Legislative Update Jan. 23, 2024

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Changes proposed to septic process

House Bill 1113 would make several significant changes to the existing statutory requirement for sellers on developed waterfront to perform a septic site assessment prior to the execution of the P&S. (RSA 485-A) 

The bill would prevent any property with a failed system from transferring, with no exceptions. It also would change the definition of “Developed Waterfront” from 200 feet to 250 feet from property line to shoreline.

And if the system is older than 20 years or never received approval, the seller would be required to perform a septic evaluation in addition to a site assessment.

NHAR was the only voice in opposition at the hearing, although REALTORS did agree that the current site assessment mandate is clearly not working as intended. 

The sponsor of HB 1113 indicated she was open to working with both NHAR and the NH Department of Environment Services on a potential amendment. Those discussions are ongoing with a final vote in the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee next month.

Housing Appeals Board

The NH Housing Appeals Board (HAB) is an alternative forum to the Superior Court with regard to planning and zoning appeals. The intent is to make such appeals faster and less expensive for property owners in questions of residential housing development. The HAB has been successfully operating in New Hampshire since 2021. 

House Bill 1602 would expand the scope of the HAB to include appeals from state agencies. For instance, if a property owner felt the NH Department of Environmental Services incorrectly denied a permit which impacted a residential housing project, that decision could be appealed to the HAB. Currently, such appeals generally go to the Superior Court. 

NHAR supports the bill. The hearing on the legislation is scheduled for this week.

Condo Day at the State House

Last week, the House Commerce Committee held a series of hearings on legislation dealing with condominium boards and their instrument: HB 1357, relative to how often a board must meet; HB 1172, relative to notification requirements of meetings; HB 1224, relative to quorums for certain board actions; HB 1306, relative to special assessments for capital improvements; HB 1129, relative to proxy voting; and HB 1645, establishing a condominium dispute resolution board.

The Commerce Committee will likely take action on these bills next month. NHAR will continue to monitor the debates on all condominium bills. 

Quote of the Week

“Realtors can speak at the local level at their town meetings and at their zoning boards, one that there’s a shortage of housing, two that increased housing is not going to mean their taxes are going to go sky high because of increased students. That’s the sort of misinformation that’s perpetuated, and we can show in lots of different studies where there’s really not a good correlation.”

2024 NHAR President Joanie McIntire, New Hampshire Business Review. Jan 9, 2024: Realtor association seeks to debunk kids/taxes equation

For more information, contact New Hampshire Realtors CEO Bob Quinn: bob@nhar.com.

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