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News and Articles

Beth Boepple Helps Save Historic Carey Cottage

Beth Boepple successfully negotiated and drafted a lease on behalf of BCM’s client, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF), which has forestalled the historic Carey Cottage in Portsmouth, NH from possible demolition.  The minimum 40-year lease provides a long-term alternative to demolition of the historic property and includes provisions for renovation of the site, leading to the eventual establishment of a headquarters for a newly-created center dedicated to fostering the growth of nonprofit organizations.  Beth will now guide SPNHF through the due diligence and permitting process, which is expected to be compeleted by early November.

Click here for more details about this exciting endeavor!

 

 

BCM Joins Clean Energy NH

BCM Environmental & Land Law is excited to become the newest business member of Clean Energy NH, New Hampshire’s leading clean energy advocate working to support policies and programs that strengthen NH’s economy, protect public health, and conserve natural resources.

BCM owner Jason Reimers joined Clean Energy NH for its member cruise on Lake Sunapee on July 26, 2019.  It was a terrific event full of bright sunshine and beautiful NH scenery!

 

 

Beth Boepple Continues to Fight the Proposed NECEC Transmission Line Project

Beth Boepple has been tirelessly working on behalf of the 4,200+ member grassroots group Say NO to NECEC to fight the proposed 145-mile long Central Maine Power/AVANGRID New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line in pending Maine regulatory proceedings.  As a part of that representation, Beth recently filed a Complaint with the Office of the Maine Attorney General raising concerns about a conflict on interest on the part of Llyod Trafton, a Somerset County commissioner who also sits on the board of directors of a nonprofit group poised to benefit financially from the transmission line project. Due to these conflict of interest allegations, Trafton recently resigned from his position on the board of directors; however, his status as a Somerset County Commissioner continues to cause concerns.

Click here for more details about this story.

 

 

Local Regulation of Agriculture Toolkit Now Available

Article published in the New Hampshire Bar News, May 15, 2019

By: Amy Manzelli, Esq. and Theresa Walker

Conflicts surrounding farms are on the rise in New Hampshire, be it neighbors challenging farmers, farmers engaging in activities that stretch or exceed what constitutes agriculture, or entrenched attitudes about property rights.  At the same time, farms are thriving and expanding across the state as farmers capitalize on consumer interest in locally grown and produced food and communities strive to become more economically and environmentally resilient. The New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture (Coalition), an ad-hoc group of New Hampshire farmers, regulators, agricultural advocates and policy makers, identified the need for information for farmers and local officials about state laws governing agriculture and how local policies and regulations can help or hinder local agriculture….click HERE to read more!

 

 

 

NOFA-NH Presents the CRAFT of Farming

See, Walk, Learn & Network!  NOFA-NH is presenting an educational program for farmers, farm workers, gardeners, students, and families. Participants will have the opportunity to tour three Merrimack County farms as a part of the NOFA-NH CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliances for Farmer Training) program and visit the places where real, local organic vegetables are being grown.

Click HERE to register for this exciting event and learn more about NOFA-NH’s CRAFT Program.

 

 

Beth Boepple Honored With a Distinguished Service Award from Conservation Law Foundation

Elizabeth Boepple, Esq., was recently awarded a Distinguished Service Award for her work in connection with the Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) Legal Food Hub.

Beth is a strong supporter of northern New England’s local food system. She has been a “champion of the Legal Food Hub since its launch in 2014.”  Beth has dedicated countless hours of her time assisting the Legal Food Hub farmers, food entrepreneurs, and other supporting organizations in various areas of food and farming law, ranging from real estate and land use issues to commercial and banking matters.  Beth’s commitment to sharing her knowledge and experience is admirable, and everyone at BCM is proud of her work.  Congratulations Beth!

Click here to read more about the CLF Legal Food Hub and Beth’s honor.

BCM Underwrites Saving Special Places

BCM Environmental & Land Law was pleased to once again underwrite Saving Special Places, NH’s annual land conservation conference, which took place on Saturday, April 6th at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, NH. This critical annual conference gathers land conservationists from various fields to provide focused and timely education and discussion about a variety of conservation-related issues, including wildlife & forest management, conservation easement tax benefits, climate change adaptation, valuation of conservation easements, re-imagining conservation, accreditation, stewardship, timber harvesting, and option to purchase for agricultural value. Amy Manzelli presented a seminar regarding agritourism and conservation easements.  Jason Reimers and Kelsey Peterson both also attended this highly successful event.

 

Spite Fences

By: Jason D. Reimers, Esq.

New Hampshire has a statute—RSA 476—titled “Spite Fences” that was enacted in 1887.  Under the statute, a spite fence is “any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence, unnecessarily exceeding 5 feet in height, [and] erected or maintained for the purpose of annoying the owners or occupants of adjoining property.”  If a court finds that a fence satisfies these criteria, the court could conclude that the fence is a nuisance and order that it be removed.  The court may also award damages.

There is very little New Hampshire case law on spite fences.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court has considered spite fences only twice, in 1897 and 1900, and I have not found any New Hampshire superior court orders involving spite fences.  The 1897 case involved an unpainted and non-clapboarded building 15 feet tall that was built close to the property line.  The unsightly building blocked the neighbor’s view and sunlight.  The Supreme Court held that the spite fence law did not apply to buildings despite the likelihood that the building was constructed for malicious intent.

The 1900 case involved a fence of “timbers” and “rough boards” and essentially says that a spouse not involved in the construction of a spite fence is not culpable.

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The Rule of Reasonable Use

By: Jason D. Reimers, Esq.

In this column I often write about rights of way and easements.  The reason is that my land-use legal practice involves rights of way and easements on an almost daily basis.  Sometimes, but certainly not always, a right of way and an easement are the same thing.  This month I want to discuss the rule of “reasonable use” and how it is applied by courts to certain rights of way or easements.  For this hypothetical, the terms “right of way” and “easement” are interchangeable, but keep in mind that I am not talking about conservation easements.

Let’s say that you own property across the street from a lake.  Your lakefront neighbor across the street owns the entire shorefront.  You and your neighbor are good friends after having been neighbors for 30 years.  Thirty years ago, soon after you each purchased your properties, your neighbor conveyed to you a deeded easement over a 15-foot portion of her waterfront.  The 15-foot area is a sandy beach.

The deed granting you the easement says nothing about the beach or any other specific use.  Rather, it just describes a “right of way over the property.”  Fortunately, the right of way runs with the land and remains in existence regardless of who owns either lot.  Unfortunately, your neighbor moved to Florida last year, and your new neighbors don’t want you to use the beach anymore.

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Beth Boepple Leads CLF Legal Food Hub Webinar

Elizabeth Boepple presented a webinar regarding Agricultural Easements as a part of the CLF Legal Food Hub Winter Webinar Series on March 5, 2019.  The CLF Legal Food Hub is an organization that provides pro bono legal assistance, workshops, and training to farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations in order to foster a sustainable, resilient, and just food system.  Check out Beth’s presentation here to learn more about agricultural easements!