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Planning and Development in the Legislature

Several pieces of legislation coming out of the current session in Montpelier may affect local and regional planning and development. The BCRC has participated in the process of reviewing these proposals and advocating for changes that will benefit our communities. Some of the most significant include:

Energy Siting: S. 230 enhances the requirements for local and regional plans and their energy chapters. In exchange for a stronger planning component, the law would provide for “substantial deference” of these plans by the Public Service Board in Section 248 Certificate of Public Good proceedings. The new Bennington Regional Energy Plan, currently nearing completion, will provide a strong basis for these municipal plan energy elements.

Inter-municipal Services: H.249 enables regional planning commissions, at the direction of their municipalities, to enter into formal agreements to provide services for one or more towns. This expanded enabling statute would make it easier for municipalities to enter into arrangements to provide services in a more effective and efficient way.

Forestry: H.789 does many things, but its direct impact on towns is related to its changes to the planning statutes for local and regional plans. The state planning goals would also be modified to reflect greater clarity and support for forestry and forest resources.

For more information on these, or other legislative initiatives, contact Jim Sullivan at the BCRC.