Proposed Road Rule Would Expand Act 250 Jurisdiction

After testimony that the proposed smart growth designation would add time and cost to building housing, not efficiency, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee updated S.234 to remove the smart growth designation program proposal. Instead, the Committee included the proposal in the Omnibus Housing Bill to amend the statute governing neighborhood planning areas and neighborhood development areas so more municipalities can access that designation and be eligible for Act 250-exempt priority housing projects. While these provisions are a positive change for building housing development projects, the Agency of Natural Resources warned legislators that the proposed Road Rule would lead to an assured veto from the Governor. The rule would trigger Act 250 jurisdiction when all roads and driveways of a proposed development cumulatively measured 2,000 feet or more or a single road or driveway of 800 feet in length or more. Extending Act 250 beyond its current form while the State is grappling with a housing crisis will slow the development of new housing supply for middle income Vermonters. The Vermont Chamber supports proposals that will make permitting for development efficient, predictable, and affordable.