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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!

 

Amy Manzelli Serves as Panelist at NEWIEE’s First 2019 NH Career Panel and Networking Event

Amy Manzelli was excited to meet and help influence young women as they start off their careers in the field of energy and the environment at the New England Women in Energy and the Environment’s (NEWIEE) first New Hampshire career panel and networking event of the year, held on March 21, 2019 in Concord, NH.  Amy is passionate about her work and was thrilled to have the opportunity to help the professional development of other women in the field.   Stay tuned for further updates about Amy’s work with NEWIEE!

 

BCM Exhibits at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show

BCM was on the road, exhibiting at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show, from January 15-17th.  The show, sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is an annual tradition that provides an incredible opportunity for everyone involved in the agricultural industry (from producers to consumers and everyone in between) to come together to learn about current programs and new technologies via lectures, courses, meetings, and fun exhibits.  

BCM was excited to be able to share its exhibition space with the Fork Food Lab and Farm Drop.  The Fork Food Lab is a membership-based shared commercial kitchen and food business incubator located in Portland Maine. Visitors to the BCM exhibit were happy to be able to try the tempting treats provided by various Fork Food Lab members! Click here to learn more about the great work they are doing! FarmDrop is an online food purchasing system that allows users to choose from multiple, local, Maine food producers in one location.  Check them out here

This year’s show was a great success, and BCM was thrilled to be a part of the action!

 

Amy Manzelli Works to Permanently Conserve Family Farm

Amy Manzelli recently worked with Agrarian Trust, whose mission is to support land access for the next generation of farmers, to secure a conservation easement on Wingate Farm, which preserves the farm for future generations of farmers and ensures that the whole farm – the house, barns, and land – stay together.   A significant component of the easement was an OPAV (Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value), which ensures that all futures sales of Wingate Farm will be to farmers at fair market agricultural value.  This is the first time such a provision has been used to protect active agricultural land in New Hampshire.

Read more about Amy’s work on this project here.

 

BCM Retained by Grassroots Organization to Fight the Proposed NECEC Project in Maine

The BCM Environmental & Land Law team, led by Beth Boepple out of our Portland office, has been retained by the 4,200+ member grassroots group Say NO to NECEC to fight the 145-mile long Central Maine Power/AVANGRID New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line in the pending Maine regulatory proceedings.

Earlier this year, the BCM Team worked to help defeat the proposed Northern Pass project in New Hampshire and will be bringing that same skill set to protect the iconic landscapes of Maine against another utility company’s attempts at degradation.

Click here to learn more about BCM’s representation of Say NO to NECEC.

 

 

Amy Manzelli and Kelsey Peterson Attend NH Women’s Bar Association Fall Reception

Amy Manzelli and Kelsey Peterson attended the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association’s 21st Annual Fall Reception on October 11, 2018 at the Concord Country Club.

The NHWBA promotes and supports the advancement and interests of women in NH’s legal community through leadership, professional interaction, education and the exchange of ideas between its members and the community.  The Fall Reception was a great chance for members to network with fellow attorneys and judges from across the state.  Members recognized and celebrated all that the NHWBA has accomplished in the past year.