Vermont Planning and Development Act

VSA §§4301-4498, Amended 2019

By: State of Vermont

Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

Vermont state law requires all localities to permit one attached or internal accessory dwelling unit (ADU) by-right for each owner-occupied single-family dwelling located outside of flood hazard or fluvial erosion areas, provided the property has sufficient wastewater capacity, the ADU does not exceed 30% of floor area of the principal dwelling, and the ADU conforms to local setback, coverage, and parking standards (24 VSA §4312(E)). The law also authorizes localities to adopt less restrictive zoning standards for ADUs and to require a discretionary approval for detached ADUs, ADUs that expand an existing dwelling, and ADUs that require an expansion of parking areas (24 VSA §4312(F)).

Capital Improvements Programming

These statutes authorize planning commissions to submit recommendations for the capital improvement program (23 V.S.A. §4430). These recommendations must be in conformance with the comprehensive plan. These statutes also define capital projects.

Home Occupations

The state’s planning and zoning enabling statutes preempt certain local regulations on minor home occupations (§4412(4)). These statutes enable jurisdictions to regulate the potential impacts of home occupations uses, while preempting local zoning for home occupations with de minimis land-use impacts. 

Planning and Zoning Enabling Laws

These statutes enable municipalities and regions in Vermont to form planning commissions and to prepare, adopt, and amend comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances. Individual sections address the requirements of municipal planning commissions (24 VSA §4325), requirements of regional planning commissions (24 VSA §4345a), and requirements for comprehensive plans (24 VSA §4382).  

Planning commissions are required to prepare and adopt comprehensive plans, however municipal planning is voluntary (24 VSA §4345a).  

Municipal zoning regulations are not required to be consistent with comprehensive plans (24 VSA §4411(a)).  

Transfer of Development Rights

Vermont’s planning and zoning enabling statute authorizes municipalities and counties to establish transfer of development rights programs (§4423). It addresses establishing sending and receiving areas, defining density increases and development rights related to conservation easements, and establishing compliance standards that include recording the instruments of transfer and mapping severed rights.