New single-family homes on their way out?

Housing bill today, Homeless Bill or Rights tomorrow in House committee

by Guy Page and Timothy Page

Senate legislation that would likely reduce new construction of urban, single-family homes will get its first look in the House today at 3:30 pm in the House General and Housing Committee. 

S100, the Senate HOME (“Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone”) bill, expands Act 250 and local zoning housing density in urban areas, but leaves the current restrictive regulations intact in rural areas.

The initial Senate bill would have expanded from 10 to 25 the cap on Act-250 exempt housing developments statewide. However, an amendment by the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee removed it. 

If passed, S100 could mean less new, non-luxury single family home construction in Vermont cities and large towns. While the law would not forbid SFH construction, it would require cities to allow developers to construct four and six unit buildings on lots now limited to single buildings. These 4-6 unit developments also would not require commensurate additional parking – an exemption welcomed by planners seeking fewer cars on city streets. 

The higher density levels are not accompanied by water quality requirements or funding – much to the dissatisfaction of Lake Champlain water quality advocates who say the lake is already teh victim of stormwater and sewage runoffs.

Vermont Housing Commissioner Josh Hanford told VDC last month that cities and developers would still be free to build SF homes. S100 would just add more choices by forbidding municipalities from enacting one-home zoning, he said. 

Vermont’s housing crunch, the desperation to own or rent homes of any kind, and the economies of scale of selling four to six homes in a single building suggest that the urban, non-luxury housing market will rapidly transition from single to multi-family construction. 

Homeless Bill of Rights hearing tomorrow – H132, the Homeless Bill of Rights, sponsored by House General and Housing Chair Tom Stevens, will be reviewed by his committee at 10:30 AM Wednesday.

The bill declares that homeless people have the same rights to voting, medical care, employment, and transportation as non-homeless people. 

The bill also legalizes public begging, overriding any municipal ordinances: “Notwithstanding any provision of law or of a municipal charter to the contrary, no individual shall be subject to civil or criminal sanctions for soliciting, sharing, accepting, or offering food, drink, money, or other donations in a public place.”

Previous proposed Homeless Bills of Rights foundered on this issue. Business organizations were leery of accommodating street begging that might discourage the quality of life – and quantity of shoppers – in retail districts. 

H132, if passed, might also give added legal heft to Vermont’s ‘Housing First’ approach to homelessness. This policy – employed in many large U.S. cities – provides housing without requiring recipients to address substance abuse, mental health problems, weak vocational skills, family chaos, and other causes of homelessness. 

Catalytic converter recycling law – Yesterday, state and local police found a man shooting up drugs in a Bradford supermarket restroom. Police then arrested Randy Boyle for fleeing justice on charges of stealing a catalytic converter – a crime that has reached epidemic levels in Vermont and nationwide.

Catalytic converters contain rhodium, a precious metal selling today at $20,250/oz., or 12 times the value of gold ($1,774).

Unlike gold, catalytic converters are easy to steal: just crawl under an SUV (thoughtfully provided a higher clearance than a low-slung coupe) and cut off the converter. It’s then fenced in return for cash, often to buy illegal drugs. 

The pricy rhodium is then retrieved from the catalytic converters at scrap metal processing shops. In an effort to stop the crime at the recycling level, Sen. Thomas Chittenden (D-Chittenden) introduced S.48, regulation of catalytic converters.

The bill limits sales of catalytic converters to one per day, and requires a strong paper trail showing a legal transaction. House Commerce & Economic Development will hold a hearing on S.48 Wednesday at 10:45 pm. Metal recycler Tod Wright of Wright Brothers Metal Recycling is scheduled to testify, as are four law enforcement experts. 

Schedule for All Vermont Legislature Committees this week: Click on Committee name for Zoom links. Agenda listings top-line only, not inclusive. Click here to see the complete weekly schedule of all committees on one page. Click here for list of all committees and links to their bills, members and contact information. 

House Agriculture, Food Resiliency, and Forestry

H. 274 – Develops agriculture and nutrition education curriculum

H. 85 – Public trails accessibility

H. 81 – Ensure fair repair of agricultural equipment

H. 131 – Establishes the Green Mountain Recreation Fund

H. 467 – Establishes the Green Mountain Recreation Fund

House Appropriations

Housing Discussion

Career Technical Education Report Presentation

Pension Presentation

House Commerce and Economic Development

H. 121 – Affords data privacy protections

S. 73 – Makes cancers eligible for firemens’ workers comp. coverage

S. 48 – Regulating sale of catalytic converters

H. 434 – Creates the Vermont Office of Film and Creative Media

H. 160 – Labor reimbursement rates for auto insurance claims

House Corrections and Institutions

Overview of S.14 – Justice expenditure reporting

J.R.S. 19 – State lands transactions in Jamaica State Park, Coolidge State Forest

