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Zoning regulations
 

Zoning regulations

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    Zoning regulations Zoning regulations Document Transcript

    • Statutory Authorization: 24 V.S.A. §§4401, 4402, 4410, 4411–4414 / Type: REGULATORY Related Topic Areas: Design Review; Home Occupations; Housing Regulations; Land Use & Develop- ment Regulations; Open Space & Resource Protection Regulations; Performance Standards; Planned Unit Development; Subdivision Regulations; Transfer of Development Rights Zoning Regulations 30Overview Zoning regulations are the mostcommon regulatory tool used by localgovernments throughout the countryto manage land use and development.According to the most recent surveyby the Vermont Department ofHousing and Community Affairs, 206municipalities, or more than 80percent of Vermont municipalities,have adopted zoning regulations. Zoning evolved out of urbanreform movements of the early twen-tieth century to address overcrowdingand blight and to protect existing resi-dential and commercial neighbor-hoods from encroachingdevelopment. The Standard StateZoning Enabling Act—the firstmodel legislation adopted by manystates—was issued by the U.S. Depart-ment of Commerce in 1924. Theconstitutionality of local zoning,which involves the use of local policepower to regulate and restrict prop- Many zoning maps, like this one from Manchester, were first adopted decadeserty use, was first upheld by the U.S. ago under different circumstances and before good mapping data existed. SomeSupreme Court in the 1926 landmark aspects of the map still fit well with the town’s current planning goals, such ascase Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty the Forest Recreation District (FR) covering the national forestland and other areas with steep and rocky terrain or the concentration of commercial activity inCompany (272 U.S. 365 [1926]). the dark-colored districts in and around the village. Other aspects, such as Vermont’s first zoning statutes zoning boundaries that split parcels and districts defined as Farming and Ruralwere enacted in 1931, though a few Residential (FRR), may need to be reevaluated to provide landowners withmunicipalities such as St. Johnsbury greater clarity and to better achieve the town’s land use goals. Map courtesy ofadopted earlier regulations under their Manchester Planning and Zoning Office.municipal charters. The 1931 statutes was soon recognized under national tions must now conform to the mu-authorized a “zoning commission” to models and related case law. However, nicipal plan, including the plan’s landwrite bylaws and create a zoning map this connection was not addressed in use goals and recommendations andfor local adoption. Bylaws were then Vermont until 1968, under a compre- proposed land use map.administered by a separate zoning hensive revision of the state’s plan- Planning commissions are now re-board. At the time, there was no ning and zoning statutes. The 1968 sponsible for preparing zoning regula-direct connection between local plans revisions resulted in the Vermont tions—and for reviewing andprepared by planning commissions, as Planning and Development Act (24 commenting on regulations preparedauthorized by the state in 1921, and V.S.A., Chapter 117), which is still in by others—for consideration by thelocal zoning. effect today. The connection between legislative body. Under Chapter 117 The need to link zoning to local plans and bylaws was strengthened provisions, zoning regulations may beplans so that comprehensive plans under 2004 amendments to Chapter adopted by the municipality as a sepa-formed the basis for local regulation 117 (Act 115). Local zoning regula- rate bylaw or as part of a unified Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-1
    • development bylaw that also includes quence of review to coordinate per- Tables—for example, zoning districtsubdivision regulations. mitting activities and also the appro- or use tables—are a useful way to priate municipal panel (the planning highlight and summarize information.Application commission, board of adjustment, or Graphics can and should be used to development review board) who is au- help illustrate terms and definitions. Zoning is used to regulate the loca- thorized to conduct each type of Often statutory requirements are in-tion, type, and density of develop- review. corporated by reference. This mayment within a community through the Administrative Requirements, shorten the length of the document,delineation of one or more zones or including municipal appointments, but it may also leave out informationzoning districts, as depicted on a powers, and duties; the issuance of that’s important for local officials, ap-zoning map. There is no “right” way permits and approvals; appeals and plicants, and neighbors who don’tto craft or organize a zoning bylaw; variances; variance requirements; have ready access to state statutes.local regulations are as varied as the hearing and notice requirements;communities that adopt them. Zoningregulations usually include the follow- recording requirements; and violation Zoning Districts and enforcement provisions.ing, in some form: Zoning districts can include stan- Definitions, which should include Statutory Authorizations, includ- dard