TITLE LXIV
PLANNING AND ZONING

Chapter 674
LOCAL LAND USE PLANNING AND REGULATORY POWERS

Master Plan

Section 674:1

    674:1 Duties of the Planning Board. –
I. It shall be the duty of every planning board established under RSA 673:1 to prepare and amend from time to time a master plan to guide the development of the municipality. A master plan may include consideration of any areas outside the boundaries of the municipality which in the judgment of the planning board bear a relation to or have an impact on the planning of the municipality. Every planning board shall from time to time update and amend the adopted master plan with funds appropriated for that purpose by the local legislative body. In preparing, amending, and updating the master plan:
(a) The planning board shall have responsibility for promoting interest in, and understanding of, the master plan of the municipality. In order to promote this interest and understanding, the planning board may publish and distribute copies of the master plan, or copies of any report relating to the master plan, and may employ such other means of publicity and education as it may deem advisable.
(b) The planning board shall also have authority to make any investigations, maps and reports, and recommendations which relate to the planning and development of the municipality.
II. The planning board may:
(a) From time to time report and recommend to the appropriate public officials and public agencies programs for the development of the municipality, programs for the erection of public structures, and programs for municipal improvements. Each program shall include recommendations for its financing. It shall be part of the planning board's duties to consult with and advise public officials and agencies, public utility companies, civic organizations, educational organizations, professional organizations, research organizations, and other organizations, and to consult with citizens, for the purposes of protecting or carrying out of the master plan as well as for making recommendations relating to the development of the municipality.
(b) Upon request advise the governing body as to whether proposed ordinances and bylaws regarding the maintenance and operation of stormwater systems under RSA 149-I:6, I-a are consistent with the master plan.
III. Members of the planning board, when duly authorized by the board as a whole, may attend municipal planning conferences or meetings, or hearings upon pending municipal planning legislation. The planning board may by majority vote authorize the payment of reasonable expenses incident to such attendance.
IV. The planning board, and its members, officers, and employees, in the performance of their functions may, by ordinance, be authorized to enter upon any land and make such examinations and surveys as are reasonably necessary and place and maintain necessary monuments and marks and, in the event consent for such entry is denied or not reasonably obtainable, to obtain an administrative inspection warrant under RSA 595-B.
V. The planning board may, from time to time, recommend to the local legislative body amendments of the zoning ordinance or zoning map or additions thereto.
VI. In general, the planning board may be given such powers by the municipality as may be necessary to enable it to fulfill its functions, promote municipal planning, or carry out the purposes of this title. Such powers shall not include regulating timber harvesting operations that are not part of a subdivision application or a development project subject to site plan review under this chapter.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1991, 231:12. 2011, 85:3. 2015, 247:2, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Section 674:2

    674:2 Master Plan; Purpose and Description. –
I. The purpose of the master plan is to set down as clearly and practically as possible the best and most appropriate future development of the area under the jurisdiction of the planning board, to aid the board in designing ordinances that result in preserving and enhancing the unique quality of life and culture of New Hampshire, and to guide the board in the performance of its other duties in a manner that achieves the principles of smart growth, sound planning, and wise resource protection.
II. The master plan shall be a set of statements and land use and development principles for the municipality with such accompanying maps, diagrams, charts and descriptions as to give legal standing to the implementation ordinances and other measures of the planning board. Each section of the master plan shall be consistent with the others in its implementation of the vision section. The master plan shall be a public record subject to the provisions of RSA 91-A. The master plan shall include, at a minimum, the following required sections:
(a) A vision section that serves to direct the other sections of the plan. This section shall contain a set of statements which articulate the desires of the citizens affected by the master plan, not only for their locality but for the region and the whole state. It shall contain a set of guiding principles and priorities to implement that vision.
(b) A land use section upon which all the following sections shall be based. This section shall translate the vision statements into physical terms. Based on a study of population, economic activity, and natural, historic, and cultural resources, it shall show existing conditions and the proposed location, extent, and intensity of future land use.
III. The master plan may also include the following sections:
(a) A transportation section which considers all pertinent modes of transportation and provides a framework for both adequate local needs and for coordination with regional and state transportation plans. Suggested items to be considered may include but are not limited to public transportation, park and ride facilities, and bicycle routes, or paths, or both.
(b) A community facilities section which identifies facilities to support the future land use pattern of subparagraph II(b), meets the projected needs of the community, and coordinates with other local governments' special districts and school districts, as well as with state and federal agencies that have multi-jurisdictional impacts.
(c) An economic development section which proposes actions to suit the community's economic goals, given its economic strengths and weaknesses in the region.
(d) A natural resources section which identifies and inventories any critical or sensitive areas or resources, not only those in the local community, but also those shared with abutting communities. This section, which may specifically include a water resources management and protection plan, shall provide a factual basis for any land development regulations that may be enacted to protect water resources and other identified natural areas. A key component in preparing this section is to identify any conflicts between other elements of the master plan and natural resources, as well as conflicts with plans of abutting communities. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed to permit municipalities to regulate surface or groundwater withdrawals that they are explicitly prohibited from regulating.
(e) A natural hazards section which documents the physical characteristics, severity, frequency, and extent of any potential natural hazards to the community. It should identify those elements of the built environment at risk from natural hazards as well as extent of current and future vulnerability that may result from current zoning and development policies.
(f) A recreation section which shows existing recreation areas and addresses future recreation needs.
(g) A utility and public service section analyzing the need for and showing the present and future general location of existing and anticipated public and private utilities, both local and regional, including telecommunications utilities, their supplies, and facilities for distribution and storage.
(h) A section which identifies cultural, archeological, and historic resources and protects them for rehabilitation or preservation from the impact of other land use tools such as land use regulations, housing, or transportation. Such section may encourage the preservation or restoration of stone walls, provided agricultural practices, as defined in RSA 21:34-a, are not impeded.
(i) A regional concern section, which describes the specific areas in the municipality of significant regional interest. These areas may include resources wholly contained within the municipality or bordering, or shared, or both, with neighboring municipalities. Items to be considered may include but are not limited to public facilities, natural resources, economic and housing potential, transportation, agriculture, and open space. The intent of this section is to promote regional awareness in managing growth while fulfilling the vision statements.
(j) A neighborhood plan section which focuses on a specific geographical area of local government that includes substantial residential development. This section is a part of the local master plan and shall be consistent with it. No neighborhood plan shall be adopted until a local master plan is adopted.
(k) A community design section to identify positive physical attributes in a municipality and provide for design goals and policies for planning in specific areas to guide private and public development.
(l) A housing section which assesses local housing conditions and projects future housing needs of residents of all levels of income and ages in the municipality and the region as identified in the regional housing needs assessment performed by the regional planning commission pursuant to RSA 36:47, II, and which integrates the availability of human services with other planning undertaken by the community.
(m) An implementation section, which is a long range action program of specific actions, time frames, allocation of responsibility for actions, description of land development regulations to be adopted, and procedures which the municipality may use to monitor and measure the effectiveness of each section of the plan.
(n) An energy section, which includes an analysis of energy and fuel resources, needs, scarcities, costs, and problems affecting the municipality and a statement of policy on the conservation of energy.
(o) A coastal management section which may address planning needs resulting from projected coastal property or habitat loss due to increased frequency of storm surge, flooding, and inundation.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1986, 167:2. 1988, 270:1. 1989, 339:28; 363:15. 2002, 178:2. 2007, 40:1. 2008, 269:1. 2011, 224:118. 2013, 76:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; 189:1, eff. Aug. 31, 2013; 202:1, eff. Sept. 7, 2013.

Section 674:3

    674:3 Master Plan Preparation. –
I. In preparing, revising, or amending the master plan, the planning board may make surveys and studies, and may review data about the existing conditions, probable growth demands, and best design methods to prevent sprawl growth in the community and the region. The board may also consider the goals, policies, and guidelines of any regional or state plans, as well as those of abutting communities.
II. Revisions to the plan are recommended every 5 to 10 years.
III. During the preparation of the various sections of the master plan, the board shall inform the general public and the office of planning and development and regional planning commissions and solicit public comments regarding the future growth of the municipality in order to involve citizens in the preparation of the master plan in a way which is most appropriate for the municipality.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2002, 178:3; 229:9. 2003, 319:93. 2004, 257:44, eff. July 1, 2004. 2017, 156:64, eff. July 1, 2017. 2021, 91:198, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 674:4

    674:4 Master Plan Adoption and Amendment. – The planning board may, according to the procedures required under RSA 675:6, adopt the master plan as a whole, or may adopt successive sections or parts of the plan. Sections or parts of the plan shall correspond with major geographical sections or divisions of the municipality, or with the functional elements of the plan, and may incorporate any amendment, extension, or addition to the plan.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Capital Improvements Program

Section 674:5

    674:5 Authorization. – In a municipality where the planning board has adopted a master plan, the local legislative body may authorize the planning board to prepare and amend a recommended program of municipal capital improvement projects projected over a period of at least 6 years. As an alternative, the legislative body may authorize the governing body of a municipality to appoint a capital improvement program committee, which shall include at least one member of the planning board and may include but not be limited to other members of the planning board, the budget committee, or the town or city governing body, to prepare and amend a recommended program of municipal capital improvement projects projected over a period of at least 6 years. The capital improvements program may encompass major projects being currently undertaken or future projects to be undertaken with federal, state, county and other public funds. The sole purpose and effect of the capital improvements program shall be to aid the mayor or selectmen and the budget committee in their consideration of the annual budget.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2002, 90:1, eff. July 2, 2002.

Section 674:6

    674:6 Purpose and Description. – The capital improvements program shall classify projects according to the urgency and need for realization and shall recommend a time sequence for their implementation. The program may also contain the estimated cost of each project and indicate probable operating and maintenance costs and probable revenues, if any, as well as existing sources of funds or the need for additional sources of funds for the implementation and operation of each project. The program shall be based on information submitted by the departments and agencies of the municipality and shall take into account public facility needs indicated by the prospective development shown in the master plan of the municipality or as permitted by other municipal land use controls.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:7

    674:7 Preparation. –
I. In preparing the capital improvements program, the planning board or the capital improvement program committee shall confer, in a manner deemed appropriate by the board or the committee, with the mayor or the board of selectmen, or the chief fiscal officer, the budget committee, other municipal officials and agencies, the school board or boards, and shall review the recommendations of the master plan in relation to the proposed capital improvements program.
II. Whenever the planning board or the capital improvement program committee is authorized and directed to prepare a capital improvements program, every municipal department, authority or agency, and every affected school district board, department or agency, shall, upon request of the planning board or the capital improvement program committee, transmit to the board or committee a statement of all capital projects it proposes to undertake during the term of the program. The planning board or the capital improvement program committee shall study each proposed capital project, and shall advise and make recommendations to the department, authority, agency, or school district board, department or agency, concerning the relation of its project to the capital improvements program being prepared.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1995, 43:1. 2002, 90:2, eff. July 2, 2002.

Section 674:8

    674:8 Consideration by Mayor and Budget Committee. – Whenever the planning board or the capital improvement program committee has prepared a capital improvements program under RSA 674:7, it shall submit its recommendations for the current year to the mayor or selectmen and the budget committee, if one exists, for consideration as part of the annual budget.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2002, 90:3, eff. July 2, 2002.

Official Map of the Municipality

Section 674:9

    674:9 Mapping of Street Lines by Planning Board. – At any time after a planning board has adopted a master plan of the municipality which includes a major street plan or has progressed in its master planning to the stage of the making and adoption of a major street plan, the local legislative body may authorize the planning board to make or cause to be made from time to time surveys for the exact locating of the lines of new, extended, widened, or narrowed streets in the whole or in any portion of the municipality. The local legislative body may also empower the planning board to make and certify to the local legislative body, when completed, a plat of the area thus surveyed on which are indicated the locations of the lines recommended by the planning board as the planned or mapped lines of future streets, street extensions, street widenings, or street narrowings. The making or certifying of a plat by the planning board, under the authorization of the local legislative body, shall not in and of itself constitute or be deemed to constitute the opening or establishment of any street or the taking or acceptance of any land for street purposes.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:10

    674:10 Establishment of Official Map. – After the planning board of any municipality has adopted a master plan which includes a major street plan, or has progressed in its master planning to the stage of the making and adoption of a major street plan, and has certified a copy of a major street plan to the local legislative body, as provided in RSA 674:9, the local legislative body is hereby empowered and authorized to establish an official map of the municipality showing the location of the exterior lines of streets of the whole or of any parts of the municipality up to that time existing, laid out and established by law as public streets, and may also show the location of the exterior lines of parks. The official map is to be deemed to be final and conclusive with respect to the location and width of streets and the location of parks shown thereon. The official map established under this section shall be established to conserve and promote the public health, safety, convenience or general welfare. The ordinance establishing or adopting the official map shall provide that a certificate, signed by the city or town clerk, the village district clerk, or other duly authorized recording official, giving notice that the municipality has established an official map, including the date of its establishment, shall be filed with the register of deeds of the county or counties in which the municipality is situated. Such certificates shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the official map as adopted or established. Whenever a municipality has established an official map and has filed a certificate to that effect, together with a copy of the official map, with the register of deeds for the county or counties in which the municipality is situated, then no plat of a subdivision of land within the municipality shall thereafter be filed or recorded at the office of the register of deeds until it has been approved by the planning board and such approval entered in writing on the plat by the chairperson or secretary of the planning board.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1995, 43:2, eff. July 2, 1995.

Section 674:11

    674:11 Amendments to Official Map. – The local legislative body is authorized and empowered, whenever and as often as it may deem it advisable or necessary for the public interest, to change or add to the official map of the municipality. Amendments may be made in order to establish the exterior lines of the new streets or parks, or to widen, extend, relocate, narrow, vacate, abandon, or close existing streets or parks, and to indicate the acceptance of, change of use, acquisition of land for, or sale or lease of any street or other public way, ground, place, property, or structure. No change shall become effective until after a public hearing has been held on the change, at which parties in interest and citizens shall have had an opportunity to be heard. Notice of the public hearing shall be given by publishing at least 10 days before the public hearing a notice of such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality, and by posting a notice to the same effect at the city or town hall, or in whatever place other notices required by law in connection with municipal affairs are posted or customarily displayed. Before making such addition, amendment, or change, the local legislative body shall refer the matter to the planning board for a report. If the planning board does not make its report within 30 days of such reference, it shall be deemed to have forfeited the right to further suspend action. In the event that the planning board disapproves the proposed addition, amendment, or change, the local legislative body shall not have the right to overrule the planning board's decision, unless by vote of not less than 2/3 of its entire membership in case of a city, or by majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at a regular or special town or district meeting in the case of a town or village district. Such additions, amendments, and changes when adopted shall become a part of the official map of the municipality and shall be deemed to be final and conclusive with respect to the location of the streets and parks shown on the official map. The locating, widening, narrowing, or closing, or the approval of locating, widening, narrowing, or closing, of streets and parks by the municipality under provisions of law other than those contained in this subdivision shall be deemed to be a change or addition to the official map and shall be subject to all the provisions of this subdivision.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:12

    674:12 Refusal of Permit. – A municipality which has established and recorded an official map, as provided in RSA 674:10, may for the purpose of preserving the integrity of such official map provide by ordinance that, from and after the time of such recording, no permit shall be issued for any building or structure, or part thereof, in the bed of or on any land located between the mapped lines of any street as shown or laid out on such official map, except as provided in RSA 674:13.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:13

    674:13 Appeals Where There is a Zoning Ordinance. –
I. Any zoning ordinance adopted pursuant to RSA 674:16 shall provide that the board of adjustment created under a local zoning ordinance and having the power to make variances or exceptions in zoning regulations shall have the further power, in specific cases and by vote of a majority of its members, upon an appeal filed with it by the owner of any such land, to grant a permit based on considerations of justice and equity for a building or structure, or part thereof, in a mapped-street location shown on the official map, in any case in which the board of adjustment finds, upon the evidence and arguments presented to it upon appeal:
(a) That the property of the appellant of which such mapped-street location forms a part will not yield a reasonable return to the owner unless such permit be granted; or
(b) That, balancing the interest of the municipality in preserving the integrity of the official map and in not increasing too greatly the cost of later opening such street, and the interest of the owner in the use and benefits of the owner's property, the grant of such permit is required by considerations of justice and equity.
II. In the event that the board of adjustment decides to authorize or issue a building permit in such case, it shall have the power to specify the exact location, ground area to be used or occupied, height, and other reasonable details and conditions of extent and character, and also the duration of the building, or part hereof, permitted. Such requirements shall be designed to promote the health, convenience, safety, or general welfare of and shall inure to the benefit of the municipality. The board of adjustment shall refuse a permit if the applicant will not be substantially damaged by placing the applicant's building outside the mapped-street location.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1995, 43:3, 4, eff. July 2, 1995.

Section 674:14

    674:14 Appeals Where no Zoning Ordinance Exists. – In any municipality, other than a town, in which there is no zoning board of adjustment, the local legislative body, until such time as a board of adjustment may be appointed as a result of the adoption of a zoning ordinance, shall have the same powers as a board of adjustment to act, but only under the circumstances and in such special cases as are specified in RSA 674:13 and 674:41, and shall be subject to the same restrictions as apply to a board of adjustment. For this purpose, the local legislative body is hereby authorized to act as a discretionary administrative or quasi-judicial body. When so acting, it shall not sit as a legislative body but shall sit in a separate meeting for which separate minutes shall be kept. In any town or village district in which there is no board of adjustment, the local governing body is hereby authorized to designate a board of appeals to be composed of 5 members, serving as such without compensation, which shall have the authority of and shall be subject to the same restrictions and regulations as apply to a zoning board of adjustment, but which shall have the power to act only under the circumstances and in such special cases as are specified herein and only until such time as a board of adjustment may be appointed as a result of the adoption of a zoning ordinance.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1988, 131:1, eff. June 19, 1988.

