Rules, Regulations, & Permits

What's the difference between ordinances, bylaws, regulations, policies, and who knows what else?  Stay tuned for the answer(s) to that question, but in the meantime, see below for the ones that are in effect in Waitsfield ...

Policy

According ot Black's Law Dictionary, a policy is defined as “[t]he general principles by which a government is guided in its management of public affairs.”  As such, it can be adopted by vote of the Selectboard at a regular meeting. Examples of typical municipal public policies include class 4 road maintenance policy, procurement or bidding policy for the issuance of public contracts, investment policy, conflict of interest, and personnel policies.  Generally speaking, public policies enacted by one board are not automatically binding upon future boards, are not subject to voter approval, and may be changed or revoked at a regular board meeting.  A policy helps the board to make fair and consistent decisions, which is important because municipalities must treat people equally under both the U.S. and Vermont constitutions.  Written policies are especially important in a municipality where the selectboard membership may change each year.  The new selectboard can amend an existing policy if it wants to, but the existing one will at least provide some historical perspective and consistency. [Source: Adapted from VLCT News July 2001 and VLCT News May 2003]

Rule

Administrative rules adopted by the Selectboard are similar to a policy but are more narrowly fashioned.  Some commonly enacted rules adopted by a legislative body are: rules of procedure and order for meetings, highway access and permitting requirements, rules for processing citizen complaints, employment recruitment, and hiring. Rules also may be changed at the discretion of the board without public involvement. [Source: Adapted from VLCT News May 2003]

Resolution

According to Black's Law Dictionary, a resolution is a“[a] formal expression of an opinion, intention, or decision by an official body or assembly (esp. a legislature).”  One example of a resolution is a statement reflecting the formal action taken by the Selectboard to ‘create’ a development review board (DRB).  The text of such a resolution would consist in part of a statement of purpose (i.e. the creation of the DRB), establishment of the membership, terms of office, limits or extent of authority, etc.  Resolutions are discretionary actions by the board although citizens may petition the board to enact a resolution for a specific purpose, such as to publicly recognize a local official or citizen volunteer. [Source: Adapted from VLCT News May 2003]

Regulation

A municipal regulation is enforceable in a court much the same as state law and the Selectboard may impose civil penalties for violation of the regulation.  At the municipal level, regulations typically take the form of and are also known as ‘ordinances.’  Because Vermont is not a “Home Rule” state and municipalities only have the powers granted to them by the Legislature, the authority of the municipality to regulate a specific subject must be authorized by statute (or through a municipal governance charter).  Examples of municipal regulations include: animal control ordinances, zoning and subdivision regulations, speed limits, wastewater disposal, junkyard ordinances, etc.  There is a formal process for the adoption of municipal regulations, which, once adopted by the legislative body, may be petitioned for repeal by the voters. [Source: Adapted from VLCT News May 2003]

24 V.S.A. Title 24 Chapter 63 Section 2291 Enumeration of Municipal and County Government Powers