PLANNING AND ZONING
LOCAL LAND USE PLANNING AND REGULATORY POWERS
674:21 Innovative Land Use Controls.
I. Innovative land use controls may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Timing incentives.
(b) Phased development.
(c) Intensity and use incentive.
(d) Transfer of density and development rights.
(e) Planned unit development.
(f) Cluster development.
(g) Impact zoning.
(h) Performance standards.
(i) Flexible and discretionary zoning.
(j) Environmental characteristics zoning.
(k) Inclusionary zoning.
(l) Impact fees.
(m) Village plan alternative subdivision.
(n) Integrated land development permit option.
II. An innovative land use control adopted under RSA 674:16 may be required when supported by the master plan and shall contain within it the standards which shall guide the person or board which administers the ordinance. An innovative land use control ordinance may provide for administration, including the granting of conditional or special use permits, by the planning board, board of selectmen, zoning board of adjustment, or such other person or board as the ordinance may designate. If the administration of the innovative provisions of the ordinance is not vested in the planning board, any proposal submitted under this section shall be reviewed by the planning board prior to final consideration by the administrator. In such a case, the planning board shall set forth its comments on the proposal in writing and the administrator shall, to the extent that the planning board's comments are not directly incorporated into its decision, set forth its findings and decisions on the planning board's comments.
III. Innovative land use controls must be adopted in accordance with RSA 675:1, II.
IV. As used in this section:
(a) "Inclusionary zoning" means land use control regulations which provide a voluntary incentive or benefit to a property owner in order to induce the property owner to produce housing units which are affordable to persons or families of low and moderate income. Inclusionary zoning includes, but is not limited to, density bonuses, growth control exemptions, and a streamlined application process.
(b) "Phased development" means a development, usually for large-scale projects, in which construction of public or private improvements proceeds in stages on a schedule over a period of years established in the subdivision or site plan approved by the planning board. In a phased development, the issuance of building permits in each phase is solely dependent on the completion of the prior phase and satisfaction of other conditions on the schedule approved by the planning board. Phased development does not include a general limit on the issuance of building permits or the granting of subdivision or site plan approval in the municipality, which may be accomplished only by a growth management ordinance under RSA 674:22 or a temporary moratorium or limitation under RSA 674:23.
V. As used in this section "impact fee" means a fee or assessment imposed upon development, including subdivision, building construction, or other land use change, in order to help meet the needs occasioned by that development for the construction or improvement of capital facilities owned or operated by the municipality, including and limited to water treatment and distribution facilities; wastewater treatment and disposal facilities; sanitary sewers; storm water, drainage and flood control facilities; municipal road systems and rights-of-way; municipal office facilities; public school facilities; the municipality's proportional share of capital facilities of a cooperative or regional school district of which the municipality is a member; public safety facilities; solid waste collection, transfer, recycling, processing, and disposal facilities; public library facilities; and public recreational facilities not including public open space. No later than July 1, 1993, all impact fee ordinances shall be subject to the following:
(a) The amount of any such fee shall be a proportional share of municipal capital improvement costs which is reasonably related to the capital needs created by the development, and to the benefits accruing to the development from the capital improvements financed by the fee. Upgrading of existing facilities and infrastructures, the need for which is not created by new development, shall not be paid for by impact fees.
(b) In order for a municipality to adopt an impact fee ordinance, it must have enacted a capital improvements program pursuant to RSA 674:5-7.
(c) Any impact fee shall be accounted for separately, shall be segregated from the municipality's general fund, may be spent upon order of the municipal governing body, shall be exempt from all provisions of RSA 32 relative to limitation and expenditure of town moneys, and shall be used solely for the capital improvements for which it was collected, or to recoup the cost of capital improvements made in anticipation of the needs which the fee was collected to meet.