Section 674:15

    674:15 Appeals; Public Hearing. – Before taking any action authorized in RSA 674:13, 674:14, and 674:41, the zoning board of adjustment, the legislative body, or the boards of appeal, according to whichever of them is designated by ordinance as the body to which appeals may be made, shall give a hearing at which parties in interest and others shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice for a public hearing under this section shall be as provided in RSA 675:7.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Zoning

Section 674:16

    674:16 Grant of Power. –
I. For the purpose of promoting the health, safety, or the general welfare of the community, the local legislative body of any city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places is authorized to adopt or amend a zoning ordinance under the ordinance enactment procedures of RSA 675:2-5. The zoning ordinance shall be designed to regulate and restrict:
(a) The height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures;
(b) Lot sizes, the percentage of a lot that may be occupied, and the size of yards, courts and other open spaces;
(c) The density of population in the municipality; and
(d) The location and use of buildings, structures and land used for business, industrial, residential, or other purposes.
II. The power to adopt a zoning ordinance under this subdivision expressly includes the power to adopt innovative land use controls which may include, but which are not limited to, the methods contained in RSA 674:21.
III. In its exercise of the powers granted under this subdivision, the local legislative body of a city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places may regulate and control the timing of development as provided in RSA 674:22.
IV. Except as provided in RSA 424:5 or RSA 422-B or in any other provision of Title XXXIX, no city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places shall adopt or amend a zoning ordinance or regulation with respect to antennas used exclusively in the amateur radio services that fails to conform to the limited federal preemption entitled Amateur Radio Preemption, 101 FCC 2nd 952 (1985) issued by the Federal Communications Commission.
V. In its exercise of the powers granted under this subdivision, the local legislative body of a city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places may regulate and control accessory uses on private land. Unless specifically proscribed by local land use regulation, aircraft take offs and landings on private land by the owner of such land or by a person who resides on such land shall be considered a valid and permitted accessory use.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:19. 1989, 266:14, 15. 1995, 176:1. 1996, 218:1, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Section 674:17

    674:17 Purposes of Zoning Ordinances. –
I. Every zoning ordinance shall be adopted in accordance with the requirements of RSA 674:18. Zoning ordinances shall be designed:
(a) To lessen congestion in the streets;
(b) To secure safety from fires, panic and other dangers;
(c) To promote health and the general welfare;
(d) To provide adequate light and air;
(e) To prevent the overcrowding of land;
(f) To avoid undue concentration of population;
(g) To facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, solid waste facilities, water, sewerage, schools, parks, child day care;
(h) To assure proper use of natural resources and other public requirements;
(i) To encourage the preservation of agricultural lands and buildings and the agricultural operations described in RSA 21:34-a supporting the agricultural lands and buildings; and
(j) To encourage the installation and use of solar, wind, or other renewable energy systems and protect access to energy sources by the regulation of orientation of streets, lots, and buildings; establishment of maximum building height, minimum set back requirements, and limitations on type, height, and placement of vegetation; and encouragement of the use of solar skyspace easements under RSA 477. Zoning ordinances may establish buffer zones or additional districts which overlap existing districts and may further regulate the planting and trimming of vegetation on public and private property to protect access to renewable energy systems.
II. Every zoning ordinance shall be made with reasonable consideration to, among other things, the character of the area involved and its peculiar suitability for particular uses, as well as with a view to conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the municipality.
III. Except as provided in RSA 424:5 or RSA 422-B or in any other provision of Title XXXIX, no city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places shall adopt a zoning ordinance or regulation with respect to antennas used exclusively in the amateur radio service that fails to conform to the limited federal preemption entitled Amateur Radio Preemption, 101 FCC 2nd 952 (1985) issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1989, 42:2. 1995, 176:2. 2000, 279:2. 2002, 73:2. 2011, 85:2, eff. July 15, 2011.

Section 674:18

    674:18 Adoption of Zoning Ordinance. – The local legislative body may adopt a zoning ordinance under RSA 674:16 only after the planning board has adopted the mandatory sections of the master plan as described in RSA 674:2, I and II.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2002, 178:4, eff. July 14, 2002.

Section 674:19

    674:19 Applicability of Zoning Ordinance. – A zoning ordinance adopted under RSA 674:16 shall not apply to existing structures or to the existing use of any building. It shall apply to any alteration of a building for use for a purpose or in a manner which is substantially different from the use to which it was put before alteration.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:20

    674:20 Districts. – In order to accomplish any or all of the purposes of a zoning ordinance enumerated under RSA 674:17, the local legislative body may divide the municipality into districts of a number, shape and area as may be deemed best suited to carry out the purposes of RSA 674:17. The local legislative body may regulate and restrict the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, or use of buildings, structures, or land within each district which it creates. All regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of buildings throughout each district, but the regulations in one district may differ from those in other districts.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:21

    674:21 Innovative Land Use Controls. –
I. Innovative land use controls may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Timing incentives.
(b) Phased development.
(c) Intensity and use incentive.
(d) Transfer of density and development rights.
(e) Planned unit development.
(f) Cluster development.
(g) Impact zoning.
(h) Performance standards.
(i) Flexible and discretionary zoning.
(j) Environmental characteristics zoning.
(k) Inclusionary zoning.
(l) Impact fees.
(m) Village plan alternative subdivision.
(n) Integrated land development permit option.
II. An innovative land use control adopted under RSA 674:16 may be required when supported by the master plan and shall contain within it the standards which shall guide the person or board which administers the ordinance. An innovative land use control ordinance may provide for administration, including the granting of conditional or special use permits, by the planning board, board of selectmen, zoning board of adjustment, or such other person or board as the ordinance may designate. If the administration of the innovative provisions of the ordinance is not vested in the planning board, any proposal submitted under this section shall be reviewed by the planning board prior to final consideration by the administrator. In such a case, the planning board shall set forth its comments on the proposal in writing and the administrator shall, to the extent that the planning board's comments are not directly incorporated into its decision, set forth its findings and decisions on the planning board's comments.
III. Innovative land use controls must be adopted in accordance with RSA 675:1, II.
IV. As used in this section:
(a) "Inclusionary zoning" means land use control regulations which provide a voluntary incentive or benefit to a property owner in order to induce the property owner to produce housing units which are affordable to persons or families of low and moderate income. Inclusionary zoning includes, but is not limited to, density bonuses, growth control exemptions, and a streamlined application process.
(b) "Phased development" means a development, usually for large-scale projects, in which construction of public or private improvements proceeds in stages on a schedule over a period of years established in the subdivision or site plan approved by the planning board. In a phased development, the issuance of building permits in each phase is solely dependent on the completion of the prior phase and satisfaction of other conditions on the schedule approved by the planning board. Phased development does not include a general limit on the issuance of building permits or the granting of subdivision or site plan approval in the municipality, which may be accomplished only by a growth management ordinance under RSA 674:22 or a temporary moratorium or limitation under RSA 674:23.
V. As used in this section "impact fee" means a fee or assessment imposed upon development, including subdivision, building construction, or other land use change, in order to help meet the needs occasioned by that development for the construction or improvement of capital facilities owned or operated by the municipality, including and limited to water treatment and distribution facilities; wastewater treatment and disposal facilities; sanitary sewers; storm water, drainage and flood control facilities; municipal road systems and rights-of-way; municipal office facilities; public school facilities; the municipality's proportional share of capital facilities of a cooperative or regional school district of which the municipality is a member; public safety facilities; solid waste collection, transfer, recycling, processing, and disposal facilities; public library facilities; and public recreational facilities not including public open space. No later than July 1, 1993, all impact fee ordinances shall be subject to the following:
(a) The amount of any such fee shall be a proportional share of municipal capital improvement costs which is reasonably related to the capital needs created by the development, and to the benefits accruing to the development from the capital improvements financed by the fee. Upgrading of existing facilities and infrastructures, the need for which is not created by new development, shall not be paid for by impact fees.
(b) In order for a municipality to adopt an impact fee ordinance, it must have enacted a capital improvements program pursuant to RSA 674:5-7.
(c) Any impact fee shall be accounted for separately, shall be segregated from the municipality's general fund, may be spent upon order of the municipal governing body, shall be exempt from all provisions of RSA 32 relative to limitation and expenditure of town moneys, and shall be used solely for the capital improvements for which it was collected, or to recoup the cost of capital improvements made in anticipation of the needs which the fee was collected to meet.
(d) All impact fees imposed pursuant to this section shall be assessed at the time of planning board approval of a subdivision plat or site plan. When no planning board approval is required, or has been made prior to the adoption or amendment of the impact fee ordinance, impact fees shall be assessed prior to, or as a condition for, the issuance of a building permit or other appropriate permission to proceed with development. Impact fees shall be intended to reflect the effect of development upon municipal facilities at the time of the issuance of the building permit. Impact fees shall be collected at the time a certificate of occupancy is issued. If no certificate of occupancy is required, impact fees shall be collected when the development is ready for its intended use. Nothing in this subparagraph shall prevent the municipality and the assessed party from establishing an alternate, mutually acceptable schedule of payment of impact fees in effect at the time of subdivision plat or site plan approval by the planning board. If an alternate schedule of payment is established, municipalities may require developers to post bonds, issue letters of credit, accept liens, or otherwise provide suitable measures of security so as to guarantee future payment of the assessed impact fees.
(e) The ordinance shall establish reasonable times after which any portion of an impact fee which has not become encumbered or otherwise legally bound to be spent for the purpose for which it was collected shall be refunded, with any accrued interest. Whenever the calculation of an impact fee has been predicated upon some portion of capital improvement costs being borne by the municipality, a refund shall be made upon the failure of the legislative body to appropriate the municipality's share of the capital improvement costs within a reasonable time. The maximum time which shall be considered reasonable hereunder shall be 6 years.
(f) Unless otherwise specified in the ordinance, any decision under an impact fee ordinance may be appealed in the same manner provided by statute for appeals from the officer or board making that decision, as set forth in RSA 676:5, RSA 677:2-14, or RSA 677:15, respectively.
(g) The ordinance may also provide for a waiver process, including the criteria for the granting of such a waiver.
(h) The adoption of a growth management limitation or moratorium by a municipality shall not affect any development with respect to which an impact fee has been paid or assessed as part of the approval for that development.
(i) Neither the adoption of an impact fee ordinance, nor the failure to adopt such an ordinance, shall be deemed to affect existing authority of a planning board over subdivision or site plan review, except to the extent expressly stated in such an ordinance.
(j) The failure to adopt an impact fee ordinance shall not preclude a municipality from requiring developers to pay an exaction for the cost of off-site improvement needs determined by the planning board to be necessary for the occupancy of any portion of a development. For the purposes of this subparagraph, "off-site improvements" means those improvements that are necessitated by a development but which are located outside the boundaries of the property that is subject to a subdivision plat or site plan approval by the planning board. Such off-site improvements shall be limited to any necessary highway, drainage, and sewer and water upgrades pertinent to that development. The amount of any such exaction shall be a proportional share of municipal improvement costs not previously assessed against other developments, which is necessitated by the development, and which is reasonably related to the benefits accruing to the development from the improvements financed by the exaction. As an alternative to paying an exaction, the developer may elect to construct the necessary improvements, subject to bonding and timing conditions as may be reasonably required by the planning board. Any exaction imposed pursuant to this section shall be assessed at the time of planning board approval of the development necessitating an off-site improvement. Whenever the calculation of an exaction for an off-site improvement has been predicated upon some portion of the cost of that improvement being borne by the municipality, a refund of any collected exaction shall be made to the payor or payor's successor in interest upon the failure of the local legislative body to appropriate the municipality's share of that cost within 6 years from the date of collection. For the purposes of this subparagraph, failure of local legislative body to appropriate such funding or to construct any necessary off-site improvement shall not operate to prohibit an otherwise approved development.
(k) Revenue from impact fees imposed upon development and collected by a municipality under RSA 674:21, V for construction of or improvement to municipal road systems may be expended upon state highways within the municipality only for improvement costs that are related to the capital needs created by the development. Such improvements may include items such as, but not limited to, traffic signals and signage, turning lanes, additional travel lanes, and guard rails. No such improvements shall be constructed or installed without approval of the state department of transportation. In no event shall impact fees be used for any improvements to roads, bridges, or interchanges that are part of the interstate highway system. Nothing in RSA 674:21, V shall be construed as allowing or authorizing additional impact fees merely by virtue of having approved the expenditure of collected fee revenue for construction of or improvement of state highways, nor shall it be construed as allowing the adoption of new impact fees devoted to assessing impacts to state highways.
(l) No later than 60 days following the end of the fiscal year, any municipality having adopted an impact fee ordinance shall prepare a report listing all expenditures of impact fee revenue for the prior fiscal year, identifying the capital improvement project for which the fees were assessed and stating the dates upon which the fees were assessed and collected. The annual report shall enable the public to track the payment, expenditure, and status of the individually collected fees to determine whether said fees were expended, retained, or refunded.
VI. (a) In this section, "village plan alternative" means an optional land use control and subdivision regulation to provide a means of promoting a more efficient and cost effective method of land development. The village plan alternative's purpose is to encourage the preservation of open space wherever possible. The village plan alternative subdivision is meant to encourage beneficial consolidation of land development to permit the efficient layout of less costly to maintain roads, utilities, and other public and private infrastructures; to improve the ability of political subdivisions to provide more rapid and efficient delivery of public safety and school transportation services as community growth occurs; and finally, to provide owners of private property with a method for realizing the inherent development value of their real property in a manner conducive to the creation of substantial benefit to the environment and to the political subdivision's property tax base.
(b) An owner of record wishing to utilize the village plan alternative in the subdivision and development of a parcel of land, by locating the entire density permitted by the existing land use regulations of the political subdivision within which the property is located, on 20 percent or less of the entire parcel available for development, shall grant to the municipality within which the property is located, as a condition of approval, a recorded easement reserving the remaining land area of the entire, original lot, solely for agriculture, forestry, and conservation, or for public recreation. The recorded easement shall limit any new construction on the remainder lot to structures associated with farming operations, forest management operations, and conservation uses, and shall specify that the restrictions contained in the easement are enforceable by the municipality. Public recreational uses shall be subject to the written approval of those abutters whose property lies within the village plan alternative subdivision portion of the project at the time when such a public use is proposed.
(c) The submission and approval procedure for a village plan alternative subdivision shall be the same as that for a conventional subdivision. Existing zoning and subdivision regulations relating to emergency access, fire prevention, and public health and safety concerns including any setback requirement for wells, septic systems, or wetland requirement imposed by the department of environmental services shall apply to the developed portion of a village plan alternative subdivision, but lot size regulations and dimensional requirements having to do with frontage and setbacks measured from all new property lot lines, and lot size regulations, as well as density regulations, shall not apply.
(1) The total density of development within a village plan alternate subdivision shall not exceed the total potential development density permitted a conventional subdivision of the entire original lot unless provisions contained within the political subdivision's land use regulations provide a basis for increasing the permitted density of development within a village plan alternative subdivision.
(2) In no case shall a political subdivision impose lesser density requirements upon a village plan alternative subdivision than the density requirements imposed on a conventional subdivision.
(d) If the total area of a proposed village plan alternative subdivision including all roadways and improvements does not exceed 20 percent of the total land area of the undeveloped lot, and if the proposed subdivision incorporates the total sum of all proposed development as permitted by local regulation on the undeveloped lot, all existing and future dimensional requirements imposed by local regulation, including lot size, shall not apply to the proposed village plan alternative subdivision.
(e) The approving authority may increase, at existing property lines, the setback to new construction within a village plan alternative subdivision by up to 2 times the distance required by current zoning or subdivision regulations, subject to the provisions of subparagraph (c).
(f) Within a village plan alternative subdivision, the exterior wall construction of buildings shall meet or exceed the requirements for fire-rated construction described by the fire prevention and building codes being enforced by the state of New Hampshire at the date and time the property owner of record files a formal application for subdivision approval with the political subdivision having jurisdiction of the project. Exterior walls and openings of new buildings shall also conform to fire protective provisions of all other building codes in force in the political subdivision. Wherever building code or fire prevention code requirements for exterior wall construction appear to be in conflict, the more stringent building or fire prevention code requirements shall apply.
VII. In this section, "integrated land development permit option" means an optional land use control to allow a project to proceed, in whole or in part, as permitted by the department of environmental services under RSA 489.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1988, 149:1, 2. 1991, 283:1, 2. 1992, 42:1. 1994, 278:1. 2002, 236:1, 2. 2004, 71:1, 2; 199:2, 3. 2005, 61:1, 2. 2008, 63:1. 2012, 106:1, 2. 2013, 270:5, 6. 2015, 31:1, eff. July 6, 2015. 2016, 6:3, 4, eff. June 1, 2017.

Section 674:21-a

    674:21-a Development Restrictions Enforceable. – Any open space designation or other development restriction which is part of a cluster development, planned unit development, village plan alternative subdivision, or other proposal approved under innovative land use controls, or which is lawfully imposed by a local land use board as a condition of subdivision, site plan, variance, or other type of approval, and which has been filed in the records of the local land use board in accordance with its established procedure, shall be deemed to create a conservation restriction as defined in RSA 477:45, I, which shall run with the land, and shall be enforceable by the municipality, or by the owner of any property which would be specially damaged by the violation of such restriction, regardless of whether any deed or other instrument conveying such restriction has been executed or recorded. For purposes of this section, an applicant's statement of intent to restrict development, submitted with or contained in an application which is subsequently approved, shall be deemed a condition of the approval.

