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Selected energy and planning legislation from the first session (2013) of the 163rd General Court.

Energy | Planning

Energy

HB 306 - relative to New Hampshire's regional greenhouse gas initiative
Chapter Law 236
This bill enabled NH to adopt the new, lower emissions cap set by RGGI, Inc.
Effective Date: January 1, 2014

HB542 - relative to the renewable energy fund and regulation of telephone, Voice Over Internet Protocol, and IP-enabled service providers and relative to electric renewable portfolio standards
Chapter Law 279
This bill made several changes related to sustainable energy:

  • For the residential solar rebate program administered by the PUC, the cap on eligible system size was raised to 10kW but the amount of the rebate remains the same;
  • The bill adjusted the Renewable Portfolio Standard, lowering the Class III requirements for 2012, 2013, and 2014; and
  • The bill established a Renewable Portfolio Standard study committee.

Effective Date: July 27, 2013

SB98 - authorizing group net metering for limited electrical energy producers
Chapter Law 266
This bill:
I. Modifies the definition of customer-generator as it relates to net energy metering.
II. Permits a customer-generator to become a group host to control the energy costs of certain customers.
Effective Date: July 24, 2013

SB99 - requiring a study of the site evaluation committee and process, and developing regulatory criteria for the siting of energy facilities
Chapter Law 134
This bill requires the office of energy and planning to contract with an outside vendor for a study of the site evaluation committee and its processes and requires the site evaluation committee to adopt rules by January 1, 2015. The bill funds the study and the rulemaking process from funding sources under the jurisdiction of the public utilities commission.
Effective Date: June 26, 2013

SB191 - establishing a state energy strategy
Chapter Law 276
This bill creates a new chapter (4-E) requiring the Office of Energy and Planning to prepare a 10-year energy strategy for the state in consultation with the New Hampshire State Energy Advisory Council. A draft state energy strategy shall be completed no later than May 1, 2014, with a final state energy strategy no later than September 1, 2014. The state energy strategy shall be reviewed at least every 3 years starting in 2017 with the New Hampshire State Energy Advisory Council provisions repealed after completion of the initial state energy strategy.
Effective Dates: December 31, 2014, for the repeal provisions; July 24, 2013 for the remainder

Planning

HB278 - relative to voluntary installation of fire suppression sprinklers
Chapter Law 207
This bill authorizes an applicant to offer installation of fire suppression sprinklers as a condition of local permit approval.
Effective Date: September 8, 2013

HB634 - relative to water resource management and protection plans in municipal master plans
Chapter Law 202
This bill permits a municipality to include in its master plan a local water resource management and protection plan. It also provides that the law shall not be construed to permit municipalities to regulate surface or groundwater withdrawals that they are explicitly prohibited from regulating.
Effective Date: September 7, 2013

SB12 - relative to protection and preservation of significant archeological deposits
Chapter Law 76
This bill authorizes the adoption of optional provisions for the protection or preservation of archeological resources in master plans, subdivision regulations, and site plan review regulations.
Effective Date: January 1, 2014

SB49 - relative to appeals of planning board decisions
Chapter Law 179
This bill provides for appeals of planning board decisions concerning a subdivision or site plan to the board of adjustment prior to appeal to the superior court.
Effective Date: August 31, 2013

SB50 - relative to expiration of variances and special exceptions
Chapter Law 93
Variances and special exceptions will remain valid if exercised within two years after approval, unless a longer period is authorized by the zoning ordinance or by the zoning board of adjustment for good cause. Further, a variance or special exception will not expire until six months after the resolution of a planning application filed in reliance upon it, even if the two-year period has expired.
Effective Date: August 19, 2013

SB101 - relative to collocation and modification of personal wireless services facilities
Chapter Law 267
This bill provides that personal wireless service facilities collocation and modification applications may be reviewed by local authorities for compliance with building permit requirements, but shall not be subject to zoning or land use requirements. The law establishes a 45-day period for a land use board to review an application for a collocation or modification with the application deemed approved if the board does not act within the 45-day period. The law's limitations do not apply to applications for the installation of new facilities or substantial modifications to existing facilities.
Effective Date: September 22, 2013

SB124 - establishing an integrated land development permit
Chapter Law 270
This bill establishes a permit process for applicants seeking one or more land development permits from the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Projects that require approvals or permits under two or more DES programs may apply for an integrated land development permit in lieu of all individual permits or approvals otherwise required. The new law also authorizes a municipality to adopt an innovative land use control under RSA 674:21 allowing the planning board to approve a project that "does not fully conform to the local zoning ordinance" if it has been approved by DES under the integrated land development program.

In addition, the bill provides that a zoning board of adjustment may not require submission of an application for or receipt of a permit from other state or federal government authorities prior to accepting a submission for its review or rendering its decision and similarly restricts a conservation commission in reviewing an application to provide input to any other municipal board. The law also restricts a planning board from finding that an application is incomplete solely because the applicant has not submitted an application for other necessay approvals or permits from other state and federal governmental bodies.
Effective Dates: September 22, 2013, for ZBA and conservation commission limitations; January 1, 2015, for the remainder

SB163 - establishing a commission to recommend legislation to prepare for projected sea level rise and other coastal and coastal watershed hazards
Chapter Law 188
This bill establishes a coastal risk and hazards commission to recommend legislation, rules, and other actions to prepare for projected sea level rise and other coastal and coastal watershed hazards such as storms, increased river flooding, and storm water runoff, and the risks those hazards pose to municipalities and state assets in New Hampshire.
Effective Date: July 2, 2013

SB164 - authorizing coastal management provisions in master plans
Chapter Law 189
This bill authorizes coastal management provisions in master plans, which may address planning needs and property loss resulting from projected coastal risks due to increased frequency of storm surge, flooding, and inundation.
Effective Date: August 31, 2013


NH Office of Energy and Planning
Governor Hugh J. Gallen State Office Park
Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor  |  107 Pleasant Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2155  |  fax: (603) 271-2615