Chapter 162-C

Section 162-C:1

    162-C:1 Council Established. –
There is established a council on resources and development which shall include the following members:
I. The commissioner or appropriate division director, department of business and economic affairs, or designee, who shall serve as chairperson of the council.
II. The commissioner or assistant commissioner, department of environmental services, or designee.
III. The commissioner or appropriate division director, department of agriculture, markets, and food, or designee.
IV. The executive director or appropriate division director, fish and game department, or designee.
V. The commissioner or assistant commissioner, department of safety, or designee.
VI. The commissioner of the department of health and human services or a member of the senior management team, or designee.
VII. The commissioner or assistant commissioner, department of education, or designee.
VIII. The commissioner or assistant commissioner, department of transportation, or designee.
IX. The commissioner or appropriate division director, department of natural and cultural resources, or designee.
X. The commissioner or appropriate division director, department of administrative services, or designee.
XI. The executive director or chairman of the New Hampshire housing finance authority, or designee.

Source. 1963, 301:1. 1965, 212:1. 1986, 176:3; 202:6, I(c), (f). 1987, 283:5. 1995, 130:4; 310:182. 1999, 59:1. 2001, 249:2. 2003, 319:9,127. 2004, 171:19; 257:44. 2008, 150:1, eff. June 6, 2008. 2017, 156:43, 44, 64, eff. July 1, 2017. 2021, 91:199, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 162-C:2

    162-C:2 Responsibilities. –
The council shall:
I. Consult upon common problems in the fields of environmental protection, natural resources, and growth management including the encouragement of smart growth;
II. Consult with, negotiate with, and obtain information from, any federal or state agency concerned with any of the council's problems, reports, recommendations or studies;
III. Make biennial reports and recommendations, as may be desirable, to the governor and council;
IV. Make studies and recommendations concerning changes to effectively coordinate the work of the agencies which have membership in the council;
V. Resolve differences or conflicts concerning development, resource management, or the encouragement of smart growth which result from the work of any agency represented on the council in developing policies, plans, or programs. The council shall investigate; if possible, resolve the problem; and if appropriate, submit its recommendations to the governor and council or to the general court. If investigation by the council shows that the laws and rules of an agency represented on the council are in conflict with those of another agency, the council shall submit a report with recommendations to the governor and council or to the general court;
VI. Resolve differences and conflicts among the agencies and departments of the state in the implementation of the tourism policy under RSA 12-O:14;
VII. Review the disposal of state owned real property pursuant to RSA 4:40;
VIII. Provide oversight relative to the statewide public boat access program, work with the public water access advisory board and provide recommendations to the governor and executive council regarding public access;
IX. Complete the smart growth report required under RSA 9-B:6;
X. Review and coordinate the distribution of funds by state agencies to local and regional entities to encourage consistency with and provide support for New Hampshire's smart growth policies under RSA 9-B:4;
XI. Review the following actions by state agencies and ensure, in consultation with the long range capital planning and utilization committee established by RSA 17-M:1-3, that these actions are taken into consideration in the long range capital improvement program that is updated every 2 years in conjunction with the capital budget process, and provide recommendations to the governor regarding whether the actions are consistent with New Hampshire's smart growth policies under RSA 9-B:5:
(a) Capital budget requests;
(b) Building operation and maintenance plans; and
(c) Facility location and planning; and
XII. Facilitate coordination of state agencies to support local, regional, and state planning efforts consistent with RSA 9-A:1-4.

Source. 1963, 301:2. 1965, 212:2. 1973, 140:7. 1981, 364:1. 1986, 165:3; 224:5. 1987, 283:6, 7. 1992, 265:6. 2000, 292:7. 2001, 249:3. 2006, 307:2. 2008, 150:2, eff. June 6, 2008. 2017, 156:59, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 162-C:3

    162-C:3 Tenure of Members. – Members shall serve without compensation, and any member's term of office shall terminate when he ceases to be a member of the state agency he represents.

Source. 1963, 301:3. 1965, 212:3, eff. July 1, 1965.

Section 162-C:4

    162-C:4 Meetings. – The council shall meet at least once every 3 months, but may meet more often as it shall determine. The chairman shall prepare and deliver an agenda to all members at least 7 days in advance of each meeting. The council shall provide a copy of the minutes from each meeting to the senate president, the speaker of the house of representatives, the long range capital planning and utilization committee, and the governor and council.

