Proposed Housing Appeals Board Would Rob NH Residents of Local Control - Granite Grok

Proposed Housing Appeals Board Would Rob NH Residents of Local Control

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There’s no better place to begin a discussion of the new legisaltive year than a bill designed to shift power away from locals to the “experts” in the State Capitol. HB104-2019 would create a Housing appeals board. Put simply, the purpose of this body is to override local zoning rules that prevent developers from building whatever they want. 

Related: Don’t Give In to Regional Planners…

Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

The Busines Industry of New Hampshire (BIA-NH) supports HB104. In a Union Leader Op-Ed they announced that,

“This January, BIA will be working to pass legislation establishing a state-level administrative housing appeals board (similar in concept to the state land and tax appeals board) to give developers the ability to appeal local zoning decisions that unfairly restrict housing development without having to endure the time and expense of suing in Superior Court.”

Expense? Make note of that.

Bedford Resident Jane Aitken sounded the alarm in her own town where the bill would favor local developers who have been fighting locals to get projects approved.

This proposed “housing appeals board” would essentially seek to override and overrule local control by allowing developers to sidestep local zoning laws that have been established by the vote of the people in the town. We question, and would challenge the legality of giving this authority to such an unelected board, a governing entity that was created out of thin air.

The Union Leader jumped in to remind its readers that HB104 is bad for New Hampshire.

How is it a good idea for an unelected state board to be in a position to overrule local zoning decisions made by the people in the community most affected by those decisions? This isn’t a statewide gas line or highway project, these are housing units and developments that can very much affect, and change, neighborhoods, schools, and local taxes.

It’s Regional Planning By Committee (Again)

A driving force behind HB104 appears to be the local objection to high-density housing. Those familiar with Regional Planning Commissions and the various HUD scams to lock local towns into signing away taxpayer authority over zoning will know it as Workforce housing. Getting HUD-Winked could give away water-rights, force towns to take in and support refugees and make zoning and other decisions subject to federal rules, bypassing elected town and state officials as well as the funding process for these demands.

None of these assertions are a myth. The public record has plenty of examples of top-down boards and commissions filled with unelected bureaucrats forcing changes at the local level that will cost taxpayers a fortune in perpetuity.

HB104 creates a paid unelected board to overrule local zoning restrictions created by voters and taxpayers.

So, how do they respond if this becomes law?

Irony Alert

HB104 wants to do developers a favor at the expense of local control. Save them the bother of going to court. But the new board is the court. Unless I’m reading it wrong HB1014 gives the Housing Appeal Board Superior Court powers. If you want to appeal the ruling of the ruling class housing board of appeals you pay them $500.00 to begin an appeals process through them.

How will that turn out?

Towns will (inevitably) be taking the housing appeals board (the AG’s office) to the real Superior Court. So,  does HB104, aside from taking local control from taxpayers, take developers off the hook for those court costs?

Any legal challenge to a State Appeals board decision would be borne by taxpayers of the town challenging the decision. Taxpayers of the state will pay legal fees to back the Housing Appeals Board’s right to rob towns of local control. All while taxpayers are paying the appeals board’s operating costs and salaries.

One more point of interest. The Bill as written exempts “all Discussions and actions by the housing appeals board… concerning procedural, administrative, legal, and internal matters” from New Hampshire’s Right to Know Law.

The bill’s sponsors? Rep. L. Ober, Hills. 37; Rep. Leishman, Hills. 24; Sen. Carson, Dist 14.

One Democrat and two ‘Republicans.’ And Senator Sharon Carson’s husband Greg runs HUD for the Northeast. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.