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RSA 101

The New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) are the laws of the State of New Hampshire. Following is a short summary of how the RSAs are organized and where planning and zoning chapters can be found.

The RSAs are organized as follows:
A title is a main grouping of chapters dealing with related subjects. For instance, Title I, "The State and Its Government", consists of chapters 1 through 21-P. Titles are almost never cited. When you see a typical citation such as "RSA 41:11", the number "41" is the chapter number. The RSAs consist of 64 titles.

A chapter is the most-used division of the RSAs and is a collection of sections dealing with the same subject. When a chapter is introduced between two existing chapters, it is designated by a hyphen and a capital letter, as in RSA 31-A.

A subdivision is a portion of a chapter which contains sections that deal with the same general subject, a sub-heading within a chapter. A subdivision is not separately numbered and is not often cited.

A section is the main division within a chapter and is indicated by the number following the colon. For example, chapter 31 section 2 of is cited RSA 31:2. When a chapter is introduced between two existing chapters, it is designated by a hyphen and a lower case letter, as in RSA 31:2-a.

The main division within a section is a paragraph, indicated by Roman numeral; e.g., the third paragraph of RSA 31:39 is cited as RSA 31:39, III. All divisions of a paragraph are referred to as subparagraphs and are indicated by a letter enclosed by parentheses, e.g., RSA 31:39, I(a).

Land use regulation statutes can be found in RSA Title LXIV (64) Planning and Zoning. The 7 land use chapters are as follows:

Chapter 672 General Provisions outlines the general purpose of planning and zoning regulations and defines word and phrases.

Chapter 673 Local Land Use Boards sets forth the establishment of land use boards; the appointment and terms of board members; general provisions for meetings, alternates, member disqualification and removal, witnesses, staffing and meeting records; and the process for the abolition of boards, a zoning ordinance or building code.

Chapter 674 Local Land Use Planning and Regulatory Power addresses the master plan; capital improvements program; official map; zoning; emergency temporary zoning and planning regulation; manufactured housing; board of adjustment and building code board of appeals; subdivision regulations; site plan review regulation; heritage commissions; historic districts; building codes; land affected by municipal boundaries; and governmental use of property.

Chapter 675 Enactment and Adoption Procedures addresses the methods and procedures for enacting land use regulations.

Chapter 676 Administrative and Enforcement Procedures deals with how the planning board, zoning board, and historic district commission operate; the use of building permits; what happens when state and local regulations conflict; and various types of penalties and relief for violations.

Chapter 677 Rehearing and Appeal Procedures addresses the rehearing procedures for the board of adjustment, board of appeals and local legislative body; appeal and court review of board of adjustment, local legislative body, planning board, building code board of appeals and historic district commission decisions; and the process for a court to deal with invalid ordinances.

Chapter 678 Community Services and Care Planning Boards outlines the purpose of such boards, defines terms, sets forth how they are established, outlines the duties, lists terms of board members, how to abolish a board and what happens to the documents once a board is abolished.

For an alphabetical listing please visit Selected Land Use Regulation page.

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