Legal Q and A: Building on Private Roads under RSA 674:41: When and How is it Authorized?

It's sometimes referred to as a sort of "state zoning." In any town that has a planning board with subdivision authority, RSA 674:41 prohibits building on any lot unless "the street giving access" is a Class V highway or better; is shown on a subdivision or other plan approved by the planning board; or is a Class VI highway or "private road" upon which the board of selectmen has voted to authorize building permits under certain specified conditions.

Follow the Money: New Hampshire’s Transportation Infrastructure in Decline

Whatever transportation infrastructure a municipality may own, the challenges are generally the same. A growing population and increasing demand put mounting stress on publicly maintained assets. The infrastructure that exists is aging and has not been consistently maintained. This reduces its useful life and its ability to handle the increased demands. Although the need for capital investment is clear, state and federal funding sources that municipalities have historically depended upon to finance these capital improvements are flat funded or shrinking.

Municipal Highways and Bridges: “How Bad Is It?”

In this second article in the transportation infrastructure series (see "Follow the Money, NH Transportation Infrastructure in Decline, Jan/Feb 2013 issue), we will move beyond a description of how transportation infrastructure is funded to try to identify for local officials where they might learn more about the condition of municipal highways and bridges in our state, and their role in operating and maintaining the system. I emphasize the word "try", because one of the current realities is that there is no single or convenient location where information about these issues is compiled.

Winter Maintenance of Roads and Sidewalks

As winter approaches, it is time once again for towns and cities to review their policies regarding plowing, salting and sanding of municipal roads and sidewalks. While every town and city has a good deal of experience with these duties, the specific responsibilities and limitations placed on New Hampshire municipalities by state and federal law continue to evolve. In this column, we look at some of the frequently-asked questions regarding winter maintenance and explain the current status of the law.

The Thorny Issue of Street Names and Address Numbers

C. Christine Fillmore

A Potpourri of Frequently Asked Legal Questions

This month’s Q&A represents a departure from our usual single topic format. The staff attorneys of LGC’s Legal Services and Government Affairs Department answer thousands of questions each year posed by local officials from towns and cities both large and small. Following are some of those questions on various topics that we hope you will find useful to your work as a local official.

It’s Mud Season: Weight Restrictions on Local Roads

Q. Do local officials have the authority to keep certain vehicles off of local roads?

Vegetation Clearance and the Insufficiency Law: What's the Municipal Responsibility?

Q. Must a municipality clear vegetation from a town or city highway right of way if the vegetation obstructs a motorist’s view of a “stop” sign installed by the State of New Hampshire at the intersection of a state and town highway?

Municipal Building Projects: Balancing Liability Concerns and Design Recommendations

Q. If someone using public property is injured, can the municipality be held liable for damages?

A. Yes. If a person is injured at a municipal facility, they can claim that the municipality is liable for the injuries if the facility was negligently constructed or maintained. Negligence is a type of tort, based upon a wrongful action or failure to act, that violates a duty to a person and is the cause of some injury.

Class VI Roads and Maintenance Issues

Highway repair and maintenance projects are usually well underway at this time of year, prompting questions about maintenance of Class VI roads. There are lots of misconceptions about Class VI roads, so here are some reminders.