Resolving Affordable Housing Disputes

Identifying and Analyzing Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes for Vermont
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1415-07
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In Vermont, the affordable housing review process can take up to a decade, involving  communities and developers in lengthy and expensive legal battles that can cause damage  to all those involved. The authors of this  report have been tasked with researching  methods of streamlining the affordable housing review process so that, no matter what the outcome of a given case, a decision is rendered quickly and effectively. This report investigates the affordable housing review  process in Vermont, alternative processes  employed by other states, and the possible policies that Vermont may adopt based on these state case studies. The following analysis examines four state case studies— Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, and Rhode Island—utilizing existing literature and  personal interviews. The authors have spoken with non-profit organization leaders, policy  makers, academics and community members who are all stakeholders in their states’ affordable housing review processes. From this research, one finding comes through the  most clearly: whether an individual is seek ing to block or build an affordable housing  project, a long, drawn-out review process harms the people on both sides and leaves  communities in limbo. Increasing the efficiency of dispute resolution is therefore  essential to all stakeholders.