Law Office James Palmisano
417 Barre Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
Phone: (800) 585-3169
Phone: (802) 229-4001
Fax: (802) 229-2733

Do You need a State Permit?

The following is a list of state permits that may be required for residential properties. It does not include other permits that may be required for commercial properties, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Environmental Permits. On September 18, 1969 environmental laws passed by the State of Vermont took effect and the state began requiring permits for many land projects. Under current law if a project involves a single residential property it will likely only require a “Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Permit”.  This means if the project involves the construction or alteration of a water or sewer system it will require one of these permits, which are issued by the Wastewater Management Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Click Here to download a wastewater / water supply permit application. 

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issues many other environmental permits including so-called “Act 250 Permits” (also known as “Land Use Permits”).  However, Act 250 Permits are usually only required for commercial projects or larger land projects that involve construction of 10 or more housing units within 5 years or the subdivision of land into 10 or more lots within 5 years.

Stormwater Discharge Permits. Generally a stormwater discharge permit may be required if a property has impervious surfaces (e.g. parking lot) that exceed 1.0 acre in size.  Stormwater discharge permits are also issued by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Click Here to search for Stormwater Permits issued by the VT DEC.

Public Building Permits.  If a property contains a public building, which includes all buildings except owner -occupied single family dwellings, registered home day cares, and working farms, then the project may require a public building permit. The Vermont Department of Public Safety, Fire Safety Division issues public buildings permits. These permits specify the minimum requirements for fire prevention, electrical wiring and plumbing in buildings that are open to the public. The department has regional offices throughout Vermont that issue these permits.  Click Here to download a public building permit application .

Wetlands. Construction in or near designated wetlands, rivers and lakes may require additional permits from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.  In 1986, the Vermont Legislature passed an act that allowed for state and local protection of wetlands in Vermont. Activity in a Class I or Class II wetland or its associated buffer zone is prohibited unless it is an allowed use or authorized by a permit. Class III wetlands are not protected by the Vermont Wetland Rules and a Vermont Wetland Permit is not required for projects in Class III wetlands. The boundaries of currently mapped Vermont wetlands may be found on town wetland maps available on the VT DEC Water Quality Division website. Click Here to view Vermont wetland maps.

Lead Paint Forms.  If a dwelling was built prior to 1978, then the seller of the property must provide the buyer with certain lead paint forms approved by the Vermont Department of Health. Click Here for a list of lead paint forms required for Vermont real estate transactions.