2020 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title LXIV - Planning and Zoning
Title 672 - General Provisions
Section 672:1 - Declaration of Purpose.

Universal Citation: NH Rev Stat § 672:1 (2020)
    672:1 Declaration of Purpose. –
The general court hereby finds and declares that:
I. Planning, zoning and related regulations have been and should continue to be the responsibility of municipal government;
II. Zoning, subdivision regulations and related regulations are a legislative tool that enables municipal government to meet more effectively the demands of evolving and growing communities;
III. Proper regulations enhance the public health, safety and general welfare and encourage the appropriate and wise use of land;
III-a. Proper regulations encourage energy efficient patterns of development, the use of solar energy, including adequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy uses, and the use of other renewable forms of energy, and energy conservation. Therefore, the installation of solar, wind, or other renewable energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of renewable energy shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal zoning powers or by the unreasonable interpretation of such powers except where necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare;
III-b. Agriculture makes vital and significant contributions to the food supply, the economy, the environment and the aesthetic features of the state of New Hampshire, and the tradition of using the land resource for agricultural production is an essential factor in providing for the favorable quality of life in the state. Natural features, terrain and the pattern of geography of the state frequently place agricultural land in close proximity to other forms of development and commonly in small parcels. Agricultural activities are a beneficial and worthwhile feature of the New Hampshire landscape. Agritourism, as defined in RSA 21:34-a, is undertaken by farmers to contribute to both the economic viability and the long-term sustainability of the primary agricultural activities of New Hampshire farms. Agricultural activities and agritourism shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or by the unreasonable interpretation of such powers;
III-c. Forestry, when practiced in accordance with accepted silvicultural principles, constitutes a beneficial and desirable use of New Hampshire's forest resource. Forestry contributes greatly to the economy of the state through a vital forest products industry; and to the health of the state's forest and wildlife resources through sustained forest productivity, and through improvement of wildlife habitats. New Hampshire's forests are an essential component of the landscape and add immeasurably to the quality of life for the state's citizens. Because New Hampshire is a heavily forested state, forestry activities, including the harvest and transport of forest products, are often carried out in close proximity to populated areas. Further, the harvesting of timber often represents the only income that can be derived from property without resorting to development of the property for more intensive uses, and, pursuant to RSA 79-A:1, the state of New Hampshire has declared that it is in the public interest to encourage preservation of open space by conserving forest and other natural resources. Therefore, forestry activities, including the harvest and transport of forest products, shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or by the unreasonable interpretation of such powers;
III-d. For purposes of paragraphs III-a, III-b, III-c, and III-e, "unreasonable interpretation" includes the failure of local land use authorities to recognize that agriculture and agritourism operations or activities as defined in RSA 21:34-a, forestry, renewable energy systems, and commercial and recreational fisheries, when practiced in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, are traditional, fundamental and accessory uses of land throughout New Hampshire, and that a prohibition upon these uses cannot necessarily be inferred from the failure of an ordinance or regulation to address them;
III-e. All citizens of the state benefit from a balanced supply of housing which is affordable to persons and families of low and moderate income. Establishment of housing which is decent, safe, sanitary and affordable to low and moderate income persons and families is in the best interests of each community and the state of New Hampshire, and serves a vital public need. Opportunity for development of such housing shall not be prohibited or unreasonably discouraged by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or by unreasonable interpretation of such powers;
III-f. New Hampshire commercial and recreational fisheries make vital and significant contributions to the food supply, the economy, the environment, and the aesthetic features of the state of New Hampshire, and the tradition of using marine resources for fisheries production is an essential factor in providing for economic stability and a favorable quality of life in the state. Many traditional commercial and recreational fisheries in New Hampshire's rivers and estuarine systems are located in close proximity to coastal development. Such fisheries are a beneficial and worthwhile feature of the New Hampshire landscape and tradition and should not be discouraged or eliminated by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or the unreasonable interpretation of such powers.
IV. The citizens of a municipality should be actively involved in directing the growth of their community;
V. The state should provide a workable framework for the fair and reasonable treatment of individuals;
V-a. The care of up to 6 full-time preschool children and 3 part-time school age children in the home of a child care provider makes a vital and significant contribution to the state's economy and the well-being of New Hampshire families. The care provided through home-based day care closely parallels the activities of any home with young children. Family based care, traditionally relied upon by New Hampshire families, should not be discouraged or eliminated by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or the unreasonable interpretation of such powers; and
VI. It is the policy of this state that competition and enterprise may be so displaced or limited by municipalities in the exercise of the powers and authority provided in this title as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this title.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 68:1; 335:3; 369:1. 1989, 42:1; 170:1. 1990, 174:1; 180:1, 2. 1991, 198:1. 2002, 73:1. 2008, 299:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2010; 357:2, 3, eff. July 11, 2009. 2016, 267:2, 3, eff. June 16, 2016. 2019, 338:4, eff. Sept. 5, 2019.

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