By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott and municipal leaders today pushed back against the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee’s added restrictions to S.100, the Legislature’s main effort to increase new housing construction.
Scott also didn’t rule out a veto if S100 is passed with the restrictions intact. “I really don’t like” the committee’s changes, he said at a noontime press conference today at the State House.
When S100 came out of the Senate Economic Development Committee, “everyone was singing kumbayah,” Scott, a former state senator, said. “It didn’t get fragile until it entered Senate Natural Resources. It hasn’t gone to the floor yet. We’re hoping they have second thoughts. I’m not going to threaten anything, but we have a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The Senate’s most ‘green’ committee removed S100’s statewide expansion of Act 250-exempt housing developments from 10 to 25. The Natural Resources and Energy version of S100 leaves people of color – now three times less likely to own a home than whites – and our smaller rural communities behind, Vermont Housing Finance Agency Executive Director Maura Collins said.
Ted Brady, Executive Director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, urged the Senate to:
- Eliminate act 250 jurisdiction in designated areas
- Increase number of units exempt from Act 250 oversight statewide to 25 – up from 10. “We need to get back to that,” Brady urged.
- Eliminate citizen Act 250 appeal for projects already approved by town process.
- Delegate act 250 requirements to the municipal zoning process.
Gov. Scott and Brady were asked by VDC about water quality concerns raised by clean water advocates like James Ehlers of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
“S100 tries to strike a balance between facilitating growth and protecting the environment,” Brady said. Vermont already has copious water quality legislation and regulation, and he warned against “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” – the baby presumably being Vermonters without housing. Scott recalled that his administration has budgeted $250 million of federal funding for water quality, but the Legislature so far has been unwilling to dedicate some of the current largesse of federal funding to long-term ‘matching’ funds for multi-year water quality and highway projects.
Is this housing for our new illegals? For new Trans coming in? For Progressives? Welcome to California!!! Home of compromises for Progressives!
There is a long standing hidden homeless population in Vermont that sadly is growing because of increasing costs… Look to HUD’s Point in Time count of homeless done each January. This is a bit dated, but it shows county by county what was before Covid – https://www.vthope.net/vt-pit.html
Who are these “Vermonters”? What are the residency requirements? What defines a “Vermonter”? Five years? Five months? Five minutes? Is this more low-income housing? “Workforce” housing for whom? There isn’t a plethora of employment opportunities in VT for a myriad of reasons.
Vermont has always historically been a rural state – now we look to envision it as a suburban wasteland to benefit WHOM exactly? How many people is Vermont expected to absorb & where did they all SUDDENLY come from? The population has been static for decades.
I thought the environment was imperative. Now the hell with it?
What defines a “Vermonter”? The question that really need to be asked by beleaguered taxpayers is: what defines homelessness? So far, for most housing benefit programs, including the free, long-term stays at Vermont motels it is the “honor system”. All you have to do is claim that you have nowhere to go and you get rewarded with the privacy and luxury of a hotel room, which is a luxury that many working Vermonters cannot afford. Everyone has some level of financial resources. When housing is provided as a “human right”, that frees up that money for other stuff, be it food for your children or opioids for your veins.