Download this document in MS Word format
BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

AutoFill Template

S.66

Introduced by   Senator Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans District, Senator Ayer of Addison District, Senator Condos of Chittenden District, Senator Cummings of Washington District, Senator Flanagan of Chittenden District, Senator Giard of Addison District, Senator Hartwell of Bennington District, Senator Lyons of Chittenden District, Senator MacDonald of Orange District, Senator McCormack of Windsor District, Senator Miller of Chittenden District and Senator White of Windham District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; Act 250; municipal and regional planning; large-scale retail stores; community and regional impact study

Statement of purpose:  This bill pertains to Act 250 and municipal applications for large-scale retail businesses of 75,000 square feet or more, in the case of projects located outside designated downtowns, and applications for

large-scale retail businesses of 100,000 square feet or more, in the case of projects located within designated downtowns.   In each case, it requires that an applicant for a large-scale retail use must fund the procurement, by the municipality or the district environmental commission, of an unbiased, independent consultant who will conduct a community and regional impact study of matters specified in the bill relating to the anticipated economic effects of granting the application.  A study completed on behalf of a municipality may be submitted to a district commission and accepted in whole or part by the district commission, which retains the right to waive its own procured study or to complement or replace the study procured by the municipality.  The bill proposes to require that large-scale retail use, if allowed in a municipality, shall be subject to conditional use review as part of the municipal regulatory process.  It also requires local consideration of whether the proposal would cause an undue adverse effect on the capacity of community facilities, on the character of the area where the use is proposed, on traffic in the vicinity of the project, on the viability of agriculture, and on the utilization of renewable energy resources.

AN ACT RELATING TO REQUIRING A COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL IMPACT STUDY OF THE PROJECTED EFFECTS OF LARGE-SCALE RETAIL USES

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(31) is added to read:

(31)  “Large-scale retail use” means:

(A)  if applied outside a designated downtown, designated as such under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A,  a single retail business having a gross floor area in one or more buildings at the same location of 75,000 square feet or more in which:

(i)  goods or merchandise is offered for retail sale to the general public or to members for personal, business, or household consumption; and

(ii)  services incidental to the sale of those goods are provided.

(B)  if applied within a designated downtown, designated as such under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, a single retail business having a gross floor area in one or more buildings at the same location of 100,000 square feet or more in which:

(i)  goods or merchandise is offered for retail sale to the general public or to members for personal, business, or household consumption; and

(ii)  services incidental to the sale of those goods are provided.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 6083(h) and (i) are added to read:

(h)(1)  A district commission shall:

(A)  Procure an unbiased independent consultant to conduct a community and regional impact study in each situation in which an application for a permit under this chapter is for a large-scale retail use.

(B)  Notify the general public when a community and regional impact study has been completed and provide at least one copy of the study for review by the general public.

(C)  Provide the completed study to the applicant, the regional planning commission, each municipality within the region, and each adjoining municipality that is located in an adjoining region.

(D)  Assure that proceedings related to the application are scheduled in a manner that gives the recipients of the completed study adequate time to consider the study while determining the nature and extent of their participation in proceedings under this chapter.

(2)  A community and regional impact study shall be designed to disclose the projected impacts, costs, and benefits of the proposal upon all municipalities located within the region or adjacent to the region.  Issues addressed in the community and regional impact study shall include:

(A)  Projected costs arising from the demand for and required improvements to public services and infrastructure.

(B)  The impact of these projected costs on the capacity of existing or planned community facilities.

(C)  The value of improvements that are to be provided by the project to public services and to public facilities.

(D)  Projected tax revenues to be generated by the project.

(E)  Projected impact on property values in the community and region and the potential loss or increase in municipal tax revenues resulting from the proposed project.

(F)  Projected net job loss or creation caused by the project and the resulting potential loss or increase in tax revenues; and estimates of how much revenue generated by the project will be retained and redirected into the economy of the community and the region.

(G)  The impact of large-scale retail uses on any existing designated downtown, designated village center, designated growth center, or designated new town center, designated as such according to chapter 76A of this title.

(H)  Traffic on roads and highways in the vicinity of the project.

(I)  Projected impact on the character of the area in the municipality where the use is proposed.

(J)  Projected impact on the viability of agricultural lands in the vicinity of the project.

(i)  A district commission shall consider any community and regional impact study that is submitted to it after having been conducted by an unbiased independent consultant for a municipality, as provided under 24 V.S.A. chapter 117.  A district commission receiving such a study may take testimony on the study, and may accept or conditionally accept any portion of the study or the entire study in lieu of any portion of the study, or the entire study, that the district commission otherwise is required to procure under this section.  Despite the fact that a study procured by a municipality is submitted in evidence under this chapter and accepted in whole or part by a district commission, a district commission, at any point in the proceedings, may procure additional studies to complement or replace any or all portions of the study completed for the municipality and submitted to it under this section.  An application shall not be considered a complete application until a community and regional impact study has been completed and accepted by a district commission, and until copies have been distributed as required by this chapter.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 6083a(i) is added to read:

(i)  If an application is for a large-scale retail use, the fee shall include the actual costs to the district commission of procuring a community and regional impact study, to the extent required under this chapter.  Actual costs of any study procured by the district commission shall be determined, and the fee shall be due and payable as provided by procedure or rule of the land use panel.  Failure to pay shall be grounds for permit revocation.