districts as delineated on the definitions for all listed uses and foring adoption and effective dates, ap- zoning map, overlay districts that are technical and legal terms. Statutoryplicability and use for local regulation, layered or superimposed on one or (Chapter 117) definitions, where ap-and bylaw amendment and “severabil- more underlying zoning districts (e.g. plicable, must be used.ity” provisions that apply in the event flood hazard area districts), and floating Zoning Map—typically a copy ofthat portions of the regulation are zones that are not mapped but apply the official zoning map(s), located indeemed by the courts to be invalid. only to specified uses in locations the municipal clerk’s office, that is Zoning Districts, including lists where siting and performance stan- adopted and incorporated by refer-of uses allowed within each zoning dards defined in the regulations can ence in the regulations. Boundary de-district (for example, permitted uses be met. scriptions also may be included in therequiring only administrative review Zoning districts should correspond regulations or noted on or appendedand conditional uses requiring addi- to the proposed land use map and to the zoning map.tional board approval), related dimen- related recommendations found in the Information should be presentedsional and density standards (for comprehensive plan. District bound- so that it’s easy to find and use. Aexample, minimum lot size, frontage, aries may be more specifically delin- table of contents or index is helpful.setback, and coverage requirements),and any other standards that are spe-cific to each district. Types of Zoning Districts in some districts (for example, General or Supplemental Regu- 24 V.S.A. §4414(1) upland conservation or forestlations that apply to all uses, as appli- reserve districts), as long as Chapter 117 authorizes several landowners are allowed some rea-cable. These often include standards types of zoning districts including, but sonable use of their land, such asfor nonconformities, access and not limited to, the following, some of logging and outdoor recreation. #19parking, performance, lighting, signs, which are addressed in more detail in Airport Hazard Area Districts toand so on. related topic papers (indicated by limit development in and around Use Standards that apply only to numbers). airports as needed for safe airportspecified uses as allowed within one Downtown, Village, New Town operation and to allow for airportor more zoning districts to include, Center, and Growth Center Dis- expansion. #24for example, standards for home- tricts, including compact, higher- Shoreland and Flood Hazard Areabased businesses, telecommunications density, mixed-use districts that may Districts to protect water quality correspond with state-designated and riparian habitat, provide accessfacilities, extraction operations, and to public waters, and limit en- districts under Vermont’s Downtownindustrial and mobile home parks. and Growth Center Programs. #7, #9 croachments. #10 Development Review Proce- Agricultural, Rural Residential, Historic and Design Reviewdures, including the types of review Forest, and Recreational Districts Districts that protect the historical,procedures adopted for local use (for intended to limit development to architectural, or visual character ofexample, site plan, conditional use, protect rural areas, recreational development within designatedlocal Act 250, flood hazard area, or uses, and a community’s working historic or design review districts, landscapes. The Vermont Supreme through the application ofdesign review) and related standards Court has upheld zoning regulations building renovation and designand application requirements. Regula- that prohibit residential development standards. #11tions must specify the types and se- Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-2
    • Each zoning district should include case, all uses listed should be clearly What’s the “Right” a purpose statement that incorporates defined in the regulations. Lot Size? municipal plan objectives for the dis- Uses are typically further defined Questions to consider: trict and supports allowed uses and as permitted uses, or uses by right, that • Is it consistent with historic lot related district standards. The purpose require only review by the zoning ad- sizes and traditional patterns of statement is considered in the review ministrator (though site plan review development? of development—for example to de- may also be required) and conditional • Does it allow for desired densities termine a project’s compatibility with uses that require review and approval of development? • Is it large enough to accommodate the existing or planned “character of by an appropriate municipal panel on-site parking, water, and/or the area” as defined in the zoning reg- (typically the board of adjustment or wastewater systems where ulations and the municipal plan. The development review board) prior to needed? purpose statement demonstrates what the issuance of a permit. Chapter 117, • Will it result in the creation of a the intended character of the area is, under a de minimus provision (§4446), large number of nonconforming which may differ from its existing now also authorizes municipalities to parcels? character. As such, the