Authority of the Town to Protect Scenic Areas

Protection of scenic attributes may be considered an extension of the municipal power to promote the general health, prosperity and welfare of the community. Standards and reasonable restrictions on development within a designated view protection area can be carried out under NH RSA 674:16 through the adoption of zoning ordinances which regulate building height, lot coverage, density, setbacks and open space. Many other methods such as purchase or acquisition of conservation easements are also available.

According to the New Hampshire Office of State Planning, if Hanover wishes to protect its visual resources, "it is extremely important to incorporate a statement in its Master Plan which expresses its goals and objectives for preservation of identified scenic values, natural beauty and aesthetic qualities... the Master Plan should incorporate a separate section or chapter addressing aesthetic concerns and visual resources. This section should include an inventory and description of the types of scenic areas considered worthy of protection....

"Generally the landscape that provides pleasant scenery and visual quality is privately owned. Nevertheless, the public 'uses' the landscape visually, and it may well be a key element of the community or regional economy. Therefore, protecting these recognized resources provides a significant benefit." (See note.) The landscape also provides the foundation for recreation, production of forest products, agriculture and tourism.

Under NH RSA 674:21, municipalities are authorized to adopt innovative land use controls which may include but are not limited to: cluster development, performance standards, the purchase of development rights, and donations.

See Scenic Resources, Pages XI-15, 16, Hanover Master Plan (Appendix A).

Note: Preservation of Scenic Areas and Viewsheds, Technical Bulletin Number 10, NH Office of State Planning (bold added)