The CIP Alternative
RSA 674:5 [HB 1121, Ch. 90, effective 7/2/02]
The "CIP alternative" is new authority for municipalities to create capital improvement programs using a committee other than the planning board. The legislature recognized that, even now, many communities are using committees other than the planning board to create and adopt a CIP. While the new law does not give municipalities complete freedom, it does add some flexibility by enabling the use of "CIP committees" that will include at least one member of the planning board.
This might seem like a very minor change, but remember that a properly adopted CIP is a statutory prerequisite to the adoption of an impact fee ordinance (see RSA 674:21,V(b)). After ad hoc development exactions were banned by the Supreme Court in Simonsen v. Town of Derry (2000), formal impact fee ordinances have become an absolute must for all municipalities. Without an impact fee ordinance, planning boards cannot make developers pay for the off-site impacts of their projects (including road improvements in the immediate vicinity!). A CIP adopted without following the proper statutory procedure is an easy way for a developer to challenge even the best and fairest of impact fee ordinances.
Although HB 1156 gives municipalities greater freedom in creating their CIPs, remember that whether your capital improvement program is prepared by the planning board or a CIP committee, local legislative body authorization is still required to start the process.