State Sen. Bob Giuda is misguided if he thinks the answer to every problem is a bigger hammer.
The one he snuck into the Senate version of the New Hampshire operating budget ought to be removed from that bill.
Giuda and some big land developers don’t like the fact that they don’t always get their way with local planning and zoning boards. And it is true that some of the local boards make developers jump through time-consuming and expensive hoops. These sometimes have little to do with improving a project and more to do with telling developers: Not In My Back Yard.
“We have a workforce housing law in this state that is not being implemented as intended at a time when we have a workforce crisis in our state,” says Giuda.
The answer to that is to enforce that law. But developers don’t like the way that law requires them to appeal a contrary local decision to Superior Court. They say it costs them more money. Instead, they have to bend to local wishes.
They could save time and money if they could instead appeal to a three-member Housing Board of Appeals. Such a board would have to make a decision within 60 days and any appeal would go not to Superior Court but to state Supreme Court.
We wonder how long that sort of process would take.
According to Giuda, “The governor wants this bill; the Senate wants this bill; the employers want this bill.” Only snobs and NIMBYs oppose it, he claims.
That must include all the snobs in the House, which killed this bill on arrival and, we would guess, can’t be too pleased with it showing up in the state budget bill.
New Hampshire should think carefully before it replaces its current local-control process with an unelected and all-powerful state bureaucracy (don’t expect this thing to be limited to three unpaid members and no staff).
This issue is too important to be acted upon without a lot more scrutiny.
It has no business being in the state budget.