The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 24: Municipal and County Government

Chapter 117: MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Sub-Chapter 008: Nonregulatory Implementation Of The Municipal Plan

24 V.S.A. § 4433. Advisory commissions and committees



§ 4433. Advisory commissions and committees

Municipalities may at any time create one or more advisory commissions, which for the purposes of this chapter include committees, or a combination of advisory commissions to assist the legislative body or the planning commission in preparing, adopting, and implementing the municipal plan. Advisory commissions authorized under this section and under chapter 118 of this title may advise appropriate municipal panels, applicants, and interested parties in accordance with the procedures established under section 4464 of this title.

(1) Creation of an advisory commission. Advisory commissions not authorized in chapter 118 of this title shall be created as follows:

(A) An advisory commission may be created at any time when a municipality votes to create one, or through adoption of bylaws, or if the charter of a municipality permits it, when the legislative body of the municipality votes to create one.

(B) An advisory commission shall have not less than three members. All members should be residents of the municipality, except that historic preservation, design advisory, or conservation commissions may be composed of professional and lay members, a majority of whom shall reside within the municipality creating the commission.

(C) Members of the advisory commission shall be appointed, and any vacancy filled, by the legislative body of the municipality. The term of each member shall be as established by the legislative body, except for those first appointed, whose terms shall be varied in length so that in the future the number whose terms expire in each successive year shall be minimized. Any appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the unexpired term.

(D) Any member of an advisory commission may be removed at any time for just cause by vote of the legislative body, for reasons given to the member in writing, and after a public hearing on the issue if the member so requests.

(2) Procedures for advisory commissions. Advisory commissions not authorized in chapter 118 of this title shall establish the following procedures:

(A) At its organizational meeting, an advisory commission shall adopt by majority vote of those present and voting such rules as it deems necessary and appropriate for the performance of its functions. It shall annually elect a chairperson, a treasurer, and a clerk.

(B) Times and places of meetings of an advisory commission shall be publicly posted in the municipality, and its meetings shall be open to the public in accordance with the terms of the open meeting law, subchapter 2 of chapter 5 of Title 1.

(C) The advisory commission shall keep a record of its transactions that shall be filed with the town clerk as a public record of the municipality.

(D) The advisory commission shall comply with ethical policies or ordinances as adopted by the town.

(3) Duties and powers of historic preservation commissions. In addition to the requirements set forth in subdivision (2) of this section, all historic preservation commissions shall comply with all the following:

(A) To the extent possible, have among their members professionals in the fields of historic preservation, history, architecture, archaeology, and related disciplines.

(B) Meet no fewer than four times each year and maintain an attendance rule for commission members.

(C) Have responsibilities set forth in the commission's rules of procedure that include:

(i) Preparation of reports and recommendations on standards for the planning commission in creating a local historic district bylaw under this chapter.

(ii) Advising and assisting the legislative body, planning commission, and other entities on matters related to historic preservation.

(iii) Advising the appropriate municipal panel and administrative officer in development review and enforcement pursuant to subdivision 4414(2)(C) and section 4464 of this title.

(iv) If provided in the bylaw, advising and assisting the legislative body, appropriate municipal panel, and administrative officer in creating and administering a design review district or downtown or village center district pursuant to subdivision 4414(1)(A) or (B) of this title.

(v) If provided in a bylaw developed in cooperation with the division for historic preservation, those procedural and advisory powers required of a Certified Local Government under the National Historic Preservation Act.

(4) Powers and duties of design review commissions. In addition to the requirements set forth in subdivision (2) of this section, all design review commissions shall:

(A) To the extent possible, have among their members professionals in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, and related disciplines.

(B) Have responsibilities identified by the legislative body that include:

(i) Preparation of reports and standards for the planning commission in creating a design review district bylaw under this chapter.

(ii) Advising and assisting the legislative body, planning commission, and other entities on design-related matters in the creation of plans and bylaws and planning for public improvements.

(iii) Advising appropriate municipal panels and the administrative officer in development review and enforcement pursuant to subdivisions 4414(1)(E) and (F) and section 4464 of this title.

(5) Powers and duties of housing commissions. In addition to the requirements set forth in subdivision (2) of this section, housing commissions may:

(A) Make an inventory of the current stock of housing units in the municipality and identify any gaps in the housing stock according to household incomes or special needs of the community. The inventory may include documentation of the affordable housing cost index for an average citizen of the municipality, the average cost of rental units and vacancy rates, and the annual average sales price of homes.

(B) Review the zoning ordinances, subdivision bylaws, building codes, and the development review process of the municipality, make recommendations to facilitate the development of affordable housing in the municipality, and promote bylaws that increase densities for the purpose of providing affordable housing.

(C) Assist the local appropriate municipal panels pursuant to section 4464 of this title and the district environmental commission by providing advisory testimony on the housing needs of the municipality, where pertinent to applications made to those bodies, for permits for development.

(D) Cooperate with the local legislative body, planning commission, zoning board of adjustment, road committee, or other municipal or private organizations on matters affecting housing resources of the municipality. This may include working with the municipality on a wastewater and water allocation policy that reserves a percentage of the capacity for future affordable housing.

(E) Collaborate with not-for-profit housing organizations, government agencies, developers, and builders in pursuing options to meet the housing needs of the local residents. (Added 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 97.)