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THE DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD IS LOOKING FOR A NEW MEMBER. Please contact Staff for more information.

Development Review Board

The Development Review Board conducts public hearings and renders decisions on development applications subject to the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations. The Development Review Board fulfills the statutory role of an “appropriate municipal panel” as defined by the State’s Planning Statute in 24 VSA 117. The Board is compromised of resident volunteers appointed by the Selectboard according to the Town’s Charter. The DRB’s composition, responsibilities and conduct are defined in the Town’s Administrative Code (Sub-Chapter 32) and further defined in DRB Bylaws.

Members

Term

Bruce Jenkins, Chair

2016-2019

Vacant

2015-2018

Henry Bonges, Clerk

2017-2020

Julie Rutz, Vice Chair

2015-2018

Robert Brisson

2016-2019

Vacant, Alternate

2017-2018

Karen Trombley, Alternate

2017-2018

Alternate, Vacant

2017-2018

Staff to DRB

 Contact

Victor Sinadinoski, Director

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Please note that the public may not speak with a DRB member about the substantive content of a pending application outside of a hearing. Off-the-record (ex parte) communication is prohibited, because it is an opportunity for one party to influence a decision maker outside the presence of other parties. When rights are at stake, this is a violation of due process, protected by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

If you would like to inquire about the status of an application or are interested in serving on the DRB, please contact the Planning and Economic Development Department at 802.893.1186 or e-mail the Town Planner.

When does the DRB meet?

The DRB holds regular meetings the 2nd & 4th Thursdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room of the Municipal Building

What is development review?

Development review is a core function of local government regulating land use.  As Milton grows and changes, the Development Review Board (DRB) conducts hearings on development applications to apply the Town’s land use regulations and plans.

While the Zoning Administrator can review and approve permits for many projects without development review, some applications – due to their complexity and community impact -- must undergo review by the DRB prior to being eligible for a permit.  Subdivision of land is always subject to development review.

The DRB is a quasi-judicial body that operates similar to a court of law. The DRB holds fair hearings by making impartial decisions and conducting proceedings that are free from conflicts of interest, reasonably efficient, and invite orderly public participation.

Unlike other Town boards and commissions, DRB meetings are OPEN to the public, but they are not FOR the public. Participation at a hearing is limited to those affected by the proposal. The applicant must testify to the proposal, and “interested persons” (as defined by 24 VSA 117§4465(b)) can also testify. Those testifying take an oath to tell the truth and the DRB sits in judgment of the application.

Based on the merits of the information presented, the DRB:

  • Reviews testimony and evidence to determine facts and findings;
  • Interprets and applies regulations to draw conclusions; and
  • Renders a decision.

In addition to development applications, DRB also hears appeals of Zoning Administrator decisions.

The DRB meetings are open to the public, and are video- and audio-recorded. You can view videos on LCATV’s website. The agendas, minutes and meeting materials of the DRB can be viewed on the Town’s website.

Which applications require development review?

APPLICATION  

 DESCRIPTION

Appeal of a Zoning Administrator Decision

An objection to a decision of the Zoning Administrator, such as the issuance or denial of a permit or issuance of a violation.

Conditional Use

 A request to start a use that is neither permitted nor prohibited in a zoning district. Conditional uses generally have a higher potential for impact and therefore require this type of review by the DRB according to UDR Chapter 330. The DRB may place conditions upon this type of use.

Variance

 An appeal to be exempt from a provision of the Zoning Regulations according to required findings in UDR Section 4605.

Site Plan

A development plan required for certain uses, drawn to scale, showing a detailed layout of proposed improvements for a parcel of land, per UDR Chapter 320.

Site Plan Amendment

A proposed modification to an existing Site Plan; processed the same way as a new Site Plan and subject to all the minimum standards at the time of application.

Admin. Site Plan Amendment

A proposed modification that can be approved administratively by the Zoning Administrator; but the Zoning Administrator may also refer the application to the DRB.

Minor Conventional Subdivision

A minor subdivision is the division of a single lot into 6 or fewer lots.   This application is a two-step application process: sketch & final.