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 4303(33) is added to read:

(33)  “Large‑scale retail use” means:

(A)  if applied outside a designated downtown, designated as such under chapter 76A of this title, a single retail business having a gross floor area in one or more buildings at the same location of 75,000 square feet or more in which:

(i)  goods or merchandise is offered for retail sale to the general public or to members for personal, business, or household consumption; and

(ii)  services incidental to the sale of those goods are provided.

(B)  if applied within a designated downtown, designated as such under chapter 76A of this title, a single retail business having a gross floor area in one or more buildings at the same location of 100,000 square feet or more in which:

(i)  goods or merchandise is offered for retail sale to the general public or to members for personal, business, or household consumption; and

(ii)  services incidental to the sale of those goods are provided.

Sec. 5.  24 V.S.A. § 4412 is amended to read:

§ 4412.  REQUIRED PROVISIONS AND PROHIBITED EFFECTS

Notwithstanding any existing bylaw, the following land development provisions shall apply in every municipality:

(1)  Equal treatment of housing and required provisions for affordable housing.

* * *

(8)  Large-scale retail uses.

(A)  Conditional use review.  Large‑scale retail use, if allowed by a municipality in one or more zoning districts, shall be subject to conditional use review pursuant to subdivision 4414(3) of this title, in addition to any other review procedure proscribed in the zoning bylaws.

(B)  Community and regional impact study.

(i)  Prior to receiving any local permit or authorization for the project, any applicant for a new or expanded large-scale retail use shall pay to the municipality the impact evaluation fee required under this chapter, established in the amount necessary to complete a community and regional impact study of the projected impacts, costs, and benefits of the proposal upon all municipalities located within the region or adjacent to the region.  The municipal development review board or board of adjustment shall procure an unbiased, independent consultant to conduct the study.  Issues addressed in the community and regional impact study shall include:

(I)  Projected costs arising from the demand for and required improvements to public services and infrastructure.

(II)  The impact of these projected costs on the capacity of existing or planned community facilities.

(III)  The value of improvements that are to be provided by the project to public services and to public facilities.

(IV)  Projected tax revenues to be generated by the project.

(V)  Projected impact on property values in the community and region and the potential loss or increase in municipal tax revenues resulting from the proposed project.

(VI)  Projected net job loss or creation caused by the project and the resulting potential loss or increase in tax revenues; and estimates of how much revenue generated by the project will be retained and redirected into the economy of the community and the region.

(VII)  The impact of large-scale retail uses on any existing designated downtown, designated village center, designated growth center, or designated new town center, designated as such according to chapter 76A of this title.

(VIII)  Traffic on roads and highways in the vicinity of the project.

(IX)  Projected impact on the character of the area in the municipality where the use is proposed.

(X)  Projected impact on the viability of agricultural lands in the vicinity of the project.

(ii)  The appropriate municipal panel shall:

(I)  Notify the general public when a community and regional impact study has been completed and provide at least one copy of the study for review by the general public.

(II)  Provide the completed study to the applicant, the regional planning commission, each municipality within the region, and each adjoining municipality that is located in an adjoining region.

(III)  Assure that proceedings related to the application are scheduled in a manner that gives the recipients of the completed study adequate time to consider the study while determining the nature and extent of their participation in proceedings under this chapter.

(iii)  An application shall not be considered a complete application until the study has been completed and copies have been distributed as required by this chapter.  The community and regional impact study shall be considered, together with other evidence submitted in the proceeding, in evaluating the fiscal and economic impacts of a large-scale retail use to determine if the use will have an undue adverse effect on:  

(I)  The capacity of existing or planned community facilities.

(II)  The character of the area in the municipality where the use is proposed.

(III)  Traffic on roads and highways in the vicinity of the project.

(IV)  The viability of agricultural lands in the vicinity of the project and in the region.

(V)  The utilization of renewable energy resources.

(iv)  In evaluating an application for a large-scale retail use as part of a conditional use review, the appropriate municipal panel shall examine the impact of large-scale retail uses on existing designated downtowns, existing designated village centers, designated growth areas, and designated new town centers, each as designated under chapter 76A of this title, based on the community and regional impact study and other evidence submitted in a proceeding on the application.  

(v)  Each adjacent municipality and the regional planning commission shall be notified of the hearing date, time, and location at least 15 days prior to the final public hearing to consider the large‑scale retail use proposal.

(vi)  The study may be submitted by a party to a proceeding under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151, relating to a large-scale retail use, and may be considered by the district environmental commission as evidence in the proceeding.

Sec. 6.  24 V.S.A. § 4414 is amended to read:

§ 4414.  ZONING; PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF REGULATIONS

Any of the following types of regulations may be adopted by a municipality in its bylaws in conformance with the plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title.

* * *

(3)  Conditional uses.

* * *

(D)  With regard to large‑scale retail uses, such uses shall not result in an undue adverse effect on the ability of adjacent municipalities to provide public services or facilities to the municipalities’ residents and property owners.

Sec. 7.  24 V.S.A. § 4440(e) is added to read:

(e)  If an application is for a large-scale retail use, the fee shall include the actual costs of procuring a community and regional impact study, as required under this chapter.  Actual costs of the study shall be determined, and the fee shall be due and payable as provided by procedures and standards established by the legislative body.  Failure to pay shall be grounds for permit revocation.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us