The Role of the Planning Commission

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					Essentials of Local Land Use
  Planning and Regulation
                 Overview
• Introductory section discusses:
  – Origins of land use planning and regulation
  – Land use planning and regulation in Vermont
  – Today’s legal structure
         Origins of Land Use
       Planning and Regulation
• Land use planning is not a new idea
  – Roman cities had two major streets that
    intersected at the center of commerce
  – In U.S., earliest municipal plans were designed
    for Philadelphia (1682), Annapolis (1685), and
    Savannah (1733)
• Early plans reflected vision and aspirations of
  a few people; today’s plans involve extensive
  citizen participation
          Origins of Land Use
        Planning and Regulation
• Contemporary planning originated in social welfare
  movements of early 20th century
• Sought to address environmental and public health
  concerns from heavy industries
• In 1916, first land use regulations were developed by
  New York City Council
• Early regulations established height and setback
  requirements and separated incompatible uses
         Origins of Land Use
       Planning and Regulation
• Cities and towns across the country followed
  New York City’s example; landowners soon
  challenged constitutionality of early
  regulations
• In 1926, U.S. Supreme Court upheld zoning
  ordinance from Euclid, Ohio
• Euclid regulations were typical of the time
  and separated uses based on compatibility
         Origins of Land Use
       Planning and Regulation
• Today, “Euclidian zoning” has fallen out of
  favor as it segregates uses, requires more land
  and reliance on the automobile
• Nonetheless, the Euclid case remains the
  prime example of a community’s authority to
  plan for development and regulate land use
       Land Use Planning and
       Regulation in Vermont
• In 1921, Vermont Legislature authorized
  municipalities to create planning commissions

• Early commissions could propose plans for
  public improvements, but had no authority
  over private projects.
         Land Use Planning and
         Regulation in Vermont
• Ten years later, Legislature authorized zoning
• Created two boards: a zoning commission and a
  board of adjustment
   – Zoning commission would propose bylaws and
     boundaries for the districts
   – Board of adjustment would deal with appeals from the
     administrative officer and grant “special exceptions.”
• It was 47 years before the Legislature completed
  another revision
       Land Use Planning and
       Regulation in Vermont
• In 1960’s, interstate highway system fueled
  economic development, increased focus on
  environmental protection and growth
  management.
• In 1968, Legislature established purposes for
  planning and zoning and prescribed contents
  of municipal plans.
  – Many of these same requirements remain today
       Land Use Planning and
       Regulation in Vermont
• In 1970, Act 250 ensured regulatory review
  by the state for major projects
  – To this day, a project must comply with the
    municipal plan to obtain an Act 250 permit
• In 1988, Act 200 increased focus on
  coordination among municipalities, the
  regions, and the state
       Land Use Planning and
       Regulation in Vermont
• In 2004, Act 115 improved the appeals
  process, created opportunities for affordable
  housing, and required regulations to be in
  conformance with the municipal plan by 2011

• In 2006, Act 183 provided incentives for
  development around town and village centers
       Today’s Legal Structure
• As provided in the Vermont Constitution,
  local governments may only undertake
  activities that are enabled by state law
  – This is called Dillon’s Rule

• Fortunately, Vermont law provides extensive
  enabling legislation for a wide range of land
  use planning and regulation activities
       Today’s Legal Structure
• As provided in the Vermont Constitution,
  local governments may only undertake
  activities that are enabled by state law
  – This is called Dillon’s Rule

• Fortunately, Vermont law provides extensive
  enabling legislation for a wide range of land
  use planning and regulation activities
       Today’s Legal Structure
• Chapter 117 of Title 24 (Vermont Planning
  and Development Act) provides requisite
  authority and serves as a guide to the process

• Department of Housing and Community
  Affairs publishes copies of the Act, also
  available through the regional planning
  commission
       A Practical Introduction
• This presentation seeks to provide a practical
  introduction to the topic
• It does not cover all the topics, but provides a
  solid grounding in the fundamentals
• We begin with one of the most important
  topics, understanding roles and
  responsibilities
       A Practical Introduction
• Subsequent chapters address planning
  fundamentals, implementation of the plan,
  procedural issues, and conducting effective
  meetings and hearings