Major Conventional Subdivision

A major subdivision is the division of a lot   into 7 or more lots. This is a three step application process: sketch, preliminary & final. However, the DRB may waive the third hearing if prelim. is sufficient.

Planned Unit Development (PUD)

A PUD is a way of developing that allows greater flexibility to achieve a unified development consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Milton’s regulations establish rules for Conservation PUDs and Cottage Clusters. The application undergoes subdivision and site plan review. This is a three step application process: sketch, preliminary & final application. The DRB may waive the third hearing if prelim. is sufficient.

Amendments

Site Plans, subdivisions, and PUD approvals can be amended. This is a one-step process with final review.

   


If you have questions about any of these applications or the process, please contact the Planning and Economic Development Department.

Who does development review?

While the Development Review Board is ultimately responsible for the decision to approve or deny an application, many people are involved:

  • Owners,  applicants, engineers and surveyors read the regulations and often consult with the Planning Staff to prepare  an application.
  • Town Staff -- including the Technical Advisory Committee comprised of Police, Fire, Rescue, and Public Works -- analyze the application’s compliance with the regulations and the Town Planner writes a Staff Report to assist the Development Review Board by:
    • Asking  questions,
    • Proposing possible conditions of approval, and
    • Framing discretionary decisions for the DRB’s consideration.
  • Development Review Board members hear testimony, accept evidence, apply the regulations and rule on applications.
  • Applicants and Interested Persons (as defined by 24 VSA 117§4465(b)) testify on the application.

What are the regulations?

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 or Public Works Specifications 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.

What is at the discretion of the DRB?

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 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.

What is the process?

  1. Application Submitted
  2. Application Deemed Complete by Staff
  3. Application Placed on DRB Schedule & Applicant Notified
  4. Community “Heads Up”: Warning or Notice
  5. Staff Report Written, Mailed to Applicants, Posted Online
  6. Development Review Board Hearing Held
  7. Written Decision Issued
  8. If Approved, Applicant Satisfies all Applicable Conditions
  9. Applicant Applies for Zoning Permit and/or Submits Plat for Signature & Recording
  10. Zoning Permit Issued, Construction Begins
  11. Once Project is Complete a Certificate of Occupancy/Compliance Applied for and Issued if the Site Passes Inspection.

Does Milton do a pre-application consultation?

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.

How do I submit an application & what does it cost?

To view the application forms and fees, click here. 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 Town Planner a minimum of 31 days prior to a DRB 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 Town Planner to ensure enough time.

How long does it take?

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 approachably.

  • The DRB meets twice monthly and normally reviews 3 to 4 applications per meeting, depending upon their complexity.
  • Complete applications are placed on the Development Review Board’s agenda on a first-come, first serve basis. Contact the Planning Office for availability.
  • All applications must be submitted roughly four weeks prior to the meeting date and deemed complete prior to the deadline in order to meet the legal requirements and the timeline for the Development Review Technical Advisory Committee. Coordinate your submission with the Planning Department.
  • Staff reports are mailed to the applicants the Friday prior to the meeting, and the DRB’s packet is placed online the Monday before  the hearing.
  • After the DRB hearing, the Board has 45 days to issue a written decision (24 VSA §4464). Decisions are generally signed at the next DRB meeting.
  • The DRB’s decision can be appealed to the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court by the applicant or interested persons within 30 days of issuance  (10 VSA §8504). An approval always lists conditions of approval that must be addressed/met.
  • Once all conditions have been met and the appeal period is over, Plats can be signed by the DRB Chair and recorded, and/or Zoning Permits Applications can be submitted. Once a Zoning Permit has been issued there is an additional 15 day appeal period (24  VSA §4449).
  • Once  constructions is complete, a Certificate of Occupancy and inspection is required to close out the project and clear the title in the land records.

