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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.300

Introduced by   Senator Lyons of Chittenden District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; Act 250; smart growth principles and state funding

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to provide that designated downtowns, village centers, and growth centers will be eligible for certain wastewater treatment plant loans.  It proposes to revise Act 250 jurisdiction to include a development with a road that is at least 800 feet long or that provides access to more than five parcels.  It proposes to reduce from ten to eight the number of lots that may be created before Act 250 jurisdiction over subdivisions applies in a municipality with duly adopted zoning and subdivision regulations.  It proposes to repeal two subsections that limit Act 250 jurisdiction over utility line extensions:  one containing prohibitions on addressing the related impacts of improvements served by the line, and the other limiting the extent to which future line extensions will be subject to review as material or substantial changes to previously permitted development.  It proposes to create a new Act 250 requirement that proposed development within a mile of an interstate interchange may be authorized only upon a finding that it will maintain the historic settlement pattern of compact centers surrounded by rural countryside.  It proposes to revise construction aid for schools in several instances, in order to require that the location meet Act 250 and Act 200 standards, to give priority to projects that comply with the principles of smart growth, and regarding new projects, to require that the school location be in a designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center.  It proposes to address the funding of school renovations.  It proposes to require that the state’s transportation program not include new highway construction until 90 percent of existing highways and bridges are in good condition.  In the determination of transportation priorities, it proposes to require consideration of the impact of a particular project on maintaining the state’s historic settlement pattern and its impact on climate change.  It requires the siting of state buildings in suitable designated growth centers, village centers, new town centers, or growth centers.  Finally, the bill proposes changes to the planning and zoning chapter by providing that in order for a proposed development to avoid the need to obtain certain easements, it must have access to a class 1, class 2, or class 3 public highway, or to a portion of a class 4 public highway that is maintained by the town throughout the year.   

AN ACT RELATING TO ACT 250 JURISDICTION OVER SUBDIVISIONS AND UTILITY LINE EXTENSIONS, AND THE APPLICATION OF SMART GROWTH PRINCIPLES IN CERTAIN ALLOCATIONS OF STATE FUNDS

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


Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 1626a(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Loan eligibility. The proposed enlargement or new construction of a wastewater treatment plant with a total design hydraulic capacity of 250,000 or more gallons per day shall be eligible for a loan for 100 percent of the total project cost, as provided by chapter 120 of Title 24, if the commissioner of environmental conservation finds that:

(1)  the proposed plant capacity is necessary to accommodate anticipated municipal growth; and that

(2)  the area to be served is designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A as a downtown, a village center, or a growth center; and that

(3)  the proposed plant capacity will be sufficient to receive, treat and dispose of septage in a quantity equivalent to the ratio of 2,000 gallons or more of such septage per day for each 1,000,000 gallons per day of plant design hydraulic capacity.  However, this condition shall not be required if the commissioner finds that such septage treatment capacity by the plant is not needed within the region of the state in which the plant is or will be located.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(3)(A) is amended to read:

(3)(A)  "Development" means:

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(ix)  The construction of improvements for a road or roads, incidental to the sale or lease of land, to provide access to or within a tract of land of more than one acre owned or controlled by a person; provided that:

(I)  In municipalities with both permanent zoning and subdivision bylaws, this definition shall apply only if the tract or tracts of involved land are more than 10 acres.

(II)  Any parcel of land which will be provided access by the road shall be land involved in the construction of the road.

(III)  This definition shall not apply unless the road is to provide access to more than five parcels or is to be more than 800 feet in length.