Source. 1988, 149:3. 2002, 236:3, eff. July 16, 2002.

Section 674:22

    674:22 Growth Management; Timing of Development. –
I. The local legislative body may further exercise the powers granted under this subdivision to regulate and control the timing of development. Any ordinance imposing such a control may be adopted only after preparation and adoption by the planning board of a master plan and a capital improvement program and shall be based upon a growth management process intended to assess and balance community development needs and consider regional development needs.
II. The local legislative body may adopt a growth management ordinance under this section only if there is a demonstrated need to regulate the timing of development, based upon the municipality's lack of capacity to accommodate anticipated growth in the absence of such an ordinance. The need to regulate the timing of development shall be demonstrated by a study performed by or for the planning board or the governing body, or submitted with a petition of voters presented under RSA 675:4. The study shall be based on competent evidence and shall consider the municipality's projected growth rate and the municipality's need for additional services to accommodate such growth.
III. An ordinance adopted under this section shall include a termination date and shall restrict projected normal growth no more than is necessary to allow for orderly and good-faith development of municipal services. The planning board in a municipality that adopts such an ordinance shall promptly undertake development of a plan for the orderly and rational development of municipal services needed to accommodate anticipated normal growth; provided, however, that in a town that has established a capital improvement program committee under RSA 674:5, the plan shall be developed by that committee. The ordinance and the plan shall be evaluated by the planning board at least annually, to confirm that reasonable progress is being made to carry out the plan. The planning board shall report its findings to the legislative body in the municipality's annual report.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2008, 360:1, eff. July 11, 2008.

Section 674:23

    674:23 Temporary Moratoria and Limitations on Building Permits and the Approval of Subdivisions and Site Plans. –
I. Upon recommendation of the planning board, the local legislative body may adopt or amend an ordinance establishing a moratorium or limitation on the issuance of building permits or the granting of subdivision or site plan approval for a definite term.
II. An ordinance may be adopted under this section in unusual circumstances that affect the ability of the municipality to provide adequate services and require prompt attention and to develop or alter a growth management process under RSA 674:22, a zoning ordinance, a master plan, or capital improvements program.
III. An ordinance under this section shall contain:
(a) A statement of the circumstances giving rise to the need for the moratorium or limitation.
(b) The planning board's written findings, on which subparagraph III(a) is based, which shall be included as an appendix to the ordinance.
(c) The term of the ordinance which shall not be more than one year.
(d) A list of the types or categories of development to which the ordinance applies.
(e) A description of the area of the municipality, if less than the entire municipality, to which the ordinance applies.
IV. An ordinance under this section shall be based on written findings by the planning board which:
(a) Describe the unusual circumstances that justify the ordinance.
(b) Recommend a course of action to correct or alleviate such circumstances.
V. An ordinance under this section may provide for the exemption from the moratorium or limitation of those types or categories of development that have minimal or no impact on the circumstances giving rise to the moratorium or limitation.
VI. An ordinance under this section may provide for a special exception or conditional use permit to allow development that has minimal or no impact on the circumstances giving rise to the moratorium or limitation.
VII. Additional ordinances may be adopted under this section only if they are based on circumstances that did not exist at the time of any prior ordinance. The authority to adopt ordinances under this section shall not be used to circumvent a municipality's need for a growth management ordinance under RSA 674:22.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1989, 266:16. 1997, 15:1. 2008, 360:2, eff. July 11, 2008.

Emergency Temporary Zoning and Planning Ordinances

Section 674:24

    674:24 Definitions. –
When used in this subdivision the following terms shall have the meanings given to them in this section:
I. "Frontage" means that portion of a lot bordering on a highway, street or right-of-way.
II. "Lot" means a parcel of land at least sufficient in size to meet the minimum requirements for use, coverage and area and to provide required yards and other open spaces. An undersize lot is permissible if it passes state standards for soil conditions and substantially meets the requirements here and if in existence on the date of adoption of this ordinance.
III. "Manufactured housing" means manufactured housing as defined by RSA 674:31.
IV. "Nonconforming" means use of land, building or premise which is not a use permitted by the provisions of this ordinance for the district in which such land, building or premise is situated.
V. "Permanent building" means any building resting upon a foundation or otherwise legally defined as "real estate".
VI. "Permanent resident" means an individual or family using any building continuously as a residence for a period of 6 months or more.
VII. "Right-of-way" means and includes all present and proposed town, state and federal highways and the land on either side of same as covered by statutes to determine the widths of rights-of-way.
VIII. "Setback" means the distance between the nearest portion of a building and a lot or right-of-way line, whichever is closer.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:25

    674:25 Districting Under Interim Zoning Ordinance. –
For the purpose of regulating the use of land and the location and construction of buildings, any town adopting the provisions of an interim zoning ordinance shall be considered as one district with the following regulations and restrictions:
I. It shall be a district of residential agricultural use only. Business, commercial and industrial uses are prohibited in this district except as hereinafter provided.
II. Two apartments for permanent residents shall be the maximum allowable in any one given building.
III. Lots shall be at least one acre minimum in size, or larger, depending on soil and slope conditions, as may be suitable to sustain development according to state standards.
IV. There shall be observed the following setbacks in the construction of new buildings or in the relocation of existing ones:
(a) Minimum distance between any building and the edge of a right-of-way shall be 50 feet.
(b) Minimum distance from a lot's sidelines to any building shall be 30 feet; providing, however, that small detached accessory buildings may, as a special exception, be approved to within 15 feet of a lot line if the board of adjustment finds this would not be detrimental to the neighborhood.
(c) Minimum distance from a lot rearline to any building shall be 40 feet; providing, however, that small detached accessory buildings may, as a special exception, be approved to within 20 feet of a lot rearline, upon a finding of no detriment to the neighborhood.
(d) Maximum height of any building shall be 35 feet, with determination being the vertical distance from the average finished grade surrounding the building to a point midway between the highest and lowest points of the highest roof. Silos, barns and church towers are excepted, as are residential television and radio antennas.
(e) A deviation of 20 percent is allowed for side and rear setbacks in extenuating circumstances, as shall be recommended by the planning board or the selectmen if there is no planning board.
V. Home products and produce may be bought and sold and exposed for sale in this district.
VI. Hotels, motels and tourist homes may be maintained and operated, by special exception, provided that there be adequate parking and traffic provisions, that health standards be maintained, and that there be no detriment to the neighborhood.
VII. Private schools, nursing homes and sanitariums may be maintained by special exception, provided that there be adequate parking and traffic provisions, that health standards be maintained, and that there be no detriment to the neighborhood.
VIII. No building or set of buildings shall occupy more than 30 percent of its lot, nor shall it occupy more than 60 percent of its frontage if its front yard is less than 100 feet deep.
IX. No building, residence, or manufactured housing may be located anywhere in this district unless it meets all of the area and yard requirements of a residence in this district.
X. For the purpose of this ordinance, outdoor advertising shall be classified as commercial use and shall be permitted only if conforming to the following regulations:
(a) An outdoor sign shall not be larger than 6 square feet.
(b) It shall not be placed within 25 feet of a right-of-way nor within 150 feet of an intersection of a right-of-way unless affixed to a building and not extending beyond or above the same by more than 3 feet.
(c) Illumination shall be only by continuous nonflashing noncolored light.
(d) A permit for erection shall be procured from the building inspector, where present, and at the usual fee in accordance with the normal procedures in the community.
XI. Cluster development shall be permitted if the density does not exceed the provisions of paragraph III and if all other provisions of RSA 674:25-29 apply.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:26

    674:26 Agricultural Use Under Interim Zoning Ordinance. –
"Agricultural use" shall mean land used for agriculture, farming, dairying, pasturage, apiculture, horticulture, floriculture, silviculture and animal and poultry husbandry. Any such uses are permitted under an interim zoning ordinance except as restricted below:
I. The slaughtering of animals or poultry, except such as are raised for use of an owner or occupant; and the raising of animals or poultry or both for commercial purposes are permitted only as exceptions and subject to the following regulations:
(a) A lot shall be 8 acres or more in area.
(b) Each lot shall have at least 500 feet in frontage if adjacent to a right-of-way.
(c) A building for these purposes shall be placed at least 100 feet from any right-of-way.
(d) A building shall be located at least 200 feet from side or rear lines.
(e) Before approval by the board of adjustment, a public hearing shall be held with at least 15 days' notice of the time and place of the public hearing published in a paper of general circulation in the town or village district and with a legal notice thereof posted in at least 3 public places in the town or village district.
II. The proposed use shall not be approved if the board finds that it will cause hazard to health, property values or safety through fire, traffic, unsanitary conditions or through excessive noise, vibration, odor or other nuisance feature.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:27

    674:27 Commercial Exceptions Under Interim Zoning Ordinance. –
Business, commercial or industrial ventures other than those mentioned in RSA 674:25 or 674:26 may be given special exception by the board of adjustment upon submission and approval of a site plan; provided, however, that the following regulations and restrictions shall be observed:
I. No business, commercial or industrial venture or use shall be permitted which could cause any undue hazard to health, safety or property values or which is offensive to the public because of noise, vibration, excessive traffic, unsanitary conditions, noxious odor, smoke or other similar reason.
II. Sufficient acreage shall be included to allow the following setbacks:
(a) In the front, not less than 75 feet from a right-of-way to any building or parking lot having both an exit and an entrance and with grass or beautification in the buffer area.
(b) Side and rear: Not less than 50 feet from a building or parking lot to the lot line.
(c) Sufficient off-street parking to allow 300 square feet for each 3 anticipated patrons or employees on premises at the same time. In the case of service establishments, one car shall be deemed to contain 4 patrons.
III. On-premise advertising signs in connection with businesses receiving approval shall be exempt from the provisions of RSA 674:25, X and shall be considered as part of the application for commercial exception. They shall be limited to not more than 20 square feet in size and may be illuminated only by noncolored, nonflashing lights. Location may not be within any right-of-way nor within 150 feet of any intersection unless attached to a building.
IV. Before mining, excavation, or removal of soil, rock, sand or gravel or similar material, a special exception shall be received from the board of adjustment, subject to the usual fee permit. Excavation of earth shall be made in accordance with RSA 155-E.
V. All known abutters of any proposed business, commercial, or industrial site shall be notified by the board of adjustment by verified mail, as defined in RSA 21:53, at least one week prior to any public hearing regarding the site. The names and addresses of the known abutters shall be supplied by the applicant on a plat plan to be submitted to the board of adjustment.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. 2017, 59:1, eff. Aug. 1, 2017. 2019, 242:3, eff. Oct. 10, 2019.

Section 674:28

    674:28 Nonconforming Buildings, Land, or Uses Under Interim Zoning Ordinance. –
I. All nonconforming properties in active use when an interim ordinance is passed and adopted may continue indefinitely in their present use.
II. Any and all nonconforming property may be altered and expanded as the business and conditions warrant; providing, however, that any such expansion does not make any existing conforming structure nonconforming within the terms of the interim ordinance; nor shall such expansion bring any building within 35 feet of an abutter's building; nor shall the height exceed the limits as defined in RSA 674:25, IV, (d); nor shall the use of such property be materially altered in purpose.
III. Any and all nonconforming property which is partially or totally destroyed by reason of obsolescence, fire or other act of God may be restored, remodeled and operated if done within 2 years; providing, however, that proximity to a lot line or right-of-way may be no nearer than the lesser of the original building and the setbacks defined in RSA 674:25, IV, (a)-(c), and the height does not exceed the limits set forth in RSA 674:25, IV, (d).

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:29

    674:29 Board of Adjustment and Administrative Provisions Under Interim Zoning Ordinance. – In any town in which an interim zoning ordinance has been adopted, and while it remains in effect, the board of selectmen shall be the appointing authority for the zoning board of adjustment and shall appoint the first such board forthwith, upon the adoption of interim zoning. Such board shall have all the powers and jurisdiction and be subject to all the duties, requirements and other provisions applicable to zoning boards of adjustment under RSA 673. The board of selectmen, if no building inspector exists, shall act jointly as the building inspector and administrative officer charged with enforcement and may issue building or use permits in the first instance if clearly permitted by law. The applicable provisions of RSA 677 shall govern motions for rehearing, appeals, enforcement, and interpretation. In addition to other remedies, any person convicted of violation of the provisions of RSA 674:25-29 by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be subject to a fine of not more than $50 for each offense. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:30

    674:30 Utility Structures. –
Local ordinances, codes, and regulations enacted pursuant to this title shall apply to public utility structures, provided, however, that:
I. Notwithstanding the provisions of any such local ordinance, code, or regulation, a planning board, or its designee pursuant to paragraph II, upon application by a utility, may waive any requirement contained in an ordinance, code, or regulation for any unoccupied structure which is less than 200 square feet in area, which is necessary for the furnishing of utility service for the public health, safety, or general welfare, and for which the utility's siting options are limited by virtue of said structure being a physically integrated component of the utility's transmission or distribution apparatus. Any such waiver shall terminate, without further action by the planning board, if said structure ceases to be used for provisions of utility services.
II. The planning board may adopt regulations, pursuant to RSA 675:6 to ensure that such utility structures do not adversely affect the character of the area or create a hazard to the public. Such regulations may designate the building inspector, municipal engineer, road agent, or other official as agent of the planning board for purposes of this section. Notice shall be given by the planning board to abutters and the public, according to the procedures provided for in RSA 676:4, I(d), 10 days prior to any decision to be issued under such regulations. A hearing shall be held, if requested by the applicant or the abutters at any time prior to issuance of the decision, or if the board determines that a hearing is necessary. Notice of such hearing shall be given as provided in RSA 675:7, and no decision shall be issued until after the hearing.
III. A public utility which uses or proposes to use a structure which does not fit the criteria described in paragraph I, or fits those criteria and has been denied a waiver, or has been granted a waiver with conditions unacceptable to the utility when the waiver was applied for pursuant to paragraph I, may petition the public utilities commission to be exempted from the operation of any local ordinance, code, or regulation enacted under this title. The public utilities commission, following a public hearing, may grant such an exemption if it decides that the present or proposed situation of the structure in question is reasonably necessary for the convenience or welfare of the public and, if the purpose of the structure relates to water supply withdrawal, the exemption is recommended by the department of environmental services.
IV. Except for small power production facilities, as defined in RSA 362-A:1-a, X, and cogeneration facilities, as defined in RSA 362-A:1-a, I-c, owned and operated by a New Hampshire franchised utility, small power production facilities and cogeneration facilities shall not be considered to be public utilities under this section and may not petition the public utilities commission for an exemption from the operation of any regulation under this subdivision.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1986, 147:1. 1987, 152:1. 1998, 124:5. 2006, 294:4, eff. Aug. 14, 2006.

Manufactured Housing

Section 674:31

    674:31 Definition. – As used in this subdivision, "manufactured housing" means any structure, transportable in one or more sections, which, in the traveling mode, is 8 body feet or more in width and 40 body feet or more in length, or when erected on site, is 320 square feet or more, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to required utilities, which include plumbing, heating and electrical heating systems contained therein. Manufactured housing as defined in this section shall not include presite built housing as defined in RSA 674:31-a.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 104:1, eff. July 9, 1985.

Section 674:31-a

    674:31-a Definition; Presite Built Housing. – As used in this subdivision, "presite built housing" means any structure designed primarily for residential occupancy which is wholly or in substantial part made, fabricated, formed or assembled in off-site manufacturing facilities in conformance with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development minimum property standards and local building codes, for installation, or assembly and installation, on the building site. For the purposes of this subdivision, presite built housing shall not include manufactured housing, as defined in RSA 674:31.

Source. 1985, 104:2, eff. July 9, 1985.

Section 674:32

    674:32 Manufactured Housing. –
I. Municipalities shall afford reasonable opportunities for the siting of manufactured housing, and a municipality shall not exclude manufactured housing completely from the municipality by regulation, zoning ordinance or by any other police power. A municipality which adopts land use control measures shall allow, in its sole discretion, manufactured housing to be located on individual lots in most, but not necessarily all, land areas in districts zoned to permit residential uses within the municipality, or in manufactured housing parks and subdivisions created for the placement of manufactured housing on individually owned lots in most, but not necessarily all, land areas in districts zoned to permit residential uses within the municipality, or in all 3 types of locations. Manufactured housing located on individual lots shall comply with lot size, frontage requirements, space limitations and other reasonable controls that conventional single family housing in the same district must meet. No special exception or special permit shall be required for manufactured housing located on individual lots or manufactured housing subdivisions unless such special exception or permit is required by the municipality for single family housing located on individual lots or in subdivisions. Municipalities permitting manufactured housing parks shall afford realistic opportunities for the development and expansion of manufactured housing parks. In order to provide such realistic opportunities, lot size and overall density requirements for manufactured housing parks shall be reasonable.
II. Notwithstanding paragraph I or any law or rule to the contrary, no zoning ordinance or bylaw shall prohibit an owner and occupier of a residence which has been damaged by fire or other disaster from placing a manufactured home on the lot of such residence and residing in such structure while the residence is being rebuilt. The period of such occupancy shall expire in 12 months from the placement of such structure or upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, whichever occurs first. Any such manufactured home shall be subject to state and local requirements relating to water supply and sewerage disposal. A manufactured home that is placed on a lot under this paragraph shall not attain the status of a vested nonconforming use.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1986, 91:2. 1987, 378:1. 1993, 158:1, eff. July 23, 1993.

