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Act 250 Data Shows Most Cases Reviewed as Minor Applications and Few Denials

An average of 356 Act 250 permits were applied for, statewide, each year between 2008 and 2013. Of these permits, 80% were treated as minor (meaning that the applications did not require a hearing). If the District Environmental Commission finds that a proposed project is not likely to significantly or adversely affect the environment under the Act's ten review criteria, it is generally treated as a minor application which can proceed on an expedited schedule.

For the 20% of permit applications deemed "major," the applicant has to present enough information for the District Environmental Commission to make affirmative findings on each of the ten criteria. During this process, statutory parties such as state agencies, the regional planning commission, and the municipality may offer testimony on any of the ten criteria. Other parties must have a "particularized interest" in order to provide testimony. The BCRC participates in Act 250 cases when the project meets a defined threshold of having a “substantial regional impact.” The BCRC frequently offers testimony in support of development projects that advance local and regional land use and economic development goals.

In most years, less than one percent of Act 250 applications are denied.
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total Applications 439 380 355 330 340 295
-Major (hearing) 102 70 60 61 73 62
-Minor (no hearing) 337 310 295 269 267 233
Denials 2 5 2 3 3 5
Denials as % 0.45% 1.30% 0.56% 0.90% 0.88% 1.69%
Source; Vermont Natural Resources Board