Furthermore, each of Vermont’s eleven Regional Planning Commissions are, by right, a party which may appear and participate in the Act 250 proceeding of a proposed development whose site is located either in or on the boundaries with a municipality that is a member of that Regional Planning Commission [“Act 250 Environmental Board Rule 14(A)(3)”]. Additionally, pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 4345a(13) all RPCs “shall appear before district environmental commissions to aid them in making a determination as to the conformance of developments and subdivisions with the criteria of 10 V.S.A. § 6086.”
History of Act 250
Vermont experienced new growth in the 1960’s, which brought many important planning issues to the forefront. This period of new growth was characterized by the following:
- Completion of Interstate Highway 89 and the southern Vermont section of Interstate Highway 91
- IBM locating a new plant to Vermont
- A Growth in the Tourist industry
Vermonters are sensitive to the link between the natural and human environments. Many were concerned that this link was threatened and, in the absence of a mechanism to protect or strengthen this relationship, development was proceeding apace. The steadfastness of concerned Vermont natives began to gain recognition with the State government in the late 1960’s. Prior to Act 250 there were no State-level environmental regulations or land use controls in Vermont.
In 1970, Vermont enacted the Land Use and Development Law (commonly known as Act 250). The law created nine District Commissions and an Environmental Board tasked to review development applications based on 10 criteria specified in Act 250.