Legislation

Scott signs housing $$ bills

Governor Phil Scott gathered with members of the Legislature and local housing partners at the Salisbury Square, a planned affordable housing neighborhood, in Randolph today to sign two housing bills. The bills, S.226 and S.210, provide funding to bolster Vermont’s housing stock.

The bills will provide additional funding for downtown and neighborhood revitalization and reforms to Act 250, all of which state officials believe will pave the way to more housing of all types across the state.

S.210 includes $20M Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) providing property owners with grants or forgivable loans of up to $50,000 to rehabilitate rental units that are out of compliance with applicable building, housing, and health laws and once rehabilitated, to rent the units at affordable rates, making more rental units available.

S.226 includes:

  • $15M Missing Middle Income Home Ownership Development Program providing incentives and support to developers to build modest homes to be sold at prices affordable to middle-income Vermonters.
  • $4M Manufactured Home Replacement and Park Improvement Program to allow manufactured home communities investment in improvements and continue to provide an affordable, safe housing options for thousands of Vermonters.
  • $2.45M Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit Expansion to expand the tax credit benefit to neighborhood development areas, creating new housing opportunities and a new flood mitigation credit to help offset the costs of making vulnerable buildings flood-ready.
  • $1M First-Generation Homebuyer Program is intended to support households historically sidelined from home ownership and the opportunities it provides to build wealth through down payment grants.
  • $1M Neighborhood Development Partnership will bring representatives from the Department of Housing and Community Development the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), the Agency of Natural Resources Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Agency of Transportation , Regional Development Corporations, VHFA, Regional Planning Commissions, and other stakeholders to pilot a model partnership to develop and re-develop new neighborhood infrastructure and build needed homes.

Act 250 reforms include increasing the unit cap for a priority housing project to qualify for Act 250 exemption from 24 to 49 dwelling units, for small municipalities with populations less than 6,000. The legislation also simplifies qualification as a priority housing project on lands subject to Act 250 permit by eliminating the requirement for a permit amendment.

“People often ask how we will solve the housing crisis in Vermont and there is no simple answer to that question,” said Commissioner of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “The recipe requires a comprehensive, coordinated and strategic approach addressing the problem from multiple angles. These two housing bills tackle the key areas we can address now to create more housing of all types and makes regulatory progress to allow more housing to be built in the future.”

Categories: Legislation

6 replies »

  1. Hmm. Government regulations and legislation are the driving force in much of the cost increase of homes, nationally and especially here in Vermont. So, let’s legislate and tax our way to lower costs, by way of government subsidies and handouts?
    Never worked before, why would this be different?

  2. I spent a good decade of energy, time and effort. to introduce to the Vermont corporate government and is employees the good of a building material that uses a simple hemp’ lime substance to make the wall systems. Using this material, fire damage would almost ended, indoor air quality would be so improved that sick building syndrome, especially prevalent in trailers would be gone. It does not mold or allow insects or pests. This material would alleviate the need to rebuild every century or less. This material would sequester carbon, and be a net influencer in the climate change discussion. This material would be easy to install, and easy to fix, it would insulate and regulate the indoor air quality. I ran for governor to instruct and implore VT take this material up and use it. I met with Governors Shumlin and Scott. I met with VEDA and the Sec of AG, and many many people. When they failed to act on this, I opened a business to sell the material, I asked for a lona from VEDA on the basis of its green and good potential. VEDA, tasked with taking on the risky new businesses, would not consider a start up loan. There is nothing that indicates that this money will not be shared with those who are laundering tax money for their benefit. Such as the number of 6 million dollar conversions that exist. In Brattleboro, a 22 unit hotel was converted for homeless people at a cost of 6 million. That amounts to 272K per 320 square foot unit. In Montpelier an 18 unit hotel again at 6 million. That amounts to 333k per few hundred feet of living space. Let’s continue to break it down: For the latter that is $1041 per square foot, and for the former it is $852 per square foot.
    So this ‘feel’ good bill is about money laundering, mind you. As well, when the corporate government provides the funds, then the controls also come into play. Ask anyone at Windsor Windham housing trust.. They cannot own a thing to live there. As Scwabb says, you will own nothing and be happy. Or else. Just a word to the interested. What do do instead, I am working on that too, http://www.emilypeyton.com. Martin Luther King is my guide. “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

  3. Emily, as usual, barely scratches the surface of Gov.’t giveaways & objections to new materials & ideas in construction & the “qualifications” to reside in their last-century buildings. A FULL & COMPLETE audit of VEDA & it’s scammers would be a good start. How many local zoning boards would allow “Umbrella” semi-underground homes or even know what they are? The University of Wyoming showed that a south-facing concrete-forms house, backfilled with gravel & covered with a waterproof membrane capped with topsoil sloping away from it, and using a conventional super-insulated or straw bale roof, would remain a constant 50 to 60 degrees F all YEAR round. They are NOT dark or dank and can have MORE windows than stick built homes & do NOT suffer the weight of a earth-covered “underground” home. How would ANY of us like to come home to a 60 degree home when it’s 10 below outside or 90 degrees like it is now? Ask your local zoning board about them & watch their response. Same with “conventional” or “airtight” wood stoves, how many know about “Russian” masonry stoves or kits (www.tempcast.com) that can burn ANY wood, even pine, need only ONE firing a day, and then radiate heat for up to 24 hours? I could go on & on.. But ignorance is bliss I guess..

  4. Merrill and Peyton are quite right. There is ‘one big problem – stupid or corrupted government preventing new/innovative housing . The “historic” government response is a special interest feeding frenzy with taxpayer and (borrowed) Federal dollars. As a young legislator in 1971 I pushed a maximum building code bill thorough the House – towns couldn’t add lots of requirements of their own to price poor people out (Barre City was notorious). It failed in the Senate by one vote.

  5. Building regulations and codes frown on creative or innovative practices in the building of homes. Why is that??

  6. What is not being discussed is how the democrats who have opposed new housing in Vermont for the last 50 years through Act 250 and other regulation now claim that they want to be the ones to solve the problem they created. Not going to happen. We need less involvement from the democrats, not more.

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