Newsroom & Library

Search for documents by name, topic, author, or date.

SELECT A DOC TYPE*

*REQUIRED

SEARCH DOCS

PRESS POINT OF CONTACT:

Ed Bove

Executive Director

802-775-0871 X 208

ebove@rutlandrpc.org

RRPC GLOSSARY

100-Year flood

A flood that has a predicted one percent chance of occurring or being exceeded in a given year (on average, it can be expected to occur once in 100 years). 24 VSA 4303 (8) establishes the 100-year Flood as the Base Flood for the purposes of regulations adopted pursuant to Chapter 117.

85th Percentile Speed

The maximum speed at which 85% of all vehicles are travelling.

AASHTO

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

ACCD

Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Accepted Management Practices (AMP)

Methods of activity generally approved by regulatory authorities and practitioners as acceptable and common to that type of operation. AMPs may not be the bests methods, but are acceptable.

Access Management (AM)

Techniques of Transportation infrastructure management intended to; reduce congestion and accident rates, lessen need for highway widening, conserve energy, and reduce pollution. Examples include; limiting entrance and exit of traffic on highways, use of medians and turn lanes, placement and timing of signals, as well as implementation of supportive local ordinances.

Accessory Building or Structure

A building or structure that is subordinate to and is used for purposes that customarily are incidental to those of the principal building or principal structure located on the same lot (for example, a freestanding garage, garden shed, or fence).

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

A dwelling unit that is located within or appurtenant to an owner-occupied single-family dwelling (an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment that is clearly subordinate to a single-family dwelling and complies with the standards and conditions established by 24 VSA 4412 (1) (E) and (F)).

ACS

American Community Survey

Act 200

Otherwise known as the Vermont Growth Management Act of 1988, Act 200 originally contained 4 Process Goals and 32 Planning Goals, which were paired down to 12 Goals in 1990, then increased to 13 in 2003. This law established mechanisms to help integrate Local, Regional, & State perspectives during the planning process, as well establish consideration of the spillover effects of land use decisions of one municipality upon another. A major objective of Act 200 was to ensure that decisions were made at the most local level possible.

Act 250

A Vermont State land use law that requires a permit from the District Environmental Commission or the Vermont Environmental Board prior to commencing a major development or subdivision on a property.

Active Living

A way of life that integrates physical activity in daily routines.

Active Transportation

Any form of human-powered transportation -- walking, cycling, using a wheelchair, in-line skating or skateboarding. There are many ways to engage in active transportation, whether it is walking to the bus stop or cycling to work.

Adaptive Reuse

The development of a new use for an older building or for a building originally designed for a special or specific purpose.

Administrative Officer (AO)

A person officially designated by a municipality to administer and enforce a bylaw. See 24 VSA 4448.

ADT

Average Daily Traffic

Adverse Impact

Inadequate, unsafe, or unhealthy conditions that result from a Land Development.

Affordable Housing

Housing that is owned by its inhabitants or rented by its inhabitants, whose gross annual household income does not exceed 80 percent of the county median income (or of the MSA median income if the municipality is located in an MSA), as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the total annual cost of the housing is not more than 30 percent of the household's gross annual income. The total annual cost of housing includes; A. For housing owned by its inhabitants: principal, interest, taxes and insurance and, B. For housing rented by its inhabitants, rent, utilities, and condominium association fees. 24 VSA 4303 (1)

Aging in Place

Allows individuals to remain at home or within a supportive living community as they age, without requiring the need to move as their needs increase over time.

Agricultural Soils

See Primary Agricultural Soils.

Agriculture

The cultivation and breeding of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance human life.

AICP

American Institute of Certified Planners

Airport Improvement Program (AIP)

FAA program that assists the development of public-use airports by providing funding for airport planning and development projects.

Alley

A public or private vehicular access affording secondary means of access to abutting property.

AMP

Appropriate Municipal Panel

Annexation

The inclusion of land that currently is not a part of government's jurisdictional territory into that government's jurisdictional territory. See 24 VSA 1316 and 1461

ANR

Agency of Natural Resources

APA

American Planning Association

Appeal

The process used by an authorized party to contest a zoning decision. A zoning decision made by an Administrative Officer may be appealed to a Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) or to a Development Review Board (DRB); see 24 VSA 4465, 4468, and 4470. A zoning decision made by the ZBA, DRB, or Planning Commission may be appealed to the Environmental Court, unless the decision was made on the record (in which case an appeal is pursuant to Rules 74 and 75 of the Rules of Civil Procedure; see 24 VSA 4471

APWA

American Public Works Association

ArcView

Windows-based Geographic Information System (GIS) for the layperson to use geographical data.

