What is The Governor's New Plan?
First, an Update on SB 306 - Housing Appeals Board
Was the Governor pandering to developers when he requested the formation of the Housing Appeals Board in 2018 which failed in the House with HB 557 and again in 2019 with HB 104? Since then, the HAB was embedded in the budget (via SB 306) and will take effect in 2021. It would give developers the potential to override local zoning decisions.
Here is an update on the problems with that bill.
Senator Regina Birdsell (R) has filed a bill to repeal it. So far several State Reps and two other Senators will sign on to co-sponsor the bill with Senator Birdsell. These co-sponsors are Republicans AND Democrats who know this is as an overreach by the state. We urge others to sign on.
LSR 2020-2813 (to become an SB) Title: "repealing the housing appeals board".
Sponsors: (Prime) Senator Regina Birdsell (R)
There are several other bills being watched which have the potential to affect local control. You can follow on our Bill Watch page which we update regularly. We won't know the actual intent of some of these bills until we see the text.
The Governor's New Plan is Regionalism
and a Nightmare for Established Towns
See WMUR and Patch for his announcement.
The excuse for this plan is the phony "housing shortage" which the government has no business managing in the first place.
We have included the text of TWO new bills that have been proposed to support the Governor's new plan to flood NH with MORE low-income, and therefore likely more high-density housing.
One bill (Griffiths) changes the language in the WFH law to "mandate" more low-income housing (which translates to more apartments) while also "requiring" re-education for zoning board members in the "new urbanism-speak". The other (Alexander) provides more tax breaks for developers.
Language not in the Griffiths bill, but included in the documents provided by the plan reflects the same goals as the internationally-bred "new urbanism" craze that has been introduced into every town in the USA. Under “Enhanced Tools for Local Zoning and Planning Boards” one recommendation suggests forming yet another bureaucracy, a “Joint Housing Resource Council (JHRC)” to introduce to the zoning boards during "required" training every “new urbanism” meme one could possibly imagine: “…Compact Downtown, Village Districts, Cluster Development, Form-based / Character-based historic districts, Inclusionary / density bonus overlay, Mixed-Use Zoning, and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)” et al.
In addition to "mandatory inclusionary zoning", we see that instead of "may" complete training, zoning board members now "shall" be forced to cooperate "with regional planning commissions".
Regionalism is unconstitutional.
Those of us knowledgeable about regionalism know that the claim that this plan will “enhance” local control is a complete falsehood. Regionalism by definition is central planning.
Language in the bills referring to Workforce Housing has also been changed. (Again we wish to clarify that the price of a unit is not in question, but the idea of mandating WFH usually means the proliferation of more apartments.) In the past, towns were merely asked to provide "opportunities" for WFH, and the law also stipulated that the location of any projects must be deemed "appropriate" by the town boards and voters, giving the locals the final say.
We question whether the state has the right, under the NH Constitution, to manage housing and migration with mandates to the towns, or to "retrain" zoning boards to accept "new urbanism" principles especially when the voters do NOT want them.
Of the Governor we would ask, does your plan seem congruent with the goals of someone who is supposedly protecting NH from higher taxes? Does it seem to preserve local control, or to violate it by setting up mandates in conjunction with unelected regional planners?
The only conclusion we can possibly come to is that this attempt at micromanagement of housing by the "state" is pure Bolshevism and doesn't belong in NH.
Previous article about this plan.
Added reading on the political ramifications of putting towns under the jurisdiction of "city-states", which is also one of the goals of "new urbanism" by redefining political divisions...
In 1998, the Brookings Institute sponsored an event titled The State of Cities. One of the participants, Camille Barnett spoke very frankly about the conversion to the new system of political organization around the concept of sustainable "city-states". Camille Barnett was a representative for local governments in the Alliance for Redesigning Government organization. "In this context, the regionalism they were talking about was the establishment of the city-state, mega-regions". Remember, the mechanism for conversion to regions ruled by Soviets was created by transportation legislation. The commuter rail bill was allowed to go through without a veto!
The Reinvention of America
"Knowledge is Power"