(603) 225-2585

Permitting: Construction & Development

Clients come to us for help getting permits from state and federal agencies. Our legal team works with developers from concept through construction and operation of commercial and residential developments with a very particular profile: projects that are designed to minimize environmental impacts or improve the community, including projects redeveloping brownfield sites.

These projects routinely involve innovative technologies, low impact techniques, LEED certification, and other characteristics with which regulators may not be familiar. Our attorneys worked in science, in the field, at EPA, at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, and in large private practice law firms before joining the BCM legal team. This unique background, combined with our legal success, gives our lawyers an exceptional foundation from which to clarify for regulators the details of innovative strategies that our developer clients employ.

Some permit applications are simple and do not require the assistance of a lawyer. Other permit applications are more complex. We have experience helping clients obtain permits from agencies such as the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is usually a wise idea to begin the permit process several months before you plan to begin construction or operation.

We have the know-how, the experience, the people and a successful track record to guide great development. We are equipped to obtain for our developer clients all of the necessary permits and approvals.

Common Permits

Every project is different, and so we have helped clients obtain numerous types of approvals from local, state, and federal decision-makers. Following is a list of the permits we work with commonly.

State Alteration of Terrain Permit: RSA 485-A:17
State Wetlands Permit: RSA 482-A
State Shoreland Permit: RSA 483-B
State Subdivision Permit: RSA 485-A:29 to 44
Brownfields No Further Action
Federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) (the most common kinds are the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) or a Construction General Permit (CGP), and we also work on individualized NPDES permits.

Common Agencies

Our legal team works with many, many local, state, and federal agencies. Following is information about the agencies with which we work frequently.

N.H. Department of Environmental Services

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services issues a wide variety of permits. In particular, construction in or near water often requires a permit. Depending on the project, obtaining a permit from NHDES can be easy or complicated. NHDES has a helpful website where you can find information on all of NHDES’s programs. Some projects requiring a permit from NHDES also require a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Attorneys from BCM Environmental & Land Law routinely work with NHDES officials.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides engineering services throughout the country and world. For projects in or near water, you may need a permit from the Corps of Engineers. Some projects require a permit from the Corps of Engineers in addition to state and local permits. The regional office is in Concord, Massachusetts.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA issues a variety of permits, including permits related to air, water, and hazardous waste. EPA permits are often required of businesses and industries, including certain farming operations. Permits relating to the discharge of water include wastewater permits and stormwater permits. Permits related to the Clean Air Act include acid rain permits, preconstruction permits, and operating permits. As for hazardous waste, permits are often required for the storage, treatment, or disposal of such waste. EPA’s regional office is in Boston.

N.H. Site Evaluation Committee

Proposed energy facilities to be built in New Hampshire require a certificate from the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), which is comprised of high-level representatives of most of New Hampshire’s executive departments and agencies, including the Department of Environmental Services, the Department of Transportation, and the Public Utilities Commission. When determining whether to issue a certificate, the SEC is charged with evaluating the financial, managerial, and technical capacities of the applicant, as well as considering the project’s impact on aesthetics, historic sites, the natural environment, and public health and safety. Our attorneys have extensive experience before the SEC. The SEC’s docket is available online.

N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development

DRED oversees New Hampshire’s state parks and forests. Permits issued by DRED’s Division of Forests and Lands include burn permits and special use permits. DRED also promotes the Professional Loggers Program, which is a voluntary certification program for loggers that is administered by the New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council.

Illustrative Projects

Membrane Bioreactor

Permitting of a membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment facility (MBR) at a major commercial retailer. This particular technology had never been permitted in the state at the time. One of our attorneys worked with the governmental decision-makers, including a group visit to similar facilities in a neighboring state. Collaborating with the technical experts, the lawyers assuaged the decision-makers of their concerns such that they approved the required permits. The MBR went well above what was required by the applicable laws for wastewater treatment. However, the developer recognized that the requirements of the applicable laws were outmoded in relation to the intense commercial use of the property.

Recovery House

Permitting of a recovery residence in a downtown neighborhood. A recovery residence, also known as a sober house, is a home where peers begin to reintegrate with society. Working with the attorneys for the municipality, the legal team leveraged the constitutional underpinnings of federal law to obtain the required approvals.

North Country Redevelopment

Redevelopment of North Country industrially-contaminated property. One of our attorneys worked with a large group of companies, other attorneys, and state and federal regulators to secure this complex transaction. The client was a governmental entity acquiring the brownfields site. Included in this transaction was securing assurance from the government that liability for the existing contamination would not pass to the new owner of the property.

Lead Paint

A landlord client faced overwhelming fines from EPA for lead paint contamination. We worked with EPA to drastically reduce the fines and channel most of the fine toward projects to remediate the lead paint contamination and improve the client’s rental units.
Contact Us

Contact us for more information. We offer free one-hour in-person consultations.