ASCE

American Society of Civil Engineers

ASFPM

Association of State Floodplain Mangers

Base Flood

A flood with a predicted frequency and elevation that serves as the basis for making policy decisions regarding floodplain use and development.

Better Roads Program

The Vermont Better Roads Program provides technical support and grant funding to municipalities to promote the use of erosion control and maintenance techniques that save money while protecting and enhancing water quality around the State.

Block

Property bounded on one side by a street and on the other three sides by a street, railroad right-of-way, public park, waterway, or any combination thereof.

BMP

Best Management Practices

Board of Adjustment

Zoning Boards of Adjustment

Brownfield

Brownfields are properties on which there is the presence-or perceived presence-of contamination and this perception stalls or complicates redevelopment, expansion or reuse of the property. Typical brownfield sites are gas stations, car dealerships, factories, dry cleaners, scrap yards, and auto repair shops.

BTS

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Buildout Analysis

A form of analysis predicting the total amount of development that could possibly occur in a given area under existing or proposed legal constraints (e.g. zoning ordinance) and environmental constraints (e.g. wetlands, floodplains, steep slopes, etc.).

Built Environment

The physical features of Land Development (such as Buildings, Streets, and Structures). See Natural Area.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Fixed-route bus system operating on its own exclusive Right of Way.

Bylaws

Municipal regulations applicable to land development adopted under the authority of Chapter 117 (including Zoning, Subdivision Regulations, shore land and flood hazard bylaws, Official Map, and a Capital Budget and Program). 24 VSA 4303 (4).

Byways

America's Byways is a registered umbrella term used to promote a collection of distinct and diverse roads, designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway. Further, there are also state-designated Byways in Vermont, which may or may not have national designation.

CaCO3

Calcium Carbonate

Capital Budget

A list and description of the capital projects to be undertaken during the coming fiscal year, their estimated cost, and the proposed method of financing. 24 VSA 4430 (a).

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)

A multi-year plan, which identifies equipment, infrastructure, property improvements, or other tangible purchases, as well as their schedule and financing strategies.

Carrying Capacity

The capability of a resource to sustain a level of use without having its qualitative features degraded in any significant way.

Categorical Exclusion (CE)

Federal and State regulations (see; NEPA) require environmental reviews to be performed before expenditure of public funds can be approved for major projects. If a project does not meet the definition of major project then it may be eligible for what is called a Categorical Exclusion (CE). A CE is the absolute lowest level of environmental review possible for projects. For Vermont transportation projects, VTrans (The State DOT) is responsible for such designation.

Central Business District (CBD)

Often the geographic center or 'downtown' section of a city, town, or village, typifying a concentration of commercial, government, residential, and mixed-use buildings or development.

Certificate of Occupancy

Occupancy permit.

Chapter 117

The Vermont Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act. See 24 VSA 4301 - 4483.

Cluster Development

Land Development that concentrates Land Uses on lots that some-times have been reduced in size below the minimum size required by Zoning, to allow the remaining land on a site to be used for recreation, common open space, or the preservation of environmentally sensitive features.

CNG

Compressed Natural Gas

CO

Carbon Monoxide

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

A flexible federal program administrated by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs that subsidizes a wide range of community development and economic development activities. Beginning in 1974, the CDBG program is one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1209 general units of local government and States.

Community Land Trust

A nonprofit organization which develops affordable housing, commercial space, and parks while promoting homeowner-ship, historic preservation, local control, and neighborhood revitalization.

Commuter Rail

Generally applies to multi-car, high-speed rail transport utilizing exclusive, frequently at-grade, rights-of-way with service between urban areas or between outlying suburbs and the urban core. Usually involves greater distances and fewer stops than those normally found with light and heavy rail transit within urban areas.

Complete Streets

Coined in 2003 by bicycle and pedestrian advocates, Complete Streets Design Techniques are employed to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a Complete Street.

Comprehensive Plan

An officially adopted plan that describes, analyzes, and makes Policies about a wide range of topics (such as community facilities, economy, housing, land use, population, and transportation) to guide the development of an entire area (municipality, region, or state). See 24 VSA 4382 (municipalities) and 4348a (RPCs). See Special Plan.

Condemnation

The process by which someone takes ownership of private property by using the power of Eminent Domain.

Conditional Use

A land use that may be authorized only after the Appropriate Municipal Panel finds that conditions specified in the zoning bylaw have been met following a Public Hearing warned by Public Notice.