(IV)  For the purpose of determining the length of a road, the length of all other roads within the tract of land constructed within any continuous period of 10 years, commencing after the effective date of this subdivision (3)(A)(ix), shall be included.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(19) is amended to read:

(19)  "Subdivision" means a tract or tracts of land, owned or controlled by a person, which the person has partitioned or divided for the purpose of resale into 10 eight or more lots within a radius of five miles of any point on any lot, or within the jurisdictional area of the same district commission, within any continuous period of five years.  In determining the number of lots, a lot shall be counted if any portion is within five miles or within the jurisdictional area of the same district commission.  The word "subdivision" shall not include a lot or lots created for the purpose of conveyance to the state or to a qualified organization, as defined under section 6301a of this title, if the land to be transferred includes and will preserve a segment of the Long Trail.  The word "subdivision" shall not include a lot or lots created for the purpose of conveyance to the state or to a "qualified holder" of "conservation rights and interest," as those terms are defined in section 821 of this title.  "Subdivision" shall also mean a tract or tracts of land, owned or controlled by a person, which the person has partitioned or divided for the purpose of resale into six or more lots, within a continuous period of five years, in a municipality which does not have duly adopted permanent zoning and subdivision bylaws.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 6081 is amended to read:

§ 6081.  PERMITS REQUIRED; EXEMPTIONS

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(q)  For the purposes of reviewing any combination of electrical distribution and communications lines and subsidiary facilities that, standing alone, constitutes a development for purposes of this chapter, the actual and potential impacts considered by the board or district commission under subsection 6086(a) of this title shall not include actual or potential impacts of the construction of other improvements to be served by those lines and subsidiary facilities.

(r)  In situations in which the construction of improvements for any combination of electrical distribution and communications lines and subsidiary facilities, standing alone, constitutes a development subject to the jurisdiction of the board or district commission under this chapter, subsequent construction of improvements for any combination of electrical distribution and communications lines and subsidiary facilities not identified or reasonably identifiable at the time construction commences, standing alone, shall be considered new construction of improvements and shall not be considered a material or substantial change to that previously permitted development.

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Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(9)(M) is added to read:

(M)  Interstate interchange development.  A permit will be issued for activities within one mile of an interstate interchange only when, in addition to all other applicable criteria, the applicant can show that the development or subdivision will foster the conservation of land in and around the interstate interchange, and the development or subdivision will maintain the historic settlement pattern of compact villages and urban centers surrounded by rural countryside.

Sec. 6.  16 V.S.A. § 3448(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Construction aid.

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(2)  Approval of preliminary application.

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(B)  The commissioner may approve a preliminary application if:

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(iii)  The proposed type, kind, quality, size, and estimated cost of the project are suitable for the proposed curriculum and meet all, the location is adequate to meet the standards in 10 V.S.A. chapter 151 and is consistent with the planning purposes and goals established in 24 V.S.A. § 4302, and the project meets all other legal standards.

(iv)  For new school buildings, the school location is in a designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center, and is demonstrated to be consistent with the planning purposes and goals established in 24 V.S.A. § 4302 and to foster compact settlement patterns surrounded by rural countryside.

(3)  Priorities.  Following approval of a preliminary application and provided that the district has voted funds or authorized a bond for the total estimated cost of a project, the state board shall assign points to the project so that the project can be placed on a priority list based on the number of points received.  Once a project receives points, if it does not receive funding in a given year, it shall not lose points in subsequent years and, pursuant to rule of the board and provided the scope of the project remains the same, it shall gain points due to length of time on the list and may gain points for any other reason.  The points shall be assigned so that:

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(C)  The third priority will be given to projects located in designated downtowns, village centers, new town centers, or growth centers, or to projects located in such a way as to comply with the principles of smart growth and to foster compact settlements surrounded by rural countryside.

(D)  Remaining projects are given priority based on consideration of the relative degree of need pursuant to subdivision (2)(A) of this subsection.

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(7)  Award of construction aid.

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(D)  The amount of an award for the renovations or additions to an existing school facility shall be 50 percent of the approved cost, which shall not be less than approved costs for new construction.

