Vermont offers towns grants to update bylaws New homes, housing crisis targeted

The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development announces that $500,000 is available to support statewide municipal bylaw modernization grants for Vermont’s cities and towns.

Municipalities can use this new and innovative funding to hire regional planning commission or consulting staff to collaborate with local stakeholders and prepare bylaw updates that expand opportunities for new homes, confront the state’s housing crisis, and ready communities for unprecedented investments in housing and infrastructure.

“Affordable, attractive, and energy-efficient homes in walkable neighborhoods are in high demand by young and old alike,” said Sen. Michael Sirotkin, chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. “Increasing the supply of housing is my top priority and this funding will help cities and towns remove unnecessary zoning barriers to creating more affordable homes.”

“Although zoning isn’t the only market force constraining the supply of available homes,” said Josh Hanford, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development. “Leaders across Vermont increasingly recognize the importance of erasing unnecessary local barriers that prevent well-located homes that are close to jobs, served by ready infrastructure, and accessible to daily destinations and transit; other constraints like financing or contractor availability are irrelevant if someone can’t obtain a permit.”

The grants support implementation of the Zoning for Great Neighborhoods initiative of 2020, which produced a guide and model regulations designed to make little zoning updates that have a big impact, much easier for local planning commissions, select boards and city councils.  The project also looked at case study communities across Vermont, revealing a clear mismatch between Vermont’s need for smaller homes and the current zoning regulations – many of which were adopted using mid-century templates favoring large single-household homes, large lots and expensive infrastructure.

Municipalities interested in this special, one-time funding to update bylaws, implement Zoning for Great Neighborhoods, and expand housing choice and opportunity in pedestrian oriented neighborhoods can learn more by clicking here.  The deadline for to apply for is Nov. 15, 2021 and funding awards will be announced in January of 2022.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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