Code Enforcement

The Bianchi Decision

From Vermont Secretary of State Opinions - Bianchi Revisited:

In 1997, the Vermont Supreme Court made a decision in a case entitled Bianchi v. Lorentz. This case established that violations of local land use regulations are a cloud on the title of property. The result of this decision was that, before any real estate could be sold, the attorneys involved in the transaction had to determine whether the property was in compliance with local zoning and subdivision regulations and permit condition...

In the 1997 legislative session, a [law] was adopted that required municipal land use permits, or memoranda of those actions, to be recorded with the town clerk. It also created a statute of limitations on enforcement of certain municipal permit violations...

Definition of Municipal Land Use Permit. In order to clarify when the zoning office must record permits with the town clerk, the law adds definition of a "municipal land use permit" to 24 V.S.A. § 4303(24). Under the definition, a "municipal land use permit":

  • a zoning, subdivision, site plan, or building permit or approval which has received final approval; or
  • a septic or sewage system permit; or
  • final official minutes of meetings which relate to permits or approvals; or
  • a certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance or similar certificate which relate to permits or approvals; or an amendment of any of any of the above.