new hampshire
Population: 1,185,048
Counties: 10
Governor Jeanne Shaheen

Key Laws/Administrative Actions

Click here for the amount of protected land in New Hampshire, and click here to review New Hampshire's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

Recent Report:
Feeling the Pinch: Wages And Housing In New Hampshire  (New Hampshire Housing Forum.
January 2001)
Lack of safe, affordable housing by large numbers of New Hampshire people undermines the state's economic vitality and the strength and stability of its families and communities.  The New Hampshire Housing Forum will provide education and advocate strong public policies that encourage the development and maintenance of safe affordable housing.

Contact Information:
NH Housing Forum
4 Park St.  Suite 209 
Concord, NH  03301 

In June 1988, the New Hampshire legislature initiated a study on sprawl with the appointment of a six-member panel established to study ways of managing land use to reduce sprawl and protect rural character. After holding weekly meetings with various stakeholders, the panel reported its findings to the legislature and the Governor in October 1998. The report recommends eight actions, including a recommendation that the Office of State Planning assume a "leadership role in guiding and coordinating funding policies; to educate local planning and zoning authorities with nature, causes and remedies for sprawl they can act upon; and to continue to develop and promulgate model ordinances and planning devices for localities.

The above material is excerpted with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's End: The State of the States" by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999 v 31 n 3, p. 601.  For a complete copy of the article, please contact The Urban Lawyer. 

Key Laws:
In an effort to "effectively manage growth, not stop it," Governor Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire announced the GrowSmart NH initiative.  Among other proposals the GrowSmart NH requires the following:
· State agencies should consider smart growth guidelines when distributing state grants.
· Increase brownfield redevelopment funding.
· Encourage the state DOT to consider "place-based" design and construction.
For more information, visit

HB 1259 Smart Growth (2000)
This act establishes a coordinated and comprehensive effort by state agencies for economic growth, resource protection, and planning policy to encourage smart growth.  This will direct the Office of State Planning to encourage and assist planning, growth management and development activities of cities and towns and groups of cities and towns with the purpose of encouraging smart growth.  Also, take a leadership role in encouraging smart growth and preserving farmland, open space land, and traditional village centers.

HB 1416 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (2000)
This bill authorizes the state of New Hampshire to participate in the federally funded state brownfields cleanup revolving loan funds. Loan funds shall be administered by the commissioner of the department of environmental services.  This is a federally funded program that states are free to join if they wish.  If landowner agree to voluntary cleanup of their property, the state will assist them with financing, and agree to limit their liability if any contamination is found.

HB 288 Land Use and Farmland Preservation (1999)
This bill extends the reporting date and increases the membership of the Environment and Agricultural Committee to study land management, protection of farmland, rural character, environmental quality, and sprawl.  This bill also authorizes the committee to monitor progress of sprawl avoidance action in the state, and publicize its purpose and any results of its actions.

HB 636 Brownfields Transfer (1997)
This bill clarifies a municipality's ability to acquire environmentally contaminated property, without liability for the contamination, in order to convey the property to an eligible person in the brownfields program and allows municipalities to grant tax abatements to facilitate the transfer of the property.

Administrative Actions
Scenic and Cultural Byways Program 
The Office of State Planning, in cooperation with the Department of Transportation, has undertaken a program to create a statewide byways system that features natural and cultural resources for the purpose of attracting New Hampshire travelers and out-of-state tourists. The Scenic and Cultural Byways Program has established a process for nominating roads as official State Byways, designated over 900 miles of road as Scenic Byways throughout the state and has undertaken corridor management plans in the Connecticut River Valley, North Country, Lakes Region, Lake Sunapee Region, and the Seacoast and supports related activities pursuant to those byways. Designation to the state-wide network makes a byway eligible for federal transportation TE-21 funds that allow up upgrading pedestrian facilities, protection of byway resources and promotional material. 

Report to Governor Shaheen on Sprawl
This report is in response to Governor Jeanne Shaheen's Executive Order 99-2, her proclamation directing state agencies both to recognize the importance of preserving New Hampshire's traditional communities and landscapes, and to evaluate actions they either are taking or might be taking to further that goal. That order underscores the importance of our landscape features as contributors to the overall quality of life in New Hampshire. It recognizes the impact that public actions by state agencies may have on these features, as individual decisions are made in rulemaking, in grant making, and in deciding where to locate state offices and other public facilities. 

The Keene Sentinel recently completed a four-day special on the lack of affordable housing around Keene and throughout the state.

"House gets ready to be land locked: Sides differ on how much to give to conservation program," Concord Monitor. March 21, 2001.

American Farmland Trust
Northeast Field Program
110 Spring Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Tel: 518-581-0078

New Hampshire Main Street Center 
The NHMSC was established in 1996 as a separate and private, statewide delegate agency of CDFA, dedicated to empowering communities within the state to maintain, strengthen and revitalize the unique physical, economic, historical and cultural characteristics of its own downtown centers.


1 Ch. 197 of the N.H. Laws of 1998 (H.B. 1238). It's statement of purpose, the law asserts that sprawl has disrupted the traditional character of New Hampshire Communities, contributing to a loss of "a sense of place."
2 Land Use Management and Farmland Preservation Study, Final Report (Oct. 1998).