorous state review process to ensure that there is no development have a negative impact on local resources, economies and quality of life. One of the nine county environmental committees is currently studying the project to determine whether it is acceptable on the basis of the so-called " "Ten Criteria" Act 250.

You can find a complete list of the ten Criteria of the Act by just looking at the law on the internet, but most of them are related to air and water pollution. The project can not cause unnecessary air or water pollution, including overloading local water supply, not affecting the soil's ability to properly retain water in the community and not affect local wetlands, coastal terrains, rivers, streams and lakes. should cause problems with the congestion of local roads and highways and should not put too much pressure on the local municipality, especially with regard to the school system of the municipality. Lastly, aesthetics are considered – nature, natural areas, sites, and wildlife habitats must not face a significant danger. Each project is reviewed for compliance with Law 250 by the Commission and the contractor can appeal a negative decision to the Vermont Environmental Board.

Large-scale projects have a particularly difficult time to obtain approval under the law, but ski resorts (a major attraction in the state) often go through the review process more easily. For example, in 2001 Stratton Mountain, a large ski resort, offered a massive expansion of 2,000 acres, including more than 1,200 residential units, restaurants, shops, ski lifts, and more. Although the project faces numerous opposition from neighboring communities, local residents and non-profit environmental issues, the council finally endorsed the project, as most of the enlargement will only attract seasonal visitors and will not work all year round. This amazing interpretation of the project allowed him to go to a Commission meeting and the development went on, mainly as planned.

If you want to develop a property in Vermont, you should definitely be aware of the Act 250 before you get too far, as the strict requirements and criteria will eventually leave you a piece of land that can not be developed as you hoped. Save time and money by exploring this carefully and paying due attention. Vermont is not like most countries when it comes to growing – keeping a beautiful and virgin is paramount here!