Legislative Update: June 12, 2018
By BOB QUINN
Government Affairs Director
As the 2018 Legislative Session winds down, 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:
Towns gain options to expand broadband; telecoms must be included
Towns can now use bonding authority to construct broadband infrastructure to serve locations currently unserved. Communities would need to issue a request for proposal to engage in a public-private partnership to extend the broadband availability within their municipality.
Many Realtors have expressed concerns about the effect that a lack of broadband coverage has on rural housing prices.
In the past, telecommunications companies had opposed allowing towns to bond for broadband infrastructure out of concern that it would be unfair competition from the public sector. Senate Bill 170 requires that a town work with an established telecom as opposed to the town creating its own broadband utility.
The bill takes effect on July 29, 2018.
Real estate licensees permitted to sell tax-deeded land on behalf of the municipality
The Governor recently signed into law Senate Bill 504 (Chapter Law 118) which allows the governing body in a municipality to dispose of tax-deeded properties by engaging a real estate agent or broker to list and sell the property. Previously, the town could only sell the property through either a public auction or by advertised sealed bids.
The bill also allows the town to sell undeveloped parcels of tax-deeded properties to an abutter for consolidation into adjoining lots for affordable housing development, preserving open spaces, or reducing development density.
The bill goes into effect July 29, 2018.
How to vote on a variance
In 2017, NHAR helped convince the Governor to veto a bill which would have required every Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to take individual votes on the so-called "five-part test" before approving a variance. That would have meant increased costs, delays and more denials.
The same bill popped up this year for another go at it, but NHAR continued its opposition (and even the NH Municipal Association testified it was problematic), and the legislature eventually came around and amended the bill. With the changes, NHAR was able to support the final legislation
House Bill 1215 requires the ZBA to use one voting method consistently for all applications until it formally votes to change the method. NHAR is unaware of any community which altered its voting methods depending on the application, but having clear language in statute is always a good idea.
The Governor has signed the bill, and it will go into effect in August.
For the most recent legislative chart, click here.
If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2018 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact Bob Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-225-5549.
For more information, please contact Bob Quinn at 603-225-5549 or email@example.com.
Amidst the sea of change to which the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS has played witness in its 85 years, one thing that has remained constant is the Realtor 'R' and the value we bring to every real estate transaction in which we take part. We are part of a unique community where our familial cooperation transcends our business competition. These are not mere platitudes, but our living ideals, and they are, in fact, the foundation on which we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day affairs.
Dan O'Halloran (at right), 2019 President, New Hampshire REALTORS