Some of you may remember Sununu’s uncalled-for attack on the people of Bedford NH who have rejected the idea that their town should be “urbanized”.
It all started when Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative (https://www.tpudc.com/) came to Bedford. This Tennessee company thought they were hired to change our lifestyles by changing our town into a city. Yes, the company that our hapless town officials hired had an agenda, which was the promotion of the cult of “new urbanism”. The “new urbanism” movement was created by a man who holds the philosophy that spaces should be created to determine the social, economic, and political behavior of its inhabitants. He is a Cuban named Andrés Duany. It is no coincidence that the folks from TPUDC were groomed by Duany having apprenticed with him.
Duany, a “master planner”, once gave a speech (https://youtu.be/O3rGwpyNwnY) during which he advocated that planning decisions should come from the state or regional government and that they should be made for everyone by the least amount of people, with less input and representation from the taxpayers. He even described it as “fascism”. Some actual quotes were: “And uh, fascism, you can say what you like, but it’s efficient” and “You know we don’t need to have more public meetings like this, we should just finish the thing and you should just pass it” and “This plan has to transcend the local”.
Governor Sununu’s unconscionable diatribe against Bedford was inspired by something similar. Seems he wants to impose a certain type of lifestyle upon NH’s towns by placing their zoning decisions with a 3-person appeals board at the state level. With help from other so-called Republicans who boasted about their association with the left-leaning Carsey Institute, he is promoting two pieces of legislation (HB 1629 and HB 1632) to shore up his plan. One of these bills would retrain ZBAs in the philosophy of “new urbanism”, effectively brainwashing them into accepting high-density construction even where its not wanted. The other of the two bills would make it profitable for his developer cronies by giving them massive subsidies and other perks such as tax exemptions, to be borne on the backs of the single family homeowners. Please see this page (http://bedfordresidents.com/bra/bill-watch/) for the three bills (HB 557, HB 104 and SB 306) that formed the history of the Housing Appeals Board. Because it had failed twice, SB 306 was eventually secreted into the budget. You can also see the two current pieces of legislation that would help make Duany’s and Sununu’s fascist dream come true. (HB 1629 and HB 1632)
Democrats should loathe the idea that a few wealthy individuals would be reaping benefits from public money and Republicans should loathe the idea that increased high-density would not only mean higher taxes, but would result in more traffic and attract more crime to their once bucolic little towns.
Is this what we want for New Hampshire?
The good news is the two bills (HB 1629 and HB 1632) proposed by Sununu’s Carsey Institute graduates have been left to die because during this time of reduced tax revenues, it is an expense the state does not want to bear. Unfortunately, we will still need to repeal the Housing Appeals board, which allows developers to override your town vote when it comes to zoning they do not like.