S.100 Amendment Fails Without Significant Act 250 Revision
S.100 – S.100 Housing Opportunities for Everyone (HOME)
S.100 passed the Senate floor on Friday afternoon. VAR thanks the Realtor® members who responded to our call to action earlier in the week urging senators to support a floor amendment proposed by Senator Thomas Chittenden (Chittenden County) to extend the Act 250 waiver to 138 towns with permanent zoning and subdivision bylaws. Our call to action resulted in 376 emails to Senators on this issue. Of those, 200 of the messages included personalized stories from members.
S.100, as passed out of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee, was a balance between municipal zoning standardization and statewide Act 250 reforms. As we have previously reported, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee amended the bill, limited Act 250 revisions to downtowns, Neighborhood Development Areas, and growth centers in 34 communities. These revisions do not apply to 219 towns in Vermont. Ultimately, support for this amendment eroded without significant Act 250 revision. This concept has been pushed to another study to be reported in 2024.
This leaves a housing bill that relies on statewide regulation of municipal zoning to allow for duplex’s anywhere, 5 units per acre where municipal water or wastewater is available, and eliminates appeals based on “character of the area.”
S.100 now moves to the House where we expect to receive a positive reception in the General and Housing Committee. The debate on Act 250 reform will continue with the House Committee on Environment and Energy. This committee has historically opposed any changes to the development portion of Act 250. We expect the same approach with this bill. VAR will ask Realtor® members to reach out to the members of this committee once they take up the bill sometime in mid-April.
H.276 – The Rental Registry Bill
H.276 passed the House floor this week after a strike-all amendment by the House Ways and Means Committee moved this discussion to a summer study committee. As previously reported, the committee was concerned that there was no financial analysis of the costs of this program and the revenue impact. When this bill moves to the Senate, it will be assigned to the committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. VAR will keep you posted on its progress.
H.483 – Independent School Funding
Members in St. Johnsbury and southern Vermont have expressed concern about H.483. Their concerns center around how the proposed legislation could negatively affect the good independent schools that provide service for towns generally without a high school. This bill has passed the House. It will now be taken up in the Senate by the Committee on Education.
H.480 – An Act Relating to Property Values and Reappraisal
Most towns in Vermont have not gone through a reappraisal since 2014 or earlier. With the annual increases in market values, most towns have assessed values that are far less than current market values. This bill addresses the reappraisal process by providing authorization and funding to the department of taxes to develop a statewide statistical and full reappraisal process to assist municipalities and provide a more consistent schedule of reappraisal. This bill has passed the House and is headed for the Senate.
Advocacy Report courtesy of the Vermont Association of Realtors