The “official version” of H.526 as it passed the Vermont House of Representatives can be viewed here: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/House/H-526.pdf This official version shows the amendments approved on the Floor of the House as markups on the bill so readers can easily see what changes were approved after the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee passed the bill out of committee. 

The following is a summary of the amendments passed on the Floor of the House of Representatives. A summary of the remainder of the bill can be found in a previous Legislative Update posted March 26, 2013.

1. Language has been added to make it clear that the shorelands of the state owned by private people remain private property, and that the bill does not extend the common-law public trust doctrine to private shoreland that is not currently public trust land.

2. “Off-site mitigation” is defined as a practice or activity that mitigates the adverse impacts of impervious surface or cleared area on the water quality of lakes or protected shoreland areas, and that occurs on property other than the property where the construction, creation, or expansion of impervious surface or cleared area is proposed. 

3. “Private road” is defined as a road or street other than a highway, as that term is defined in 19 V.S.A. § 1(12), that is owned by one or more people and that is used as a means of travel from a highway to more than one parcel of land. 

4. When the emergency repair, repair, and replacement of a private road or highway results in the construction, creation, or expansion of impervious surface or cleared area on a property adjacent to the private road or highway, the impervious surface or cleared area constructed or created on the adjacent property will not be calculated as part of the 500 square feet allowed without a permit (see the summary of the bill in a previous Legislative Update posted March 26, 2013 for further information regarding the 500 square feet).  

5. The square footage of constructed, created, or expanded impervious surface or cleared area must be as measured on a horizontal plane.  

6. The lake shoreland protection standards must include standards for authorizing off-site mitigation as a best management practice when compliance with vegetative cover or other best management practices is not technically feasible on a property within a protected shoreland area, provided that the mitigation is conducted within the watershed of the lake where the proposed impervious surface or cleared area will occur. However, if within one year of the proposed construction the applicant cannot identify a suitable off-site mitigation project within the watershed of the lake where the proposed impervious surface or cleared area will occur, the VT Agency of Natural Resources (VTANR) must authorize completion of the off-site project in an alternative lake watershed. 

7. The lake shoreland protection standards must authorize physical practices or activities that create cleared area or remove vegetative cover in order to reduce mosquito breeding habitat in areas of the State where mosquito populations create a public health hazard, as that term is defined in 18 V.S.A. § 2, provided that the activity complies with the Vermont Wetlands Rules. 

8. It is clarified that, in municipalities that do not qualify for delegated permitting authority, the construction, creation, or expansion of impervious surface or cleared area will not require a permit if the project area has been designated by municipal bylaw for development according to historic development patterns or for redevelopment of land that has been subject to construction of impervious surface or disturbance prior to July 1, 2013 by industrial or urban development. The municipality must have adopted a shoreland bylaw or ordinance or implemented best management practices intended to prevent lake water quality degradation; minimize or mitigate disturbances in shorelands; or minimize or mitigate damage from floods and erosion. 

9. The emergency repair, repair, and replacement of private roads is added to the list of activities that will not require a permit under specified conditions. 

10. All VTANR lands within protected shoreland areas must be managed according to the requirements of the bill when consistent and not in conflict with applicable federal requirements for the management of a parcel of land held by VTANR.  

11. By December 15, 2013, VTANR must submit a report to several committees in the Legislature regarding implementation of pending or proposed VTANR water quality initiatives. The report must include (1) a summary of how the regulation of impervious surface or cleared area in protected shoreland areas will be coordinated with other VTANR water quality initiatives; (2) a proposal for how VTANR will quantify the amount that the regulation of impervious surface or cleared area contributes to improved water quality in the State; and (3) a recommendation for a prioritized plan on how to fund water quality initiatives in the State, including an estimate of how much regulation would cost and any revenue source, such as permit fees, that would be used to pay for the cost. 

The “unofficial version” of H.526 as it passed the House, which fully incorporates the Floor amendments without highlighting the changes, can be viewed here: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/House/H-526C.pdf 

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