Housing Solutions Gain Momentum

The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs has started to review an omnibus housing bill that includes proposals to address municipal zoning barriers and project-based tax increment financing. The draft bill also includes a number of programs, including an Employer Housing Partnership Program, a Missing Middle-Income Homeownership Development Pilot Program, and a Vermont Rental Housing Improvement Program.  

There will be extensive testimony and committee discussion on this bill. As the Vermont Chamber advocates for increasing the workforce housing supply we need your input, please fill out this survey to inform legislators how the housing crisis has impacted your business.  

Earlier in the week, committees heard testimony on the conversion of commercial property to residential units, as well as the impact of short-term rentals on the housing market. Both of these topics are housing shortage solutions proposed by the Vermont Chamber 

Testimony on commercial conversion provided insight into the need for incentives to overcome the hesitancy of property owners and developers. Proposed solutions to spur development could include tax credits to promote the viability of projects and allowing the Natural Resources Board to extinguish an Act 250 permit if the conversion is for commercial use. Additional pieces of the puzzle include municipal permitting reform, and assistance for developers to hook into municipal water and wastewater systems. 

Additional testimony was taken on short-term rentals, an industry that removes viable single-family homes for Vermonters from the market. The Vermont Chamber will continue to advocate for a short-term rental registry to understand the full impact on the workforce housing shortage and better inform policymaking.