Analysis of SB 538

Section 2

Original bill allows office-to-residential conversion. Amendment allows from office, commercial or industrial to residential.

Section 3

If the legislative body of a municipality adopts this section, gives the municipality’s governing body ability to grant tax relief for up to 20 years to owners (developers!) converting offices to residential. That tax “relief would then be shared by the rest of taxpayers. 2nd worse provision in bill/amendment. Pay-to-play!

Section 6

“Alternative Procedures for Adopting Zoning Ordinances” – Would have a one-time warrant article placed on ballots that would place all future zoning changes in the hands of the governing body instead of the municipality’s voters. This is very bad because it places zoning changes in hands of a few, rather than the citizens. Dangerous, and ripe for pay-to-play. Probably the worst provision in the bill/amendment.

Section 7 “Lot Sizes” [in original bill, appears removed and replaced]

Where private water and sewer exist, in residential zoning, 50% of lots can NOT have a size requirement, and are only limited by sewer disposal. So if you have sufficient drainage on ¼ acre lots, and the current town min size lot is 2 acres, the municipality would be forced to allow 8 building lots.
Where sewer is provided, minimum lot sizes of greater than 10,000 sq/ft would be prohibited by this RSA.

Section 7 (Amendment)

Requires a planning board to “consider” an applicant’s alternative parking plan, then says “shall approve” an applicant’s alternative parking plan. Then the planning board is the one who must request third party review, not the applicant. This is backward.

Section 8 – “Inclusionary Zones” [in amendment]

Mandates municipalities give a 25% higher density allowance in existing zones, or an extra story on the building above existing zoning. Worse, allows waivers for just about anything. Again, pay-to-play.