Condominium

Real estate with portions designated for separate ownership and the remainder designated for common ownership by the owners of the separately owned portions.

Conformance

When a bylaw or bylaw amendment is in accord with the municipal plan in effect at the time of adoption and includes all the following: A. Makes progress toward attaining, or at least does not interfere with, the goals and policies contained in the municipal plan. B. Provides for proposed future land uses, densities, and intensities of development contained in the municipal plan. C. Carries out, as applicable, any specific proposals for community facilities, or other proposed actions contained in the municipal plan. 24 VSA 4303 (6).

Congestion Pricing

Charging users of a transportation network during peak periods of traffic, in order to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

Conservation Commission

A municipal body that may prepare studies and inventories of, recommend municipal acquisition of, and manage property for conservation. See 24 VSA 4501 to 4506.

Corridor

A geographic area that is defined by major highway and rail facilities, and major flows of travel. Transportation corridors are identified for the purpose of analyzing the patterns and flows of traffic between origins and destinations. In the context of general planning, a corridor is an area (often designated) closely associated with a linear feature (such as a river, highway, utility, or zone of wildlife movement).

Cost-Benefit Analysis

An evaluation of the disadvantages (costs) and advantages (benefits) of a proposed project, policy, action, or decision that often attempts to quantify the disadvantages and advantages into a single unit of measure, such as dollars.

CPI

Consumer Price Index

Cul-De-Sac

A Local Street that is terminated at one end by a vehicular turnaround and that intersects another street at the other end.

Culvert

Often constructed out of steel, concrete, plastic, or PVC, a culvert is conduit infrastructure used to channel water underneath and away from a road or railway embankment.

Cumulative Impacts

The impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of an action (such as a transportation project) when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions.

DEC

Department of Environmental Conservation

Density

The number of dwelling units or units of nonresidential use that are authorized or planned for a unit of land area.

Development

For the purposes of Act 250, Development is defined by 10 VSA 6001 (3). In the context of Land Development, Development is the division of a parcel into two or more parcels, the construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation or enlargement of any building or structure, or of any mining, excavation or landfill, and any change in the use of any building or structure, or land, or extension of use of land (24 VSA 4303 (10))

DHCA

Department of Housing and Community Affairs

DOT

Department of Transportation

DPW

Department of Public Works

DR

Demand Response

DRB

Development Review Board

DU

Dwelling Unit

Easement

A less-than-fee property right that can be positive or negative. A positive easement authorizes a second party to use the property in a specific, limited way (such as a right-of-way that authorizes the second party to cross the property). A negative easement prohibits a property owner from using the property fully (such as a scenic easement that prevents an owner from building a structure on the property that would block the public's view of a distant mountain). An appurtenant easement benefits a neighboring property; an easement that is not appurtenant is in gross.

EDA

Economic Development Association

Eminent Domain

The power of a government (or a person delegated such authority by a government) to require an owner to sell private property to the entity exercising the power if the entity pays the owner Just Compensation.

Endangered Species

A species listed on the state endangered species list (see 10 VSA 5402) or determined to be an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act. The term generally refers to species whose continued existence as a viable component of the state's wild fauna or flora is in jeopardy. 10 VSA 5401 (6).

Environmental Court

The court authorized to hear appeals of local land use decisions, ANR regulatory decisions, and District Environmental Commission decisions of Act 250 permit applications. See 4 VSA 1001 to 1004.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Document that studies all likely impacts resulting from major federally-assisted programs. Impacts include those on the natural environment, economy, society, and the built (existing) environment of historical and aesthetic significance.

Environmental Justice (EJ)

The fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, programs and policies.

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency

Evacuation

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines evacuation as an organized, phased, and supervised withdrawal, dispersal, or removal of civilians from dangerous or potentially dangerous areas, and their reception and care in safe areas.

Exaction

The dedication of property, payment of money in lieu of dedication, or other contribution that a government requires a developer to make as a condition for some government action (such as approval of a development permit).

Exclusionary Zoning

A legal doctrine that prohibits government from using Zoning to exclude specific types of people (such as racial minorities, poor people, or handicapped people) or certain types of lawful Land Uses (such as churches, group homes, or mobile homes) that can take 3 forms: (1) explicit (expressly prohibiting a land use in a zoning ordinance), (2) implicit (failing to include a land use in a list of permitted land uses), and (3) effective (using unreasonable design standards to discourage development of a land use).

FAA

Federal Aviation Administration

Fee Simple (Fee Simple Absolute)

The legal term for ownership of the bundle of property rights (such as rights of use, development, possession, transfer, & mineral rights) for a particular property.

