The Zoning Administrator. The zoning
administrator provides assistance to individuals who wish to develop their property by
providing the necessary forms to obtain required municipal permits and by referring them
to the state authorities that must be contacted to obtain necessary state permits. By
statute, the zoning administrator is required to literally administer the bylaws, and may
not permit any development that does not conform to the bylaws. The zoning administrator
enforces violations of the bylaws and in many communities provides administrative support
services to the zoning and planning boards. 24 V.S.A. § 4442.
The Planning Commission. The planning
commission is principally responsible for drafting the town plan and the towns land
use bylaws. In towns that do not have a development review board the planning commission
also performs site plan reviews, subdivision reviews, and becomes involved with PRD and
PUD review. The planning commission generally participates in the regional planning
program. The planning commission may also prepare and present to the selectboard building,
housing and other safety codes, undertake capacity studies, and prepare and present a
capital budget. See 24 V.S.A. § 4321 et seq.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment. The zoning
board performs a quasi-judicial permitting function (acts like a court) and hears appeals
from actions or decisions of the administrator, considers conditional use applications and
rules on variance requests. 24 V.S.A. § 4461.
The Development Review Board. If a town chooses
to have a development review board, this board replaces the Zoning Board of Adjustment and
takes on all development review functions. The planning commission in these
communities performs only planning and administrative functions. 24 V.S.A. § 4461.
- Board of Alternates. This board is appointed by the selectboard to
provide temporary replacements to fill in for members of zoning and development review
boards who cannot participate in a matter because of conflict of interest or other reason.
24 V.S.A. § 4461.
The Selectboard. All selectboards review and
hold hearings on the proposed bylaws, amendments and repeals. In some municipalities the
selectboard votes to adopt, amend or repeal the bylaws. In other municipalities, the board
puts this question before the voters at an annual or special town meeting. The selectboard
appoints members of the boards (except elected planning commissioners) and may approve or
disapprove the appointment of the zoning administrator,. The board may remove all such
officials, for good cause. The selectboard enables the zoning administrator to enforce the
bylaws by providing legal assistance in court actions, and may settle cases once they are
in litigation. The selectboard may participate in an appeal from a development review
board or zoning board decision when the town is an interested party. The selectboard may
adopt interim regulations and hold hearings and decide whether a permit should be granted
under interim zoning or after a public hearing on proposed amendments to the bylaws. The
board decides whether to accept private streets or highways.
The Planning Director. In urban municipalities
the legislative body may create a planning department which is headed by a planning
director, as a substitute for the planning commission. The planning director may be
assisted by an advisory planning council who shall advise the planning director and
perform other duties as assigned by the legislative body. 24 V.S.A. § 4321.
Advisory Planning Council. In an urban
municipality that has a planning department, the selectboard may appoint a planning
council that provides advice to the planning director. The council may have other duties
assigned to it by the selectboard. 24 V.S.A. § 4321.
Design Review Board. If a town has a design
control district the selectboard may appoint an design review board to advise the planning
commission or development review board on development requests in this district. 24 V.S.A.
- The Town Clerk. The town clerk records subdivision plats. 24
V.S.A. § 4416. If the plat shows a new street or highway the clerk may only record it if
it has been endorsed by the planning commission or development review board, or if the
clerk certifies that the board failed to take action within the required forty-five day
period. If the adoption of a plan, bylaw capital budget or amendment is challenged, a
certificate from the clerk regarding its publication, posting, consideration and adoption
will be presumptive proof that it was so done. 24 V.S.A. § 4474.