Low vacancy rates, high rents, and a lack of affordable housing are perennial issues in New Hampshire.
Legislation being considered in the State House next year would encourage cities and towns to build more housing as a way to address the crisis.
The proposed bill focuses on a number of areas, including free training for members of zoning and planning boards, modifying the appeal process for zoning decisions, allowing municipalities to use revitalization districts to increase workforce housing, and increasing tax incentives for housing development.
Two bills from last session, one from Republican Joe Alexander and another from Democrat Willis Griffith, addressed similar issues, but because of gridlock - and procedural priorities - those did not pass.
This year’s legislation has bi-partisan support.
“Any housing in general that is built in New Hampshire will adjust the market. This is a carrot approach. It’s offering municipalities incentives to increase development,” said Alexander, a prime sponsor of the bill.
Each municipality could take on as little or as much of the bill as they want.
“It still enables that local control concept,” Alexander said.
The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority's 2020 report indicates that the state would need as many as 20,000 more housing units to "achieve a balanced housing market."
Governor Sununu’s recently appointed council on housing stability plans to support the proposed bill.