(d) All impact fees imposed pursuant to this section shall be assessed at the time of planning board approval of a subdivision plat or site plan. When no planning board approval is required, or has been made prior to the adoption or amendment of the impact fee ordinance, impact fees shall be assessed prior to, or as a condition for, the issuance of a building permit or other appropriate permission to proceed with development. Impact fees shall be intended to reflect the effect of development upon municipal facilities at the time of the issuance of the building permit. Impact fees shall be collected at the time a certificate of occupancy is issued. If no certificate of occupancy is required, impact fees shall be collected when the development is ready for its intended use. Nothing in this subparagraph shall prevent the municipality and the assessed party from establishing an alternate, mutually acceptable schedule of payment of impact fees in effect at the time of subdivision plat or site plan approval by the planning board. If an alternate schedule of payment is established, municipalities may require developers to post bonds, issue letters of credit, accept liens, or otherwise provide suitable measures of security so as to guarantee future payment of the assessed impact fees.
(e) The ordinance shall establish reasonable times after which any portion of an impact fee which has not become encumbered or otherwise legally bound to be spent for the purpose for which it was collected shall be refunded, with any accrued interest. Whenever the calculation of an impact fee has been predicated upon some portion of capital improvement costs being borne by the municipality, a refund shall be made upon the failure of the legislative body to appropriate the municipality's share of the capital improvement costs within a reasonable time. The maximum time which shall be considered reasonable hereunder shall be 6 years.
(f) Unless otherwise specified in the ordinance, any decision under an impact fee ordinance may be appealed in the same manner provided by statute for appeals from the officer or board making that decision, as set forth in RSA 676:5, RSA 677:2-14, or RSA 677:15, respectively.
(g) The ordinance may also provide for a waiver process, including the criteria for the granting of such a waiver.
(h) The adoption of a growth management limitation or moratorium by a municipality shall not affect any development with respect to which an impact fee has been paid or assessed as part of the approval for that development.
(i) Neither the adoption of an impact fee ordinance, nor the failure to adopt such an ordinance, shall be deemed to affect existing authority of a planning board over subdivision or site plan review, except to the extent expressly stated in such an ordinance.
(j) The failure to adopt an impact fee ordinance shall not preclude a municipality from requiring developers to pay an exaction for the cost of off-site improvement needs determined by the planning board to be necessary for the occupancy of any portion of a development. For the purposes of this subparagraph, "off-site improvements" means those improvements that are necessitated by a development but which are located outside the boundaries of the property that is subject to a subdivision plat or site plan approval by the planning board. Such off-site improvements shall be limited to any necessary highway, drainage, and sewer and water upgrades pertinent to that development. The amount of any such exaction shall be a proportional share of municipal improvement costs not previously assessed against other developments, which is necessitated by the development, and which is reasonably related to the benefits accruing to the development from the improvements financed by the exaction. As an alternative to paying an exaction, the developer may elect to construct the necessary improvements, subject to bonding and timing conditions as may be reasonably required by the planning board. Any exaction imposed pursuant to this section shall be assessed at the time of planning board approval of the development necessitating an off-site improvement. Whenever the calculation of an exaction for an off-site improvement has been predicated upon some portion of the cost of that improvement being borne by the municipality, a refund of any collected exaction shall be made to the payor or payor's successor in interest upon the failure of the local legislative body to appropriate the municipality's share of that cost within 6 years from the date of collection. For the purposes of this subparagraph, failure of local legislative body to appropriate such funding or to construct any necessary off-site improvement shall not operate to prohibit an otherwise approved development.
(k) Revenue from impact fees imposed upon development and collected by a municipality under RSA 674:21, V for construction of or improvement to municipal road systems may be expended upon state highways within the municipality only for improvement costs that are related to the capital needs created by the development. Such improvements may include items such as, but not limited to, traffic signals and signage, turning lanes, additional travel lanes, and guard rails. No such improvements shall be constructed or installed without approval of the state department of transportation. In no event shall impact fees be used for any improvements to roads, bridges, or interchanges that are part of the interstate highway system. Nothing in RSA 674:21, V shall be construed as allowing or authorizing additional impact fees merely by virtue of having approved the expenditure of collected fee revenue for construction of or improvement of state highways, nor shall it be construed as allowing the adoption of new impact fees devoted to assessing impacts to state highways.
(l) No later than 60 days following the end of the fiscal year, any municipality having adopted an impact fee ordinance shall prepare a report listing all expenditures of impact fee revenue for the prior fiscal year, identifying the capital improvement project for which the fees were assessed and stating the dates upon which the fees were assessed and collected. The annual report shall enable the public to track the payment, expenditure, and status of the individually collected fees to determine whether said fees were expended, retained, or refunded.
