HB 450 - relative to the state 10-year transportation improvement program
Chaptered Law 2
Effective April 2, 2010
The stated legislative intent of House Bill 450 is to create a set of guidelines for transportation improvement projects over the next ten years. With the exception of infrastructure preservation projects, those included in the plan are to be prioritized based on their "scope, cost, constructability, permitibility, and public support." All projects are required to go through preliminary design, environmental evaluation, a public participation process, and have available adequate funding. Important considerations for all projects include safety, multi-modalism, land use, infrastructure preservation and overall corridor improvement. The bill also includes procedural details for implementation of the ten-year plan.
HB 1174 - relative to terms for appointed town officials and …
Chaptered Law 226
Effective August 27, 2010
Instituting existing common practice, an appointed official's term continues until a successor is appointed. This applies to terms of office established under RSA 41 (town officers), RSA 49-C:20 (city clerk, heath officer, and other officers appointed to administer departments established by the elected body), and RSA 673:5 (local land use board members). While local land use board members' terms are limited to three years, the new statutory language states that if a successor has yet to be appointed and qualified at the end of the appointed member's term, the member may remain in office until such time.
Secondly, the definition of a "local land use board" (RSA 672:7) has been expanded to include all boards or commissions established under RSA 673. Previously, local land use boards included the planning board, historic district commission, building inspector, building code board of appeals, and the zoning board. The expanded definition now includes heritage, agricultural, and housing commissions.
HB 1211 - relative to special meetings in towns with official ballot town meetings
Chaptered Law 69
Effective July 18, 2010
Simply put, if the sole purpose of a special town meeting in an official ballot (or "SB 2") town is to adopt, amend or repeal a zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance or a building code then, the meeting only needs to consist of one session for voting by official ballot. A deliberative session is not required to consider a zoning change in this particular situation. However, this does not apply to special town meetings to consider the adoption of an emergency temporary zoning and planning ordinance pursuant to RSA 675:4-a.
HB 1380 - relative to assessing fees by zoning boards of adjustment
Chaptered Law 303
Effective September 11, 2010
Similar to Planning Board's existing authority under RSA 676:4-b, this bill authorizes zoning boards to charge applicants "reasonable fees" to cover the costs of special investigative studies, administrative expenses, and third party review and consultation related to application reviews or appeals. The zoning board must document all third party review expenses and provide detailed accounting of all expenditures, upon request, to the applicant. Given the possibility that redundant studies may be requested of the same applicant, both zoning and planning boards are limited to assessing fees where it will not "substantially replicate a review and consultation obtained by" the other board. This caveat was instituted within the newly created zoning statute (RSA 676:5, V(a)) and an amendment to the planning board's RSA 676:4-b.
HB 1395 - relative to workforce housing
Chaptered Law 150
Effective June 14, 2010
Following the enaction of 2008's SB 342 many boards asked whether it was only after appeal of a workforce housing application that "assurances" of long-term affordability could be instituted or could such restrictions be placed on approved applications? This bill clarifies this question and authorizes municipalities to require workforce housing applicants to record restrictive covenants limiting the sale, re-sale or rental of units to households whose income meets the limits of RSA 674:58, IV. The municipality's regulations must specify the term for such covenants and may also include monitoring requirements.
HB 1462 - establishing a shoreland advisory committee
Chaptered Law 306
Section 2 Effective 12/31/2013; Remainder Effective 7/13/2010
The 20-member shoreland advisory committee was established to provide residential shorefront owner input and perspective to the Department of Environmental Services relating to shoreland development regulated under the comprehensive shoreland protection act. Ten members are to be shoreland property owners, appointed by the Governor, representing various lake, river and tidal water bodies. The other 10 members, to be appointed by the DES commissioner, are to represent various organizations and agencies including one to be from either a regional planning commission or the Office of Energy and Planning. The advisory committee is to sunset on December 31, 2013.
HB 1486 - prohibiting the mandating of fire sprinkler systems in certain dwellings and establishing a committee to study municipal residential fire sprinkler requirements
Chaptered Law 282
Effective July 9, 2010
This bill, as stated in its title, prohibits the state or municipalities from mandating sprinkler systems in one or two family detached residential structures. However, any existing municipal ordinances requiring sprinklers adopted prior to July 9, 2010 are unaffected. Also, sprinkler systems can still be required by a planning board for subdivision or site plan applications that are found to be "scattered and premature" given their lack of adequate fire protection. A committee is established to study existing municipal residential fire sprinkler requirements and whether the interests of safety justify authorizing municipalities to adopt sprinkler requirements for residential structures in the future.