Agricultural Uses of Land

Section 674:32-a

    674:32-a Presumption. – In accordance with RSA 672:1, III-d, whenever agricultural operations or activities as defined in RSA 21:34-a are not explicitly addressed with respect to any zoning district or location, such operations or activities shall be deemed to be permitted there, as either a primary or accessory use, so long as conducted in accordance with best management practices guidelines adopted by the commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food and with applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and rules.

Source. 2000, 279:3, eff. July 1, 2001. 2019, 338:5, eff. Sept. 5, 2019.

Section 674:32-b

    674:32-b Existing Agricultural Uses and Activities. –
Any agricultural use or activity which exists pursuant to RSA 674:32-a may without restriction be expanded, altered to meet changing technology or markets, or changed to another agricultural use or activity, as set forth in RSA 21:34-a, so long as any such expansion, alteration, or change complies with all federal and state laws, regulations, and rules, including agricultural best management practices guidelines adopted by the commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food; subject, however, to the following limitations:
I. Any new establishment, re-establishment after abandonment, or significant expansion of an operation involving the keeping of livestock, poultry, or other animals may be made subject to special exception, building permit, site plan review, or other local land use board approval in accordance with the provisions of RSA 674:32-c, II and III.
II. Any new establishment, re-establishment after abandonment, or significant expansion of a farm stand, retail operation, or other use or activity involving on-site transactions with the public, including agritourism as defined in RSA 21:34-a, may be made subject to applicable special exception, building permit, site plan review, or other local land use board approval in accordance with the provisions of RSA 674:32-c, II and III, and may be regulated to prevent traffic and parking from adversely impacting adjacent property, streets and sidewalks, or public safety. No municipality shall adopt an ordinance, bylaw, definition, or policy regarding agritourism activities that conflicts with the definition of agritourism in RSA 21:34-a.

Source. 2000, 279:3, eff. July 1, 2001. 2016, 86:1, eff. July 18, 2016; 267:4, eff. June 16, 2016; 267:7, eff. July 18, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. 2018, 56:1, eff. July 15, 2018. 2019, 338:6, eff. Sept. 5, 2019.

Section 674:32-c

    674:32-c Other General Provisions. –
I. The tilling of soil and the growing and harvesting of crops and horticultural commodities, as a primary or accessory use, shall not be prohibited in any district.
II. Nothing in this subdivision, or in RSA 674:32-b, shall exempt new, re-established, or expanded agricultural operations or activities from generally applicable building and site requirements such as dimensional standards, setbacks, driveway and traffic regulations, parking requirements, noise, odor, or vibration restrictions or sign regulations; provided, however, that in circumstances where their literal application would effectively prohibit an agricultural use or activity allowed by this subdivision, or would otherwise be unreasonable in the context of an agricultural use or activity, in accordance with the provisions of RSA 672:1, III-b, the board of adjustment, building code board of appeals, or other applicable local board, after due notice and hearing, shall grant a waiver from such requirement to the extent necessary to reasonably permit the agricultural use or activity, unless such waiver would have a demonstrated adverse effect on public health or safety, or on the value of adjacent property. Such waiver shall continue only as long as utilized for the permitted agricultural use or activity.
III. Nothing in this subdivision shall apply to any aspect of an agricultural operation determined to be injurious to public health or safety under RSA 147. Nothing in this subdivision shall be deemed to modify or limit the duties and authority of the department of environmental services under RSA 485 or RSA 485-A or the commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food under title XL.
IV. Nothing in this subdivision shall be deemed to affect the regulation of sludge or septage.

Source. 2000, 279:3, eff. July 1, 2001. 2019, 338:7, eff. Sept. 5, 2019.

Section 674:32-d

    674:32-d Agritourism Permitted. – Agritourism, as defined in RSA 21:34-a, shall not be prohibited on any property where the primary use is for agriculture, subject to RSA 674:32-b, II.

Source. 2016, 267:5, eff. June 16, 2016.

Zoning Board of Adjustment and Building Code Board of Appeals

Section 674:33

    674:33 Powers of Zoning Board of Adjustment. –
I. (a) The zoning board of adjustment shall have the power to:
(1) Hear and decide appeals if it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of any zoning ordinance adopted pursuant to RSA 674:16; and
(2) Authorize, upon appeal in specific cases, a variance from the terms of the zoning ordinance if:
(A) The variance will not be contrary to the public interest;
(B) The spirit of the ordinance is observed;
(C) Substantial justice is done;
(D) The values of surrounding properties are not diminished; and
(E) Literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance would result in an unnecessary hardship.
(b)(1) For purposes of subparagraph I(a)(2)(E), "unnecessary hardship" means that, owing to special conditions of the property that distinguish it from other properties in the area:
(A) No fair and substantial relationship exists between the general public purposes of the ordinance provision and the specific application of that provision to the property; and
(B) The proposed use is a reasonable one.
(2) If the criteria in subparagraph (1) are not established, an unnecessary hardship will be deemed to exist if, and only if, owing to special conditions of the property that distinguish it from other properties in the area, the property cannot be reasonably used in strict conformance with the ordinance, and a variance is therefore necessary to enable a reasonable use of it.
(3) The definition of "unnecessary hardship" set forth in subparagraphs (1) and (2) shall apply whether the provision of the ordinance from which a variance is sought is a restriction on use, a dimensional or other limitation on a permitted use, or any other requirement of the ordinance.
(c) The board shall use one voting method consistently for all applications until it formally votes to change the method. Any change in the board's voting method shall not take effect until 60 days after the board has voted to adopt such change and shall apply only prospectively, and not to any application that has been filed and remains pending at the time of the change.
I-a. (a) Variances authorized under paragraph I shall be valid if exercised within 2 years from the date of final approval, or as further extended by local ordinance or by the zoning board of adjustment for good cause, provided that no such variance shall expire within 6 months after the resolution of a planning application filed in reliance upon the variance.
(b) The zoning ordinance may be amended to provide for the termination of all variances that were authorized under paragraph I before August 19, 2013 and that have not been exercised. After adoption of such an amendment to the zoning ordinance, the planning board shall post notice of the termination in the city or town hall. The notice shall be posted for one year and shall prominently state the expiration date of the notice. The notice shall state that variances authorized before August 19, 2013 are scheduled to terminate, but shall be valid if exercised within 2 years of the expiration date of the notice or as further extended by the zoning board of adjustment for good cause.
II. In exercising its powers under paragraph I, the zoning board of adjustment may reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from and may make such order or decision as ought to be made and, to that end, shall have all the powers of the administrative official from whom the appeal is taken.
III. The concurring vote of any 3 members of the board shall be necessary to take any action on any matter on which it is required to pass.
IV. (a) A local zoning ordinance may provide that the zoning board of adjustment, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, make special exceptions to the terms of the ordinance. All special exceptions shall be made in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the zoning ordinance and shall be in accordance with the general or specific rules contained in the ordinance.
(b) Special exceptions authorized under this paragraph shall be valid if exercised within 2 years from the date of final approval, or as further extended by local ordinance or by the zoning board of adjustment for good cause, provided that no such special exception shall expire within 6 months after the resolution of a planning application filed in reliance upon the special exception.
(c) The zoning ordinance may be amended to provide for the termination of all special exceptions that were authorized under this paragraph before August 19, 2013 and that have not been exercised. After adoption of such an amendment to the zoning ordinance, the planning board shall post notice of the termination in the city or town hall. The notice shall be posted for one year and shall prominently state the expiration date of the notice. The notice shall state that special exceptions authorized before August 19, 2013 are scheduled to terminate, but shall be valid if exercised within 2 years of the expiration date of the notice or as further extended by the zoning board of adjustment for good cause.
V. Notwithstanding subparagraph I(a)(2), any zoning board of adjustment may grant a variance from the terms of a zoning ordinance without finding a hardship arising from the condition of a premises subject to the ordinance, when reasonable accommodations are necessary to allow a person or persons with a recognized physical disability to reside in or regularly use the premises, provided that:
(a) Any variance granted under this paragraph shall be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the zoning ordinance.
(b) In granting any variance pursuant to this paragraph, the zoning board of adjustment may provide, in a finding included in the variance, that the variance shall survive only so long as the particular person has a continuing need to use the premises.
VI. The zoning board of adjustment shall not require submission of an application for or receipt of a permit or permits from other state or federal governmental bodies prior to accepting a submission for its review or rendering its decision.
VII. Neither a special exception nor a variance shall be required for a collocation or a modification of a personal wireless service facility, as defined in RSA 12-K:2.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:20. 1987, 256:1. 1998, 218:1. 2009, 307:6. 2013, 93:1, 2, eff. Aug. 19, 2013; 267:9, eff. Sept. 22, 2013; 270:3, eff. Sept. 22, 2013. 2018, 75:1, 2, eff. July 24, 2018; 168:1, 2, eff. Aug. 7, 2018; 214:1, eff. Aug. 7, 2018.

Section 674:33-a

    674:33-a Equitable Waiver of Dimensional Requirement. –
I. When a lot or other division of land, or structure thereupon, is discovered to be in violation of a physical layout or dimensional requirement imposed by a zoning ordinance enacted pursuant to RSA 674:16, the zoning board of adjustment shall, upon application by and with the burden of proof on the property owner, grant an equitable waiver from the requirement, if and only if the board makes all of the following findings:
(a) That the violation was not noticed or discovered by any owner, former owner, owner's agent or representative, or municipal official, until after a structure in violation had been substantially completed, or until after a lot or other division of land in violation had been subdivided by conveyance to a bona fide purchaser for value;
(b) That the violation was not an outcome of ignorance of the law or ordinance, failure to inquire, obfuscation, misrepresentation, or bad faith on the part of any owner, owner's agent or representative, but was instead caused by either a good faith error in measurement or calculation made by an owner or owner's agent, or by an error in ordinance interpretation or applicability made by a municipal official in the process of issuing a permit over which that official had authority;
(c) That the physical or dimensional violation does not constitute a public or private nuisance, nor diminish the value of other property in the area, nor interfere with or adversely affect any present or permissible future uses of any such property; and
(d) That due to the degree of past construction or investment made in ignorance of the facts constituting the violation, the cost of correction so far outweighs any public benefit to be gained, that it would be inequitable to require the violation to be corrected.
II. In lieu of the findings required by the board under subparagraphs I(a) and (b), the owner may demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that the violation has existed for 10 years or more, and that no enforcement action, including written notice of violation, has been commenced against the violation during that time by the municipality or any person directly affected.
III. Application and hearing procedures for equitable waivers under this section shall be governed by RSA 676:5 through 7. Rehearings and appeals shall be governed by RSA 677:2 through 14.
IV. Waivers shall be granted under this section only from physical layout, mathematical or dimensional requirements, and not from use restrictions. An equitable waiver granted under this section shall not be construed as a nonconforming use, and shall not exempt future use, construction, reconstruction, or additions on the property from full compliance with the ordinance. This section shall not be construed to alter the principle that owners of land are bound by constructive knowledge of all applicable requirements. This section shall not be construed to impose upon municipal officials any duty to guarantee the correctness of plans reviewed by them or property inspected by them.

Source. 1996, 226:4, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.

Section 674:34

    674:34 Powers of Building Code Board of Appeals. –
I. The building code board of appeals shall hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions, or determinations made by the building official or fire official relative to the application and interpretation of the state building code or state fire code as defined in RSA 155-A:1. An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of the code or the rules adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of the code do not fully apply, or an equally good or better form of construction is proposed. The board shall have no authority to waive requirements of the state building code or the state fire code.
II. Appeals of decisions of any local building code board of appeals shall be made within 30 days of the board's decision to the state building code review board as outlined under RSA 155-A:10, IV(c).

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2012, 242:17, eff. June 18, 2012. 2019, 219:5, eff. Aug. 11, 2019.

Regulation of Subdivision of Land

Section 674:35

    674:35 Power to Regulate Subdivisions. –
I. A municipality may by ordinance or resolution authorize the planning board to require preliminary review of subdivisions, and to approve or disapprove, in its discretion, plats, and to approve or disapprove plans showing the extent to which and the manner in which streets within subdivisions shall be graded and improved and to which streets water, sewer, and other utility mains, piping, connections, or facilities within subdivisions shall be installed. A municipality may by ordinance or resolution transfer authority to approve or disapprove plans showing the extent to which and the manner in which streets within subdivisions shall be graded and improved from the planning board to the governing body.
II. The planning board of a municipality shall have the authority to regulate the subdivision of land under the enactment procedures of RSA 675:6. The ordinance or resolution which authorizes the planning board to regulate the subdivision of land shall make it the duty of the city clerk, town clerk, clerk of district commissioners or other appropriate recording official to file with the register of deeds of the county in which the municipality is located a certificate of notice showing that the planning board has been so authorized, giving the date of such authorization.
III. The planning board shall not limit the number of building permits that may be issued except in accordance with an innovative land use control ordinance addressing timing incentives and phased development under RSA 674:21 and adopted under RSA 674:16; or an ordinance to regulate and control the timing of development, adopted under RSA 674:22; or an ordinance establishing a temporary moratorium or limitation on the issuance of building permits, adopted under RSA 674:23. This paragraph shall not be construed to limit the planning board's authority to deny a subdivision application on the basis that it is scattered or premature.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2004, 71:3. 2005, 51:1. 2009, 200:2. 2014, 125:2, eff. Aug. 15, 2014.

Section 674:36

    674:36 Subdivision Regulations. –
I. Before the planning board exercises its powers under RSA 674:35, the planning board shall adopt subdivision regulations according to the procedures required by RSA 675:6.
II. The subdivision regulations which the planning board adopts may:
(a) Provide against such scattered or premature subdivision of land as would involve danger or injury to health, safety, or prosperity by reason of the lack of water supply, drainage, transportation, schools, fire protection, or other public services, or necessitate the excessive expenditure of public funds for the supply of such services;
(b) Provide for the harmonious development of the municipality and its environs;
(c) Require the proper arrangement and coordination of streets within subdivisions in relation to other existing or planned streets or with features of the official map of the municipality;
(d) Provide for open spaces of adequate proportions;
(e) Require suitably located streets of sufficient width to accommodate existing and prospective traffic and to afford adequate light, air, and access for firefighting apparatus and equipment to buildings, and be coordinated so as to compose a convenient system;
(f) Require, in proper cases, that plats showing new streets or narrowing or widening of such streets submitted to the planning board for approval shall show a park or parks suitably located for playground or other recreational purposes;
(g) Require that proposed parks shall be of reasonable size for neighborhood playgrounds or other recreational uses;
(h) Require that the land indicated on plats submitted to the planning board shall be of such character that it can be used for building purposes without danger to health;
(i) Prescribe minimum areas of lots so as to assure conformance with local zoning ordinances and to assure such additional areas as may be needed for each lot for on-site sanitary facilities;
(j) Include provisions which will tend to create conditions favorable to health, safety, convenience, or prosperity; and
(k) Encourage the installation and use of solar, wind, or other renewable energy systems and protect access to energy sources by the regulation of orientation of streets, lots, and buildings; establishment of maximum building height, minimum set back requirements, and limitations on type, height, and placement of vegetation; and encouragement of the use of solar skyspace easements under RSA 477.
(l) Provide for efficient and compact subdivision development which promotes retention and public usage of open space and wildlife habitat, by allowing for village plan alternative subdivision as defined in RSA 674:21, VI.
(m) Require innovative land use controls on lands when supported by the master plan.
(n) Include provision for waiver of any portion of the regulations. The basis for any waiver granted by the planning board shall be recorded in the minutes of the board. The planning board may only grant a waiver if the board finds, by majority vote, that:
(1) Strict conformity would pose an unnecessary hardship to the applicant and waiver would not be contrary to the spirit and intent of the regulations; or
(2) Specific circumstances relative to the subdivision, or conditions of the land in such subdivision, indicate that the waiver will properly carry out the spirit and intent of the regulations.
(o) As a condition of subdivision approval, where the subdivision requires an alteration of terrain permit under RSA 485-A:17, require that the applicant protect or document archeological resources in areas of archeological sensitivity that have been identified in the master plan in accordance with RSA 674:2, III(h).
III. The subdivision regulations of the planning board may stipulate, as a condition precedent to the approval of the plat, the extent to which and the manner in which streets shall be graded and improved and to which water, sewer, and other utility mains, piping, connections, or other facilities shall be installed. The regulations or practice of the planning board:
(a) May provide for the conditional approval of the plat before such improvements and installations have been constructed, but any such conditional approval shall not be entered upon the plat.
(b) Shall provide that, in lieu of the completion of street work and utility installations prior to the final approval of a plat, the planning board shall accept a performance bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or other type or types of security as shall be specified in the subdivision regulations; provided that in no event shall the exclusive form of security required by the planning board be in the form of cash or a passbook. As phases or portions of the secured improvements or installations are completed and approved by the planning board or its designee, the municipality shall partially release said security to the extent reasonably calculated to reflect the value of such completed improvements or installations. Cost escalation factors that are applied by the planning board to any bond or other security required under this section shall not exceed 10 percent per year. The planning board shall, within the limitations provided in this subparagraph, have the discretion to prescribe the type and amount of security, and specify a period for completion of the improvements and utilities to be expressed in the bond or other security, in order to secure to the municipality the actual construction and installation of such improvements and utilities. The municipality shall have the power to enforce such bonds or other securities by all appropriate legal and equitable remedies.
(c) May provide that in lieu of the completion of street work and utility installations prior to the final approval of the plat, the subdivision regulations may provide for an assessment or other method by which the municipality is put in an assured position to do said work and to make said alterations at the cost of the owners of the property within the subdivision.
IV. The planning board shall not require, or adopt any regulation requiring, the installation of a fire suppression sprinkler system in proposed one- or 2-family residences as a condition of approval for a local permit. Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit a duly adopted regulation mandating a cistern, dry hydrant, fire pond, or other credible water source other than a fire suppression sprinkler system. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent an applicant from offering to install fire suppression sprinkler systems in proposed one- or 2-family residences and, if the planning board accepts such offer, the installation of such systems shall be required and shall be enforceable as a condition of the approval. The applicant or the applicant's successor in interest may substitute another means of fire protection in lieu of the approved fire suppression sprinkler system provided that the planning board approves the substitution which approval shall not be unreasonably upheld or delayed.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1986, 200:2. 1988, 3:1. 2002, 73:3; 236:4. 2004, 71:4; 199:4. 2009, 292:1. 2011, 203:1. 2013, 76:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; 207:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 674:37

    674:37 Recording of Plats. – After the certificate of notice referred to in RSA 674:35, II and the regulations referred to in RSA 674:36 have been filed with the appropriate recording officials, no plat shall be filed or recorded unless it is prepared and certified by a licensed land surveyor since July 1, 1981, or by a registered land surveyor between January 1, 1970 and June 30, 1981, and until it has been approved by the planning board and such approval has been endorsed in writing on the plat in such manner as the planning board may designate, except as provided in RSA 676:18, II and III and RSA 676:4, I(c). The filing or recording of a plat of a subdivision without the requisite approval of the planning board, or which has not been prepared and certified by a licensed land surveyor or by a registered land surveyor as provided in this section, shall be void.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1988, 233:1. 1990, 275:2. 1995, 303:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1996.