Sequential Intercept Model

Parole Board 101

House Education

H. 348 – Studies requiring licensed athletic trainers at all secondary school athletic events

H. 278 – Forces colleges to give admission preference to career technical education graduates

H. 333 – Requires schools to implement seizure action plan

H. 319 – Requires colleges to establish new sexual misconduct measures

H. 409 – Restricts the use of restraints and seclusion in schools

Universal Pre-K

House Environment and Energy

S. 5 – “Affordable” Heat Act mandate

Trapping Rule

House General and Housing

Rights and Democracy Vermont

H. 391 – Creates an eviction diversion program

H. 184 – Exempt landlords from renovation, repair licensing requirements

H. 132 – Homeless bill of rights

H. 363 – Prohibiting discrimination based on ethnic hair types and styles

H. 364 – Prohibits discrimination based on immunization status

Housing and Homelessness

S. 103 – Makes even more minor or one-time discrimination unlawful

House Government Operations and Military Affairs

Vermont National Guard

Town and City Charters Amendments

S. 17 – Sheriff reforms

S. 42 – Prohibits State retirement systems from investing in fossil fuels

House Health Care

S. 37 – Access to abortion and gender-reassignment

House Human Services

Child Care Financial Assistance Program

Child Care and Early Childhood Education

S. 56 – Public preschool and other childcare, education changes

H. 469 – Allows remote witnesses for Ulysses clause in advance medical directives

House Judiciary

S. 6 – Police interrogation of juveniles

S. 36 – Permits arrest without a warrant

S. 3 – Prohibits paramilitary training camps

S. 14 – Justice expenditure reporting

House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife

Not yet published

House Transportation

S. 99 – Makes miscellaneous changes to vehicle laws

House Ways and Means

H. 10 – Creates VEGI oversight board

H. 295 – Imposes sales tax on the first $1,000.00 of sales of precious metals (for investment)

Earned Income Tax Credit

S. 45 – Establishes elective income tax on pass-through businesses

H. 280 – Exempt trailer coaches from property taxation

S. 94 – Amends timetables for City of Barre tax increment financing district

S. 93 – Repeals tax exemptions for advanced wood boilers

H. 255 – Exempts military retirement and military survivor benefit income from income taxation

Senate Agriculture

H. 205 – Provides State assistance in diversifying farm production

Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Budget

School Food Programs

23-0138 – An act relating to protection from nuisance suits for agricultural activities

H. 472 – Makes multiple changes to miscellaneous agricultural regulations

Senate Appropriations

FY24 Budget

Juvenile Facility Discussion

Career Technical Education Report Presentation

Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs

H. 55 – Unemployment insurance amendments

H. 66 – Mandated family and medical leave insurance

H. 270 – Further deregulates and legalizes cannabis

H. 470 – Makes technical amendments to three alcoholic beverage laws

H. 127 – Legalize sports betting

Senate Education

H. 461 – Makes a number of changes to education policy

Vitale v. Vermont

H. 165 – Requires public schools to serve free meals

Financial Literacy in High Schools

Independent Schools and Public Schools

Senate Finance

H. 471 – Makes numerous technical and administrative changes to tax laws

S. 139 – Expands the jurisdiction of the Enhanced 911 Board

H. 76 – Regulates captive insurance companies

Career and Technical Education Report Presentation

Senate Government Operations

Prop 1 – Elections; sheriffs; qualifications

H. 178 – Allows commissioning of D.o.C.personnel as notaries public

H. 465 – Lowers quorum requirements for emergency management committees

H. 125 – Revises rules for various boards and commissions

H. 291 – Creates the Cybersecurity Advisory Council

H. 480 – Removes municipalities from the property reappraisal process

H. 305 – Amends many regulations covered by the Office of Professional Regulation

H. 476 – Amends law enforcement training laws relating to Domestic Violence

H. 482 – Emphasizes competency in law enforcement training instead of minimum hours

H. 429 – Numerous changes to election, campaign finance laws

S. 55 – Allows public bodies to meet online

Senate Health and Welfare

Field Trip – Jenna’s Promise

H. 171 – Amends adult protective services

H. 473 – Lets radiologist assistants provide services without a radiologist present

General Budget Updates and Discussion

H. 222 – Expands legal med-assisted treatment for opioid addiction

Senate Institutions

Capital Budget FY24-FY25

Senate Judiciary

H. 227 – Enacts the Vermont Uniform Power of Attorney Act

H. 41 – Domestic-/sex-assault cases to community justice centers

H. 230 – Reduce suicide by reducing “access to lethal means”

H. 89 – Legal protections for abortion, transgender service providers

H. 288 – Reduces liability for sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons

Senate Natural Resources and Energy

Gubernatorial Appointee Confirmation

Priorities Discussion

Senate Transportation

H. 479 – Adopts annual Transportation Program, amends misc. transportation laws

Categories: Legislation

4 replies »

  1. “If passed, S100 could mean less new, non-luxury single family home construction in Vermont cities and large towns.” Notice the “non-luxury” exclusion? Let’s not affect the affluent . . .

    H132, the Homeless Bill of Rights also legalizes public begging. Anyone that has traveled to India, Bangladesh, and the like can certainly appreciate what public begging will lead to.

  2. 4 to 6 unit building will require Professional Engineers and remove licensed designers from consideration to do this design work. Increased cost will be the result.

  3. that state government wants to tell you whether you can build a single family home or not means they have no respect for private property. legislature wants to control every part of a citizen’s life. freedom is way down the list of rights here in Vermont. of course true rights do not come form government. why they are called rights

  4. Leave it to our numb skull legislature to find a way to compound our housing and shelter problems and needs.

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