SB547 (2024) Detail

Relative to certain requirements relative to the LCHIP programs.



04/05/2024   1235s







AN ACT relative to certain requirements relative to the LCHIP programs.


SPONSORS: Sen. Altschiller, Dist 24; Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Rep. Renzullo, Hills. 13; Rep. Ebel, Merr. 7


COMMITTEE: Energy and Natural Resources






This bill clarifies certain requirements relative to the land and community heritage program.


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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

04/05/2024   1235s 24-3099





In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four


AN ACT relative to certain requirements relative to the LCHIP programs.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  Definitions; Land and Community Heritage Program.  Amend RSA 227-M:2 to read as follows:

227-M:2 Definitions. In this chapter:

I. "Authority" means the New Hampshire land and community heritage investment authority.

II. "Board" means the board of directors of the New Hampshire land and community heritage investment authority.

III. "Building" means a construction made by humans and created to shelter human activity.

IV. "Easement interests" means conservation, historic preservation, [or] scenic and other types of easements, development rights, or any other similar protective interest in real property that is held in perpetuity, or [a term easement] that is held for a specific period of time and not in perpetuity as part of a historic preservation project or a farm viability program. All easement interests shall be consistent with RSA 477:45.

V. "Eligible resource" means a natural, cultural, or historical resource including archaeological sites; historic buildings and structures which house cultural events and programs; historic properties including buildings and structures; historic and cultural lands and features; ecologically significant lands; existing and potential public water supply lands; farmland; forestland; habitat for rare species or important wildlife; wildlife corridors and habitat strongholds as defined in RSA 207:1; lands for recreation; riverine, lake, estuarine, and ocean shorelands; scenic areas and viewsheds; and wetlands and associated uplands.

V-a.  "Enforcement" means taking all necessary actions to uphold and defend the grant obligations.

V-b. "Farm viability program" means a program overseen by an eligible applicant under RSA 227-M:8, I that preserves farmland:

(a) By enhancing the long-term viability of farms, principally through assistance in business plan development and implementation; and

(b) By requiring term easements on farms participating in such a program and receiving assistance funded through this chapter.

V-c.  "Grant obligations" means the legal obligation arising from the use of program funds.

VI. "Monitoring" means the regular and systematic gathering of information about a [resource asset] property to identify changes to the property over time and to ensure that it is being used in accordance with any [easement interest restrictions or other legal] grant obligations entered into under this chapter.

VI-a.  "Property" means the land, buildings, structures, and other physical assets that comprise the real property subject to the grant obligations entered into under this chapter.

VII. "Resource asset" means the lands, buildings, structures, and other physical assets or the easement interests in the lands, buildings, structures, and other physical assets that comprise the real property of an eligible resource.

VIII. "Stewardship" means planning for and taking the necessary actions over the long term to successfully preserve and protect the natural, cultural, or historical value of a [resource asset] property. Such actions include, as applicable, managing the resource asset in accordance with all [legal] grant obligations entered into under this chapter, performing regular maintenance and upkeep, providing for necessary monitoring of the resource asset and enforcement of the grant obligations, educating or informing those that might negatively impact upon the [resource asset] property about the need and/or legal obligation to protect and preserve it, paying tax or in-lieu-of tax obligations, obtaining liability insurance, and securing sufficient levels of financial resources to carry out all such necessary actions.

2  New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Authority Established; Board of Directors.  Amend RSA 227-M:4, II(d) to read as follows:

(d) The [director of the office of planning and development] commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs, or designee.

3  New Subparagraph; Program Administration; Eligible Applicants; Matching Funds.  Amend RSA 227-M:8, III by inserting after subparagraph (f) the following new subparagraph:

(g) A one-time investment in a stewardship endowment fund established by the applicant for the resource asset.

4  Program Administration; Eligible Applicants; Matching Funds.  Amend RSA 227-M:8, IV and V to read as follows:

IV. The authority shall not fund more than 50 percent of the [appraised market value of any resource asset acquisition or more than 50 percent of any other expense] sum of all expenses eligible for financial assistance under [RSA 227-M:8, III(c)-(f)] RSA 227-M:8, III(a)-(g).

V. All eligible applicants are required to provide a level of matching resources that is no less than 50 percent of [the appraised market value for any resource asset acquisition and that is no less than 50 percent of any other expense for which financial assistance is sought under RSA 227-M:8, III(c)-(f)] the sum of all expenses eligible under RSA 227-M:8, III(a)-(g). A minimum of 1/2 of the applicant's minimum match requirement must be provided in cash to be used in the purchase or preservation of the resource asset. Nothing shall prevent the eligible applicant from using all cash to fulfill the match requirements of the program. The balance, if any, of the non-cash match requirement may be met through any combination of:

(a) In-kind services;

(b) The appraised market value of donated real property or interest in real property, provided such real property is located in the municipality or municipalities in which the applicant property is located; or

(c) Expenses specified under [RSA 227-M:8, III(c)-(f)] RSA 227-M:8, III(a)-(g), incurred or to be incurred[; or

(d) A one-time investment in a stewardship endowment fund established by the applicant for the resource asset].