Section 674:37-a

    674:37-a Effect of Subdivision on Tax Assessment and Collection. –
The collection of taxes with respect to land being subdivided shall be governed by the following provisions:
I. If approval of a subdivision plat has been granted on or before April 1 of a particular tax year, giving the owner a legal right to sell or transfer the lots, parcels or other divisions of land depicted on the plat without further approval or action by the municipality, then such lots or parcels shall for that tax year be assessed and appraised as separate estates pursuant to RSA 75:9, whether or not any such sale or transfer has actually occurred, and shall continue to be so assessed unless and until subdivision approval is revoked under RSA 676:4-a, or the parcels are merged pursuant to RSA 674:39-a.
II. If subdivision approval does not become final until after April 1, then all assessments, appraisals, and tax warrants for that property during that tax year shall pertain to the entire non-subdivided property as it was configured on April 1, notwithstanding any later sale or transfer of subdivided lots or parcels which may occur during that year.
III. When property has been assessed as a single parcel or estate in accordance with paragraph II, and some subdivided portion of that property is later sold or transferred prior to the payment of all taxes, interest, and costs due for that tax year, the municipality's tax lien shall remain in effect with respect to the entire property, and each lot or parcel transferred or retained shall remain obligated for the entire amount, and shall be subject to all procedures of RSA 80 until that amount is collected.
IV. In order to avoid the liability of subdivided lots or parcels for taxes due on the entire property as set forth in paragraph III, any person with a legal interest may, at the time of subdivision approval or any time thereafter, prepay all taxes to be assessed on the entire property for that tax year. If such prepayment is offered prior to the determination of the property's full tax obligation for that year, the collector shall notify the assessing officials, who shall make a reasonable jeopardy assessment in accordance with the provisions of RSA 76:10-a, and commit it to the collector. After full prepayment the tax collector shall upon request execute a statement identifying the subdivision plat, and stating that all real estate tax obligations for the tax year have been fulfilled with respect to the property shown on the plat. Such a statement may be recorded in the registry of deeds at the expense of the party requesting it.
V. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the parties to a conveyance from making alternative provisions, through privately-held escrow or other means, for the allocation and satisfaction of tax obligations; provided, however, that the municipality shall not, with respect to property assessed as a single parcel or estate pursuant to paragraph II, be required to apportion taxes among subdivided lots, or to release any subdivided portion of such property from the municipality's tax lien unless and until the full tax obligation for the assessed property has been satisfied.

Source. 1998, 39:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.

Section 674:38

    674:38 Status of Plats Approved. – Every plat approved by the planning board shall, by virtue of the board's approval, be deemed to be an amendment of or an addition to or a detail of the official map. Every approved plat shall be a part of the official map. Approval of a plat shall not be deemed to constitute or result in an acceptance by the municipality or the public of the dedication of any street or other ground or open space shown upon the plat.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:39

    674:39 Five-Year Exemption. –
I. Every subdivision plat approved by the planning board and properly recorded in the registry of deeds and every site plan approved by the planning board and properly recorded in the registry of deeds, if recording of site plans is required by the planning board or by local regulation, shall be exempt from all subsequent changes in subdivision regulations, site plan review regulations, impact fee ordinances, and zoning ordinances adopted by any city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places, except those regulations and ordinances which expressly protect public health standards, such as water quality and sewage treatment requirements, for a period of 5 years after the date of approval; provided that:
(a) Active and substantial development or building has begun on the site by the owner or the owner's successor in interest in accordance with the approved subdivision plat within 24 months after the date of approval, or in accordance with the terms of the approval, and, if a bond or other security to cover the costs of roads, drains, or sewers is required in connection with such approval, such bond or other security is posted with the city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places, at the time of commencement of such development;
(b) Development remains in full compliance with the public health regulations and ordinances specified in this section; and
(c) At the time of approval and recording, the subdivision plat or site plan conforms to the subdivision regulations, site plan review regulations, and zoning ordinances then in effect at the location of such subdivision plat or site plan.
II. Once substantial completion of the improvements as shown on the subdivision plat or site plan has occurred in compliance with the approved subdivision plat or site plan or the terms of said approval or unless otherwise stipulated by the planning board, the rights of the owner or the owner's successor in interest shall vest and no subsequent changes in subdivision regulations, site plan regulations, or zoning ordinances, except impact fees adopted pursuant to RSA 674:21 and 675:2-4, shall operate to affect such improvements.
III. The planning board may, as part of its subdivision and site plan regulations or as a condition of subdivision plat or site plan approval, specify the threshold levels of work that shall constitute the following terms, with due regard to the scope and details of a particular project:
(a) "Substantial completion of the improvements as shown on the subdivision plat or site plan," for purposes of fulfilling paragraph II; and
(b) "Active and substantial development or building," for the purposes of fulfilling paragraph I.
IV. Failure of a planning board to specify by regulation or as a condition of subdivision plat or site plan approval what shall constitute "active and substantial development or building" shall entitle the subdivision plat or site plan approved by the planning board to the 5-year exemption described in paragraph I. The planning board may, for good cause, extend the 24-month period set forth in subparagraph I(a).

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1989, 266:17, 18. 1991, 331:1, 2. 1995, 43:5; 291:7, 8. 2004, 199:1. 2009, 93:1. 2011, 215:1, eff. June 27, 2011.

Section 674:39-a

    674:39-a Voluntary Merger. –
I. Any owner of 2 or more contiguous preexisting approved or subdivided lots or parcels who wishes to merge them for municipal regulation and taxation purposes may do so by applying to the planning board or its designee. Except as set forth in paragraphs II and III, all such requests shall be approved, and no public hearing or notice shall be required. No new survey plat need be recorded, but a notice of the merger, sufficient to identify the relevant parcels and endorsed in writing by the planning board or its designee, shall be filed for recording in the registry of deeds, and a copy mailed to the municipality's assessing officials. No such merged parcel shall thereafter be separately transferred without subdivision approval. No city, town, county, or village district may merge preexisting subdivided lots or parcels except upon the consent of the owner.
II. If there is any mortgage on any of the lots, the applicant shall give written notice to each mortgage holder at the time of the submission of the application. The written consent of each mortgage holder shall be required as a condition of approval of the merger, and shall be recorded with the notice of the merger pursuant to paragraph I. Upon recordation of the notice and each consent, the mortgage or mortgages shall be deemed by operation of law to apply to all lots involved in the merger. The municipality shall not be liable for any deficiency in the notice to mortgage holders.
III. No merger shall be approved that would create a violation of then-current ordinances or regulations.

Source. 1995, 291:9. 2010, 345:1, eff. Sept. 18, 2010. 2016, 327:1, eff. Aug. 23, 2016.

Section 674:39-aa

    674:39-aa Restoration of Involuntarily Merged Lots. –
I. In this section:
(a) "Involuntary merger" and "involuntarily merged" mean lots merged by municipal action for zoning, assessing, or taxation purposes without the consent of the owner.
(b) "Owner" means the person or entity that holds legal title to the lots in question, even if such person or entity did not hold legal title at the time of the involuntary merger.
(c) "Voluntary merger" and "voluntarily merged" mean a merger under RSA 674:39-a, or any overt action or conduct that indicates an owner regarded said lots as merged such as, but not limited to, abandoning a lot line.
II. Lots or parcels that were involuntarily merged prior to September 18, 2010 by a city, town, county, village district, or any other municipality, shall at the request of the owner, be restored to their premerger status and all zoning and tax maps shall be updated to identify the premerger boundaries of said lots or parcels as recorded at the appropriate registry of deeds, provided:
(a) The request is submitted to the governing body.
(b) No owner in the chain of title voluntarily merged his or her lots. If any owner in the chain of title voluntarily merged his or her lots, then all subsequent owners shall be estopped from requesting restoration. The municipality shall have the burden of proof to show that any previous owner voluntarily merged his or her lots.
III. All decisions of the governing body may be appealed in accordance with the provisions of RSA 676.
IV. Any municipality may adopt local ordinances, including ordinances enacted prior to the effective date of this section, to restore previously merged properties that are less restrictive than the provisions in paragraph I and II.
V. The restoration of the lots to their premerger status shall not be deemed to cure any non-conformity with existing local land use ordinances.
VI. Municipalities shall post a notice informing residents that any involuntarily merged lots may be restored to premerger status upon the owner's request. Such notice shall be posted in a public place no later than January 1, 2012 and shall remain posted through December 31, 2016. Each municipality shall also publish the same or similar notice in its 2011 through 2015 annual reports.

Source. 2011, 206:4, eff. July 24, 2011. 2016, 327:2, eff. Aug. 23, 2016. 2021, 136:1, eff. Sept. 21, 2021.

Section 674:40

    674:40 Improvements in Unapproved Streets. –
I. A municipality which has established and recorded an official map, as provided in RSA 674:10, or has conferred upon a planning board platting jurisdiction in accordance with RSA 674:35 shall not thereafter accept, lay out, open, improve, grade, pave, or light any street or lay or authorize the laying of water mains, sewers, connections, or other facilities or utilities in any street, within any portion of the municipality unless such street:
(a) Has been accepted or opened as, or has otherwise received the legal status of, a public street prior to the conferring of platting jurisdiction upon the planning board; or
(b) Corresponds in its location and lines with a street shown on the official map, or with a street shown on a subdivision plat approved by the planning board, or with a street on a street plat made by and adopted by the board.
II. For the purposes of this section, the word "street" shall not mean or include a discontinued highway.
III. The local legislative body may, however, accept, locate and construct any street not shown on or not corresponding with a street on the official map or on an approved subdivision plat or an approved street plat, provided the ordinance or other measure for the accepting, locating, and construction of such street is first submitted to the planning board for its approval and:
(a) If approved by the board, be approved by a majority vote of those present and voting at a regular or special meeting of the local legislative body; or
(b) If disapproved by the planning board, be approved by not less than 2/3 of those present and voting at a regular or special meeting of the local legislative body.
IV. A street approved under paragraph III shall have the status of an approved street as though it had been originally shown on the official map or on a subdivision plat approved by the planning board or as though it had been originally platted by the planning board.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1989, 266:19. 1998, 344:5, eff. Aug. 25, 1998.

Section 674:40-a

    674:40-a Delegation of Authority to Accept Dedicated Streets. –
I. Notwithstanding RSA 674:40, a municipality with the town meeting form of government, which has conferred upon a planning board platting jurisdiction in accordance with RSA 674:35, may, by majority vote at an annual or special meeting, under an article in the warrant inserted by the local governing body, or by petition, delegate to the local governing body the authority to accept dedicated streets. Such a delegation may be rescinded by the municipality in the same manner.
II. If such a delegation is made, the local governing body may vote to accept any dedicated street only if the street corresponds in its location and lines with a street shown on a subdivision plat or site plan approved by the planning board, or on the official map, or on a street plat made and adopted by the board. A street which has not received such prior planning board approval shall not be accepted without a vote of the local legislative body pursuant to RSA 674:40, III.
III. The local governing body shall hold a public hearing on the proposed acceptance prior to taking action.
IV. A street accepted under this section shall have the status of a public highway under RSA 229:1. Such street shall be deemed a class V highway, subject to the municipality's duty of regular maintenance as set forth in RSA 231, unless otherwise designated pursuant to statute.
V. In this section, "dedicated street" means a street which has been dedicated to public use under the New Hampshire common law of dedication.

Source. 1993, 80:1, eff. June 22, 1993.

Section 674:41

    674:41 Erection of Buildings on Streets; Appeals. –
I. From and after the time when a planning board shall expressly have been granted the authority to approve or disapprove plats by a municipality, as described in RSA 674:35, no building shall be erected on any lot within any part of the municipality nor shall a building permit be issued for the erection of a building unless the street giving access to the lot upon which such building is proposed to be placed:
(a) Shall have been accepted or opened as, or shall otherwise have received the legal status of, a class V or better highway prior to that time; or
(b) Corresponds in its location and lines with:
(1) A street shown on the official map; or
(2) A street on a subdivision plat approved by the planning board; or
(3) A street on a street plat made by and adopted by the planning board; or
(4) A street located and accepted by the local legislative body of the municipality, after submission to the planning board, and, in case of the planning board's disapproval, by the favorable vote required in RSA 674:40; or
(c) Is a class VI highway, provided that:
(1) The local governing body after review and comment by the planning board has voted to authorize the issuance of building permits for the erection of buildings on said class VI highway or a portion thereof; and
(2) The municipality neither assumes responsibility for maintenance of said class VI highway nor liability for any damages resulting from the use thereof; and
(3) Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall produce evidence that notice of the limits of municipal responsibility and liability has been recorded in the county registry of deeds; or
(d) Is a private road, provided that:
(1) The local governing body, after review and comment by the planning board, has voted to authorize the issuance of building permits for the erection of buildings on said private road or portion thereof; and
(2) The municipality neither assumes responsibility for maintenance of said private roads nor liability for any damages resulting from the use thereof; and
(3) Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall produce evidence that notice of the limits of municipal responsibility and liability has been recorded in the county registry of deeds for the lot for which the building permit is sought; or
(e) Is an existing street constructed prior to the effective date of this subparagraph and is shown on a subdivision plat that was approved by the local governing body or zoning board of adjustment before the municipality authorized the planning board to approve or disapprove subdivision plats in accordance with RSA 674:35, if one or more buildings have been erected on other lots on the same street.
II. Whenever the enforcement of the provisions of this section would entail practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, and when the circumstances of the case do not require the building, structure or part thereof to be related to existing or proposed streets, the applicant for such permit may appeal from the decision of the administrative officer having charge of the issuance of permits to the zoning board of adjustment in any municipality which has adopted zoning regulations in accordance with RSA 674, or, in municipalities in which no board of adjustment exists, to the local legislative body, or to a board of appeals, whichever is appropriate, in accordance with RSA 674:14 and 674:15, including the requirement for a public hearing. In a municipality which does not require building permits, direct application may be made to the zoning board of adjustment, or the local legislative body, or the board of appeals for permission to erect the building. In passing on such appeal or application, the board of adjustment, local legislative body, or board of appeals may make any reasonable exception and shall have the power to authorize or issue a permit, subject to such conditions as it may impose, if the issuance of the permit or erection of the building would not tend to distort the official map or increase the difficulty of carrying out the master plan upon which it is based, and if erection of the building or issuance of the permit will not cause hardship to future purchasers or undue financial impact on the municipality. Any such decision made in this connection by a board of adjustment, local legislative body, or by a board of appeals pursuant to this section and RSA 674:14 and 674:15 shall be in writing, together with the reasons for the decision, and shall be subject to review in the manner described in RSA 677.
II-a. Municipalities may except any lot, including island lots for islands served exclusively by boats, from the requirements of paragraphs I and II by an affirmative vote of the local legislative body pursuant to RSA 675, first submitted to the planning board for its approval and:
(a) If approved by the board, approved by a majority of those present and voting at a regular or special meeting of the local legislative body; or
(b) If disapproved by the planning board, approved by not less than 2/3 of those present and voting at a regular or special meeting of the local legislative body.
III. This section shall supersede any less stringent local ordinance, code or regulation, and no existing lot or tract of land shall be exempted from the provisions of this section except in accordance with the procedures expressly set forth in this section. For purposes of paragraph I, "the street giving access to the lot" means a street or way abutting the lot and upon which the lot has frontage. It does not include a street from which the sole access to the lot is via a private easement or right-of-way, unless such easement or right-of-way also meets the criteria set forth in subparagraphs I(a), (b), (c), (d), or (e).
IV. In addition to the requirements for the erection of buildings in paragraph I and notwithstanding the exceptions provided in paragraph II, the planning board for a county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places shall require every building which is erected on leased land located within an unincorporated town or unorganized place to have a building permit. A building permit shall be required under this paragraph regardless of the proximity of the building to any street or highway. The county shall, by resolution, authorize the planning board to issue building permits under this paragraph.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1988, 131:2, 3. 1989, 266:20. 1995, 291:10. 1998, 344:6. 2002, 270:1, 5. 2004, 154:1, 2. 2005, 226:1, 2, eff. Sept. 3, 2005.

