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Many requirements are clearly defined by the regulations and must be fulfilled by the applicant unless a variance is applied for and granted. In some cases, however, the regulations are unclear or conflictual, and the Development Review Board (DRB) must exercise its discretion to faithfully interpret the wording of the regulations or resolve a discrepancy in the language. In other cases, the regulations grant the DRB wide discretion, such as the authority to grant waivers from certain provisions of the regulations or require certain improvements. The DRB always retains the authority to approve or deny an application.
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Learn about development review in Milton, VT.
If you have questions about any of these applications or the process, please contact the Planning and Economic Development Department.
While the Development Review Board is ultimately responsible for the decision to approve or deny an application, many people are involved:
The Unified Development Regulations are the primary ordinances used in development review and enabled by the State’s Planning Statute 24 VSA 117. Other documents, such as the Comprehensive Plan (PDF) or Public Works Specifications (PDF) may also be considered, where applicable. The application forms identify the main review criteria that will be used by staff, and the Town’s staff will review the application according to all regulations that correspond with the proposal. While the Town aims to make the expectations as predictable as possible, the complexity and uniqueness of many applications can mean that some unexpected items can only be identified and resolved during the process itself.
The review process is as following:
Applicants can often save time and money by working with the Planning Department prior to submitting an application. We value the opportunity to discuss how your goals fit into the Town's Regulations.
View the application forms and fees. Forms are also available in the Planning Office. An applicant can submit two applications for a single project for concurrent review. The applications must be submitted together and be able to be heard at the same meeting.
Applications must be deemed complete by the Development Review Planner a minimum of 31 days prior to a Development Review Board meeting. Applications are generally first come-first serve, and an application can only be placed on the agenda if there is space available. Please coordinate your application submission with the Development Review Planner to ensure enough time.
The law recognizes that land use decisions have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences on the natural, built, social and economic environment of our community. The action of one neighbor can positively or negatively affect the property of a another neighbor, and individual development choices, added together, collectively shape how we live, work, consume, play and move around in our community. In other words, they shape our community. We are here to help you navigate this legal process efficiently and approachable.
Please note that only certain people can participate in a Development Review Board (DRB) hearing. Unlike other public meetings, the DRB is not required by law to allow general public input (1VSA312(h)) during a hearing. Only those individuals with “interested person status,” as defined in 24 VSA 117§4465(b), may participate in hearings. Adjoining property owners are always considered interested persons, and receive notification of the hearing by mail. If you require a reasonable accommodation according to the ADA in order to be able to participate, please notify the Planning and Economic Development Office or Town Manager’s Office.
View Development Review Board (DRB) agendas and packets. Plans are not made available for public viewing during the hearing. The public can see what the DRB sees prior to the meeting. The full contents of application files are open to public inspection during office hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
When you arrive at the meeting, you must first sign in to the meeting at the door. All those testifying must take an oath to tell the truth and sign another hearing sheet prior to testifying. If you legibly sign this sheet, the Planning Staff will mail you a copy of the written decision.
The Development Review Board (DRB) Chair will then read a summary of the project and read the numbered items in the Staff Report, allowing comments from the applicant and anyone else who may wish to speak on that topic. The Staff Report frames questions, conditions and discretionary decisions for the DRB’s consideration and Applicant’s response. Applicant must, at this time, testify on the items and state if they agree or disagree. After the items have all been read, the DRB Chair will generally ask if there are any further comments. If you speak, you must state your name for the record and all comments must be directed to the DRB. Once all testimony and evidence has been heard, the hearing will either be closed or recessed to be continued at a later meeting. No further evidence or testimony may be given after a hearing has been closed.
The Development Review Board (DRB) may vote to approve an application in Open Meeting, or they may opt to enter Deliberative Session (a private session permitted by 1 VSA 312) to further discuss the application and evidence prior to voting on a decision.
Written decisions are not final until signed by the Chair of the Development Review Board. Decisions are mailed to owners and applicants by certified mail within 45 days of the meeting. Those who have signed in on the hearing sheet will be mailed the decision via regular mail, or by email if requested. The decision outlines: the facts and findings presented at the hearing, conclusions drawn, and conditions of approval (if approved). The Applicant must work with Planning Staff to make any necessary revisions and satisfy All Applicable Conditions of Approval before being eligible to file a plat and/or apply for a zoning permit.
All decisions of the DRB can be appealed by interested persons to the Environmental Division of the Superior Court within 30 days according to 10 VSA §8504. Participation at the hearing is generally prerequisite to the right to a subsequent appeal. Cases heard by the Environmental Division of the Superior Court are heard de novo, or as if they are being considered for the first time.
State Statute (24 VSA §4464) guides how the Planning Office makes applicants, interested parties and the public aware of the hearing. The type of application determines the process used, some applications must be “warned,” while others must be “noticed.”