Source. 1963, 301:4. 1965, 212:4. 1987, 283:8. 2006, 307:3, eff. July 1, 2006.

Section 162-C:5

    162-C:5 Staff. – The council may employ staff needed to carry out its responsibilities.

Source. 1981, 364:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1981.

Land Conservation Investment Program

Section 162-C:6

    162-C:6 Purpose; Management. –
I. The general court recognizes that in order to maintain New Hampshire's distinctive quality of life, strong economic growth must be balanced with responsible conservation initiatives, and that the history of conservation in New Hampshire has been marked by cooperation among government, business, individuals, and conservation organizations. The general court further recognizes the strong traditions of both public and private land ownership and use, and the need to respect investments in the conservation of natural resource lands in the state for the perpetual use of the people of New Hampshire. In addition, the general court recognizes that the land conservation investment program was undertaken, in part, with significant donations of cash and land value by citizens of the state who intended that the conservation value of these lands be protected in perpetuity.
II. In addition to its other responsibilities, the council shall manage and administer the lands acquired and funds established under the land conservation investment program under the former RSA 221-A, according to the provisions of this subdivision and consistent with agreements entered into with persons with ownership interests in such lands.
III. The council shall manage the lands acquired under the former RSA 221-A so as to preserve the natural beauty, landscape, rural character, natural resources, and high quality of life in New Hampshire. The council shall maintain and protect benefits derived from such lands and maintain public access to such lands, where appropriate. On state-owned lands, whenever the council shall deem it in the best interest of conservation and protection of the values outlined in this section, it may, with the consent of the governor, authorize the exchange of any interest in the property when the conservation values of the property would be degraded if no action were taken. Prior to submitting a request to the governor to exchange any interest in the property, the council shall provide at least 30 calendar days advance notice to the local governing body and conservation commission. Such exchanges shall be reviewed and approved by the council, shall involve lands contiguous to the original acquisition which have equal or greater conservation value, and shall convey only those interests necessary to compensate for the potential degradation.
IV. Notwithstanding paragraphs I-III, the council shall recognize that the interest of public safety and welfare may, from time to time, require minor expansion, minor modification, or minor alteration of existing roads within the state highway system. After review and approval by the council, and notwithstanding RSA 162-C:10, the department of transportation may obtain interests in lands acquired under the former RSA 221-A adjacent to state highways. Permissible expansion, modification, or alterations under this section shall include drainage easements, slope easements, lane widening, the addition of a passing, climbing, or turning lane, or similar adjustments, but shall not include construction of a new highway or portion thereof, construction of a bypass for an existing highway, or similar major alterations. Approval shall not be granted if reasonable and prudent alternatives exist nor if individual or cumulative approvals are likely to materially impair the conservation purposes for which the parcel was originally protected. Projects determined by the council to be outside of the scope permitted by this subdivision shall require approval from the general court.
V. The review and approval process required by paragraph IV shall give full consideration to the management provisions contained in paragraphs I-III. The department of transportation shall submit a written request to the council with plans and supporting documentation to demonstrate compliance with the provisions of this chapter. A quorum of the council, consisting of at least 6 members, shall hold a public hearing within 90 days of receipt of a complete request to release land conservation investment program interests. The council shall provide at least 10 calendar days notice in advance of such hearing. Notification shall be made, at the expense of the department, to the landowner, local governing body and conservation commission, abutters, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, The Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation, and the county conservation district, or their successors. Notification of the public hearing shall be published, by the department, in a paper of general circulation in the municipality and shall be posted, by the department, in at least 2 public places. At the hearing or within 15 days after the hearing, a majority of the council members attending the hearing shall vote to approve or deny the application, unless a time extension is requested by the department. Aggrieved parties, which include all parties who must be notified under this paragraph, may appeal the council's decision to the superior court in the same manner as planning board decisions are appealed under RSA 677:15.
VI. Compensation for any interest in land obtained by the state department of transportation under this section shall be at the appraised full fair market value of those property interests at the time of the department's acquisition. Alternative forms of compensation such as replacement land with comparable conservation value, or a combination of monetary compensation and replacement land may be considered in appropriate circumstances provided all parties owning an interest in the property agree to such terms.
VII. Compensation due to the state under this section shall be deposited in the trust fund of the New Hampshire land and community heritage investment program established under RSA 227-M and used for the purposes of that program. Compensation due to municipalities shall be dedicated to the acquisition or monitoring of protected lands consistent with the purposes of this chapter. Compensation due to landowners of conservation easement lands shall be as specified in the conservation easement, deed, or as otherwise negotiated. Any party aggrieved by the amount of compensation may file a petition with the superior court in the same manner as damage appeals are filed from the board of tax and land appeals under RSA 498-A:27.

