NH Waterfront Regulations

What is Grandfathered?

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Here is an excerpt from my article on "Grandfathered" assets in the Lakes Region

Establishing if something is "Grandfathered" on the water.

Grandfathered assets on Lake Winnipesaukee

Since this comes up a lot in waterfront purchases, let's use a real world example. Boathouses are the crown jewel up here in the lakes region. (Here are some Boathouses on Lake Winnipesaukee!) If you are purchasing a property with a boathouse, you must be satisfied about one of two criteria.

First, if the structure can be proven to exist without alteration, prior to July 2, 1969, then it is most likely "grandfathered"**. Second, if the construction happened after July 2, 1969 and permits can be produced to show the structure in its current location, size and configuration, then it's also most likely "grandfathered".**

Grandfathered structures can be maintained, but in most cases have to be kept in the same place without altering the structure's size or configuration**.  Be careful of boathouses that may have grown over time or suddenly have finished space that was not permitted.

Read the whole article here.

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.

NH Shoreland Protection News - Happening Fast

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Dear NHSA Members,

Things are happening quickly at the NH Legislature and there are a number of shorefront related bills this week.

Of primary importance is Senator Bradley's bill, SB154, which makes a number of reforms to the Shoreland Protection Act.  While this legislation may require a few more edits, the Board has worked closely with Sen. Bradley to create a number of both minor and significant changes to the CSPA.

This bill clarifies and simplifies the standards and permitting requirements.  You can read the full text here.  The hearing for this bill is scheduled for Thursday 2/17/11 at 9:45am in the Legislative Office Building (LOB) room 102 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Everyone is welcome at the hearing.

If you have any comments, but cannot attend the hearing, you can link to the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee here.  Senator Bob Odell is chairman.

While we believe that SB154 is the best compromise legislation to provide clarity and streamline the shoreland process, there are a couple other bills relating to the CSPA on Thursday:

SB124 - relative to the comprehensive shoreland protection act.  Click here for bill language.  Hearing 2/17/11 9:30am LOB room 102 - Senate E&NR Committee.

HB-470 - repealing the comprehensive shoreland protection act.  Click here for bill language.  Hearing 2/17/11 10:00am LOB room 305 - House RR&D Committee.

Thank you to the many Shorefront Association Members who have renewed their memberships and asked a friend to join.  Please remember we are asking everyone to solicit a friend or neighbor to join our growing membership.  Our on-going lobbying and monitoring efforts depend on members like you. Please get your friends and neighbors involved!

Click here to print a membership form.

Thank You,

Board of Directors

NH Shorefront Association


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More valuable information from the NH Shorefront Owners Association

Important information, please take note:

HB-490 UPDATE: The NH House Ways & Means Committee voted HB 490 ITL (Inexpedient To Legislate) earlier this week. This legislation could have had significant financial implications for shorefront property owners.

Discussions under review were leading legislators to consider a tax on shoreline frontage on all bodies of water retained by state owned dams. This tax, as discussed, ranged from $0.25 to $0.50 per foot of shoreline annually. Two frustrations for those involved were the potential for administrative inefficiencies at the state level and the obvious costs incurred to set-up a program which currently does not exist. Please keep in mind that there is no organized system for the state to know who owns shorefront property, how much frontage they own as well as no provision to collect these taxes.

In our opinion, the inefficiencies in the administration of any such program would have rendered it financially irresponsible. Through diligent lobbying efforts by the NHSA, and many others along the way, this bill will be recommended Inexpedient to Legislate before the House when the body begins its work in January.

Please visit: www.nhshorefront.org/monitor.htm to learn more and see the list of LSR's. We will update the links when language becomes available.

Without your help and input, these types of Bills could become Law. Ask someone to join today - Click here to print a membership form.

Thank You,

Board of Directors

NH Shorefront Association


NH Shoreland protection news

DES has released another edition of the "Critical Edge" Shoreland Newsletter.

Click here to read This includes a good description of projects which do not need a CSPA permit.

The NH Shorefront Association is beginning to prepare for the 2009 Legislative Session and is looking forward to working with all interested stakeholders to protect the interests of shorefront property owners while recognizing the need for water quality.

We need members!  Please discuss our organization and website with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to join and get involved!  Everyone - please try and get one new member to join!

Thank You,

Board of Directors

NH Shorefront Association


"The Critical Edge", NH DES gives news about the CSPA

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The bottom line is everyone would prefer clean lakes, rivers and streams. New Hampshire's DES has been working very hard on the new Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. In a continuing effort to inform the public and waterfront owners about the changes in the regulations and the enforcement of the rules, they have produced their first edition of "The Critical Edge" newsletter.

Read Newsletter

Now go dig your foundations before July 1, 2008

Shoreland Protect update

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Dear Prospective NHSA Members,


SB-352 Changes to the CSPA:


The NH House RR&D committee voted 15-2 to recommend approval of the amended version of this bill.  These changes clarify the impervious limits to either 20% or 30% and simplify the requirements for increase from 20% to 30% by removing the requirement of a deed restriction.  Click here to read the amendment.


CSPA Effective Date - July 1, 2008:


The House RR&D Committee voted to "concur" with the NH Senate in their amendment to HB-1601 change of the effective date to July 1st.  This was later supported by a vote of the full House changing the effective date of the CSPA to July 1, 2008.  We expect the Governor will sign this bill in the next few days.


Again, we apologize for the confusing nature of these updates, but this has been a very confusing process.  Thanks for bearing with us...


Remember, we are a growing organization and need new members.  Please, discuss these issues with your neighbors and let's work towards getting all shorefront owners involved.  PLEASE JOIN TODAY!!!  http://www.nhshorefront.org/


Thank You,


Board of Directors

NH Shorefront Association