Archive for the ‘Land Conservation’ Category

Steven Rattee wants to construct a house and a driveway on his property. 103 acres of Mr. Rattee’s 185 acres is subject to an easement called an agricultural preservation restriction (APR).  The purpose of the easement is “preserving the limited land suitable for agricultural production.”  Mr. Rattee’s property has productive agricultural soil.  The easement was granted to the state of New Hampshire by the previous landowner and is managed by the Agricultural Land Preservation Committee (ALPC).  Now, in addition to seeking a building permit, Mr. Rattee is required to get permission from ALPC before constructing certain types of structures.  However, ALPC did not adopt rules to establish how to apply for permission to construct on land with an APR.  Also, the ALPC has not previously enforced restrictions of APRs. (more…)

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The In Re Pierce[i] and JAM Golf[ii] cases, decided within a month of each other, come to different conclusions on whether standards in bylaws provide enough guidance, issues of substantive due process. This blog post provides a summary of each.

In Re Pierce was decided first, in August 2008. The Ferrisburgh Planning Commission approved six waivers for a proposed development and subdivision of a 113-acre parcel. The development would be 21 lots of residences and one lot of common space, with a total of 76% of the land planned to be protected by perpetual easements. The development was opposed by a neighbor, who appealed to the Environmental Court and then to the Vermont Supreme Court. Among other arguments, the neighbor contended that sections 5.21(C) & (D) of the Ferrisburgh bylaws (governing approval of PRDs) provided insufficient standards to guide the Environmental Court’s discretion.  Section (C) provided some general standards (such as conformance with the municipal plan), and some specific standards (such as standard (2), which provided that the overall density of units may not exceed the number which could be permitted if developed in accordance with the bylaws). Section (D) also contained standards, including one requiring 60% of the total parcel to remain undeveloped.









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