Section 674:42

    674:42 Status of Existing Platting Statutes. – After a planning board is granted platting jurisdiction by a municipality under RSA 674:35, the planning board's jurisdiction shall be exclusive, except to the extent that the municipality has transferred authority to approve or disapprove plans showing the extent to which and the manner in which streets within subdivisions shall be graded and improved from the planning board to the governing body pursuant to RSA 674:35, I. All statutory control over plats or subdivisions of land granted by other statutes shall be given effect to the extent that they are in harmony with the provisions of this title. The planning board shall have all statutory control over plats or subdivisions of land. Prior laws which are inconsistent with the powers granted to the planning board and the municipality under this title, and which have expressly by ordinance been adopted by a municipality and made available to a planning board according to the provisions of this title, are hereby declared to have no application, force or effect so long as the powers conferred by this title shall continue to be exercised by a municipality.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 2014, 125:3, eff. Aug. 15, 2014.

Site Plans

Section 674:43

    674:43 Power to Review Site Plans. –
I. A municipality, having adopted a zoning ordinance as provided in RSA 674:16, and where the planning board has adopted subdivision regulations as provided in RSA 674:36, may by ordinance or resolution further authorize the planning board to require preliminary review of site plans and to review and approve or disapprove site plans for the development or change or expansion of use of tracts for nonresidential uses or for multi-family dwelling units, which are defined as any structures containing more than 2 dwelling units, whether or not such development includes a subdivision or resubdivision of the site.
II. The ordinance or resolution which authorizes the planning board to review site plans shall make it the duty of the city clerk, town clerk, village district clerk or other appropriate recording official to file with the register of deeds of the county in which the municipality is situated a certificate of notice showing that the planning board has been so authorized, giving the date of such authorization.
III. The local legislative body of a municipality may by ordinance or resolution authorize the planning board to delegate its site review powers and duties in regard to minor site plans to a committee of technically qualified administrators chosen by the planning board from the departments of public works, engineering, community development, planning, or other similar departments in the municipality. The local legislative body may further stipulate that the committee members be residents of the municipality. This special site review committee may have final authority to approve or disapprove site plans reviewed by it, unless the local legislative body deems that final approval shall rest with the planning board, provided that the decision of the committee may be appealed to the full planning board so long as notice of appeal is filed within 20 days of the committee's decision. All provisions of RSA 676:4 shall apply to actions of the special site review committee, except that such a committee shall act to approve or disapprove within 60 days after submissions of applications, subject to extension or waiver as provided in RSA 676:4, I(f). If a municipality authorizes a site review committee in accordance with this paragraph, the planning board shall adopt or amend its regulations specifying application, acceptance and approval procedures and defining what size and kind of site plans may be reviewed by the site review committee prior to authorizing the committee.
IV. The local legislative body of a municipality may by ordinance or resolution establish thresholds based on the size of a project or a tract below which site plan review shall not be required. If a municipality establishes a size limit below which site plan review shall not be required, the planning board shall adopt or amend its regulations to clearly reflect that threshold. Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude the planning board from establishing such thresholds in the absence of action by the legislative body.
V. Site plan review shall not be required for a collocation or a modification of a personal wireless service facility, as defined in RSA 12-K:2.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1987, 256:2. 1988, 9:1. 1995, 303:3. 2005, 33:1. 2013, 267:10, eff. Sept. 22, 2013.

Section 674:44

    674:44 Site Plan Review Regulations. –
I. Before the planning board exercises its powers under RSA 674:43, it shall adopt site plan review regulations according to the procedures required by RSA 675:6.
II. The site plan review regulations which the planning board adopts may:
(a) Provide for the safe and attractive development or change or expansion of use of the site and guard against such conditions as would involve danger or injury to health, safety, or prosperity by reason of:
(1) Inadequate drainage or conditions conducive to flooding of the property or that of another;
(2) Inadequate protection for the quality of groundwater;
(3) Undesirable and preventable elements of pollution such as noise, smoke, soot, particulates, or any other discharge into the environment which might prove harmful to persons, structures, or adjacent properties; and
(4) Inadequate provision for fire safety, prevention, and control.
(b) Provide for the harmonious and aesthetically pleasing development of the municipality and its environs.
(c) Provide for open spaces and green spaces of adequate proportions.
(d) Require the proper arrangement and coordination of streets within the site in relation to other existing or planned streets or with features of the official map of the municipality;
(e) Require suitably located streets of sufficient width to accommodate existing and prospective traffic and to afford adequate light, air, and access for firefighting apparatus and equipment to buildings, and be coordinated so as to compose a convenient system;
(f) Require, in proper cases, that plats showing new streets or narrowing or widening of such streets be submitted to the planning board for approval;
(g) Require that the land indicated on plats submitted to the planning board shall be of such character that it can be used for building purposes without danger to health;
(h) Include such provisions as will tend to create conditions favorable for health, safety, convenience, and prosperity;
(i) Require innovative land use controls on lands when supported by the master plan; and
(j) Require preliminary review of site plans.
(k) As a condition of site plan approval, require that the applicant protect or document archeological resources in areas of archeological sensitivity that have been identified in the master plan in accordance with RSA 674:2, III(h).
III. The site plan review regulations which the planning board adopts shall:
(a) Provide the procedures which the board shall follow in reviewing site plans;
(b) Define the purposes of site plan review;
(c) Specify the general standards and requirements with which the proposed development shall comply, including appropriate reference to accepted codes and standards for construction;
(d) Include provisions for guarantees of performance, including bonds or other security; and
(e) Include provision for waiver of any portion of the regulations. The basis for any waiver granted by the planning board shall be recorded in the minutes of the board. The planning board may only grant a waiver if the board finds, by majority vote, that:
(1) Strict conformity would pose an unnecessary hardship to the applicant and waiver would not be contrary to the spirit and intent of the regulations; or
(2) Specific circumstances relative to the site plan, or conditions of the land in such site plan, indicate that the waiver will properly carry out the spirit and intent of the regulations.
IV. The site plan review regulations of the planning board may stipulate, as a condition precedent to the approval of the plat, the extent to which and the manner in which streets shall be graded and improved and to which water, sewer, and other utility mains, piping, connections, or other facilities shall be installed. The regulations or practice of the planning board:
(a) May provide for the conditional approval of the plat before such improvements and installations have been constructed, but any such conditional approval shall not be entered upon that plat.
(b) Shall provide that, in lieu of the completion of street work and utility installations prior to the final approval of a plat, the planning board shall accept a performance bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or other type or types of security as shall be specified in the site plan review regulations. The planning board shall have the discretion to prescribe the type and amount of the bond or other security, require satisfactory evidence of the financial ability of any surety or financial institution to pay such bond or other type of security, and specify a period for completion of the improvements and utilities to be expressed in the bond or other security, in order to secure to the municipality the actual construction and installation of such improvements and utilities. The municipality shall have the power to enforce such bonds or other securities by all appropriate legal and equitable remedies.
V. The planning board may, as part of its site plan review regulations, require an applicant to pay all costs for notification of abutters and may provide for the assessment of reasonable fees to cover the board's administrative expenses and costs of special investigation and the review of documents and other matters which may be required by particular applications.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:21. 1986, 200:3. 1987, 256:3. 2004, 71:5. 2005, 33:2. 2009, 292:2. 2013, 76:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Heritage Commission

Section 674:44-a

    674:44-a Heritage Commission. – A heritage commission may be established in accordance with RSA 673 for the proper recognition, use, and protection of resources, tangible or intangible, primarily man-made, that are valued for their historic, cultural, aesthetic, or community significance within their natural, built, or cultural contexts.

Source. 1992, 64:2, eff. June 19, 1992.

Section 674:44-b

    674:44-b Powers. –
I. Generally. Heritage commissions shall have advisory and review authority, specifically, as follows:
(a) Survey and inventory all cultural resources.
(b) Conduct research and publish findings, including reports to establish the legal basis for a district and preparation of historic district ordinances within the municipality prior to its adoption or amendment as provided in RSA 675:6.
(c) Assist the planning board, as requested, in the development and review of those sections of the master plan which address cultural and historic resources.
(d) Advise, upon request, local agencies and other local boards in their review of requests on matters affecting or potentially affecting cultural and historic resources.
(e) Coordinate activities with appropriate service organizations and nonprofit groups.
(f) Publicize its activities.
(g) Hire consultants and contractors as needed.
(h) Receive gifts of money and property, both real and personal, in the name of the city or town, subject to the approval of the city council in a city or the board of selectmen in a town, such gifts to be managed and controlled by the commission for its proper purposes.
(i) Hold meetings and hearings necessary to carry out its duties.
II. Property. The commission may acquire, in the name of the town or city, subject to the approval of the local governing body, by gift, purchase, grant, bequest, devise, lease, or otherwise, a fee or lesser interest, development rights, covenant, or other contractual right, including conveyances with conditions, limitations, or reversions, as may be necessary to acquire, maintain, improve, protect, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve and properly use the cultural resources of the city or town, and shall manage and control the same; provided, however, that the city, town, or commission shall not have the right to condemn property for these purposes.
III. Historic District Commission. Heritage commissions also may assume, if authorized by the local legislative body, the composition and duties of historic district commissions.

Source. 1992, 64:2. 1993, 32:1. 1995, 138:5, eff. July 23, 1995.

Section 674:44-c

    674:44-c Separate Commissions. – A municipality may choose to maintain a separate and distinct heritage commission and historic district commission. In such cases, the heritage commission shall serve in an advisory capacity to the historic district commission as well as to the planning board and other local boards and residents.

Source. 1992, 64:2, eff. June 19, 1992.

Section 674:44-d

    674:44-d Appropriations Authorized. –
I. A town or city, having established a heritage commission under this subdivision, may appropriate money as deemed necessary to carry out its purposes. The whole or any part of money so appropriated in any year and any gifts of money received pursuant to RSA 674:44-b shall be placed in a heritage fund and allowed to accumulate from year to year. Money may be expended from such fund by the heritage commission for its purposes without further approval of the local legislative body.
II. The town treasurer, pursuant to RSA 41:29, shall have custody of all moneys in the heritage fund and shall pay out the same only upon order of the heritage commission. The disbursement of heritage funds shall be authorized by a majority of the heritage commission. Prior to the use of such funds for the purchase of any interest in real property, the heritage commission shall hold a public hearing with notice in accordance with RSA 675:7.

Source. 1992, 64:2. 1993, 32:3, eff. June 7, 1993.

Agricultural Commission

Section 674:44-e

    674:44-e Agricultural Commission. – An agricultural commission may be established in accordance with RSA 673 for the proper recognition, promotion, enhancement, encouragement, use, management, and protection of agriculture and agricultural resources, tangible or intangible, that are valued for their economic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, or community significance within their natural, built, or cultural contexts. The word "agriculture" shall include the entirety of RSA 21:34-a, which is the definition of farm, agriculture, and farming.

Source. 2007, 266:1, eff. Aug. 28, 2007.

Section 674:44-f

    674:44-f Powers. –
Agricultural commissions shall have advisory and review authority and other duties as follows:
I. Survey and inventory all agricultural resources.
II. Conduct activities to recognize, promote, enhance, and encourage agriculture, agricultural resources, and agricultural-based economic opportunities.
III. Assist the planning board, as requested, in the development and review of those sections of the master plan which address agricultural resources.
IV. Advise, upon request, local agencies and other local boards in their review of requests on matters affecting or potentially affecting agricultural resources.
V. Coordinate activities with appropriate service organizations and nonprofit groups.
VI. Publicize and report its activities.
VII. Hire consultants and contractors as needed.
VIII. Receive gifts of money to assist in carrying out its purpose.
IX. Hold meetings and hearings necessary to carry out its duties.

Source. 2007, 266:1, eff. Aug. 28, 2007.

Section 674:44-g

    674:44-g Appropriations Authorized. –
I. A town or city, having established an agricultural commission under this subdivision, may appropriate money as deemed necessary to carry out its purposes. The whole or any part of money so appropriated in any year and any gifts of money received pursuant to RSA 674:44-f shall be placed in an agricultural fund and allowed to accumulate from year to year.
II. The town treasurer, pursuant to RSA 41:29, shall have custody of all moneys in the agricultural fund and shall pay out the same only upon order of the agricultural commission. The disbursement of agricultural funds shall be authorized by a majority of the agricultural commission. The use of such funds shall not be for the purchase of any interest in real property.

Source. 2007, 266:1, eff. Aug. 28, 2007.

Housing Commissions

Section 674:44-h

    674:44-h Housing Commission. – A housing commission may be established in accordance with RSA 673 for the proper recognition, promotion, enhancement, encouragement, and development of a balanced and diverse supply of housing to meet the economic, social, and physical needs of the municipality and its residents, viewed in the context of the region within which the municipality is situated. The establishment of a housing commission shall in no way limit a municipality's authority relative to a housing authority under RSA 203.

Source. 2008, 391:10, eff. Sept. 15, 2008.

Section 674:44-i

    674:44-i Powers. –
I. Housing commissions shall have authority to:
(a) Conduct a housing needs assessment, which may be done in cooperation with the regional housing needs assessment compiled by the regional planning commission under RSA 36:47, II.
(b) Conduct activities to recognize, promote, enhance, and encourage the development of housing, particularly affordable and workforce housing.
(c) Assist the planning board, as requested, in the development and review of those sections of the master plan which address housing, and those sections of the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, and site plan regulations that address housing or otherwise have the potential to affect the cost or availability of housing.
(d) Advise, upon request, local agencies and other local boards in their review of requests on matters affecting or potentially affecting housing resources.
(e) Coordinate activities with appropriate service organizations and nonprofit groups.
(f) Publicize and report its activities.
(g) Hire consultants and contractors.
(h) Receive gifts of money and property, both real and personal, in the name of the city or town, to assist in carrying out the purpose of this section.
(i) Hold meetings and hearings necessary to carry out its duties.
II. The commission may acquire real property, in the name of the town or city, subject to the approval of the local governing body, by gift, purchase, grant, bequest, devise, lease, development rights, covenant, or other contractual right, including conveyances with conditions, limitations, or reversions, as may be necessary to maintain, improve, protect, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve and properly use the affordable housing of the city or town, and shall manage and control the same; provided, however, that the city, town, or commission shall not have the right to condemn property for these purposes. The commission shall also have the right to dispose of property so acquired, subject to the approval of the local governing body. Prior to the use of such funds for the purchase of any interest in real property, the housing commission shall hold a public hearing with notice in accordance with RSA 675:7.

Source. 2008, 391:10, eff. Sept. 15, 2008.

Section 674:44-j

    674:44-j Appropriations Authorized. –
I. A town or city, having established a housing commission under this subdivision, may appropriate money to the housing commission as necessary to carry out its purposes. The whole or any part of money so appropriated in any year and any gifts of money received under RSA 674:44-i shall be placed in a housing fund and allowed to accumulate from year to year.
II. The town treasurer, pursuant to RSA 41:29, shall have custody of all moneys in the housing fund and shall pay out the same only upon order of the housing commission. The disbursement of housing funds shall be authorized by a majority of the housing commission.

Source. 2008, 391:10, eff. Sept. 15, 2008.

Historic Districts

Section 674:45

    674:45 Purposes. –
The preservation of cultural resources, and particularly of structures and places of historic, architectural and community value is hereby declared to be a public purpose. The heritage of the municipality will be safeguarded by:
I. Preserving districts in the municipality which reflect elements of its cultural, social, economic, political, community and architectural history;
II. Conserving property values in such districts;
III. Fostering civic beauty;
IV. Strengthening the local economy; and
V. Promoting the use of historic districts for the education, pleasure and welfare of the citizens of the municipality.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1992, 64:13, 14, eff. June 19, 1992.

Section 674:46

    674:46 Authority Granted. – For the purpose of this subdivision, the local legislative body of any city, town, or county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places shall have the authority, by ordinance, to establish, change, lay out and define historic districts. Within the district, the municipality is empowered to regulate the construction, alteration, repair, moving, demolition or use of such structures and places.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:22. 1989, 266:21, eff. July 1, 1989.

Section 674:46-a

    674:46-a Powers and Duties of the Historic District Commission. –
I. For the purpose of establishing a legal basis for the district, the historic district commission may perform research and prepare the content of the historic district ordinance prior to its adoption or amendment as provided in RSA 675:2. In cases in which a municipality chooses to have both a heritage commission and a historic district commission, the historic district commission may request assistance from the heritage commission in performing research and preparing the content of the historic district ordinance.
II. The historic district commission may adopt and amend regulations in the manner provided in RSA 675:6.
III. The historic district commission shall be responsible for administering the ordinance and regulations within the historic district as provided in RSA 676:8-10.
IV. All districts and regulations shall be compatible with the master plan and zoning ordinance of the city, town, or county in which they exist.
V. The historic district commission may assume, if authorized by the local legislative body, the composition and duties of heritage commissions.

Source. 1985, 103:23. 1989, 266:22. 1992, 64:15. 1993, 32:2, eff. June 7, 1993.

