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Permits: Know the law before you work on your property

Attorney Jason Reimers writes a column for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. Read his article entitled “Permits: Know the law before you work on your property” published on October 27, 2015.

The Law of Nuisance

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

You have probably heard of the legal concept of “nuisance.” Maybe your neighbor’s rooster seems like a nuisance. Maybe the noise, traffic, and dust from the quarry next door are bothersome. Maybe someone has called your unruly dog a nuisance.

You don’t want to be a nuisance. Being a nuisance can get you sued. Perhaps more importantly, you should want to be a good neighbor. To help keep you in your neighbors’ good graces—and increase the likelihood that they will share their garden’s bounty with you or alert you to suspicious activity at your home while you are away (I’m speaking from experience)—let’s review what a nuisance is.

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See You In Court

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

If anyone threatens you with the old cliché, “I’ll see you in court!,” you might respond, “Which court?” Even in New Hampshire there are many different courts, and not all of them involve a judge in a black robe.

In a broad sense of the word, a “court” is any place where a decision-maker decides whether legally sufficient evidence has been presented to prove that one party has violated a duty to, or damaged, the other party in a way for which the law provides a remedy.   For example, in a criminal case the court must decide whether the prosecutor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that someone has committed a crime. In a civil case, a wrongful act such as negligence or a breach of contract must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lesser standard.

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Really Small and Good Beer

By: Jason D. Reimers, Esq.

Once known as a “beer wasteland,” New Hampshire is making its mark in the world of good beer. Becoming the first state in the nation to license “nanobreweries” is part of the reason. Smaller than a microbrewery, a nanobrewery produces less than 2,000 barrels of beer annually. That’s equivalent to about 62,000 gallons, or not quite enough to fill one tanker truck. Compared with Anheuser-Busch, which produce more than 3 million barrels annually in Merrimack, 2,000 barrels of beer seems small. But, most nanobreweries actually produce less.

Before the nanobrewery law, the only way home brewers could sell their beers was with a beverage manufacturer’s license that costs $1,200. A nanobrewery license is only $240, and it permits a brewer to sell beer directly to bars, restaurants and stores, at farmers’ markets, and on-site to individuals.

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Mixing It Up With Farmers

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

Chances are, you’ve bought something directly from a farm in the past year.  Maybe you picked up eggs or soup bones at Sunnyfield Farm, cheese at Boggy Meadow Farm, or your produce through 1780 Farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.

There are more than 4,000 farms in New Hampshire, and the Monadnock Region has an especially bountiful crop of farms.  New Hampshire’s farms are national leaders in a couple of categories.  First, you may be surprised to learn that New Hampshire’s farms are ranked first in the country in the percentage of goods sold directly from the farm to the consumer. 

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Just Passing Through: Fracked Gas, the Northern Pass, and Tar Sands

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

With no east-west interstate and a wild northern section, New Hampshire has long been more of a destination than a pass-through state for human travelers. However, fossil fuels are passing through all the time. Several existing pipelines already carry natural gas and oil through New Hampshire, and many companies want to increase and diversify the fuels and electricity flowing through New Hampshire, most of which would be passing through on its way to somewhere else. These projects include the Northern Pass, a pipeline carrying Pennsylvanian natural gas, and pipelines carrying Canadian natural gas and tar sands oil.

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Don’t Fertilize the Lake

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

As I write this, my backyard has not yet come out from under the snow. When it does, it’s going to be brown and matted. It will eventually turn green, though I won’t spend any time fertilizing it. Weeds look as good as grass when mown. However, if you are someone who likes a grassy green lawn, you may be buying fertilizer soon. I have one request: read the instructions on the side of the fertilizer bag and then follow them. By doing that, you could keep dangerous algae blooms out of our favorite places to canoe, fish, and swim.

A couple months ago, I wrote a column about road salt and the harmful effects that road salt has on our wells and waterways. Road salt contains chloride and sodium. Too much chloride in a lake is toxic for aquatic life. Too much sodium in your well is bad for your health. There are parallels between road salt and fertilizer.

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A Few Tips on Participating in Planning and Zoning Hearings

Some proposed developments generate a lot of interest, and the planning and zoning board hearings considering those developments often are crowded and, sometimes, contentious. Often, landowners who abut a proposed development have concerns that the development will have an undesirable effect on the neighborhood or their property values. Recently in Dunbarton, neighbors voiced their concerns about a large chicken coop that a farmer wanted to build on his land, and proposed wind farms are guaranteed to draw a crowd. You Antrim readers know that! Whether it’s the light from Crotched Mountain’s night skiing in Francestown or a Dollar General store in Winchester, Jaffrey, or Swanzey, some proposed developments inspire people to speak up.

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A New Technique to Keep Farmland in Farming: Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV)

By: Amy Manzelli, Esq. and Carolyn Baldwin, Esq.

As interest in local and sustainable agriculture develops, organizations involved in agriculture and land conservation increasingly focus their efforts on preserving farmland. Keeping land in sustainable farming generates numerous environmental benefits, including carbon sequestration; rainwater and runoff storage, infiltration, and treatment; wildlife habitat, and more. The question arises: How to assure that preserved farmland remains actively farmed? One new technique: The Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value, or OPAV.

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Monadnock Leads the Way on Renewable Energy

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

There is a state law that requires electric utilities (such as Public Service Company of NH and Unitil) and competitive electricity suppliers to get a certain percentage of the electricity they distribute from renewable sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, and biomass. If an electricity provider does not generate or purchase the requisite percentage of its electricity from renewable sources, the utility must make payments into a renewable energy fund that is administered by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The renewable energy fund, as its name suggests, is used to fund renewable energy projects. The PUC receives applications from a variety of entities who want to build or refurbish a renewable energy system. Recent applicants include small and large businesses, school districts, universities and municipalities.

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