FHWA

Federal Highway Administration

Final Plat (or Plan)

A plat prepared in accordance with bylaw standards that depicts the exact design of a proposed subdivision that is submitted to obtain formal municipal approval for the proposal. Such approval typically authorizes the plat to be recorded.

Finding

A factual determination made by an Appropriate Municipal Panel that is based on evidence and testimony received at a Public Hearing that serves as the basis for its decision.

Flag Lot

A Lot that (1) at the Street Line is narrower than the required minimum Lot Width but is wide enough to provide for a Driveway and (2) at the rear of the Lot is wide enough to comply with the required minimum Lot Width.

Floating Zone (or District)

A Zoning District for which there are regulations in the text of the Bylaw, but which is mapped (either automatically or by application) on the Zoning Map only when specific conditions for the establishment of the district are met in a particular area.

Flood Fringe

The portion of a Floodplain that is outside the Floodway.

Flood Hazard Area

The land subject to flooding from the Base Flood. 24 VSA 4303 (8).

Flood Proofing

Any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes, or adjustments to properties and structures that substantially reduce or eliminate flood damage to any combination of real estate, improved real property, water or sanitary facilities, structures, and the contents of structures. 24 VSA 4303 (8) (A).

Flood Way

The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land area that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without accumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than one foot. New development often is prohibited in the floodway. 24 VSA 4303 (8) (B).

Flood Zone A

Areas of a 100-year flood (1% chance flooding in a year). Such data represents a starting-point for floodplain mapping and should be used with caution as it may be highly inaccurate in some locations. Site-specific determinations should be done using the official source Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), site inspections, interviews of people who witnessed historic floods, and if needed, hydrologic engineering studies.

Flood Zone B

Areas between a 100-year and 500-year flood (0.2% chance flooding in a year). Such data represents a starting-point for floodplain mapping and should be used with caution as it may be highly inaccurate in some locations. Site-specific determinations should be done using the official source Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), site inspections, interviews of people who witnessed historic floods, and if needed, hydrologic engineering studies.

Floodplain

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulates any development in mapped floodplains based on the 100-year flood (i.e. those areas which have a 1% chance of a flood in any given year). Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued Flood maps delineate 100-year floodplains, as well as 500-year floodplains (i.e. those areas which have a 0.2% chance of a flood in any given year).

Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

A measurement used to determine the building volume permitted on a particular lot that equals the floor area of all of the buildings on a lot divided by the total land area of the lot. For example, an FAR of 3.0 applied to a 20,000 square foot lot would permit a building with up to 60,000 square feet of floor area. The owner also could construct a building with up four 15,000 square foot floors, five 12,000 square foot floors, six 10,000 square foot floors, and so on. The community's building height regulations would limit how tall the building could be.

FONSI

Finding of No Significant Impact

Forest Block

A contiguous area of forest in any stage of succession and not currently developed for nonforest use. A forest block may include recreational trails, wetlands, or other natural features that do not themselves possess tree cover, and uses exempt from regulation.

Forest Fragmentation

The division or conversion of a forest block by land development other than by a recreational trail or use exempt from regulation.

Form-Based Code (FBC)

A departure from the 20th century standard planning practice of developing municipal zoning codes based upon separation of land use. Form-based codes (FBC) facilitate a compatible building environment for public spaces by using physical form as the primary criterion behind a municipality's zoning code. According to the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI); 'Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The regulations and standards in form-based codes are presented in both words and clearly drawn diagrams and other visuals. They are keyed to a regulating plan that designates the appropriate form and scale (and therefore, character) of development, rather than only distinctions in land-use types.'

FPR

Department of Forest Parks and Recreation

Fragmentation

A departure from the 20th century standard planning practice of developing municipal zoning codes based upon separation of land use. Form-based codes (FBC) facilitate a compatible building environment for public spaces by using physical form as the primary criterion behind a municipality's zoning code. According to the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI); 'Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The regulations and standards in form-based codes are presented in both words and clearly drawn diagrams and other visuals. They are keyed to a regulating plan that designates the appropriate form and scale (and therefore, character) of development, rather than only distinctions in land-use types.'

Freeway

A divided arterial highway designed for unimpeded flow of large traffic volumes, have controlled access, and grade separation from intersecting roads.

Frontage Road

A road abutting a limited-access highway that provides a means of access between the highway and local roads.

FWD

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Cooperative planning in the region.

© The Rutland Regional Planning Commission
Site by: JEG DESIGN INC