purpose state- exempt from local regulation certain • Will it result in the unnecessary ment is especially relevant to the structures or uses that are determined fragmentation of large tracts of land? review panel and to those who are to have minimal or no impact, such as • Is it large enough to allow for func- potentially affected by development home offices, occasional yard sales, tional use, such as farming and and seek interested-party status in dog or tree houses, and other small forestry operations? local hearings. accessory structures. • Are there other, better ways to As noted above, additional stan- define density or achieve other goals than to use a minimum lot Uses dards that are specific to certain types of use may also be included in the size? Uses, commonly listed by zoning regulations. For example, zoning may district, define the types of develop- include standards for home-basedeated—for example, using lot lines; ment allowed within a particular dis- businesses, telecommunications facili-setbacks from roads, rivers, and trict. Listed uses typically include a ties, extraction and quarrying opera-streams; and other features that are mix of compatible, mutually support- tions, and mixed-use development.easily identified on the ground. Some ive uses, which may be quite extensive Some use standards may be applieddistricts, including overlay districts, in mixed-use districts. A few districts, under administrative review, but aremay be delineated based on the loca- however, as noted above, may severely generally considered by local boardstion of natural features, such as eleva- restrict allowed uses to avoid hazards, under site plan or conditional usetion contours, designated floodplains conserve natural resources, or to ac- review (see below).and wetlands, or primary agricultural commodate resource-based industries such as agriculture and forestry. It’ssoils. The zoning map is normally important to make sure that more re- Standardsamended through the bylaw amend-ment process—requested changes strictive zoning districts are not so Dimensional Standards. Tradi-should be submitted to the planning overly restrictive that they unnecessar- tional zoning districts typically includecommission for review. Some district ily preclude or prohibit reasonable use dimensional standards that apply dis-boundaries, if incorporated by refer- of the land, nor require such large trict-wide or to particular types of useence—such as flood hazard area lots that they could be considered in- that are allowed within the district.boundaries delineated under the Na- tentionally exclusionary. Common dimensional standards aretional Flood Insurance Program— Many local regulations define listed in the accompanying figure.may change as updated versions are general categories of use, rather than Many of these standards, which arereleased. specific use types. For example, “com- presented as minimums, can also be Zoning regulations often include mercial use” is a commonly listed use defined as maximums (and vice versa)different types of commercial, resi- in rural zoning regulations, which to include, for example, maximumdential, and industrial districts that allows for many types of retail, office, setbacks or minimum buildingvary in the types or densities of devel- restaurant, service, or other revenue- heights.opment allowed. For example, many generating enterprises. Defining Don’t borrow zoning standards fromregulations include high-, moderate-, general categories of use may be ap- neighboring communities without someand low-density residential districts, propriate where flexibility is desired, scrutiny; they may not be a good fit! Somewhich correspond with the availability but more specificity may be needed to design considerations are inherent inof supporting water, wastewater, or clearly differentiate between the types even the most basic zoning standards,other infrastructure. of uses allowed in more complex or including minimum lot size and restrictive zoning districts. In either setback requirements. Many existing Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-3
    • Common Dimensional and access management and fire protec- Maximum Building or Lot Cover- Density Standards tion, or to limit impacts or intrusions on age. Defined as the ratio (or percent) adjoining properties. In the absence of of total building footprint or impervious Minimum Lot Size. A basic density other standards, setbacks define the surface area to total lot area. Coverage control based on lot area. area—the building or development “en- requirements are used to control the Maximum Use Density. A density velope”—in which structures may be density of development on a lot, in re- standard based on the type of use (for located on a lot. lation to the amount of undeveloped example, specifying the maximum Maximum Height. Used to cap the yard or open space area. Lot coverage number of dwelling units allowed per height of structures within a zoning dis- is mainly useful for managing stormwa- acre). trict (for example, 35 feet is almost a ter retention and runoff Minimum Frontage. A linear universal standard for residential dis- on-site. density control based on road (river or tricts, but is likely too low for both his- Maximum Floor Area Ratio. shoreland) frontage used to separate toric and