Not many states in our country take pride in having their local boards regulating, and enforcing, municipal-specific issues. This includes local land use issues. In our state, we have the motto, “Live Free or Die”. Our state government prefers when localities take charge of issues affecting their homeowners. This is why New Hampshire has numerous laws that help create local boards. These boards are filled with people who follow the laws their municipalities have put in place when it comes to the local land use law for their area.
Zoning Boards of Adjustment
The local boards in New Hampshire are officially called Zoning Boards of Adjustment, or ZBAs. Each ZBA must have five members. These members can either be elected or appointed.
The General Functions of All New Hampshire ZBAs
All the ZBAs in New Hampshire perform the same general functions. They also have the same power and authority. Their main job is to interpret the local zoning ordinance. Once they interpret that ordinance, they are allowed to grant exceptions, variances, and waivers.
Anyone looking for an exception, variance, or waiver must fill out an application that includes why it is necessary for a zoning ordinance to be changed to meet their needs. ZBA members spend a lot of their time determining if an existing structure meets the current zoning laws and if an appeal of a municipal permit should be authorized.
An attorney is often needed to help navigate some of the requests presented to the ZBA. An attorney can assist the person in filling out the application so that continuances are not required due to insignificant information. This is necessary because most local boards only meet once per month. Any missing information can cause a delay that lasts months.
While local land-use laws may appear confusing, in reality, they are not. This information will get you started with being aware of how local zoning ordinances are changed where you live. The zoning board where you live can also be quite helpful if you have any questions.
If you are considering using property in a different way and need a change to the local zoning laws, I recommend contacting me today. I would be more than happy to help with the application process, so your project does not face major delays when you approach your local zoning board.