New Hampshire Department Of Environmental Services

NH Shoreland Protection Law - Summary of Changes

Local and well respected builder, Joe Skiffington, just provided this helpful summary of what was passed in the Senate.

March 20, 2011 UPDATE New Hampshire Senate Bill 154, passed by the Full Senate on March 16, 2011 and is now off to the NH House.

The following items are addressed by the reform:

  1. The Act will rename CSPA as the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act.  By including "water quality" in the title, the Act will emphasize the purpose of regulating shore-land development to protect the quality of New Hampshire's lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
  2. The standards applicable to the redevelopment of existing, nonconforming structures is rewritten to allow greater flexibility for landowners.  Under the reform language, existing structures can be repaired, replaced in kind, and reconstructed in place.  The alteration and expansion of nonconforming structures is also permitted, provided the structure is changed in a manner that makes it more nearly conforming to the standards of the Act.
  3. The existing tiered requirement to preserve up to 50% of buildable areas as unaltered would be replaced.  Instead, the Bill establishes a uniform 25% requirement for all shorefront properties regardless of lot size.
  4. The tree scoring system applicable within the waterfront buffer (the area within 50' of the water) would be revised to increase credit for larger, more mature trees and to encourage the planting of shrubs and groundcover.
  5. Limitations on the percentage of impervious coverage is relaxed, provided storm-water management systems are designed (and implemented) to encourage storm-water infiltration and to control runoff and erosion.
  6. The review periods afforded to the Department are shortened for faster decision making.
  7. The Department will establish a permit by notification (PBN) process for approving smaller projects that propose minimal upland impacts or the restoration of previously disturbed areas.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates as this all unfolds! Joe Skiffington

Renaming the Shoreland Protection Laws?

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The NH Shorefront Association is really staying on top of the current legislation in Concord. The proposed bill will hopefully change the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection act for the better, including the Name! The proposed name is "Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act." I really like the name change as it focuses us on what is most important, the water quality of our invaluable lakes.

Here is their latest update.

There are developments regarding two of the shorefront related bills:    Senator Bradley's bill, SB154, which makes a number of reforms to the Shoreland Protection Act, was amended and approved by the Senate Energy & Environment Committee in a unanimous vote of Ought To Pass (OTP).  Among many other changes, this bill clarifies and simplifies the standards and permitting requirements.

The NHSA Board and membership worked closely with Sen. Bradley and a number of others to edit this amended bill to simplify, clarify, and hopefully gain efficiency in the regulations to protect private property rights balanced with protections for water quality.  This bill also changes the name to the "Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act".  The full text of the amendment is not yet available on-line, however, we will issue an update soon as this bill will now move to Finance and the House.  More as this develops...

SB142 - which makes changes to the NH DES permit process to allow an "integrated permit process" for those projects which require multiple permits, was voted "re-refer" the bill for further study.  Click here for bill language.  The NHSA Board supports this concept, but believes that more work is necessary to better define the process and procedure.  This concept will be debated in the fall.