To appeal a decision of the environmental division, you need to file a notice of appeal with the clerk’s office within 30 days of the date of the decision. There is no special form for the notice of appeal. It is helpful, though, if you include a copy of the decision you are appealing. There is a filing fee. For details, see fees. For more information on the process, see Vermont Rules for Environmental Court Proceedings (VRECP), Rule 5 at Lexis Nexis.
You may represent yourself in appealing an environmental decision. You will be held to the same standard as a lawyer. If you plan to proceed without a lawyer, you can file your notice of appeal by mail or in person at the clerk’s office in Burlington. You or your lawyer can also electronically file. In either case, remember that the clerk’s office needs to receive the notice of appeal before the 30-day deadline.
You must also give a copy of the notice of appeal to the city or town where the decision you are appealing was made (see VRECP, Rule 5(b)(4)(A) at Lexis Nexis).
To let the environmental division know who is representing you, you must file an appearance in writing. If you are representing yourself, you may fill out the online Information and Entry of Appearance for Self Representation form and return it to the division. You must also send copies of this form to the other parties in the case. If you have a lawyer, he or she will file an appearance for you. If you represent yourself at the beginning of a case then decide to use a lawyer later, your lawyer should notify the division.
Upon receiving a copy of the Notice of Appeal, the town clerk or other officer should provide you with a list of interested persons within five working days. An interested person in the case was likely part of any prior proceedings before the municipal panel or other body. You must send a copy of the notice of appeal to each interested person by certified mail. To do so, you may use the Notice to Interested Persons form. You should then send the division a copy of that form.
The statement of questions is a list of questions or issues you, as the appellant, would like the judge to decide. You must file the statement of questions with the environmental division within 21 days after filing the notice of appeal.
Once you have notified any interested parties and filed the statement of questions, the environmental division schedules the initial conference or hearing. This usually happens four to six weeks after you file the notice of appeal. The division typically hears these by telephone. The division will either call the parties or use a conferencing service that allows all the parties to call in using a toll-free number. Your first hearing notice from the division will explain how to participate in the conference.