March 7, 2016
Wetlands setback, short-term rental ban,
NHAR drone law amendment
By Bob Quinn
Government Affairs Director, NH REALTORS®
Here are a few items being explored in the New Hampshire legislature that are of potential interest to the real estate community and being watched closely by your New Hampshire REALTORS government affairs team:
New Hampshire currently does not have a state mandated development setback from wetlands – although about 30 New Hampshire towns have designated certain areas as “prime wetlands,” which come with a state mandated 100-foot setback. HB 486 would change that and require a statewide 100-foot natural vegetation buffer which must be maintained from all “high value wetlands” and 50 feet from any Tier 3 or larger stream. If HB 486 were to be enacted, it is estimated that one-third to one-half of all remaining developable land in the state would become non-developable.
NHAR opposes the bill. The House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee has retained HB 486, meaning they chose to take no action this session, and instead will study the issue further.
SB 173 would have granted authority to municipalities to ban short-term rentals from all accessory dwelling units. NHAR was the only voice in opposition to the bill, as it would have fundamentally altered the ability of a homeowner to rent out a portion of his or her own property.
Towns currently have the right to pass ordinances subjecting property owners to noise, sanitation, parking and other nuisance violations. An outright ban on renting would be an unnecessary infringement on the rights of the property owner, and quite possibly unconstitutional.
Fortunately, the Senate agreed with NHAR and voted to reject the bill.
The original version of HB 97 would have required permission from all neighbors when utilizing a drone to market a property. NHAR suggested an amendment which would exempt anyone with a New Hampshire professional license (such as a Realtor) from being subject to that requirement as long as they are performing reasonable tasks within the scope of their license, and provided that the drone is not be used to obtain information about any individual. The bill passed unanimously out of committee.