Some elements in our state are trying to force longtime-established single-family zoned neighborhoods into multi-family neighborhoods. Their goal is to eradicate the suburbs and morph towns into cities.

We urge the NH Senate to reject HB 1291 on the following basis:

– This bill’s provision amount to zoning by the State in a one-size-fits-all manner, rather than by the municipalities themselves. It does not give back, but instead takes away property rights in that it takes away the choice of SF neighborhoods from buyers.

– When zoning is done by the State using a top-down mandate, exis!ng property owners are penalized for the benefit of a few.

– If residents did not want to live in SF neighborhoods, why has no one tried to remove zoning altogether via the warrant article process?

– If HB 1291 passes, single-family residential lots would now be converted to three-family rental properties “by right” (bureaucratic state mandates), under the guise of “ADUs”.

– Current RSAs allow municipalities to make their own zoning changes by warrant article at the annual vote.

– Current RSAs already allow one ADU by right and one detached ADU.

– If HB 1291 passes, single family homes will then be bought by developers, eliminating the SF housing supply and exacerbating an already low supply of SF housing.

– HB 1291 will permanently alter the face of single-family neighborhoods, forever.

– The changeover will be gradual, but 5-10 years out, it will be too late.

– The idea of letting the state mandate housing rules, sets a dangerous precedent of “central planning”

– This legislation forces municipalities to allow two additional rental units, one attached and one attached/unattached.

– This legislation forces municipalities to increases the size of the first rental unit to no less than 1000 sq/ft, and the additional unit to no less than 850sq/ft. If a municipality does not limit sizes, there are in effect no limits to how big these units can be. Any/both ADUs could be bigger than the single-family residence itself.

– If you have a garage, you can convert it to a rental unit. If you have additional space above a garage, you can convert it to another rental unit. Have a big shed in the backyard? You can convert it to a rental unit.

– According to the proposed legislation, the second rental shall be required to meet the definition of “workforce housing” and shall be required to meet the definition of “affordable” as defined in the RSAs and recorded in the Registry of Deeds. This is purely a form of rent control, and the House has recently killed two bills dealing with rent control.

– On smaller lots with a the primary residence, rental units #1 and #2 could potentially take up
nearly every square foot of the property. So where would the cars park? That is covered by the following proposed language: “at a legally dedicated off-site location at the property owner’s discretion” could mean one block, two blocks, a half mile or even several miles away from the property. What it more likely is that the renters would end up parking on, and clogging up the streets near the units.

What impact would HB 1291 have on our NH communities?

– First, there is the negative aesthetic and social effects on the neighborhoods. Let’s say you bought in a neighborhood consisting of single-family homes. You had the expectation that the zoning would remain the same as when you bought. But now, your neighborhood is going to change dramatically and not for the better. Worst of all, you and your neighbors will have zero input in determining the matter because this zoning change was mandated and dictated from the central planners in Concord, not by changes proposed and passed in a warrant article that was voted on by you and your neighbors, as is the normal and proper process.

– There will be increased demands on municipal water and sewer infrastructure. There will be a requirement for increased police and EMT presence and increased trash collection. What is the increased cost going to be for the taxpayers? Are the required sewer/water upgrades paid for by the State (this is a state unfunded mandate)? How many new school-aged kids will be enrolling when the rental units each have one, two or more children living on the property? Does an extra $1,000 or two collected in property taxes for the added rental units justify the $20,000 in additional costs to the taxpayers for each child? Without having voted to approve this zoning change, taxpayers/homeowners will be covering all these added costs for the benefit of a few property owners.


– The additional rental structures allowed by HB 1291 would be by mandate at the state level, thereby taking away “local control” from the municipalities. This is socialist “central planning” at its worst.

– To be clear, the phrase in the language used within the legislation “allowed as a matter of right” means municipalities MUST allow two ADU’s, anything else is not an option.

– Progressive politicians in Concord do NOT understand or know the needs and wants of distant municipalities such as Pittsburg, or Hampton, or Lebanon, or Nashua or your town or city. To believe that these politicians and bureaucrats “know better than you” is simply wrong.

Do not infringe on the municipality’s role of zoning.