modern commercial districts). Another type of density standard, more uses and manage access. Height requirements may also vary by commonly used in urban or densely Minimum Front, Side, and Rear type of structure, such as for principal developed districts that is defined as Setbacks. As measured from road and accessory structures, telecommu- the ratio of the total or gross floor area right-of-way and property lines, to nications towers, church steeples, and of a building (which may be quite high require separation between structures, so on. for multistory buildings) to the total land travel ways, and adjoining uses for area of a lot.zoning regulations don’t reflect histor- maps. These can be used to evaluate District standards may apply to allical patterns of development, result- proposed lot size and density require- uses within the district or only to usesing in too many nonconforming ments and the potential impacts that that require site plan or conditionalparcels and incompatible infill or re- zoning or rezoning may have on indi- use review.development. A review of existing, as vidual landowners. General or Supplemental Stan-built, dimensions is especially impor- Other District Standards. These dards. These types of standardstant in developed areas such as his- often include performance or con- usually apply to any development re-toric villages and downtowns where struction standards that are specific to gardless of the district in which it isthe intent is to preserve the character a particular zoning district. For located; though such standards canof the built environment. In urban example, a flood hazard district, under also vary by district. General stan-and village settings, it’s best to take federal and state requirements, must dards often include, but may not bemeasurements of actual develop- include construction and flood proof- limited to:ment—existing or desired—before ing standards for new or substantially • Access and frontage requirements, includ-drafting dimensional standards. improved structures within the dis- ing access management and design Likewise, in rural areas where lower trict. A conservation or resource dis- standards, and statutory require-densities or larger lot sizes are being trict may include siting or design ments for allowing access to lotsconsidered, it’s helpful to look at ex- standards that limit the environmental lacking frontage on public roads oristing patterns of land subdivision and visual impacts of development on public waters.using the community’s parcel or tax district resources within the district. • Parking requirements that specify the How Dense Is “Dense”? associated with suburban sprawl. entiate between residential densities There are many measures of Higher densities of development also (one unit per twenty-five acres) and density, but how density is defined are generally required to support af- residential lot sizes (minimum or locally is highly subjective and varies in fordable housing development. maximum of one acre). (For more infor- relation to context. In many rural com- In agricultural districts, an agricul- mation, see topic paper, Open Space & munities, a minimum lot size of one tural lot should be large enough to Resource Protection Regulations.) acre (or a maximum residential density support viable agricultural use (for Again, it’s important to measure, of one unit per acre)—typically linked to example, twenty-five or more acres); in evaluate, and consider plan recommen- on-site water and sewer systems—is Vermont, this is often tied to eligibility dations and potential impacts. Build-out considered a small lot. In most parts of for enrollment in the state’s current use analyses that consider a number of the country, however, including tax abatement program acres. Twenty- density factors and site limitations are Vermont’s urban and village centers, a five acre residential lots, however, especially useful in evaluating and one-acre lot is a pretty big lot. Historic could result in the unnecessary frag- quantifying density. Visual surveys and village densities generally start at four mentation of agricultural land. In this design exercises are also useful in to five units per acre. Anything less case, if residential uses are allowed at identifying related design considera- than three to four units per acre is often all, it may be more appropriate to differ- tions and visual impacts. Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-4
    • minimum (or maximum) number of Site Plan Review by the appropri- off-street parking spaces required by ate municipal panel (usually the plan- “On the Record” Review use type and standards for parking ning commission or development V.S.A. §4471(c) lot layout and design. review board), which evaluates site Local zoning regulations may• Sign requirements that regulate the layout and design, traffic and pedes- specify that certain types of devel- number, type, size, lighting, and ma- trian circulation, landscaping and opment or development review pro- terials of exterior signs allowed by screening, and other site factors in- ceedings shall be heard “on the use type or zoning district. cluded in the regulations. Under record.” This requires that the mu-• Performance or protection standards, Chapter 117, site plan review may be nicipality adopt the