land use

Protecting New Hampshire’s Wetlands: Municipal Issues

Q. What are wetlands?

A. In 2004 the state legislature officially defined the term “wetlands," which is found at RSA 482-A:2, X. The definition is:

Regulating Drilling and Blasting Activities: Municipal Issues

According to the United States Geological Survey, a significant portion of the commercial explosives produced annually is used in the construction trades or to mine rock as a valuable product. In New Hampshire, this amounted to over 11,500 tons of explosive detonated in 2003. Many examples of these events are evident in New Hampshire's granite quarries and gravel pits, but increasingly explosives are used to remove rock during the construction of water and sewer lines, widening of highways and installation of new subdivision roads.

Meeting the Workforce Housing Challenge: A Guidebook for New Hampshire Municipalities

New Hampshire has long faced a housing shortage that threatens to constrict economic growth in the state and change the very character of the communities where we live. Many municipal employees and young adults can no longer afford to live in the communities where they work or grew up. To address this problem, in 2008 the New Hampshire Legislature passed a law that requires every community to provide “reasonable and realistic opportunities" for the development of affordable housing. But this obligation is not new law. In 1991 the New Hampshire Supreme Court said the same thing.

Land Use Decisions: Expert Opinions and the Board’s Personal Knowledge

Municipal land use boards have the challenging task of deciding cases based on mixtures of conflicting evidence from the applicants’ teams of consultants: opposing abutters and their consultants; the boards’ staff and consultants; and the board members’ own knowledge of the community and the site. In their decision-making, boards have, for decades, relied heavily on two principles articulated by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in Vannah v. Bedford, 111 N.H.

Adjusting Your View of Lot Line Adjustments

Q. What is a lot line adjustment?
A. The boundary line dividing two parcels of land may, from time to time, be moved in its location. Such a move is typically made by agreement between the owners of the parcels. The owners may desire to straighten out a “jog” in the property line or may wish to exchange acreage so that both lots are more useful in shape and/or size to the respective owners. Change in the location of the boundary line effectively creates two “new” parcels or lots with new dimensions.

New Law Defines ‘Unnecessary Hardship’

In 2009, after several years of effort, the New Hampshire Legislature passed a bill to codify the standards for granting a zoning variance and, most significantly, to overrule the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision in Boccia v. Portsmouth, 151 N.H. 85 (2004).

Speeding Through the ‘Green’ Light: PART TWO - The Municipality as a Land Use Regulator

Municipalities are like people. At times, we all are tempted by things that promise to take care of our worst problems with the least amount of toil and drudgery. Municipalities are in the business of protecting and promoting the public health, safety and general welfare (collectively, the “public good"). It is a difficult business, especially the private land use regulation end of it.

Speeding Through the ‘Green’ Light: PART ONE - The Municipality as a Land User

Legal Issues Presented by Municipalities’ Pursuit of a More Sustainable Built Environment and Use of the LEED® Standard

Sandown’s First Open Space Development: Twelve Lots, 34 Acres Preserved

In the 2008 town election, Sandown residents adopted an innovative land use ordinance. If the one subdivision that has been designed under the new ordinance is an indication of things to come, Sandown can look forward to the preservation of more green space and a more ecologically-friendly and creative use of our remaining undeveloped land.

New Hampshire Estuaries Project: Protecting the Coastal Watershed

New Hampshire boasts what is considered by many to be one of the richest coastal estuary systems in the country. In addition to 18 miles of ocean coastline, New Hampshire has 230 miles of sensitive inland tidal shoreline, consisting of bays, tidal rivers and salt marsh systems. The Great Bay Estuary System is comprised of nearly 150 miles of tidal shore land; approximately 4,500 acres of tidal waters and wetlands, along with 3,000 acres of coastal land, comprise the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.