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Malachy Glen Associates, Inc. v. Town of Chichester

As may you know, a substantial part of our practice includes the representation of property owners seeking land use permits and approvals. We often appear before Zoning Boards of Adjustment seeking a variance from the strict enforcement of the applicable zoning ordinance. Although the evidentiary requirements differ slightly when seeking a use variance (constructing a two family residence in a single family zone) as opposed to a dimensional variance (seeking to provide a ten foot setback where twenty is required), the... Read more

Practice Area: Land Use Planning
photo of person with umbrella in a downpour

Since opening our practice, we have urged our clients to purchase “umbrella” insurance coverage.  Historically, an umbrella policy increases the limits of underlying liability insurance coverages.

In New Hampshire, there is no compulsory insurance required to operate a motor vehicle.  Many drivers that elect to not purchase automobile insurance have limited assets and are often “judgment proof.”  A common way to protect motorists from an uninsured or underinsured operator is to purchase an umbrella policy.  For example, if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision with an... Read more

Practice Area: Personal Injury
Shredded documents

Under federal regulations which became effective in 2010, businesses which provide credit to customers must have an identity theft protection program in place and take certain other actions to protect against identity theft.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), acting with the federal bank regulatory agencies, and the National Credit Union Administration, have jointly issued regulations under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003, called the “Red Flags Rules,” requiring certain businesses to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs.  Although... Read more

Practice Area: Business and Commercial Practices
Stressed House

Development of real estate begins on a local level.  Although there are numerous state building codes, a critical step in the development process is a comprehensive review of the impact of local ordinances.  Often, the proposed development requires the relaxation of certain requirements.

The standard to obtain a variance from the impact of a local land use ordinance has always been defined, although somewhat ambiguously, by state law.  That standard has been left to local zoning boards to interpret with the assistance of reported decisions from the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  The... Read more

Practice Area: Land Use Planning
photo of Caution tape barrier

Walter W. Fischer, Trustee of the Walter W. Fischer 1993 Trust
v. New Hampshire State Building Code Review Board

In an alarming trend, municipalities are strictly enforcing the provisions of the Life Safety Code against existing buildings.  It is well settled in the common law that the majority of new laws cannot be enforced retroactively.    From the concept surfaced the term “grandfathering”.  For example, many older buildings were built very close to the street.  Since those building were constructed, municipalities have adopted zoning regulations that establish... Read more

Practice Area: Land Use Planning
photo of a jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing

We recently represented a developer attempting to convert an existing multi-family property to the condominium form of ownership.  Although the developer proposed no physical change to the property, the Department of Environmental Services considers a condominium conversion to be a subdivision.  Thus, the developer must comply with DES Subsurface Bureau regulations.

A year before making application to DES, the developer had replaced the existing sub-standard septic system with a DES approved system for the multi-family use.  In the prior application, the minimum lot size calculation... Read more

Practice Area: Land Use Planning
image of a bank's safe door

How safe is your money held by your attorney?  Many may have heard the term IOLTA trust account.  The acronym stands for “Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts.”  These accounts are generally designed for attorneys to hold money for the benefit of others.  A retainer paid, but not yet earned or funds for the closing of a real estate transaction are common examples.  Funds held in these accounts are subject to strict legal and ethical guidelines.  As attorneys, we are fiduciaries because we are holding other people’s funds.  IOLTA accounts earn interest.  However, the interest earned does not... Read more

image of a green house in the middle of rows of white houses

Last year was a challenge for associations throughout New Hampshire.  Receivables rose.  Foreclosures increased.  Banks bought units.  Deferred maintenance issues came home to roost.  Other areas have been hit hard.  In Boston, condominium owners faced a $75.6 million special assessment or $70,000 to $400,000 per unit.  A property in Miami saw a staggering one out of six units in foreclosure.  Thankfully, NH has not seen these headlines.

These national trends have forced a review of lending rules which will impact all condominium properties.  In December, the Federal Housing... Read more

Practice Area: Community & Condominium Association Law
photo of a Fire Door

Repainting the interior of an existing multi-family property.  Replacing existing carpet with hardwood floors.  Reconfiguring cubicles within an existing office space.  Leasing a former restaurant space to a professional office.  Adding a 100 s.f. space to an existing building.  What do these improvements or changes have in common?  They all may be considered acts of “rehabilitation” for purposes of the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code and, as such, depending upon the scope, may trigger the need to bring an existing building or some portion of it up to current life... Read more

Practice Area: Land Use Planning, Municipal Law
Court Delays

The State of New Hampshire budget for the 2010 biennium is in trouble.  Every day the numbers change and income projections fail to live up to expectations.  Approximately $150 million must be cut from the current budget soon.  The judiciary and court system must cut as well.  According to recent reports, the court system must find an additional $5 million dollars in its current budget to cut.  If you are reading this article, then it is likely that you have needed legal services within the recent past.  Do these cuts matter and does it effect you? 

Only a small fraction of New... Read more