Municipal Admin- istrative Procedures Act (MAPA—24 which are intended to minimize the required for all uses, including permit- V.S.A Chapter 36) for use in these impacts of potential nuisances on ted uses, with the exception of single- proceedings to establish an ade- neighboring properties and uses (for and two-family dwellings and other quate hearing record at the local example, noise, glare, or emissions types of development that, by statute, level. In the event of an appeal to standards) or potential adverse are exempted from site plan review. the Environmental Court, the local impacts to resources identified in Conditional Use Review by an record—including related board find- the municipal plan (for example, appropriate municipal panel (typically ings and determinations—can be considered in the court’s review of stream setback and buffer require- the board of adjustment or develop- the case. ments). ment review board) to evaluate the Many of these standards, such as impacts of proposed development on must adopt both zoning and subdivi-parking, sign, nuisance, water and the capacity of existing and planned sion regulations that reference Actwastewater system, and access stan- community facilities, the character of 250 definitions, and the Municipaldards, may be adopted by a municipal- the area affected, traffic, the use of Administrative Procedures Actity under separate ordinances. Where renewable energy resources, regula- (MAPA) governing board hearings.this is the case, applicable ordinances tions currently in effect, and other cri- Findings of the board cannot be ap-should be referenced under the teria specified in the regulations. pealed, but become rebuttable pre-zoning regulations. Conditional use review can also incor- sumptions in related state regulatory porate site plan review criteria to proceedings.Development Review reduce the number of hearings and Planned Unit Development decisions required and the potential (PUD). PUD regulations are sepa- The review of development under for appeal and to eliminate potentially rately enabled under Chapter 117local zoning generally includes one or conflicting findings and conditions of (§4417), but are typically includedmore of the following types of review approval. Conditional use standards under local zoning or unified develop-procedures, as enabled under Chapter may also include state Act 250 criteria ment regulations, and applied in asso-117 and specified under local for local application. ciation with subdivision or conditionalregulations: Design Review by an appropriate use review. PUD provisions allow the Administrative Review by the ad- municipal panel (usually the board of review board (usually the planningministrative officer (zoning adminis- adjustment or development review commission or development reviewtrator) in association with the issuance board) to regulate the design of struc- board) to modify or waive zoning re-of zoning permits for permitted uses. tures within designated historic or quirements that would otherwiseThis is intended to ensure that a pro- design review districts. Often the apply to a particular development inposed development meets basic regu- board will rely on the recommenda- order to achieve municipal plan objec-latory standards, including lot size and tions of a local historic commission tives—for example to promote highersetback requirements. Recent amend- or design review committee, which, if density mixed use development,ments to Chapter 117 now allow for authorized under the regulations, may provide affordable housing, or toexpanded administrative review, as serve in an advisory capacity to the protect open space (see topic paperspecified in the regulations. For board, applicants and other interested on Planned Unit Development).example, some communities allow the parties. (See topic paper, Design Development review procedureszoning administrator to conduct site Review.) for each of these types of review areplan reviews or to approve amend- Local Act 250 Review by the de- governed by Chapter 117 require-ments to development that has been velopment review board to evaluate ments that apply to all municipal landapproved by their zoning or develop- Act 250 applications for conformance use regulations. Local zoning regula-ment review board, as long as the with the municipal plan and potential tions should incorporate or referenceamendments are consistent with impacts to the municipal and educa- statutory requirements for publicboard findings and conditions of tional facilities. In order to conduct notices, hearings, the issuance andapproval. local Act 250 reviews, a municipality Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-5
