A basic explanation of Greensboro’s Planning & Zoning Process

All these steps, processes and associated documents can be followed at Greensboro’s web site: www.greensborovt.org. Inquiries should always be directed to the Zoning Administrator before beginning a project at greensborovtzoning@yahoo.com.   The ZA is also available at The Greensboro Town Clerks Office, 802-533-2991 on Thursdays during the year but also on Wednesdays afternoons during the summer.

Why a Town Plan? Vermont law requires that each Town have a current, state-approved Town Plan (Plan) and that such Plan be reviewed, updated and approved every 5 years. Greensboro’s current Town Plan was enacted 5/13/2015. Visit www.greensborovt.org.

Why Zoning? Each Town decides whether to have zoning (so-called “local option”). Greensboro has opted to have Zoning and Greensboro’s current Zoning By-Law was enacted on 3/3/2015. Visit www.greensborovt.org.

To administer and facilitate the planning and zoning process, Greensboro has a Planning Commission (PC), established by Article 5, Sec. 11 of the Zoning By-Law and appointed by the Selectboard. The PC reviews any proposed Plan or Zoning By-Law and works to update it from time to time, as required, including public hearings. When approved, the PC forwards the draft Plan or draft Zoning By-Law to the Selectboard for review.

The Selectboard then reviews the proposed Plan or Zoning By-Law, including usually holding one public hearing.

When satisfied with the process, the Selectboard votes on the Plan or Zoning By-Law. If the Plan is approved, such Plan becomes law and is thereafter the Town Plan. The Town Meeting does not vote on the Town Plan. If not approved, the Plan is returned to the PC for further review.

If the Selectboard approves the Zoning By-Law, it is placed on the calendar for consideration at the Town’s Annual Meeting, usually held in March of each year. Of course, if there is an emergency issue or a need to consider a matter sooner, the Selectboard can schedule a special Town Meeting at an earlier time. The Town Meeting considers and votes on the Zoning By-Law, either approving or disapproving it. It is highly unusual for the Town Meeting to disapprove a proposed Zoning By-Law. Once approved by the voters, the Zoning By-Law is the law in Greensboro, until the next time comes for revision.

Specific Projects and the Development Review Board: When a specific project (e.g., an addition) requires approval under the Zoning By-Law, such project is submitted by the proposer to the Town’s Zoning Administrator (ZA) for consideration. The ZA approves, disapproves or, if in doubt, forwards the proposal to the Development Review Board (DRB) for consideration. The DRB was created by Article 5 of the Zoning By-Law. Its members are appointed by the Selectboard. If the ZA does forward the proposal, public notice is published in a local newspaper usually for 15 days. When that period is over, the DRB schedules, then meets to consider, the matter, including public hearings, and ultimately approves or disapproves the project. If approved, the DRB usually issues a conditional-use permit. If disapproved, the matter is over but can be appealed to the appropriate state court.

Act 250: Information about the Vermont State Act 250 process is available at www.nrb.state.vt.us. Act 250 applications and approvals are outside the above local planning process.