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Author Topic: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire  (Read 2818 times)

Libertinian

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Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« on: December 07, 2015, 02:27:43 am »

So my wife and I are planning to move to southwest New Hampshire in about a year. As we are looking at properties we are finding many that we like but aren't necessarily setup the way are planning on using it - for example, there may be a nice house with plenty of acreage but the area is wooded, or completely lawn. We are planning on creating a homestead like space on the land - gardens, building small barns/farm structures/etc., keeping horses, tending smaller livestock/birds (e.g. sheep, goats, ducks, etc.) for personal consumption and perhaps for sale.

The concern I have is regarding different town's attitudes towards converting space for this type of use. Are there any towns which are known for being accommodating or difficult? Obviously I don't want to spend years fighting with the local zoning commission if I can avoid it. Has anyone done this type of thing? What was your experience?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 02:34:21 am by Libertinian In Iowa »
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JasonPSorens

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Re: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2015, 09:20:47 am »

Converting from lawn or forest to other agricultural-type uses doesn't raise any zoning issues whatsoever. The only thing to be aware of is that there are regulations on "current use": if you have 10 acres or more, you can put at least 10 acres into conservation or agricultural use, which drastically reduces property taxes. The only thing planning and zoning boards get leery about is building new residential or commercial structures.
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porcupineamy

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Re: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2015, 10:53:28 am »

Generally speaking, most rural towns won't take issue with you building a barn/shed, but zoning regulations vary by town. Some might require approval, and others may not. Oftentimes, the approval is just a formality.

If you'd like to discuss this further, feel free to reach out to us at Team Porcupine Real Estate - info@porcupinerealestate.com. We'd be happy to answer any questions you have and set you up on a listing cart so that you can start gauging the real estate market.
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freedomroad

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Re: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 06:45:07 pm »

If you live in an urban area, or the urban part of a city, you could have a bad time with this. However, I don't think that is true for the only urban area in southwestern NH - Keene. You might want to avoid Keene anyway, for other reasons. I recommend speaking with area farmers and such before you buy. Your real estate agent should help you with this.
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Libertinian

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Re: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2015, 10:24:35 pm »

Thank you all very much for the info - it is encouraging that things may be easier than i suspect. My apologies on the delay in my reply, I have been travelling for work.
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Fishercat

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Re: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2015, 02:14:48 pm »

Converting from lawn or forest to other agricultural-type uses doesn't raise any zoning issues whatsoever. The only thing to be aware of is that there are regulations on "current use": if you have 10 acres or more, you can put at least 10 acres into conservation or agricultural use, which drastically reduces property taxes. The only thing planning and zoning boards get leery about is building new residential or commercial structures.

The State Department of Environmental Services requires Alteration of Terrain permission for modifying slopes, etc, which may be necessary for agricultural purposes. They also regulate the clearing of forest land. I don't know at what level they get involved. Clearing trees is also a source of tax revenue for the town, and a permit may be required for the purpose of accessing lumber tax.

If land is "wetlands," this is heavily regulated at the State and often the town level as well. Any disturbance of a wetland requires permits and may be denied entirely. Similarly, the "Shoreland Protection" regulations are very extensive and can prevent even minor construction or alteration on waterfront properties.

The EPA's Wastewater Regulations are being propagated up the Merrimack River rapidly. I haven't followed what's going on in the Western part of the State, but I'd be surprised if the Connecticut River Valley didn't have similar regulations. Under threat of massive penalties, towns are being forced to implement extensive regulations of drainage and storm water management in areas which have always been considered too rural for such worries.

Lastly, I saw some recent chatter the the Federal Gov. wants to designate a big section of the Conn. River Valley as a wildlife preserve of some sort. I assume regulations will follow.
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freedomroad

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Re: Zoning Concerns In Southwest New Hampshire
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2015, 10:51:38 am »

Lastly, I saw some recent chatter the the Federal Gov. wants to designate a big section of the Conn. River Valley as a wildlife preserve of some sort. I assume regulations will follow.

The feds are likely to move forward to buy land in several towns near the River from willing sellers. Much of the plan violates state law. I doubt any towns or the state will create additional regulations to hurt local owners, though additional regulations blocking the feds might happen.
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