    • Site Plan or Conditional Use Review? Site Plan Review Conditional Use Review 24 V.S.A., §4416 24 V.S.A., §4414(3) • May be adopted as a separate bylaw (new in 2004) • Must be adopted as a separate develop- • May be adopted as a separate develop- ment review process zoningLocal Options ment review process in zoning (traditional), • May incorporate site plan review criteria or • May include one or more Act 250 criteria • May be incorporated under conditional use review (now specifically authorized). Regulates the external impacts of develop- Regulates internal site layout and design, ment on neighboring properties, the charac- including site access and circulation, parking, ter of the area and neighboring properties, landscaping and screening, exterior lighting, community facilities, traffic, roads, renewable signs, and other site factors specified in the energy resources, etc., as specified in statute regulations. and local regulations. Application May apply to all but single- and two-family Applies only to uses identified as conditional dwellings, including permitted (administra- uses within the bylaw. tively approved) and/or conditional uses. Site plan review criteria may be incorporated under conditional use review to avoid duplicative, potentially redundant development reviews, and the need for two separate applications, notices, hearings and decisions. Administered by an appropriate municipal panel as specified in the regulations, usually Administered by an appropriate municipal the planning commission or the development panel as specified in the regulations, usually review board. Some regulations also author- the zoning board or development review ize administrative site plan review by the board. zoning administrator. Requires a public hearing, but with more Requires a warned public hearing with full limited public notice (e.g., 7 days). public notice.Administration Hearings may be held concurrently with site plan review hearings, as long as all requirements for each are met. Decisions must be issued within 45 days from the date of hearing adjournment Decisions may be appealed by interested persons who participated in the local hearing to the Vermont Environmental Court. Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-6
    • recording of decisions, appeals andenforcement . When more than one Considerations Waiversreview process applies to a particular Exclusionary and Spot Zoning. 24 V.S.A., §4414development, the timing and sequence Zoning, as discussed above, is typi-of review must be specified in the cally used to regulate the location, Chapter 117 authorizes the use type, and density of development of “waivers” under zoning to grantregulations. Since similar public notice reductions in applicable dimensionaland hearing requirements apply to through the delineation of one or requirements. These may bemost types of development review, more “zones” or zoning districts. Ini- applied, in lieu of variance criteria,review processes often can be con- tially used to separate incompatible under standards and reviewducted concurrently. Chapter 117 also uses—for example, to exclude resi- procedures specified in theallows site plan review criteria to be dential uses from industrial districts— regulations.incorporated under conditional use zoning evolved over time to morereview—thereby eliminating the need generally require the separation of • Protections for nonconforming lots, struc-for two hearings and the issuance of uses (and sometimes populations) into tures and uses.two decisions that could be separately single-use residential, commercial, and • Limitations on the local regulation ofappealed to court. industrial zoning districts. In some public facilities, including state and Decisions of the zoning adminis- cases this is justified, as noted, to sep- community-owned facilities, publictrator must be issued within 30 days, arate physically incompatible uses. and private schools, churches andand may be appealed to the zoning Broad-based land use segregation, other places of worship, public andboard of adjustment or development however, prohibits historic forms of private hospitals, and regional solidreview board within 15 days of the mixed-use development and, in the and hazardous waste managementdate the decision is issued. The appeal extreme, results in discriminatory or facilities.may be accompanied by a request for exclusionary zoning practices. Single- • Prohibitions on the local regulation of ac-a variance from the dimensional re- use districts also often result in over- cepted agricultural and forestry manage-quirements of the regulations. Deci- zoning or zoning more land than ment practices (including farmsions of a municipal review needed for a particular use, such as an structures) as defined by the state.panel—the planning commission, overly large industrial zone, and spot • Prohibitions on the local regulation ofboard of adjustment or development zoning or rezoning individual parcels power generation and transmission facilitiesreview board—must be issued within within a district, such as allowing regulated by the Vermont Public45 days of the date of final hearing commercial development on a lot in a Service Board.adjournment, may be appealed to the residential neighborhood. Exclusion- Regulatory Takings. Zoning reg-Vermont Environmental Court within ary and spot zoning are illegal if used ulations are often controversial in that30 days of the decision date. to either discriminate against or they affect property uses and values. benefit particular groups or individu- In a very few cases zoning may result Variances als beyond any clearly established in a regulatory “taking” of property public purpose. if, under the regulation, a property 24 V.S.A., §4469(a) Statutory Restrictions and Limi- owner retains no economically viable State law allows variances to be tations. Chapter 117 is broadly en- use of the property. Takings law granted only if all of