Town Planning

staff:  matt bachler, mike mcconnell

24 V.S.A. Chapter 117 enables towns to guide their futures with Town Plans. To be approved, Plans must contain 12 specific required elements and address conformance with 14 specific Vermont state planning goals. Plans expire eight years after adoption.
Town Plans are:

    • written by the town Planning Commission,
    • adopted by the town Selectboard, and may be
    • approved by the Regional Commission, if so requested by the Town.
    • Click here for a chart (PDF, last updated February 9, 2023) showing the status of 1) Town Plans for towns in the Windham Region, including adoption date, expiration date, and the status of WRC approval, and 2) the status of bylaws and ordinances for towns in the Windham Region, including zoning, subdivision, and NFIP-compliant flood hazard area regulations, as well as the status of whether the town has a Zoning Board of Adjustment or a Development Review Board.

Digital Submission of Documents for WRC Review:

We are requesting that when sending zoning bylaw amendments and town plan updates or amendments to the Windham Regional Commission for review that you please send a digital copy in lieu of mailing a hard copy. If possible, it would be preferred to have a copy of the document in Microsoft Word format, as it allows WRC to have a workable copy if the original draft is no longer accessible by the Towns in the future. State statute allows towns to send these documents electronically to the Windham Regional Commission with email proof of receipt (see 24 VSA §4384 (e) regarding town plans and 24 VSA §4441 (e) regarding zoning bylaws). WRC will provide you with an email confirmation of receipt for your records. For questions on digital submission of documents please contact us

Useful Documents from the WRC:   

   Basics of Land Use Planning and Regulation PDFNEW!

  • Presentation on essentials of town planning, land use regulation, and open meeting law

   WRC Municipal Services Policy, PDF

   Town Plan Review Duties and Responsibilities, PDF (45kb):

  • Serves as a summary or simplified account of the Regional Commission Approval process
  • Describes the town plan review process by WRC for Town Plan approval 

   Town Self-Assessment Form PDF (74kb):

  • Helps ensure that nothing that is required by law is left out of the plan 
  • Lists all the required elements of the Town Plan and the state planning goals and asks the Planning Commission to state on what page(s) these are addressed.
  • This form, completed by the Planning Commission, may accompany the draft plan to both the Selectboard and the WRC for their hearings and their separate adoption/approval processes.

  Useful Links:

Why do Towns need a Town Plan?

Towns wishing to have a strong hand in Act 250 applications need to have a Town Plan, duly adopted by the Selectboard, that protects their interests and those of townspeople. If a Town wishes to be eligible for state Municipal Planning Grants to further its planning processes, such as updating the Plan or zoning or subdivision regulations, or applying for and renewing state Village Center designation, or conducting special studies, it must have its plan approved and its planning processes confirmed by the WRC.


Last Updated: 18 April 2024
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