Source. 1995, 10:4. 1998, 364:1. 2000, 245:2, eff. June 8, 2000.

Section 162-C:7

    162-C:7 Powers and Duties. – The council shall oversee, direct, and expend funds in the monitoring endowment of the former New Hampshire land conservation investment program in accordance with the purposes of this subdivision and RSA 227-M:12. This includes, but is not limited to, the authority to draw upon funds for the administrative costs of the endowment.

Source. 1995, 10:4. 2000, 245:3, eff. June 8, 2000.

Section 162-C:8

    162-C:8 Monitoring Endowment. –
I. The monitoring endowment established by the board of directors pursuant to former RSA 221-A:5, III shall be maintained in perpetuity and shall be utilized by the council only for the purposes of monitoring and enforcing the property rights of persons with ownership interests in property acquired through the former land conservation investment program. Additional contributions to the endowment pursuant to RSA 227-M:12, I shall be accounted for separately and shall be utilized only for the purposes of RSA 227-M:12, II. Additional gifts, donations, and grants to the endowment may be utilized for monitoring and enforcing other land conservation interests that may be acquired by the state of New Hampshire.
II. The principal of the endowment shall be managed by the state treasurer for the sole purpose of providing a perpetual source of income, as defined by the state treasurer, for the purposes set forth in this subdivision and RSA 227-M:12.
III. Any income earned on the endowment principal which is not used for the purposes set forth in this subdivision and RSA 227-M:12 within the fiscal year in which it is earned shall be nonlapsing. The state treasurer is authorized to accept gifts, donations, and grants, including federal gifts, donations, and grants, for the purposes set forth in this chapter, and such gifts, donations and grants shall be added to the principal amount.
IV. The council shall, pursuant to the monitoring endowment established under former RSA 221-A:5, III, and the provisions of RSA 162-C:8, I, prepare an annual report to be presented no later than December 1 of each year to the speaker of the house, the president of the senate, the governor, the house clerk, the senate clerk, and the state library. The report shall include a listing of all lands and interests in lands subject to the monitoring provisions of RSA 162-C:7, I and a complete financial accounting of the funds in the monitoring endowment including expenditures for the most recent full fiscal year. The report shall also summarize monitoring activities and findings for each property, as conducted in the most recent full fiscal year.

Source. 1995, 10:4. 2000, 245:4. 2002, 86:2. 2004, 257:47. 2007, 151:1, eff. Aug. 17, 2007.

Section 162-C:9

    162-C:9 Management. –
I. Each assignment of land under this subdivision to a state agency or a municipality shall be subject to review and reassignment if the council deems it advisable.
II. No lands purchased in fee for permanent state ownership under the former RSA 221-A shall be posted to prohibit hunting or fishing, unless the council, by a majority vote of the voting members, deems such posting to be necessary to protect the interests of the state and the safety of its citizens, or upon recommendation of the fish and game commission or the division of forests and lands.

Source. 1995, 10:4. 2006, 307:4, eff. July 1, 2006.

Section 162-C:10

    162-C:10 Public Trust. – The lands and interests in lands acquired under the former RSA 221-A through the use of the trust fund for the program shall be held in public trust and used and applied for the purposes of this subdivision. Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the disposal of publicly-owned real estate, no deviation in the uses of any land or interest in land so acquired to uses or purposes not consistent with the purposes of this subdivision shall be permitted. The sale, transfer, conveyance, or release of any such land or interest in land from public trust is prohibited.

Source. 1995, 10:4, eff. April 12, 1995.

Section 162-C:11

    162-C:11 Public Access; Liability. – No person, or the person's successor in title, who has granted or sold rights of public access by virtue of an easement, right-of-way, development right, or other means in accordance with the purposes of this subdivision shall be liable to a user of that right of access for injuries suffered on that portion of the access way unless those injuries are caused by the willful or wanton misconduct of the grantor or successor in title.

Source. 1995, 10:4, eff. April 12, 1995.

Commission to Develop a Land Conservation Plan

Section 162-C:12

    162-C:12 Repealed by 2015, 174:2, eff. Dec. 31, 2016. –