VI. (a) In this section, "village plan alternative" means an optional land use control and subdivision regulation to provide a means of promoting a more efficient and cost effective method of land development. The village plan alternative's purpose is to encourage the preservation of open space wherever possible. The village plan alternative subdivision is meant to encourage beneficial consolidation of land development to permit the efficient layout of less costly to maintain roads, utilities, and other public and private infrastructures; to improve the ability of political subdivisions to provide more rapid and efficient delivery of public safety and school transportation services as community growth occurs; and finally, to provide owners of private property with a method for realizing the inherent development value of their real property in a manner conducive to the creation of substantial benefit to the environment and to the political subdivision's property tax base.
(b) An owner of record wishing to utilize the village plan alternative in the subdivision and development of a parcel of land, by locating the entire density permitted by the existing land use regulations of the political subdivision within which the property is located, on 20 percent or less of the entire parcel available for development, shall grant to the municipality within which the property is located, as a condition of approval, a recorded easement reserving the remaining land area of the entire, original lot, solely for agriculture, forestry, and conservation, or for public recreation. The recorded easement shall limit any new construction on the remainder lot to structures associated with farming operations, forest management operations, and conservation uses, and shall specify that the restrictions contained in the easement are enforceable by the municipality. Public recreational uses shall be subject to the written approval of those abutters whose property lies within the village plan alternative subdivision portion of the project at the time when such a public use is proposed.
(c) The submission and approval procedure for a village plan alternative subdivision shall be the same as that for a conventional subdivision. Existing zoning and subdivision regulations relating to emergency access, fire prevention, and public health and safety concerns including any setback requirement for wells, septic systems, or wetland requirement imposed by the department of environmental services shall apply to the developed portion of a village plan alternative subdivision, but lot size regulations and dimensional requirements having to do with frontage and setbacks measured from all new property lot lines, and lot size regulations, as well as density regulations, shall not apply.
(1) The total density of development within a village plan alternate subdivision shall not exceed the total potential development density permitted a conventional subdivision of the entire original lot unless provisions contained within the political subdivision's land use regulations provide a basis for increasing the permitted density of development within a village plan alternative subdivision.
(2) In no case shall a political subdivision impose lesser density requirements upon a village plan alternative subdivision than the density requirements imposed on a conventional subdivision.
(d) If the total area of a proposed village plan alternative subdivision including all roadways and improvements does not exceed 20 percent of the total land area of the undeveloped lot, and if the proposed subdivision incorporates the total sum of all proposed development as permitted by local regulation on the undeveloped lot, all existing and future dimensional requirements imposed by local regulation, including lot size, shall not apply to the proposed village plan alternative subdivision.
(e) The approving authority may increase, at existing property lines, the setback to new construction within a village plan alternative subdivision by up to 2 times the distance required by current zoning or subdivision regulations, subject to the provisions of subparagraph (c).
(f) Within a village plan alternative subdivision, the exterior wall construction of buildings shall meet or exceed the requirements for fire-rated construction described by the fire prevention and building codes being enforced by the state of New Hampshire at the date and time the property owner of record files a formal application for subdivision approval with the political subdivision having jurisdiction of the project. Exterior walls and openings of new buildings shall also conform to fire protective provisions of all other building codes in force in the political subdivision. Wherever building code or fire prevention code requirements for exterior wall construction appear to be in conflict, the more stringent building or fire prevention code requirements shall apply.
VII. In this section, "integrated land development permit option" means an optional land use control to allow a project to proceed, in whole or in part, as permitted by the department of environmental services under RSA 489.
Source. 1983, 447:1. 1988, 149:1, 2. 1991, 283:1, 2. 1992, 42:1. 1994, 278:1. 2002, 236:1, 2. 2004, 71:1, 2; 199:2, 3. 2005, 61:1, 2. 2008, 63:1. 2012, 106:1, 2. 2013, 270:5, 6. 2015, 31:1, eff. July 6, 2015. 2016, 6:3, 4, eff. June 1, 2017.