City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

Department of Planning & Zoning
City Hall,  Burlington, Vermont 05401
Phone: 802-865-7188 Fax: 802-865-7195


Position Description


The Development Review Board (DRB) has the sole responsibility of reviewing and taking action on proposals for land development under the City's zoning and subdivision ordinances. The Board is comprised of seven volunteers appointed by the City Council who must be residents of Burlington. Two alternates are also appointed in the event a member is otherwise unable to hear a case before the Board. Staff assistance is provided by the Department of Planning and Zoning. The Board currently meets twice each month on alternating Tuesday afternoons.

The Development Review Board functions as quasi-judicial body created under Vermont Statute 24 VSA Chapter 117 §4461. Their responsibilities include conducting Design and Site Plan review and Conditional Use review of proposed developments, the issuance of Subdivision Permits, Zoning Permits, Zoning Variances, and Certificates of Appropriateness, and hearing appeals of decisions of the City's Zoning Administrator. Appeals of decisions made by the Development Review Board are referred to the Vermont Environmental and Superior Courts.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Review site plans for conformance with applicable city regulations on such issues as parking, circulation, landscaping, protection of important natural and cultural features, drainage, building location and configuration, lot coverage, and the location and configuration of utilities and streets.
  • Review building elevations and architectural designs for conformance with applicable city regulations regarding issues such as neighborhood context, conservation of historic resources, building height and massing, energy efficiency, materials selection, and overall urban design quality.
  • Review conditional use applications for conformance with applicable city regulations considering issues such as compatibility with neighborhood character, the capacity of community facilities, and traffic generation.
  • Hear requests for variances and appeals of administrative decisions in accordance with applicable city ordinances and state statutes.
  • Conduct site visits to view properties proposed for development to better understand the relationship of the proposed development with nearby buildings, land uses, and natural surroundings.


  • Demonstrated interest, competence, or knowledge in the fields of historic preservation, architectural history, architecture, landscape architecture, land use planning, civil engineering, real estate, construction, or land use law is recommended.
  • Ability to read and interpret maps, site plans, aerial photographs, building elevations and other related plans and drawings.
  • Ability to work effectively with project applicants, other city boards and commissions, Department staff, and the public in a professional and courteous manner is required.
  • Ability to strictly adhere to City policies regarding conflict of interest and conduct.
  • Attention to detail and an ability to think in abstract terms.
  • Patience and open mindedness.
  • Willingness to listen, learn, and compromise.
  • Ability to make decisions based on regulatory and statutory requirements, and in the best interests of the community as a whole, rather than those of the applicant or other special-interest groups.

Time Requirements:

The DRB meets a minimum of two late afternoons per month for meetings approximately 3 hours long - Meeting Schedule. In addition, an average of 4 to 6 hours per month is required to review meeting packets mailed 4-7 days in advance of a meeting, and conducting site visits. The Board may hold deliberative sessions in addition to regularly scheduled meetings, and some members serve on standing committees of the Planning Commission (Ordinance and Long Range Planning).

Application Process:

  • Pick-up an Application from the City Clerk-Treasurer's Office in City Hall.
  • Applicants for vacant positions must be nominated by a City Councilor. The Clerk-Treasurer's Office can provide contact information.
  • Return completed applications to the Clerk-Treasurer's Office in late May of each year.
  • The City Council will make its appointments in June for positions that begin their term in July.