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A sensible veto: Meddling with local zoning

EDITORIAL
July 16. 2017 11:26PM


Each year, the New Hampshire Legislature considers hundreds of bills. Not all of them get much attention. Such was the case with House Bill 86, at least until Gov. Chris Sununu put the bill into the spotlight last week.

Sununu vetoed HB 86, the first, and so far only, bill he’s vetoed in his first year in office. He was right.

The bill would have micromanaged local zoning board procedures, forcing separate votes on each of five criteria that state law says must be considered before allowing a variance. Supporters say requiring five separate votes would protect local decisions from court challenges. But there is no reason for the state to require such meticulous procedures of local officials.

No one in the House or Senate questioned the need for such micromanagement. The bill went through the House on the Consent Calendar. Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, was the only member of the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee to oppose it.

The New Hampshire Homebuilders Association and the New Hampshire Realtors argued the bill would make variances much harder to get.

If towns want to go through the motions of considering five separate criteria for each zoning ordinance separately, they can. Many already do. HB 86 is part of a Concord Knows Best attitude that often crosses party lines.

We urge the Legislature to uphold Sununu’s veto of HB 86.


State Government Editorial