VI. Qualifying matching funds from the applicant may include, but are not limited to, municipal appropriations, private donations

5  Acquisition, Restoration, and Protection Criteria and Guidelines.  Amend RSA 227-M:9, I to read as follows:

I. The criteria and guidelines adopted pursuant to RSA 227-M:5, II [for acquiring resource assets] shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(a) Imminence of threat to the land or property, such that the preservation of endangered structures and land conservation projects in densely developed or rapidly developing areas of the state shall receive a higher ranking;

(b) Uniqueness or significance of the resource;

(c) Proximity to other protected resources;

(d) Extent to which project meets multiple objectives of the program (natural, historic, and cultural);

(e) Strength of local support, such that project applications accompanied by an affirmative vote of the governing body of the municipality or governing bodies of the municipalities in which the project is located shall receive a higher ranking;

(f) Strength of private support;

(g) Cooperation between or among communities;

(h) Extent of leverage (ability of state funds to attract other public and private funds in a cost-share arrangement);

(i) Demonstrated ability [and qualifying stewardship plan] of eligible applicant to provide stewardship for the resource being protected; and

(j) Extent to which benefits can be conserved only through fee acquisition of the [resource asset] property, weighed against acquisition through easement interest.

6  Management.  Amend RSA 227-M:10 to read as follows:

227-M:10 Management.

Any owner of a [resource asset] property acquired in fee simple under this chapter or for which program funds have been expended for restoration or rehabilitation work, shall manage such asset in accordance with any stewardship plan approved for the [asset] property and any legal obligations entered into under this chapter pertaining to the [resource asset] property. The program shall not manage any [resource asset] property, except to the extent permissible under RSA 227-M:5, VI.

7  Monitoring Endowment.  Amend RSA 227-M:12 to read as follows;

227-M:12  Monitoring Endowment.  

I.  For every eligible resource protected under this chapter [by an easement interest], a percentage of funds from the program or contributions from the applicant, as specified by the authority, shall be provided to the monitoring endowment established under RSA 162-C:8.

II.  Funds added to the monitoring endowment pursuant to RSA 227-M:12, I shall be used by the authority to enforce all grant obligations and to support monitoring by state agencies, local municipalities, and qualifying nonprofit corporations of property subject to grant obligations entered into [easement interests acquired] under this chapter.  Such monitoring shall be to ensure that the resource protected through the program will be managed according to the [legal agreements concerning easement interests in the resource] grant obligations.

8  Public Access; Liability.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 227-M:15 to read as follows:

Lands and interests in lands purchased with funds from this program by any eligible applicant shall be open in perpetuity for passive recreational purposes or shall be for the term of any farm viability term easement.  Language to be used in grant obligations or easement interests secured through the program shall approximate the intent of the following:

9  Recapture.  Amend RSA 227-M:16 to read as follows:

227-M:16  Recapture.

If property acquired through the use of program funds is transferred [sold,] by a seller who has received funds under this program regarding such property, to a non-eligible applicant, the program trust fund's cash investment in the property shall be returned to the program trust fund by the property seller.  This section shall not apply to a [sale] transfer between eligible applicants or to a state agency and shall not apply to easement interests.

10  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.


Date Amendment
March 20, 2024 2024-1235s


Date Body Type
March 19, 2024 Senate Hearing
April 4, 2024 Senate Floor Vote
April 24, 2024 House Hearing
April 24, 2024 House Hearing

Bill Text Revisions

SB547 Revision: 41541 Date: April 5, 2024, 11:15 a.m.
SB547 Revision: 41292 Date: March 20, 2024, 2:33 p.m.
SB547 Revision: 40346 Date: Dec. 14, 2023, 8:39 a.m.


April 16, 2024: Public Hearing: 04/24/2024 11:30 am LOB 305

April 12, 2024: Public Hearing: 04/24/2024 11:45 am LOB 305

April 10, 2024: Introduced (in recess of) 03/28/2024 and referred to Resources, Recreation and Development HJ 11

April 5, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2024-1235s, MA, VV; OT3rdg; 04/05/2024; SJ 8

April 5, 2024: Committee Amendment # 2024-1235s, AA, VV; 04/05/2024; SJ 8

March 21, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-1235s, 04/05/2024; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 13

March 12, 2024: Hearing: 03/19/2024, Room 103, SH, 09:15 am; SC 11

Dec. 14, 2023: To Be Introduced 01/03/2024 and Referred to Energy and Natural Resources; SJ 1