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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.

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