Act 250 (“Act”) is a Vermont legislation passed in 1970. This Act is officially known as Land Use and Development Act. The object of the Act is to protect the environment, balance developments with local, regional, and state issues, and to provide a forum for neighbors, municipalities and other interest groups to make their concern. The Act was brought into force as the Vermont government’s response to opening of two interstate highways (I-89 and I-91). According to the Act, an Act 250 permit is mandatory for conducting projects like:
1. Construction for a commercial or industrial purpose on more than one acre of land;
2. Construction of more than 10 housing units within a radius of 5 miles;
3. Subdivision of land into 10 or more lots;
4. Construction of a road, if the road provides access to more than five lots or is longer than 800 feet;
5. Construction by the state or local government if the project involves more than 10 acres;
6. Substantial changes or additions to existing developments;
7. Construction above 2,500 feet in elevation.
The Act also provides for a public, quasi-judicial process for reviewing and managing environmental, social and fiscal consequences. The activities under the Act are carried out through environmental commissions established in nine districts.