Section 674:47

    674:47 Abolition of Historic Districts. –
I. Except as provided in paragraph II, any district established pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision may be abolished in the following manner: Upon petition of 25 voters, the historic district commission shall hold 2 public hearings at least 15 days apart on the proposal to abolish the historic district, at which hearings citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice for each public hearing shall be as provided in RSA 675:7. Following the above public hearings, the proposal to abolish a historic district shall be presented for insertion in the warrant of a regular or special town meeting as provided in RSA 39:3. The historic district shall be abolished upon a vote of 2/3 of the members of the local legislative body present and voting.
II. In counties in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places, the local legislative body shall determine the manner in which any district established pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision may be abolished for those unincorporated towns and unorganized places.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1989, 266:23, eff. July 1, 1989.

Section 674:48

    674:48 Interpretation. – Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prevent ordinary maintenance or repair of any structure or place within any historic district nor to prevent the construction, alteration, repair, moving or demolition of any structure under a permit issued by the building inspector or other duly delegated authority prior to the establishment of any historic district.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:49

    674:49 Enforcement. – The enforcement of the provisions of this subdivision shall be made through the zoning ordinance of the municipality. Any local legislative body which has established a historic district commission under RSA 673 shall include provisions for the enforcement of the commission's administrative decisions in the zoning ordinance of the municipality.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 674:50

    674:50 Remedies for Violations. – In case of the violation of any ordinance or regulation made under the authority conferred by this subdivision, the historic district commission, in addition to other remedies, may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent, restrain, correct or abate such violation.

Source. 1983, 447:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Building Codes

Section 674:51

    674:51 Power to Amend State Building Code and Establish Enforcement Procedures. –
The state building code established in RSA 155-A shall be effective in all towns and cities in the state and shall be enforced as provided in RSA 155-A:7. In addition, towns and cities shall have the following authority:
I. The local legislative body may enact as an ordinance or adopt, pursuant to the procedures of RSA 675:2-4, additional provisions of the state building code for the construction, remodeling, and maintenance of all buildings and structures in the municipality, provided that such additional regulations are not less stringent than the requirements of the state building code. The local legislative body may also enact a process for the enforcement of the state building code and any additional regulations thereto, and the provisions of a nationally recognized code that are not included in and are not inconsistent with the state building code. Any local enforcement process adopted prior to the effective date of this paragraph shall remain in effect unless it conflicts with the state building code or is amended or repealed by the municipality.
II. Any such ordinance adopted under paragraph I by a local legislative body shall be submitted to the state building code review board for informational purposes.
III. The local ordinance or amendment adopted according to the provisions of paragraph I shall include, at a minimum, the following provisions:
(a) The date of first enactment of any building code regulations in the municipality and of each subsequent amendment thereto.
(b) Provision for the establishment of a building code board of appeals as provided in RSA 673:1, V; 673:3, IV; and 673:5.
(c) Provision for the establishment of the position of building inspector as provided in RSA 673:1, V. The building inspector shall have the authority to issue building permits as provided in RSA 676:11-13 and any certificates of occupancy as enacted pursuant to paragraph III, and to perform inspections as may be necessary to assure compliance with the local building code.
(d) A schedule of fees, or a provision authorizing the governing body to establish fees, to be charged for building permits, inspections, and for any certificate of occupancy enacted pursuant to paragraph III.
IV. The regulations adopted pursuant to paragraph I may include a requirement for a certificate of occupancy to be issued prior to the use or occupancy of any building or structure that is erected or remodeled, or undergoes a change or expansion of use, subsequent to the effective date of such requirement.
V. No municipality or local land use board as defined in RSA 672:7 shall adopt any ordinance, regulation, code, or administrative practice requiring the installation of automatic fire suppression sprinklers in any new or existing detached one- or 2-family dwelling unit in a structure used only for residential purposes. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no municipality or local land use board shall enforce any existing ordinance, regulation, code, or administrative practice requiring the installation or use of automatic fire suppression sprinklers in any manufactured housing unit as defined in RSA 674:31 situated in a manufactured housing park as defined in RSA 205-A:1, II. Nothing in this paragraph shall affect the ability of an applicant for a local land use permit to include the installation of fire suppression sprinklers pursuant to RSA 674:36, IV, or affect the validity or enforceability of such inclusion.
VI. Notwithstanding paragraph I, no county, city, town, village district, local land use board, or other subdivision of this state shall adopt any ordinance, regulation, code, or administrative practice that prohibits or restricts a person or entity from installing a safe and commercially available heating or other energy system of their choice or to engage the services of an energy provider of their choice to install, connect, or resupply such energy system. In this paragraph, "energy provider" means a qualified and licensed distributor of oil, propane, natural gas, or other company or entity that supplies energy or related services to the public.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1989, 70:1. 1990, 71:3. 2002, 8:10. 2003, 245:7. 2008, 38:1. 2011, 269:1. 2013, 207:2, eff. Sept. 8, 2013. 2021, 224:2, Pt. II, Sec. 2, eff. Oct. 23, 2021.

Section 674:51-a

    674:51-a Local Adoption of Building Codes by Reference. – In addition to the local powers under RSA 674:51 a municipality may adopt by reference any of the codes promulgated by the International Code Conference which are not included in the state building code under RSA 155-A.

Source. 2003, 245:8, eff. July 14, 2003.

Section 674:52

    674:52 Repealed by 2002, 8:12, II, eff. Sept. 14, 2002. –

Authority to Order Building Vacated

Section 674:52-a

    674:52-a Ordering Building Vacated. –
I. The building inspector shall have the authority to order occupants to vacate a building, structure, or other premises if the inspector determines, based on reasonable information and belief, that there is imminent danger of failure or collapse, or the condition of such premises otherwise constitutes a clear and imminent danger to the life or safety of occupants or other persons and that protection of life or safety requires vacating the premises. Such an order shall be subject to the procedures of RSA 147:16-a, which shall supersede inconsistent provisions contained in any local code or code adopted by reference.
II. The provisions of paragraph I shall not apply to a residence which is occupied by the owner and his or her immediate family, unless the condition of such premises constitutes a clear and imminent danger to the life or health of persons other than the occupant or occupants.

Source. 1998, 318:3, eff. Aug. 25, 1998.

Land Affected by Municipal Boundaries

Section 674:53

    674:53 Land Affected by Municipal Boundaries. –
I. An owner of contiguous land which is located in more than one municipality may treat a municipal boundary line as an existing boundary between lots, tracts, sites or other divisions of land for purposes of this title unless the existing or proposed use of land or arrangement of structures in one of the municipalities requires and is dependent upon land or improvements located in the other municipality or municipalities in order to fulfill the land use ordinances or regulations of the first municipality with respect to such matters as lot size, density, frontage, uses or accessory uses, set-backs or access, or in order to comply with applicable state or federal regulations.
II. Upon receipt of an application for a permit or approval under this title for the subdivision, development, change of use of, or erection or alteration of any structure upon any lot, tract, site or other division of land whose boundary or portion thereof is a municipal boundary line, or whose sole street access or sole maintained street access is via a private road or class IV, V, or VI highway located in an adjoining municipality, the municipality receiving the application shall inquire in writing to the appropriate administrative officials in the adjoining municipality or municipalities as to the existence of facts or regulations which, under paragraphs I, III, or IV of this section or otherwise, would preclude or affect such subdivision, development, construction, or change of use. Response shall be made to such inquiries within the period provided by this title for approval or disapproval of the underlying application. A response which invokes an ordinance or regulation of such adjoining municipality may be appealed in that adjoining municipality in the same manner as any other administrative decision. An adjoining municipality in which is located an existing private road or class VI highway that serves as an applicant's sole means of fulfilling the street access requirements under RSA 674:41 shall have the same regulatory powers under that statute with respect to that road or highway as if the proposed building or development were located within that same municipality.
III. An owner of contiguous land in more than one municipality may treat such contiguous land as a single lot, tract, site, or other division of land for purposes of this title, notwithstanding the municipal boundary line, provided that:
(a) All uses of land, buildings, or structures shall comply with the regulations or ordinances of the municipality in which they are located.
(b) When an owner has fulfilled or proposes to fulfill the requirements of one municipality, through the inclusion of land or improvements located in an adjoining municipality, such owner or the owner's successors shall not thereafter use that land or those improvements in a manner such that those requirements of the first municipality are no longer fulfilled. This paragraph may be enforced by the municipality whose requirements are to be fulfilled.
IV. No plat or plan showing land or streets in more than one municipality in the state shall be deemed approved for purposes of this title unless it has been approved by the planning boards of all included municipalities in which the planning board has been granted authority over approval of that type of plat or plan. In addition, no plat or plan showing land whose sole street access or sole maintained street access is or is planned to be via a private road or class IV, V, or VI highway located in an adjoining municipality shall be deemed approved for purposes of this title unless it has been approved by the planning board, if any, of that adjoining municipality, provided however that the sole issue which may be addressed or regulated by the adjoining municipality shall be the adequacy of such street access, and the impact of the proposal upon it.
V. With respect to a proposal for the use of contiguous land in more than one municipality:
(a) The fact that a lot, tract, or site straddles a municipal boundary, or that the requirements of one municipality are proposed to be fulfilled by the use of land or improvements in an adjoining municipality, shall not be the sole grounds for disapproval of any application.
(b) A planning board may waive or vary its regulations with respect to access or interior roads in order to provide better harmony with the regulations of an adjoining municipality, whenever strict compliance would be unreasonable in light of the overall design of a proposal.
VI. When local land use boards from more than one municipality have jurisdiction over a proposed use, subdivision, or development of property:
(a) The applicant may petition the respective local land use boards of each such municipality to proceed with the application on a joint basis, and upon such petition, joint hearings or meetings shall be held throughout the application process. However, each board may meet separately to confer and take final action upon the application, but may not condition final approval upon the receipt of information not previously requested at a joint hearing or meeting.
(b) Not less than a quorum of each involved land use board shall attend the joint hearing or meeting, and the members who attend the joint hearing or meeting shall have the authority of the full board over that application. In the alternative, the full board may attend the joint hearing or meeting. Each land use board shall be responsible for rendering a decision on the subject matter within its jurisdiction.
(c) The board members present at such a joint meeting or hearing shall select an interim chairperson from among such members, who shall prescribe rules of procedure, subject to alteration by the members present, but consistent with RSA 676.
VII. Whenever a subdivision plat or site plan submitted to a planning board includes land whose only maintained public highway access to the Class I and II highway system is via a Class IV or V highway maintained by another municipality in the state, the local governing body and planning board, if any, of that other municipality shall be deemed "abutters" for purposes of notice under RSA 676:4. A planning board may, by regulation, set forth additional circumstances in which notice to adjoining municipalities is required. A planning board, in determining whether an application satisfies its regulations, may consider the effect of the proposal on adjoining municipalities.

Source. 1989, 381:1. 1995, 43:6, 7. 1998, 57:1, 2, eff. July 11, 1998.

Governmental Use of Property

Section 674:54

    674:54 Governmental Land Uses. –
I. In this section, "governmental use" means a use, construction, or development of land owned or occupied, or proposed to be owned or occupied, by the state, university system, the community college system of New Hampshire, or by a county, town, city, school district, or village district, or any of their agents, for any public purpose which is statutorily or traditionally governmental in nature.
II. The state, university system, community college system of New Hampshire, county, town, city, school district, or village district shall give written notification to the governing body and planning board, if such exists, of a municipality of any proposed governmental use of property within its jurisdiction, which constitutes a substantial change in use or a substantial new use. Written notification shall contain plans, specifications, explanations of proposed changes available at the time, a statement of the governmental nature of the use as set forth in paragraph I, and a proposed construction schedule. Such notification shall be provided at least 60 days prior to the beginning of construction. Either the governing body or planning board of the municipality may conduct a public hearing relative to the proposed governmental use. Any such hearing shall be held within 30 days after receipt of notice by the governing body or planning board. A representative of the governmental entity which provided notice shall be available to present the plans, specifications, and construction schedule, and to provide explanations. The governing body or planning board may issue nonbinding written comments relative to conformity or nonconformity of the proposal with normally applicable land use regulations to the sponsor of the governmental use within 30 days after the hearing.
II-a. Any use, construction, or development of land occurring on governmentally owned or occupied land, but which is not a governmental use as defined in paragraph I, shall be fully subject to local land use regulations.
II-b. The construction and operation of any solid waste disposal facility on land owned or occupied by any city or town within another city or town shall be subject to local land use regulations to the same extent as if the land were owned and occupied by a private entity. Nothing in this paragraph shall affect the construction and operation of a solid waste facility on land owned by a solid waste management district formed under RSA 53-A or RSA 53-B or any combination of municipalities authorized by an act of the general court, if the land is located within a city or town that is part of the district.
III. This section shall not apply to:
(a) The layout or construction of public highways of any class, or to the distribution lines or transmission apparatus of governmental utilities, provided that the erection of a highway or utility easement across a parcel of land, shall not, in and of itself, be deemed to subdivide the remaining land into 2 or more lots or sites for conveyance for development purposes in the absence of subdivision approval under this title. For purposes of this subparagraph, "transmission apparatus" shall not include wireless communication facilities.
(b) The erection, installation, or maintenance of poles, structures, conduits and cables, or wires in, under, or across any public highways under RSA 231, or licenses or leases for telecommunication facilities in, under, or across railroad rights of way. For purposes of this subparagraph, "structures" shall not include wireless communications facilities.
IV. In the event of exigent circumstances where the delay entailed by compliance with this section would endanger public health or safety, the governor may declare a governmental use exempt from the requirements of this section.

Source. 1996, 262:1. 1998, 281:2. 2007, 29:1, eff. May 14, 2007; 361:32, eff. July 17, 2007.

Wetlands

Section 674:55

    674:55 Wetlands. – Wherever the term "wetlands," whether singular or plural, is used in regulations and ordinances adopted pursuant to this chapter, such term shall be given the meaning in RSA 482-A:2, X and the delineation of wetlands for purposes of such regulations and ordinances shall be as prescribed in rules adopted under RSA 482-A. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the powers otherwise granted under this chapter for municipalities to plan land use and enact regulations based on consideration of environmental characteristics, vegetation, wildlife habit, open space, drainage, potential for flooding, and protection of natural resources, including critical or sensitive areas or resources and groundwater. In the context of such authority, municipalities may define and delineate resources or environmental characteristics, such as wet soils or areas, and shoreline or buffer areas, in a manner different from the common meaning and delineation of wetlands required herein.

Source. 2004, 243:2, eff. July 1, 2005.

Flood Hazards

Section 674:56

    674:56 Flood Hazards. –
I. Municipalities may adopt floodplain ordinances as part of their enrollment in the National Flood Insurance Program. Such ordinances shall be adopted pursuant to the authority granted under RSA 674:16 and 17, and shall be adopted and amended pursuant to the procedures in RSA 675 for the adoption and amendment of zoning ordinances. Municipalities may adopt floodplain ordinances either as an amendment to an existing zoning ordinance or as a separate ordinance. A municipality which adopts a floodplain ordinance which is separate from its zoning ordinance or without otherwise having adopted a zoning ordinance, shall observe all legal and procedural requirements for the floodplain ordinance that would be required for a zoning ordinance, including the creation of a board of adjustment. If a municipality has adopted a zoning ordinance either before or after the adoption of a floodplain ordinance, the board of adjustment shall be the same for both ordinances.
II. (a) Municipalities may adopt fluvial erosion hazard ordinances. Such ordinances shall be adopted pursuant to the authority granted under RSA 674:16 and 17, and shall be adopted and amended pursuant to the procedures in RSA 675 for the adoption and amendment of zoning ordinances. Municipalities may adopt fluvial erosion hazard ordinances either as an amendment to an existing zoning ordinance or as a separate ordinance. A municipality which adopts a fluvial erosion hazard ordinance which is separate from its zoning ordinance or without otherwise having adopted a zoning ordinance, shall observe all legal and procedural requirements for the fluvial erosion hazard ordinance that would be required for a zoning ordinance, including the creation of a board of adjustment. If a municipality has adopted a zoning ordinance either before or after the adoption of a floodplain ordinance, the board of adjustment shall be the same for both ordinances.
(b) Any fluvial erosion hazard zoning shall be based on delineation of zones consistent with any fluvial erosion hazard protocols established by the department of environmental services in effect on the date of its adoption. If the planning board of a municipality proposes to adopt, by ordinance or amendment, a fluvial erosion hazard ordinance or an amendment to a fluvial erosion hazard ordinance, the board shall, prior to determining the final form of the ordinance or amendment under RSA 675:2 or RSA 675:3, submit to the department of environmental services a map of all fluvial erosion hazard zones. The department shall review the map and advise the board within 30 days whether the map and zones are consistent with department protocols. The department's comments, if any, shall be advisory only.

Source. 2006, 176:2. 2009, 181:1, 2, eff. July 13, 2009.

Section 674:57

    674:57 Flood Insurance Rate Maps. – In a municipality which has enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), special flood hazard areas shall be as designated on flood insurance rate maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Amendments to the flood insurance rate maps shall apply to local floodplain ordinances upon their adoption by resolution of the local governing body of a municipality and shall require no further action by the local legislative body. Map amendments are subject to appeal by owners and lessees of affected real property under 44 C.F.R. 67.5.

Source. 2006, 176:2, eff. May 25, 2006.

