The state of New Hampshire still has lots of open green spaces, which means there is still quite a bit of land available for use. While these open spaces are beautiful, a few people would love to construct different buildings on them. Then there are others who want to expand on the land they already own. During all of these scenarios, people approach their local land use board for approval. The goal is to have the application approved. However, there are many times when the application is denied. When that happens, people have the right to a land-use appeal, which is appealing the original decision.
The local land use boards are typically zoning boards and planning boards. The people on those boards are responsible for approving or denying all site plan applications, subdivision applications, variances, and special exceptions. To reach their decision, the board utilizes all of the information presented to them by the applicant. If the information is within the state law and local ordinance provisions, the application is approved most of the time.
Land usage applications may be denied, or simply rejected, when information is missing, or evidence is lacking. The board can also deny an application if they believe it is not in the best interest of the public.
Land Use Appeals
Whenever a land use application is denied, the applicant always has the right to appeal the board’s decision if they believe the decision was made in error. The first step an applicant must take in the appeal process is to petition for a rehearing on the land use application. The petition must be filed within 30 days of issuance of the order in many municipalities in New Hampshire.
If the local board refuses to allow a rehearing for a denied or even rejected, land use application, an applicant does have another option. Within 30 days of the refusal, an applicant can appeal the decision to the Superior Court. If the appeal reaches this stage, the applicant must prove the original decision was unreasonable or unlawful.
All zoning and planning boards have great latitude while making decisions at the local level. But that doesn’t mean that those decisions cannot be re-examined and appealed in a higher court when an unreasonable denial is given.
If you have any questions about land use, applying for land-use scenarios, or even appealing a land use board’s decision, contact me today.