Legislative Update: March 12, 2019
By BOB QUINN
Vice President of Government Affairs
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:
House committee supports new arsenic standards
The House Natural Resources Committee voted 17-1 to adopt a maximum contaminant limit for arsenic to a value not to exceed 5 micrograms per liter for both groundwater and public water systems. The current standard is 10 micrograms. Only one other state in the country, New Jersey, has a standard lower than 10 micrograms.
While House Bill 261 only mandates remediation in public water supplies, most water testing labs use NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) advisory levels for private well water. DES estimates that remediation of private wells to meet the new standard will cost homeowners between $56 to $112 million.
The full House will vote on the measure later this week. Most water contamination limits have historically been left to experts at the NH DES or the US Environmental Agency (EPA). However, the legislature is showing more interest in setting water standards itself.
Tiny homes, big debate
House Bill 312 would require “tiny houses” as a matter of right in all municipal zoning districts that permit single family dwellings. The bill would allow these homes to be built on either a permanent foundation or on a chassis. HB 312 would also mandate that towns allow tiny house parks.
NHAR supports the concept behind the legislation. The bill brought out a number of supporters and a few critics – not surprisingly, the NH Municipal Association was not supportive.
The House Municipal Committee discussed retaining the bill and continue to work on it this fall.
Legislature to look at impediments to development
Senate Bill 43 would establish a commission to study barriers to increased land development in New Hampshire. NHAR, the Business and Industry Association (BIA) and Home Builders Association will join various conservation groups and municipal representatives to look at current patterns of land development in New Hampshire, especially residential development and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, as well as identification of barriers to increasing the density of land development.
The bill has passed out of the Senate and will likely be taken up in the House of Representatives next month.
To view the most recent legislative chart, click here. If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2019 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact NHAR Vice President of Government Affairs Bob Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-225-5549.
"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."
Jim Lee, 2021 President, New Hampshire REALTORS