Archive for April, 2018

SB 557-FN: Housing Appeals Board

Where will New Hampshire’s workforce live?

We need to make sure all of our systems are working as efficiently as possible as developers try to respond to market demand for more affordable housing. 

Sponsors: Senators – Bob Giuda, Dan Feltes, Sharon Carson, David Watters, Jeb Bradley, Jeff Woodburn; Representatives – Dick Hinch, Ed Butler

Why SB557:

  • Property owners and housing developers who want to challenge local land use decisions face a costly and time-consuming process.
  • Some developers simply forego attempts to develop in communities where they anticipate opposition.
  • Others who take on that challenge often face years of litigation. Even if they prevail in court, the costs of litigation are only passed on to consumers through increased home purchase prices and rents.

How it will function:

  • As an alternative to trial court, the Housing Appeals Board will be able to review local planning and zoning board decisions and will provide a faster and less expensive appeals for developers and property owners.
  • The Board is specifically designed to have no impact on local control.
  • It will consist of three members appointed by the Supreme Court for three-year terms.
  • The Board will hear appeals of decisions by planning boards, zoning boards, and any other housing-related local permit or decision and the Board will have only those powers already exercised by superior court.
  • Board will have concurrent, appellate jurisdiction with superior court to hear appeals. The choice is exclusive – appellant must decide between superior court and the Board.
  • Appeals may only be brought by the applicant for a local permit; the municipality will be a party to the appeal; others with standing may be granted intervenor status
  • The Board must hold a hearing within 90 days of the appeal, and must make a decision within 60 days after the hearing. Total = 150 days from appeal.
  • Board decisions may be appealed to Supreme Court.
  • Board members will be paid full-time employees and must have experience in land use law and/or housing development; at least one must be a lawyer and at least one must be a professional engineer or land surveyor.

Endorsements: Business and Industry Association; NH Homebuilders Association; NH Association of Realtors; Housing Action NH; and NH Planners Association