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Land Use Planning

Regional Plan
NRPC is mandated to adopt a regional plan according to the Vermont Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act (Section 4348). According to the Act the general purpose of a regional plan includes, but is not limited to, recommending a distribution of population and of the uses of land for urbanization, trade, industry, habitation, recreation, agriculture, forestry - so as to:

  1. Create conditions favorable to transportation, health, safety, civic activities and educational and cultural opportunities;
  2. Reduce the wastes of financial, energy, and human resources which result from either excessive congestion or excessive scattering of population;
  3. Promote an efficient and economic utilization of drainage, energy, sanitary and other facilities and resources;
  4. Promote the conservation of the supply of food, water, energy, and minerals;
  5. Promote the production of food and fiber resources and the reasonable use of minerals, water, and renewable energy resources; and
  6. Promote the development of housing suitable to the needs of the region and its communities.

It is important to note that similar to a municipal plan, regional plans do not have any regulatory authority and are meant to be guidance documents for planning and development within the region.

The first by-county Northwest Regional Plan was adopted in 1973, which has since evolved and changed in to the plan effective today, most recently adopted in August of 2007. To keep the plan current, the NRPC is required to revise and update the Regional Plan at least every five years in response to changes within the region, new data, trends, or issues. The Regional Plan Committee is tasked with revising and updating the plan. The vision statement of the Regional Plan serves as a good executive summary of the 2007 Northwest Regional Plan.

Project and Policy Review
NRPC, under the direction of the Policy/Project Review Committee and the Board of Commissioners, coordinates with land developers and various state permitting agencies by reviewing proposed developments in the region. All projects that require an Act 250 permit from the District 6 Environmental Commission or a Section 248 permit from the Public Service Board must conform to the regional plan, as well as meet many other standards. Regional planning commissions are a party in Act 250 applications and may apply to be a party in any Section 248 application. As a party, the Policy/Project Review Committee evaluates each project's conformance with the regional plan, submits comments in accordance with NRPC's Project Review Policies to the District Commission or the Public Service Board, and may appeal the decision. It is important to note that in terms of meeting the requirements for an Act 250 or Section 248 permit, the District Commission and Public Service Board determine whether a project conforms to the regional plan, not the Policy/Project Review Committee.

For more information on land use planning, please contact Greta Brunswick, 802-524-5958, gbrunswick@nrpcvt.com.