Conflict Between Policy and Politics Continues to Obstruct Meaningful Housing Legislation

Many legislators in the House appear committed to promises made on the campaign trail to prioritize meaningful action on housing. In particular, a group of legislators in the House General and Housing Committee stood up for their constituents in response to House leadership giving sole jurisdiction on land use, zoning, and Act 250 to the House Energy and Environment Committee. A heated debate on committee jurisdiction ensued, with several committee members concerned that politics is hindering good policy. 

Legislators such as Reps. Caleb Elder (Addison-4), Ashley Bartley (Franklin-1), and Saudia LaMont (Lamoille-Washington), fought for the opportunity to have important discussions about regulations that are deeply impacting Vermont’s Housing crisis. Several of these same regulations were supported by the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee before being altered by the Senate Natural Resources Committee. 

While no action was taken on Act 250, the bill as passed out of the committee does support several programs the Vermont Chamber has advocated for, including the Vermont Housing Improvement Program, the Revolving Loan Fund, and the Missing Middle-Income Homeownership Development Program. The committee ultimately passed the bill out of committee 8-4. The bill will now officially be taken up by the House Energy and Environment Committee to review the bill sections dealing directly with Act 250 and zoning.