Legal Q and A: Hawkers, Peddlers and Door-to-Door Solicitors

Warm weather and extended daylight signal the return of people selling goods and services from temporary locations on public property or by door-to-door solicitation. These people are known by the traditional term “hawkers and peddlers.” Solicitors also include those advocating and/or raising funds for charitable, religious, and political organizations. People often find these activities annoying in public spaces and an invasion of privacy when solicitors ring the doorbell. They complain to municipal officials, who in turn must determine what, if any, action to take.

Demystifying Impact Fees

The development of land often creates an increased need for capital improvements such as new or improved roads and intersections, water and sewer extensions, and street lighting. New Hampshire towns and cities may charge the developer for these costs in two different ways: off-site exactions and impact fees. This article looks at what impact fees are, how they work, and what has changed over the past year.

Impact Fees v. Off-Site Exactions

Legislature Douses Local Fire Sprinkler Requirements

The New Hampshire legislature this year passed two bills intended to prohibit municipalities from requiring fire suppression sprinklers in residential dwellings. One of those bills was vetoed by the Governor and is currently awaiting override votes in the House and Senate. Whether that bill ultimately becomes law or not, the ability of municipalities to require sprinklers for new homes has been severely restricted.

Mandatory Lot Merger Clauses in Zoning Ordinances: How Enforceable Are They?

RSA 674:39-a, enacted in 1995, provides a relatively simple process for an owner of two or more contiguous parcels to merge them voluntarily for purposes of land use regulation and property tax assessment. All that is required is a notice of the merger that adequately identifies the parcels, signed by the planning board or its designee and recorded in the registry of deeds, with a copy to the assessing officials. No new deed or plan is required.

Municipal Regulation of Fireworks

In the minds of many Americans, fireworks are an integral, and very familiar, part of community-wide celebrations. At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2000, spectacular fireworks displays were set off around the world. Many of us fondly recall as children being taken by our parents to local fireworks shows that started just after dusk on the Fourth of July—a much anticipated summer event. Sporting events, from regular season baseball games to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, often employ fireworks displays as a way to excite the spectators.

Dogs and Cats: Some of the Laws Affecting Our Four-Legged Friends

Dogs are especially fortunate—at least that is how it must seem to the thousands of New Hampshire cats who, unlike their dog friends, do not get to experience the privilege of being licensed by their human owners. You see, while the law allows a municipality to require the licensing of cats it does not require licensing as it does for dogs. At just four months of age, a dog is eligible for an official license from the town or city it lives in and can proudly show off its shiny license tag to its less fortunate feline friends!

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:

State Building Code Update

September 14, 2003 came and went almost unnoticed in the building community. That was the date when contractors were required to begin complying with the state building code. There was not much fanfare surrounding the date, however, since the state fire marshal’s office had taken the position that the state building code has been enforceable since September 14, 2002. But this past summer, even before compliance was mandatory, the legislature passed amendments to the state building code. The amendments became effective on July 14, 2003.

Town Meeting Warrant Articles

By. Paul G. Sanderson, Esq.

Local Regulation of Ethical Behavior

What are “ethics?" It seems like a simple question, but ask several people and you are likely to get several different answers. When the question involves the ethical behavior of local government officials and employees, the answers might include things like:

Avoiding conflicts of interest.
Disclosing financial interests and other relationships.
Avoiding criminal behavior.
Keeping confidential information confidential.
Properly using authority and acting cooperatively.
Treating people fairly and equally.