the following abling when it comes to the content under federal and state constitutional five conditions are met: of zoning regulations (§4414); but it protections is complex, but regulatory • there are unique physical circum- also includes some required provi- takings that require landowner com- stances or conditions; sions, as well as limitations on the pensation are extremely rare and case • because of these physical cir- local regulation of certain kinds of specific. cumstances, the property cannot development (§§4412, 4413)—in large When a zoning bylaw is adopted or be developed in strict confor- part to avoid exclusionary zoning amended existing uses—including mance with the bylaws; practices. These include: nonconforming lots, uses and struc- • unnecessary hardship has not • “Equal treatment of housing” require- tures—are grandfathered to the extent been created by the applicant; ments that prohibit the complete ex- that there are no changes or modifica- • the variance will not alter the es- clusion of mobile and modular tions. Municipalities are allowed to re- sential character of the neighbor- homes, mobile home parks, multi- strict modifications or expansions of hood; and family, and accessory dwellings and nonconformities (§4412). • the variance represents the group homes from the municipality. The variance provisions of minimum alteration that will grant • Protections for home occupations and Chapter 117 (§4469) also allow mu- the relief requested. home child-care facilities. nicipalities to address potential takings Implementation Manual Zoning Regulations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-7
    • • The application and potential interpreta- More Information tion of regulatory standards, including To learn more about the required the use of words and punctuation and optional provisions of zoning and the meanings they convey. bylaws, see the Chapter 117 Bul- • The potential effect of proposed regulations letins and Essentials of Land Use Planning and Regulation, available on individual parcels and property owners, at www.vpic.info, or contact your re- such as the potential creation of gional planning commission for nonconformities or undevelopable copies. lots. See topic paper #16, Land Use & • Related legal standards and requirements, Development Regulations, for infor- including federal and state limita- mation on bylaw adoption and tions on the local regulation of de- administration. velopment. This requires some familiarity with Chapter 117 andby granting a variance of the regula- related case law.tion’s dimensional requirements based • The types of resources needed to administeron the physical circumstances of a proposed regulations. More complicatedparticular site. Variances essentially review processes and technical stan-authorize the bending or breaking of dards may require additional stafflocal laws. As such, statutory variance support, equipment, and technicalcriteria are designed to be very diffi- or legal assistance to administer andcult to meet. enforce. Summary. The planning commis- There are many examples of localsion—or anyone else involved in zoning regulations available online fordrafting zoning regulations—needs to use as references in preparing yourconsider: zoning bylaw. Access to municipal• Municipal plan policies and recommenda- websites and local bylaws can be tions. The regulations must conform found through www.vpic.info, or to the municipal plan. contact your regional planning com- mission for assistance. Alternative Zoning Models architects, emphasizes form over Most traditional zoning emphasizes function. District standards regulate uses allowed within each zoning dis- the physical aspects of development trict, however alternative forms of and include related design standards “flexible” zoning have been developed for structures, streets, parks, and that emphasize potential impacts or other public and private space. Design district design rather than use. These standards are typically described and include performance and form-based presented graphically. zoning models. These types of zoning offer flexibil- Performance Zoning, in its purest ity in that they allow for a variety of form, does not specify allowed uses, potential uses. They generally require but evaluates proposed uses based a fairly high degree of technical skill on the density or intensity of develop- and knowledge to develop and admin- ment, and associated impacts. Perfor- ister. In reality, most zoning regula- mance zoning includes an extensive tions are hybrids that incorporate list, by district, of performance or tech- aspects of these models along with nical criteria that are used to evaluate more traditional provisions—including and regulate the density and intensity use tables and dimensional standards; of development, site design, and performance standards that may apply related environmental, fiscal, trans- to all development within particular portation, and public facility impacts. districts or to specified uses; and Form-based Zoning, developed design standards that regulate build- and promoted by urban designers and ing design, for example within desig- nated historic or design districts. Implementation Manual Home Occupations 2007 www.vpic.info • • • VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE 30-8