Vermont State Coat of Arms 

  Natural Resources Board

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I know if I need an Act 250 permit for my project?

A. An Act 250 permit is required for certain categories of development, such as subdivisions of 10 lots or more, commercial projects on more than one acre or ten acres (depending on whether the town has permanent zoning and subdivision regulations), and any development above the elevation of 2,500 feet. For more information, see our publication "Act 250 - Categories of Jurisdiction" or refer directly to the Act 250 Statute. If you have additional questions about Act 250 jurisdiction, you should call the Act 250 District Coordinator or Agency of Natural Resources Permit Specialist for your region.

Q. How much does it cost to obtain an Act 250 permit?

A. The application fee is $6.65 per $1000 of construction costs, including site preparation, utilities, buildings and landscaping. In addition, a fee of $100 per lot is required for residential or commercial subdivisions and an additional fee of .75 per $1000 of construction costs for the Agency of Natural Resources. Municipal and state projects are exempt from Act 250 fees.

Q. How long does it take to obtain an Act 250 permit?

A. That depends on the complexity of your project, but about two-thirds of Act 250 permits are issued in less than 60 days. In general, the more effort you put into preparing a complete and thorough application, the less time will be spent in the review process.

Q. Where can I get a copy of the Act 250 application forms?

A. The application forms can be downloaded from the Publications Page of our website. They are also available at the five Regional Act 250 Offices located around the state as well as the Natural Resources Board office in Montpelier. You can stop by to pick up a copy of the application or request that one be sent to you in the mail. You can also purchase a copy on floppy disk by contacting Denise Wheeler at the Natural Resources Board (802-828-5441).

Q. Where can I get assistance filling out the Act 250 application?

A. If you are new to the Act 250 process or if you have questions about filling out the Act 250 application, we encourage you to schedule a pre-application meeting with the District Coordinator or Assistant District Coordinator to discuss your project and how to fill out the application forms. Private Act 250 consultants are also available (for a fee) if you feel that you need more extensive assistance.

Q. What is the difference between a "major" application and a "minor" application?

A. A "major" application is one which is subject to a public hearing before the District Environmental Commission. A "minor" application is not subject to a public hearing unless one is requested by an interested party, a local or state agency, or the District Commission. The important thing to keep in mind is that the application process for major applications and minor applications is exactly the same. The determination between major and minor is made by the District Commission after the application is submitted.

Q. Isnít it very difficult to obtain an Act 250 permit?

A. Act 250 is a comprehensive law that evaluates the impact of a development project under a number of environmental criteria see the 10 Criteria below). Approximately 600 - 700 Act 250 applications are submitted each year throughout the state. More than 95% of these applications are approved.

Q. What are the "10 Criteria" of Act 250?

A. The 10 Criteria are the standards which the District Commission uses to evaluate a development project. These criteria include such issues as air pollution, waste disposal, wetlands, erosion control, traffic, impact on schools and municipal services, and conformance with town and regional plans. In order to obtain an Act 250 permit, a project must satisfy all 10 criteria.

Q. What is a "JO"?

A. A JO is a Jurisdictional Opinion issued by the District Coordinator. This is an official determination regarding whether a project requires an Act 250 permit. Jurisdictional Opinions are issued either in the form of a Project Review Sheet (PRS) or in letter form, depending on the complexity of the determination. A Jurisdictional Opinion can be appealed to the Environmental Court within 30 days of JO issuance.

Q. A proposed development project located on a nearby property is going through the Act 250 process. What chance do I have to participate?

A. If you are an adjoining property owner, you will be notified by mail when the Act 250 application is filed. Adjoining property owners are automatically allowed to participate to the extent that they can demonstrate that the project will have an impact on their property under one or more of the 10 Criteria. If your property does not adjoin the proposed development but you feel that there still may be impacts, you can request Party Status from the District Commission. In either case, you need to attend the first hearing or the prehearing conference, if one is held, to request Party Status from the District Commission. See the District Coordinator for more information regarding party status.

Q. How does someone become a member of a District Commission or Natural Resources Board?

A. Send a letter of interest to the Governor's office with a copy to the Natural Resources Board office.

Q. What if I have a question not listed here?

A. See or call the district coordinator for your area, or contact the Natural Resources Board office.

Q. What do I do if I have a complaint concerning a potential Act 250 v iolation?

A. You should contact the district coordinator for the district where the potential violation is occurring. You can also fill out a complaint form and request the Environmental Enforcement Officer (EEO) for the district where the potential violation is occurring to investigate your concerns.

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