Revision: Feb. 16, 2023, 3:16 p.m.
HB 347-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE
HOUSE BILL 347-FN
SPONSORS: Rep. Lynn, Rock. 17; Rep. B. Boyd, Hills. 12; Rep. Edwards, Rock. 31; Rep. Leishman, Hills. 33; Rep. McLean, Hills. 15; Rep. Ming, Hills. 35; Rep. Baroody, Hills. 39; Rep. Maggiore, Rock. 23; Rep. Alexander Jr., Hills. 29; Rep. Osborne, Rock. 2
This bill establishes the land use review docket in the superior court and increases the amount of associate justices of the superior court to 22.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
14Feb2023... 0117h 23-0135
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Three
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 New Section; Superior Court; Land Use Review Docket. Amend RSA 491 by inserting after section 7-a the following new section:
491:7-b Land Use Review Docket.
I. Without limiting the jurisdiction vested in any court in the state, and subject to the appointment of a presiding justice by the governor with the consent of the executive council as provided in this section, the supreme court may establish by court order not inconsistent with this section, a land use review docket in the superior court which shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions of local land use boards, including but not limited to decisions of municipal planning boards, zoning boards, historic district commissions, and conservation commissions. The jurisdiction of this docket shall not include appeals of decisions by state agencies.
II. The governor with the consent of the executive council may appoint the first presiding justice of the land use review docket, who shall be qualified by reason of such person's knowledge and experience in land use and real property law. The first presiding justice of the land use review docket shall be an additional justice of the superior court, which shall increase by one the number of authorized justices of the superior court as provided in RSA 491:1. The chief justice of the superior court, following the appointment or designation of the initial presiding justice, may designate such additional justices to preside over cases assigned to the land use review docket, as necessary, based upon caseload, disqualification of the presiding justice, or efficient allocation of judicial resources.
III. The presiding justice of the land use review docket shall be an associate justice of the superior court and shall be entitled to the compensation and benefits provided to all such justices under applicable law, including, but not limited to, RSA 491-A:1 and RSA 100-C.
IV. The workload of the presiding justice of the land use review docket shall be the matters before that docket. The presiding justice may be assigned to any other matter within the jurisdiction of the superior court or sit by designation on any other court in the same manner as any other associate justice of the superior court, as determined to be necessary by the chief justices of the superior and supreme courts.
V. Subject to the provisions of this section, all appeals to superior court filed pursuant to RSA 677 and all proceedings for such appeals, shall be assigned to the land use review docket, including motion practice, discovery, injunctive relief, alternative dispute resolution, and hearing on the merits. Nothing in this section shall affect the concurrent jurisdiction of the housing appeals board to hear appeals within its jurisdiction brought pursuant to RSA 679.
VI. The court shall hold a structuring conference within 30 days of its receipt of the notice of appeal. At the structuring conference the court shall set a deadline for the filing with the court of the certified record and shall schedule a hearing on the merits to be held within 60 days of receipt of the certified record. The court shall issue a decision on the merits within 60 days of the hearing. The court may extend any of the deadlines established in this paragraph upon agreement of the parties or for other good cause shown, but if the extension is based upon good cause, the court shall articulate in its order granting the extension the specific facts and circumstances that warrant the extension.
2 Superior Court; Justices. Amend RSA 491:1 to read as follows:
491:1 Justices. The superior court shall consist of a chief justice, appointed by the governor and council to a 5-year term, and  22 associate justices. Said justices shall be appointed and commissioned as prescribed by the constitution and shall exercise the powers of the court unless otherwise provided. The chief justice shall be appointed from among the associate justices. In the event that the chief justice resigns as chief justice or is not reappointed at the expiration of the 5-year term, he or she may return to the position of associate justice, whether or not an associate justice vacancy then exists.
HB 347-FN- FISCAL NOTE
AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT #2023-0117h)
FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State [ ] County [ ] Local [ ] None
Estimated Increase / (Decrease)
[ X ] General [ ] Education [ ] Highway [ ] Other
This bill establishes the land use review docket in the superior court. The Judicial Branch assumes an additional Associate Justice would be appointed, and a court monitor and administrative court assistant would be needed to assist with the new land use docket. In addition, a one-time cost of $17,400 would be necessary for IT and office equipment and supplies. The estimated costs are provided below. The position costs include salary and benefits.
Administrative Court Assistant
IT and office equipment and supplies
* FY 2024 personnel costs represent 1/2 of the fiscal year.