SB 59 - relative to the renovation and replacement of school buildings
Chaptered Law 327
Effective September 18, 2010
A hold over from the 2009 legislative session, this bill works to coordinate school siting policies with state and municipal smart growth and land use policies. School districts are now required to investigate feasible options when deciding to replace or renovate an existing school building. During the decision making process, school districts are required to hold at least one public hearing, seek input from municipal boards and departments, and must review the local master plan and zoning ordinances so as to maximize best planning practices. Additionally, state building aid grants cannot require the acquisition of additional land as part of a school renovation project unless it is necessary to ensure the safe flow of traffic on school grounds or the safe boarding or discharge of children using busses or other vehicles. Lastly, plans for school construction or renovation are required to comply with effective statewide planning and the state's smart growth principles (RSA 9-B).
SB 128 - relative to the community revitalization tax relief incentive, and…
Chaptered Law 329
Effective July 20, 2010
For those communities who were reluctant to utilize the economic development incentives enabled by RSA 79-E because, as established, the program did not directly align with local goals and priorities, this bill will allow cities and towns to modify certain requirements of the act to meet specific local needs. Municipalities will now have the ability to further limit what constitutes a "qualifying structure" so to better target locations identified for redevelopment. Additionally, municipalities may set a higher threshold for "substantial rehabilitation" to ensure greater investment in the project. Both opportunities for municipalities come with the stipulation that the statutory definition may be limited in order to be more "consistent with local economic conditions, community character, and local planning and development goals." Additionally added are provisions enabling municipalities to establish guidelines to determine the appropriate tax relief period and further define the public benefit expectations used to evaluate applications.
SB 328 - relative to approval procedures on plats
Chaptered Law 39
Effective July 17, 2010
This bill establishes that the receipt of permits or approvals from other "governmental bodies" (municipal, state, or federal) cannot be a factor in determining the completeness of an application. In other words, planning boards are prohibited from considering an application as incomplete solely because it has yet to receive other permits or approvals. However, a planning board may require state and federal permits as a condition of approval, where the approval becomes final, without further public hearing, once the applicant submits evidence of the required approvals to the board or its designee.
SB 369 - relative to the effect of changes in local permit status on large groundwater withdrawal permits issued by the department of environmental services
Chaptered Law 158
Effective July 17, 2010
Municipalities are permitted to require a written finding from the Department of Environmental Services regarding the status of a large groundwater withdrawal permit when a local building permit expires. Additionally, DES is required to consider the impact the local permit expiration may have on its decision on the groundwater withdrawal application.
SB 370 - relative to sewage disposal systems
Chaptered Law 342
Effective September 18, 2010
Through amendments to RSA 485-A:38, subsurface septic systems approvals will not be required for the expansion, relocation or replacement of any structure provided the project will not increase the load on a sewage disposal system. Conditions to the exemption include:
- Operational approval must have been obtained for the existing on site sewage system within the last 20 years,
- If for a non-residential structure, no waivers were granted for the construction or operation approval, and
- If applicable, the project conforms to the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act.
SB 406 - relative to merger of lots or parcels
Chaptered Law 345
Effective September 18, 2010
Previously, state statutes (RSA 674:39-a) only spoke to the process for voluntary mergers and remained silent in regard to the involuntary merger of lots or parcels. Senate Bill 406 builds on to RSA 674:39-a to preclude governmental entities from merging "preexisting subdivided lots or parcels" without the owner's consent. This new statutory language will invalidate current and common zoning ordinance provisions that require the automatic merger of two adjacent non-conforming lots or parcels with a single owner. See the NH Municipal Association's Final Legislative Bulletin for further thoughts on the limits of the new provision.
SB 411 - relative to permitting of large groundwater withdrawals
Chaptered Law 348
Effective September 18, 2010
This bill clarifies that only the state has the authority to permit large groundwater withdrawals. That said, large groundwater withdrawal decisions made by the Department of Environmental Services do not change or affect the applicant's obligation to comply with local ordinances, codes, regulations, and required approvals. Additionally, the bill provides exemptions from the requirements for large groundwater withdrawals for emergency purposes and for certain geothermal processes.
SB 448 - relative to alternate members of land use boards
Chaptered Law 270
Effective July 6, 2010
Under the existing statutes, many municipalities questioned whether alternates are permitted to sit at the table or participate in meetings. Practices and legal opinions varied from community to community. Additionally, many felt for alternates to be best prepared to serve when called-up or to fill future vacancies they needed to participate in meetings on a regular basis. This bill allows alternate members of land use boards to participate in meetings of the board as a non-voting member. Boards are required to establish procedural rules to set the details of how and when the alternate may participate. For example, rules may specify that alternates participate during master plan or other work sessions; during hearings but not board deliberations that lead to a vote; etc.
SB 515 - relative to allowing the commissioner of the department of employment security to participate in a joint local employment dynamics program with the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Chaptered Law 120
Effective July 30, 2010
This bill allows the commissioner of the Department of Employment Security to participate in the joint local employment dynamics program with the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This partnership involves the transfer of data collected by the department of employment security to the Census Bureau where it is analyzed in conjunction with other data sources to in turn provide "quarterly workforce indicators" - local data on employment, hiring, job creation, local economics, and earnings by industry, age and sex. Data produced through this program will be available to all and will provide a new and valuable data source for planners and others in the state.