Department of Planning & Zoning

Opportunities for Public Participation and Comment

Participation is effective only prior to the decision on the application. Once a Z-Card is posted, contact the Department as soon as possible with your questions. Find out whether the application will be reviewed administratively or by the Development Review Board (DRB). This can be done with a phone call (802-865-7188). Applications reviewed administratively may be decided upon within a week, so do not let unnecessary time go by. Public Notice Requirements are lengthier for applications reviewed by the DRB allowing for more time for public participation.

Larger projects, subject to Major Impact Review, are required to have a Pre-Application Neighborhood Public Meeting. The purpose is "allow neighbors to become aware of potential development projects at an early stage of a developmentā€™s conceptual design and for applicants to take into consideration neighborhood comments and concerns." For more information, see Pre-Application Neighborhood Public Meeting under the Permitting Process section. Also see Sec. 3.2.1(d) and Sec 3.5.2 of the Comprehensive Development Ordinance.

The Neighborhood Public Meeting is required to occur prior to filing a zoning permit application with the Department. The preferred venue for the meeting is regular monthly meetings of applicable Neighborhood Planning Assemblies. To stay informed, monitor Neighborhood Planning Assembly Meeting Agendas for your Ward, or subscribe to CEDO's Neighborhood Buzz newsletter.

Zoning permit applications are public record, and therefore are available upon request for persons to review in the Planning and Zoning Office.

The two best ways to participate and comment in the review process are:

  1. Submit written comment*, and
  2. Attend and comment the Development Review Board (DRB) meeting when applicable.

Verbal comment to zoning staff on an administratively reviewed application may have an effect on the decision, but written comment is more effective because it is incorporated into the public record. For applications reviewed by the DRB, comment must be made to the DRB either in writing or verbally its meeting. Verbal comment to staff regarding applications reviewed by the DRB is of no effect.

Written comment must be received by the Department as soon as possible for administrative decisions, and at least ten (10) days in advance of DRB meetings. Submitting comments well in advance of DRB meetings insures your comment will be sent to the DRB along with other meeting materials. Address comment to the Zoning Administrator for pending administrative decisions, and to the Development Review Board Chair for pending DRB decisions. * Please note that ANYTHING submitted to the Planning and Zoning office is considered public and cannot be kept confidential.

For applications heard by the DRB, one can attend the meeting and offer verbal comment. If you chose to attend a meeting and speak without submitting written comment, make sure you place your name and mailing address on the Interested Person List for that project application. Otherwise you will not have rights to appeal the DRB decision. See Appeal Rights for more info.

Ex Parte Communication: Anyone may speak directly to zoning staff on any permit application. Section XII(B) of the DRB Bylaws define Ex Parte Communication as "direct or indirect communication between a member of the DRB and any party, party's representative, party's counsel or any person regarding any proposal before the panel that occurs outside of a public proceeding, and concerns the substance or merits of the proceeding." In order to presereve the integrity of the DRB review process, Ex Parte Communication is prohibited (DRB Bylaws Sec XII.B). Therefore attempts to comment to DRB members outside of a DRB public meeting will have no effect.