land use

Timber Harvesting and Local Government

According to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, 84% of New Hampshire is forested, and of this forested acreage, 94% is classified as timberland.  Timberland is defined as land that is producing or capable of producing crops of wood.  Guide to New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Law. 

This article will provide a synopsis of the laws governing timber harvesting, with a particular focus on taxation, land use and local roads.

2021 A Guide to Effective Code Enforcement Virtual Workshop

Building inspectors, code enforcement officers, fire chiefs, health inspectors, and various other municipal officials are responsible for the enforcement of a variety of codes, regulations, and ordinances related to the use of land. These include both local regulations, such as zoning ordinances, site plan and subdivision regulations, health regulations, and the conditions of approval that accompany many land use board approvals, as well as state law, such as the State Building and Fire Code and statutes governing junkyards.

2020 Land Use Law Conference

Full day virtual conference for municipal land use officials including members of planning and zoning boards, planners, land use administrators, select boards, town and city councilors, building inspectors, code enforcement officers and public works personnel. Presentations will focus on the legal authority and procedures these land use boards must understand with content structured to be beneficial to both novice and experienced municipal officials.

Current Use Refresher Course for Municipal Officials

New Hampshire’s current use law (RSA 79-a) was enacted in 1973 as a property tax strategy designed to help landowners keep their open land undeveloped.  Instead of being taxed at its highest potential use, land is assessed at its present use.  This refresher course will cover the role municipal officials play in the administration of the State’s current use program.

They Made a Comic About Workforce Housing

How can you explain workforce housing to people without losing them halfway through?" asked Anne Duncan Cooley, executive director of the Upper Valley Housing Coalition. Anne has worked for years as a housing advocate and developed many successful education and outreach programs for a broad range of audiences. She is also on the Orford's selectboard and encounters another set of challenges when she is working on municipal matters. "We have to be experts in everything, understand many issues, and clearly communicate the concepts to the public.

Public Sidewalks and Municipal Program Responsibilities

Sidewalks are part of the public highway, but they present local officials with problems that differ from those seen in the area reserved for automobile traffic. As you consider whether your municipality should have a policy to encourage construction and maintenance of sidewalks, there are several stakeholders whom you should consult. The level of disagreement as to where and how sidewalks should be constructed or maintained may surprise you. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to these questions. Let’s describe several of the differing perspectives.

Legal Q and A: Zoning Protest Petitions

This is the time of year for planning boards to consider proposed changes to local zoning ordinances. In certain instances landowners may use a procedure found in RSA 675:5 to “protest” a proposed change, and force the margin of approval from a majority of votes cast to two-thirds of those citizens voting. The purpose of this provision is to protect landowners from ill-advised amendments to zoning ordinances. Disco v. Board of Selectmen of Amherst, 115 N.H. 609 (1975).

Regional Planning Commissions: Supporting New Hampshire Communities

In 1969 the State of New Hampshire demonstrated support for local control by enabling municipalities to create regional planning commissions. Prior to then, a number of nonprofit organizations such as the Upper Valley Development Council, Inc. (1963) and Nashua Commission (1959) began forming around the state to meet the growing need to plan for development across municipal borders.

New Hampshire’s Water Assets Under Pressure: Municipal Stormwater Systems

This is the second of a four-part series focusing on the state’s water infrastructure: public drinking water, wastewater, storm water and dams. Each article will spotlight a municipal system; address critical needs of that infrastructure system; and outline funding sources available to municipalities today that may be used to maintain and sustain these critically important infrastructure systems.

Lapse of Subdivision Performance Bond or Letter of Credit

By David R. Connell, legal services counsel with the New Hampshire Local Government Center's Legal Services and Government Affairs Department