Posting DRB Packets

The Friday before a DRB meeting, Planning Staff assembles the DRB’s meeting materials. This includes the: agenda, staff memos, plans, draft minutes from the previous meeting, decisions to be signed, and any relevant memos from staff. We value transparency and make this available to the public on the Town’s website. It can also be viewed in the Planning Office. 

What do I need to know before going to a hearing?

Who can participate?

Please note that only certain people can participate in a 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.

Where can I see the details of a proposal?

DRB agendas and packets can be viewed here. 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.

Do I need to sign in?

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.

How does the DRB conduct the hearing?

The 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.

How does the DRB vote?

The 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.

How are decisions issued?

Written decisions are not final until signed by the Chair of 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 e-mail 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.

What are the public notification requirements?

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”.

  • Warned applications require a minimum of 15-days notice.
  • Noticed applications require a minimum of 7-days notice.

APPLICATION

WARNED

NOTICED

Variance

þ

 

Appeal

þ

 

Conditional Use

þ

 

Site Plan

 

þ

Boundary Line Adjustment

þ

 

Minor Sudvision Sketch

 

þ

Minor Subdivision Final

þ

 

Major Subdivision Sketch

 

þ

Major Subdivision Preliminary

 

þ

Major Subdivision Final

þ

 

Planned Unit Development Sketch

 

þ

Planned Unit Development Preliminary

 

þ

Planned Unit Development Final

þ

 

 
Warning a Hearing

Warnings contain the date, time, place and purpose of the hearing and must be given 15 days prior to a hearing. The Warning must include: a description of project, instructions on where the public can obtain more information, and that participation in local proceeding is a prerequisite to the right to a subsequent appeal.

Warning   Steps

Details

Publish in Milton Independent

Advertisement is purchased by Town Staff 21 days prior to   hearing.

Post in At Least 3 Public Places in Town

Planning Staff posts in the following locations: Town Clerk's   Office, Municipal Building Lobby, Planning Office, Milton Beverage, Middle   Road Market, Rene's Beverage, and the application file.

Property Hearing Poster

Poster mailed by Planning Staff to Applicant for Posting in a   location visible from a public right-of-way.

Notify Owners/Applicants

Postcards Mailed by Planning Staff**

Notify Adjoining Property Owners*

Postcards Mailed by Planning Staff**


*An "adjoiner" is a person or organization which owns or controls land or easements on lands which physically abut the tract or tracts of land on which your project is located, including landowners on the opposite sides of highways, railways, and rivers. It can also include homeowner associations, utility companies, and others with significant legal interest in the project land.

**The Planning and Economic Development office mails a post card including a project summary; the date and time of the hearing; how to obtain more information; and appeal rights.

Noticing a Hearing

Notices contain the date, time, place and purpose of the hearing and must be complete seven days prior to the hearing. Milton does this in the form of the Agenda, which exceeds the minimum requirements of Vermont’s Open Meeting Law. The notice must include: a description of project, instructions on where the public can obtain more information, that and that participation in local proceeding is a prerequisite to the right to a subsequent appeal.

Noticing   Steps

Details

Post in At Least 3 Public Places in Town

Planning Staff posts in the following locations: Town Clerk's Office, Municipal Building Lobby, Planning Office, Milton Beverage, Middle Road Market, Rene's Beverage, and the application file.

Additional Postings

DRB webpage

Town Facebook Page

Application File

E-mailed to the Regional Planning Commission

Property Hearing Poster

Poster mailed by Planning Staff to Applicant for Posting in a  location visible from a public right-of-way.

Notify Owners/Applicants

Postcards Mailed by Planning Staff**

Notify Adjoining Property Owners*

Postcards Mailed by Planning Staff**

Notify Media

Burlington Free Press, Milton Independent and Lake Champlain Access Television


*An "adjoiner" is a person or organization which owns or controls land or easements on lands which physically abut the tract or tracts of land on which your project is located, including landowners on the opposite sides of highways, railways, and rivers. It can also include homeowner associations, utility companies, and others with significant legal interest in the project land.

**The Planning and Economic Development office mails a post card including a project summary; the date and time of the hearing; how to obtain more information; and appeal rights.