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New State Housing Appeals Board Now Accepting Cases

ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing

A new state housing appeals board started accepting cases on Wednesday. This is a new option to appeal final decisions on housing and housing developments.

The three-member board was established last July, and, much like Superior Courts, can affirm, reverse or modify appeals to the final decisions of local boards, committees or commissions.

Each member is appointed by the Supreme Court, and includes, by statute, an attorney, a surveyor or engineer, and someone who’s familiar with housing development or land use law.

Greg Michael is the board’s chair. He says the aim is to get final decisions made faster than the courts generally can.

“Oftentimes these cases seem to drag on forever, and you’ve got buyers and sellers waiting for the results of these appeals. You have people trying to schedule building projects,” he said. "I think it's important that these cases get heard by people who have expertise in these areas, in an effort to allow the process to keep moving in a productive and efficient way." 

Michael says he thinks this board is a way the state legislature is trying to address New Hampshire's housing needs. 

"That doesn't mean we'll be overruling zoning and planning decisions regarding their own planning and zoning," he said. "It's a more prompt method to fairly review those decisions ." 

Petitioners can bring an architect, engineer or surveyor to present in front of the board, instead of an attorney. Or, they can represent themselves. 

“This can make sure the person with the most experience with the project is the one presenting the appropriate information to the board,” Michael said.

Plaintiffs can choose to file their appeal either with the board or in Superior Court.  

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