Sec. 7.  19 V.S.A. § 10g(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The agency of transportation shall annually present to the general assembly a multiyear transportation program covering the same number of years as the statewide transportation improvement plan (STIP), consisting of the recommended budget for all agency activities for the ensuing fiscal year and projected spending levels for all agency activities for the following fiscal years.  The program shall include a description and year-by-year breakdown of recommended and projected funding of all projects proposed to be funded within the time period of the STIP and, in addition, a description of all projects which are not recommended for funding in the first fiscal year of the proposed program but which are projected to be ready for construction at that time (shelf projects).  The program shall be consistent with the planning process established by No. 200 of the Acts of the 1987 Adj. Sess. (1988), as codified in 3 V.S.A. chapter 67 and 24 V.S.A. chapter 117, the statements of policy set forth in sections 10b-10f of this title, and the long-range systems plan, corridor studies, and project priorities developed through the capital planning process under section 10i of this title.  For the purposes of enabling the state, without delay, to bring the public highway and bridge system into a state of good repair and reduce the backlog of infrastructure repair, the agency shall not include any transportation project that constitutes new state highway construction in any transportation capital program until 90 percent of all existing highways and bridges are in good condition.  Nothing in this section is intended to restrict or prohibit transportation project activities that involve reconstruction or widening of existing state highways and bridges, or completion of segments of new highways that are under construction by July 1, 2009.

Sec. 8.  19 V.S.A. § 10g(l)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  The second component of the priority rating system shall consider, without limitation, the following factors:

(A)  the functional importance of the highway or bridge as a link in the local, regional, or state economy; and

(B)  the functional importance of the highway or bridge in the social and cultural life of the surrounding communities; and

(C)   the highway’s or bridge’s impact on maintaining Vermont’s historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside and its impact on climate change.

Sec. 9.  24 V.S.A. § 2793a(c)(5) is amended to read:

(5)  Whenever the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services or other state officials in charge of selecting a site are planning to lease or construct buildings suitable to being located in a village center after determining that the option of utilizing existing space in a downtown development district pursuant to subdivision 2794(a)(14) of this title is not feasible, the option of utilizing existing space in a designated village center shall be given thorough investigation and priority commissioner shall locate the building in the designated village center, in consultation with the community.

Sec. 10.  24 V.S.A. § 2793b(c)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  Whenever the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services or other state officials in charge of selecting a site are planning to lease or construct buildings suitable to being located in a new town center after determining that the option of utilizing existing space in a downtown development district, pursuant to subdivision 2794(a)(14) of this title, is not feasible, the option of utilizing existing space in a designated new town center shall be given thorough investigation and priority commissioner shall locate the building in the new town center, in consultation with the community.

Sec. 11.  24 V.S.A. § 2793c(i)(3)(B) is amended to read:

(B)  Whenever the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services or other state officials in charge of selecting a site are planning to lease or construct buildings suitable to being located in a designated growth center after determining that the option of utilizing existing space in a downtown development district pursuant to subdivision 2794(a)(13) of this title or within a designated village center pursuant to subdivision 2793a(c)(6) of this title or within a designated new town center pursuant to subdivision 2793b(c)(2) of this title is not feasible, the option of locating in a designated growth center shall be given thorough investigation and priority commissioner shall locate the building in the designated growth center, in consultation with the legislative body of the municipality.

Sec. 12.  24 V.S.A. § 2794(a)(12) is amended to read:

(12)  Priority for locating The location in a designated downtown of proposed state functions by the commissioner of buildings and general services or other state officials, in consultation with the legislative body of a municipality and based on the suitability of the state function to a downtown location.

Sec. 13.  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:

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(3)  Required frontage on, or access to, public roads or public waters.

Land development may be permitted on lots that do not have frontage either on a public road portion of a class 4 public highway that is maintained by the town throughout the year, or on a class 1, class 2, or class 3 public highway, as determined under 19 V.S.A. § 302, or on public waters, provided that access through a permanent easement or right-of-way has been approved in accordance with standards and process specified in the bylaws.  This approval shall be pursuant to subdivision bylaws adopted in accordance with section 4418 of this title, or where subdivision bylaws have not been adopted or do not apply, through a process and pursuant to standards defined in bylaws adopted for the purpose of assuring safe and adequate access.  Any permanent easement or right-of-way providing access to such a road or waters shall be at least 20 feet in width.

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Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us