Workforce Housing

Section 674:58

    674:58 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Affordable" means housing with combined rental and utility costs or combined mortgage loan debt services, property taxes, and required insurance that do not exceed 30 percent of a household's gross annual income.
II. "Multi-family housing" for the purpose of workforce housing developments, means a building or structure containing 5 or more dwelling units, each designed for occupancy by an individual household.
III. "Reasonable and realistic opportunities for the development of workforce housing" means opportunities to develop economically viable workforce housing within the framework of a municipality's ordinances and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter and consistent with RSA 672:1, III-e. The collective impact of all such ordinances and regulations on a proposal for the development of workforce housing shall be considered in determining whether opportunities for the development of workforce housing are reasonable and realistic. If the ordinances and regulations of a municipality make feasible the development of sufficient workforce housing to satisfy the municipality's obligation under RSA 674:59, and such development is not unduly inhibited by natural features, the municipality shall not be in violation of its obligation under RSA 674:59 by virtue of economic conditions beyond the control of the municipality that affect the economic viability of workforce housing development.
IV. "Workforce housing" means housing which is intended for sale and which is affordable to a household with an income of no more than 100 percent of the median income for a 4-person household for the metropolitan area or county in which the housing is located as published annually by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Workforce housing" also means rental housing which is affordable to a household with an income of no more than 60 percent of the median income for a 3-person household for the metropolitan area or county in which the housing is located as published annually by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing developments that exclude minor children from more than 20 percent of the units, or in which more than 50 percent of the dwelling units have fewer than two bedrooms, shall not constitute workforce housing for the purposes of this subdivision.

Source. 2008, 299:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.

Section 674:59

    674:59 Workforce Housing Opportunities. –
I. In every municipality that exercises the power to adopt land use ordinances and regulations, such ordinances and regulations shall provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for the development of workforce housing, including rental multi-family housing. In order to provide such opportunities, lot size and overall density requirements for workforce housing shall be reasonable. A municipality that adopts land use ordinances and regulations shall allow workforce housing to be located in a majority, but not necessarily all, of the land area that is zoned to permit residential uses within the municipality. Such a municipality shall have the discretion to determine what land areas are appropriate to meet this obligation. This obligation may be satisfied by the adoption of inclusionary zoning as defined in RSA 674:21, IV(a). This paragraph shall not be construed to require a municipality to allow for the development of multifamily housing in a majority of its land zoned to permit residential uses.
II. A municipality shall not fulfill the requirements of this section by adopting voluntary inclusionary zoning provisions that rely on inducements that render workforce housing developments economically unviable.
III. A municipality's existing housing stock shall be taken into consideration in determining its compliance with this section. If a municipality's existing housing stock is sufficient to accommodate its fair share of the current and reasonably foreseeable regional need for such housing, the municipality shall be deemed to be in compliance with this subdivision and RSA 672:1, III-e.
IV. Paragraph I shall not be construed to require municipalities to allow workforce housing that does not meet reasonable standards or conditions of approval related to environmental protection, water supply, sanitary disposal, traffic safety, and fire and life safety protection.

Source. 2008, 299:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.

Section 674:60

    674:60 Procedure. –
I. Any person who applies to a land use board for approval of a development that is intended to qualify as workforce housing under this subdivision shall file a written statement of such intent as part of the application. The failure to file such a statement shall constitute a waiver of the applicant's rights under RSA 674:61, but shall not preclude an appeal under other applicable laws. In any appeal where the applicant has failed to file the statement required by this paragraph, the applicant shall not be entitled to a judgment on appeal that allows construction of the proposed development, or otherwise permits the proposed workforce housing development to proceed despite its nonconformance with the municipality's ordinances or regulations.
II. If a land use board approves an application to develop workforce housing subject to conditions or restrictions, it shall notify the applicant in writing of such conditions and restrictions and give the applicant an opportunity to establish the cost of complying with the conditions and restrictions and the effect of compliance on the economic viability of the proposed development. The board's notice to the applicant of the conditions and restrictions shall constitute a conditional approval solely for the purpose of complying with the requirements of RSA 676:4, I(c)(1). It shall not constitute a final decision for any other purpose, including the commencement of any applicable appeal period.
III. Upon receiving notice of conditions and restrictions under paragraph II, the applicant may submit evidence to establish the cost of complying with the conditions and restrictions and the effect on economic viability within the period directed by the board, which shall not be less than 30 days.
(a) Upon receipt of such evidence from the applicant, the board shall allow the applicant to review the evidence at the board's next meeting for which 10 days' notice can be given, and shall give written notice of the meeting to the applicant at least 10 days in advance. At such meeting, the board may also receive and consider evidence from other sources.
(b) The board may affirm, alter, or rescind any or all of the conditions or restrictions of approval after such meeting.
(c) Subject to subparagraph (d), the board shall not issue its final decision on the application before such meeting, unless the applicant fails to submit the required evidence within the period designated by the board, in which case it may issue its final decision any time after the expiration of the period.
(d) If an applicant notifies the board in writing at any time that the applicant accepts the conditions and restrictions of approval, the board may issue its final decision without further action under this paragraph.
IV. A municipality may require that an applicant record restrictive covenants acceptable to the land use board that the workforce housing may not be rented to or sold to any household whose income is greater than that specified in RSA 674:58, IV. The covenant shall be for the term specified in the regulations of the land use board. The municipality may adopt regulations to insure compliance with the covenants, which regulations may include requirements for the monitoring of the project by the municipality or by a suitable third party agency qualified to carry out such requirements, including but not limited to requiring the production of annual income verification for renters and non-owner occupiers. The land use board may consider the existence of recorded covenants or income qualification and occupancy criteria as satisfying the purpose of this paragraph if such covenants or criteria are administered by a state or federal entity.

Source. 2008, 299:2. 2010, 150:1, eff. June 14, 2010.

Section 674:61

    674:61 Appeals. –
I. Any person who has filed the written notice required by RSA 674:60, and whose application to develop workforce housing is denied or is approved with conditions or restrictions which have a substantial adverse effect on the viability of the proposed workforce housing development may appeal the municipal action to the superior court under RSA 677:4 or RSA 677:15 seeking permission to develop the proposed workforce housing. The petition to the court shall set forth how the denial is due to the municipality's failure to comply with the workforce housing requirements of RSA 674:59 or how the conditions or restrictions of approval otherwise violate such requirements.
II. A hearing on the merits of the appeal shall be held within 6 months of the date on which the action was filed unless counsel for the parties agree to a later date, or the court so orders for good cause. If the court determines that it will be unable to meet this requirement, at the request of either party it shall promptly appoint a referee to hear the appeal within 6 months. Referees shall be impartial, and shall be chosen on the basis of qualifications and experience in planning and zoning law.
III. In the event the decision of the court or referee grants the petitioner a judgment that allows construction of the proposed development or otherwise orders that the proposed development may proceed despite its nonconformance with local regulations, conditions, or restrictions, the court or referee shall direct the parties to negotiate in good faith over assurances that the project will be maintained for the long term as workforce housing. The court or referee shall retain jurisdiction and upon motion of either party affirming that negotiations are deadlocked, the court or referee shall hold a further hearing on the appropriate term and form of use restrictions to be applied to the project.

Source. 2008, 299:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.

Small Wind Energy Systems

Section 674:62

    674:62 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Small wind energy system" means a wind energy conversion system consisting of a wind turbine, a tower, and associated control or conversion electronics, which has a rated capacity of not more than 100 kilowatts and which will be used in the first instance for onsite consumption.
II. "System height" means the height above grade of the tower plus the wind generator.
III. "Tower height" means the height above grade of the fixed portion of the tower, excluding the wind generator.
IV. "Wind generator" means blades and associated mechanical and electrical conversion components mounted on top of the tower.

Source. 2008, 357:1. 2010, 143:5, eff. Aug. 13, 2010.

Section 674:63

    674:63 Municipal Regulations of Small Wind Energy Systems. –
Ordinances or regulations adopted by municipalities to regulate the installation and operation of small wind energy systems shall not unreasonably limit such installations or unreasonably hinder the performance of such installations. Unreasonable limits or hindrances to performance shall include the following:
I. Prohibiting small wind energy systems in all districts within the municipality.
II. Restricting tower height or system height through application of a generic ordinance or regulation on height that does not specifically address allowable tower height or system height of a small wind energy system.
III. Requiring a setback from property boundaries for a tower greater than 150 percent of the system height. In a municipality that does not adopt specific setback requirements for small wind energy systems, any small wind energy system shall be set back from the nearest property boundary a distance at least equal to 150 percent of the system height; provided, however, that this requirement may be modified by the zoning board of adjustment upon application in an individual case if the applicant establishes the conditions for a variance under this chapter.
IV. Setting a noise level limit lower than specified by site evaluation committee rules, as measured at the site property line, or not allowing for limit overages during short-term events such as utility outages and severe wind storms.
V. Setting electrical or structural design criteria that exceed applicable state, federal, or international building or electrical codes or laws.

Source. 2008, 357:1, eff. July 11, 2009. 2018, 2:1, eff. Mar. 27, 2018.

Section 674:64

    674:64 Aviation Requirements. – Small wind energy systems shall be built to comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including 14 C.F.R. part 77, subpart B regarding installations close to airports, and the airport zoning regulations adopted under RSA 424:5.

Source. 2008, 357:1, eff. July 11, 2009.

Section 674:65

    674:65 Abandonment. – A small wind energy system that is out-of-service for a continuous 12-month period shall be deemed abandoned. The planning board administrator may issue a notice of abandonment to the owner of an abandoned small wind energy system. The owner shall have the right to respond to the notice of abandonment within 30 days from the receipt date. The planning board shall withdraw the notice of abandonment and notify the owner that the notice has been withdrawn if the owner provides the planning board with information demonstrating the small wind energy system has not been abandoned. If the small wind energy system is determined to be abandoned, the owner of the small wind energy system shall remove the wind generator from the tower at the owner's sole expense within 3 months of receipt of notice of abandonment. If the owner fails to remove the wind generator from the tower, the administrator may pursue a legal action to have the wind generator removed at the owner's expense.

Source. 2008, 357:1, eff. July 11, 2009.

Section 674:66

    674:66 Abutter and Regional Notification. –
I. (a) A municipal building inspector shall notify all abutters by verified mail, as defined in RSA 21:53, upon application for a building permit to construct a small wind energy system. Abutters shall be afforded a 30-day comment period prior to the issuance of a building permit. An appeal may be made to the building code board of appeals pursuant to RSA 674:34 or to the zoning board of adjustment pursuant to RSA 676:5, as may be appropriate.
(b) The cost of abutter notification shall be borne by the applicant.
(c) The building inspector shall provide notice of the application for a building permit to the local governing body.
II. The building inspector, acting as a local land use board pursuant to RSA 672:7, shall review an application for a small wind energy system pursuant to RSA 36:56 to determine whether it is a development of regional impact, as defined in RSA 36:55. If the building inspector determines that the proposal has the potential for regional impact, he or she shall follow the procedures set forth in RSA 36:57, IV.

Source. 2008, 357:1, eff. July 11, 2009. 2017, 59:2, eff. Aug. 1, 2017. 2019, 242:3, eff. Oct. 10, 2019.

Traditional Commercial and Recreational Fishing Protection Act

Section 674:67

    674:67 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Commercial fishing operation" means any type of activity conducted on land, requiring the location or storage of commercial fishing equipment such as fishing vessels, fishing gear, docks, piers, loading areas, landing areas, and cold storage facilities, including any activity necessary to prepare finfish or shellfish for refrigeration, conducted by any person licensed to take, possess, land, or transport, on the waters of New Hampshire, any marine species by any method for the purpose of sale. Commercial fishing operation shall not include operations with the sole or primary function of processing seafood.
II. "Recreational fishing operation" means a party or charter boat that takes paying passengers for recreational fishing in coastal waters.

Source. 2015, 236:2, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Section 674:68

    674:68 Protection of Commercial and Recreational Fishing Operations. – No commercial or recreational fishing operation shall be declared a public or private nuisance solely because of a change in ownership or a change in the character of the property in or around the locality of the operation.

Source. 2015, 236:2, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Section 674:69

    674:69 Local Ordinances Prohibited. – No local legislative body shall adopt any ordinance that declares any commercial or recreational fishing operation to be a nuisance solely because it is a commercial or recreational fishing operation, or any zoning ordinance that unreasonably burdens or forces the closure of any commercial or recreational fishing operation, including any fishing operation conducted as a home occupation. Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent a local government from regulating commercial and recreational fishing operations, including by requiring the use of methods, structures, or appliances where such use will prevent, ameliorate, or remove conditions which create or may create a nuisance.

Source. 2015, 236:2, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Section 674:70

    674:70 Construction of Subdivision. – This subdivision shall not be construed to permit an existing commercial or recreational fishing operation to change to a larger operation with regard to emitting more noise or odor, where such change violates local ordinances or regulations or creates a nuisance.

Source. 2015, 236:2, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Section 674:71

    674:71 Definition. – As used in this subdivision, "accessory dwelling unit" means a residential living unit that is within or attached to a single-family dwelling, and that provides independent living facilities for one or more persons, including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel of land as the principal dwelling unit it accompanies.

Source. 2016, 6:2, eff. June 1, 2017.

Section 674:72

    674:72 Accessory Dwelling Units. –
I. A municipality that adopts a zoning ordinance pursuant to the authority granted in this chapter shall allow accessory dwelling units as a matter of right or by either conditional use permit pursuant to RSA 674:21 or by special exception, in all zoning districts that permit single-family dwellings. One accessory dwelling unit shall be allowed without additional requirements for lot size, frontage, space limitations, or other controls beyond what would be required for a single-family dwelling without an accessory dwelling unit. The municipality is not required to allow more than one accessory dwelling unit for any single-family dwelling. The municipality may prohibit accessory dwelling units associated with multiple single-family dwellings attached to each other such as townhouses, and with manufactured housing as defined in RSA 674:31. Subsequent condominium conveyance of any accessory dwelling unit separate from that of the principal dwelling unit shall be prohibited, notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 356-B:5, unless allowed by the municipality.
II. If a zoning ordinance contains no provisions pertaining to accessory dwelling units, then one accessory dwelling unit shall be deemed a permitted accessory use, as a matter of right, to any single-family dwelling in the municipality, and no municipal permits or conditions shall be required other than a building permit, if necessary.
III. An interior door shall be provided between the principal dwelling unit and the accessory dwelling unit, but a municipality shall not require that it remain unlocked.
IV. Any municipal regulation applicable to single-family dwellings shall also apply to the combination of a principal dwelling unit and an accessory dwelling unit including, but not limited to lot coverage standards and standards for maximum occupancy per bedroom consistent with policy adopted by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. A municipality may require adequate parking to accommodate an accessory dwelling unit.
V. The applicant for a permit to construct an accessory dwelling unit shall make adequate provisions for water supply and sewage disposal for the accessory dwelling unit in accordance with RSA 485-A:38, but separate systems shall not be required for the principal and accessory dwelling units. In order to comply with this paragraph and prior to constructing an accessory dwelling unit, an application for approval for a sewage disposal system shall be submitted in accordance with RSA 485-A as applicable. The approved sewage disposal system shall be installed if the existing system has not received construction approval and approval to operate under current rules or predecessor rules, or the system fails or otherwise needs to be repaired or replaced.
VI. A municipality may require owner occupancy of one of the dwelling units, but it shall not specify which unit the owner must occupy. A municipality may require that the owner demonstrate that one of the units is his or her principal place of residence, and the municipality may establish reasonable regulations to enforce such a requirement.
VII. A municipality may establish standards for accessory dwelling units for the purpose of maintaining the aesthetic continuity with the principal dwelling unit as a single-family dwelling. A municipality may also establish minimum and maximum sizes for an accessory dwelling unit, provided that size may not be restricted to less than 750 square feet.
VIII. A municipality may not require a familial relationship between the occupants of an accessory dwelling unit and the occupants of a principal dwelling unit.
IX. A municipality may not limit an accessory dwelling unit to only one bedroom.
X. An accessory dwelling unit may be deemed a unit of workforce housing for purposes of satisfying the municipality's obligation under RSA 674:59 if the unit meets the criteria in RSA 674:58, IV for rental units.

Source. 2016, 6:2, eff. June 1, 2017. 2017, 89:1, eff. June 5, 2017; 238:4, eff. Sept. 16, 2017.

Section 674:73

    674:73 Detached Accessory Dwelling Units. – A municipality is not required to but may permit detached accessory dwelling units. Detached accessory dwelling units shall comply with the requirements of, and any municipal ordinances or regulations adopted pursuant to, RSA 674:72, IV through IX. If a municipality allows detached accessory dwelling units, it may require an increased lot size.

Source. 2016, 6:2, eff. June 1, 2017.

Protection of Pre-existing, Non-conforming Use Status for Summer Camps

Section 674:74

    674:74 Protection of Pre-existing, Non-conforming Use Status for Summer Camps. –
I. Notwithstanding any provision of law or municipal ordinance or regulation to the contrary, any summer camp that has been operating in the state of New Hampshire as a pre-existing, nonconforming use under its applicable zoning ordinance that either closed for the summer of 2020 and/or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or was forced to operate for a shorter season or at a reduced capacity during the summer of 2020 and/or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shall not lose its status as a pre-existing, non-conforming use due to either:
(a) Its failure to operate during the summer of 2020 and/or 2021; or
(b) Its operation for a shorter season or at a reduced capacity during the summer of 2020 and/or 2021.
II. The summer camp's status or ability to operate as a pre-existing, non-conforming use shall not be in any way affected by its failure to operate during the summer of 2020 and/or 2021, or its operation for a shorter season or at a reduced capacity during the summer of 2020 and/or 2021.

Source. 2021, 121:6, eff. July 9, 2021.