Legislative Update – Crossover Edition

April 11, 2024 marks the official Crossover date in the New Hampshire legislature, though many housing related priorities have already crossed over from one chamber to the other. See below for the latest snapshot on key housing bills.

Parking.

HB 1400. Passing on a voice vote in the House, this bill provides that zoning and planning regulations shall not require more than one residential parking space per unit – a common sense solution to outdated parking requirements. This bill had a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on April 9.

SB 538. The HOMEnibus, which passed the Senate on a voice vote, also includes a provision that would require consideration of alternative parking provisions from developers. The bill also includes expansion of RSA 79-E for commercial to residential conversions, and enables municipalities to allow a governing body to adopt zoning changes.

Missing Middle.

Accessory Dwelling Units. After receiving a strong vote in the House of 220-143, HB 1291 will be heard by the Senate Commerce Committee. HB 1291 would update the ADU law to better align with historical patterns of development and maintain reasonable flexibility for municipalities.

Duplexes. Also receiving a strong House vote of 220-140, HB 1399 would allow expansion of a single family residence within a residential zone in an urban area to no more than 2 residential units without discretionary review or a hearing if the proposed development meets certain requirements. The bill had a hearing before the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee on April 9.

Recovery Housing.

HB 1521 refines the definition of recovery houses and eases zoning restrictions. It passed the House on a voice vote and heads to the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee. 

Abutter Definition. 

Strongly endorsed by the House with a vote of 264-88, HB 1359 clarifies the definition of abutter. The bill had a hearing before the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee on March 26 and has the support of the NH Municipal Association, the Business and Industry Association, NH Association of Realtors, the NH Planners Association and Housing Action NH. 

Manufactured Housing.

Passed on a voice vote in the House, HB 1361 improves the manufactured housing statute, allowing for reasonable and realistic for the development of manufactured homes and manufactured housing parks. The Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs held a hearing on the bill on April 9.

Affordable Housing Financing.

Affordable Housing Fund. After a strong Senate endorsement of SB 454 that would double the real estate transfer tax formula to the Affordable Housing Fund, the House Ways and Means Committee gave the bill an interim study recommendation in a vote of 11-8. The bill now heads to the House floor.

Historic Housing Tax Credit. Although Senate Ways and Means recommended the creation of a new historic housing preservation tax credit as proposed in SB 364, the Senate confirmed the Finance Committee’s interim study recommendation.

Driveway Permitting Timelines.

The House passed HB 1202 on April 11. This bill resulted from testimony before the Special Committee on Housing regarding permitting bottlenecks and now heads to the Senate.

Homeless Services/Housing Stability

Homeless Services Funding. The Senate has passed SB 406, which includes a special appropriation of $2.5 million for homeless service providers with existing state contracts. The bill now heads to the House.

Renovation Evictions. Despite support in Committee, the Senate tabled SB 519 that would have created a 60 day notice for renovation evictions.

Good Cause Eviction. Following a tight House vote, HB 1115 was heard by the Senate Commerce Committee on April 9. Housing Action NH opposes this proposal to add end of lease term and erode good cause eviction protections. 

FEDERAL

Conviction and Arrest Records. HUD has released a new proposed rule that would revise existing regulations that govern admission for applicants with criminal records. The proposed revisions would require that prior to any discretionary denial or termination for criminal activity, Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and assisted housing owners take into consideration multiple sources of information, including but not limited to the recency and relevance of prior criminal activity. The new rules are intended to minimize unnecessary exclusions from these programs while allowing providers to maintain community health and safety. Comments are due by June 10, 2024.  You can find the proposed rule and submit comments at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2024/04/10/2024-06218/reducing-barriers-to-hud-assisted-housing.

EVENTS

How are Policymakers Improving Access to Lower-Cost Homes?  April 19, 2024. Join housing experts from The Pew Charitable Trusts at Saint Anselm College to discuss their latest research on policy changes that are improving housing supply and affordability.

The discussion, organized by the Center for Ethics in Society, will examine how policymakers across the country are effectively addressing housing shortages, soaring costs, and limited access to financing. In particular, the event will cover multiple topics at the heart of current housing policy debates, including rents and effects on housing costs, public opinion, homelessness, parking, accessory dwelling units and manufactured housing. To register: https://www.anselm.edu/about/anselmian-hub/events/how-are-policymakers-improving-access-lower-cost-homes/april-19th-2024-1000am

2024 Planning and Zoning Conference, May 11, 2024. The Office of Planning and Development organizes this annual conference by providing informational sessions on planning and zoning issues for members of municipal land use boards. To register: https://www.nheconomy.com/office-of-planning-and-development/what-we-do/municipal-and-regional-planning-assistance/osi-planning-and-zoning-conferences.