If your blood isn’t boiling after reading “Forum on NH’s affordable housing shortage looks at possible solutions”, published on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at Manchester Ink Link, you are not awake.
“On December 11 the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance at St. Anselm College convened 130 people from around the state for a discussion on The Housing We Need.
This is the second convening hosted by the Center to discuss the state’s critical shortage of affordable housing. The first event was held in June of 2018. Participants in that event made several recommendations at that time and this event was to update stakeholders on any progress and to plan the next steps.”
The “shortage” is contrived…
To these folks, the word “stakeholders” means NGOs, private foundations, appointed regional boards, and commercial developers — ALL UNELECTED AND UNACCOUNTABLE to the voters of New Hampshire. Is the only ethical government, a socialistic one?
This is an example of the increasing problem of the trend toward allowing private special interests to make decisions that only the voters and local elected officials should be making.
“The lack of housing for potential employees was hampering their ability to hire and retain new people to help them grow their businesses.”
At this point we have to ask, since when is it the state’s job to use your taxpayer dollars to help people grow their businesses, other than reducing the tax burden on those businesses?
“Since the first gathering in 2018 legislation at the state level has created a housing appeals board, which would provide a shorter, less costly alternative to solving disputes involving communities and developers.”
This is not quite the truth, or at least not the whole story. The HAB was not created by “legislation” but secreted into the budget when proponents could NOT sell it to the legislature. In fact, when it WAS proposed as legislation, it failed twice when the legislature wisely voted it down — in 2018 with SB 557 and in 2019 with HB 104. Only afterward was SB 306 slipped into the budget by 3 Republican Senators and thus got included WITHOUT A VOTE. This is the kind of sneakiness resorted to in order to promote a specific agenda. This board could usurp ANY town board’s decision (including School, Conservation, and Historic District) and destroy the purpose of the traditional town meeting, denying the current residents a say in how their towns are developed.
Legislation has been proposed that would repeal the Housing Appeals Board and every Rep and Senator who cares about freedom and local control should SUPPORT it.
“Another bill appropriated $10 million to the state’s housing trust fund and established an annual appropriation of $5 million funded by the real estate transfer tax.”
Once again this is how your own money is being used against you! This plan has the potential to raise your taxes even further, allowing NH to be flooded with high-density construction that will only benefit developers.
So far not one legitimately elected or accountable group, chosen by the people, has been mentioned as steering the agenda. (The Corporation for Supportive Housing was recently called in from outside the state.)
“As a result of the findings two freshman legislators, who served on the housing task force, have introduced housing bills for the upcoming legislative session.
This legislation was drafted with the help of two freshman State Representatives who are “graduates” of the Carsey Institute, a private LIBERAL think tank stationed at UNH.
Representative Willis Griffith, (D-Manchester) has introduced HB 1629, which is primarily focused on improving process. Included in the bill is a provision that individuals who are elected or appointed to planning and zoning boards receive training, which will be available through the State Office of Strategic Initiatives, and pass a test within six months of taking office.”
What HB 1629 actually does with ‘training’ is brainwash the boards, and teach them to accept the lexicon and goals of “new urbanism” (gleaned from the documentation published with the plan). The bill conveniently restricts the timeframe in which town boards would have to approve or reject projects, thus giving those projects a better chance of being thrown to the illegal state Housing Appeals Board. To hear them tell it, this training gives these boards the “tools” for more local control, but in reality the only thing it does is enable them to enact the agenda.
This is why many towns are now considering changing the way their planning boards are formed, from appointed to elected.
“A second bill, HB 1632, sponsored by Representative Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown), outlines state incentive programs designed to increase the supply of affordable housing in the state. It allows tax relief under RSA 79-E , to be extended to housing units included in commercial projects in “downtown” areas and it increases the period of time that tax relief is allowed from 4 to 8 years. It also would allow developers of affordable housing to claim tax relief from the state’s Business Profits Tax.”
HB 1632 will award more of you tax dollars to private developers to encourage them to build more high-density construction. They will be the only ones to benefit from this while the single-family homeowner stands to bear the extra tax burden.
So, more perks for developers. And this is not all… there are several other bills that go along with the same agenda, that need to be stopped. (These bills will also be reported on this website with dates and times of the committee hearings and full votes, on our BILL WATCH PAGE.)
How interesting. The phrase “fast tracked” is a sure indication that the decisions have already been made. This means the voters in NH had better contact the Municipal and County Government committee and the general legislature and tell them to vote NO on the passage of these bills.
“The next phase of the Center’s Housing We Need Initiative will focus on engaging communities in discussions about housing conditions in their towns and cities. They plan to conduct community surveys, host roundtables and convene stakeholders such as developers and people who are responsible for building and fire codes.”
This seems a bit backward doesn’t it? It is obvious that the agenda has already been decided by a small minority of groups who have been scheming behind the backs of the voters. These folks don’t give a hang about the “community” or what they might think about it.
“What does a community-based housing advocacy group look like? Rep. Susan Almy (D-Lebanon) said: “…it is important to include a broad range of community members in the group, including housing advocates and business leaders. “The bankers were a great help in getting the right people to listen.”
We had to laugh at this.. The “bankers” are actually also the developers, and why not? They are the only ones who stand to make big money by flooding NH with apartment buildings even in rural areas where they are not wanted.
What Rep. Almy forgets is, the people in NH must have a say in this, not just developers and bankers and housing advocates who don’t even live in the area. (We remember when Ms Almy held a ‘tax’ forum, but instead of inviting local and state taxpayer groups, invited liberal think tanks from outside the state who were promoting an income tax. http://www.cnht.org/news/2009/10/22/legislators-tax-summit-is-an-out-of-state-charade/ and http://www.cnht.org/news/2009/10/22/controversial-tax-summit-raises-concerns/)
Our conclusion is the same — this plan is illegal on its face. There is nothing in the NH Constitution that allows the state to take over management of housing development in order to attract a certain demographic to the state, or to award private developers perks and tax breaks courtesy of the rest of the working people. It is a slippery slope, as we have seen, down the road to completely control of housing by the state. Some states are now actually banning single-family zoning.
Each town should be able to choose how their own area is developed, according to what is appropriate for that area. No one moved to NH to turn it into Massachusetts or to let developers have free reign in flooding our rural areas with apartment buildings.
Please help us defeat this plan and preserve LOCAL CONTROL!