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Planning Board New Survey Requirements

To: Owners of non-conforming lots (less than 2 acres)

From: Barnstead Planning Board

Re: New Survey Requirement

Date: 3/31/2005

In the last few years, the Town has had several situations in which new homes or additions to existing homes have been inadvertently built too close to the road or neighboring property. In most of these cases the builder has made a good faith effort to abide by the required setbacks* but the lot has had no survey pins showing exactly where the property line is set.

This can negatively affect the look and feel of a neighborhood, can be disturbing to neighbors, and could potentially hurt the value of the property for the owner. The owner can protect his property value by asking the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a "variance", or permission to vary from the required setback. But in most of these cases, no one has discovered the problem until a lot of money has already been spent on construction.

That puts the Zoning Board in the no-win situation of needing to choose between giving rubber stamp approval to something that has already happened, or telling the property owner to tear down the construction that has already been done and start all over again.

At the 2005 Town Meeting, the Town voted a new section into the Barnstead Building Code. This requires anyone who wants to build (new or addition) on a lot less than 2 acres to include a lot survey with their building application. The survey needs to be done by a Licensed New Hampshire Surveyor and it needs to show that pins (metal or stone markers) have been placed at every corner of the lot. With this in place, the Building Inspector can measure the distances to the foundation lines and be sure that the structure is in the right place before any concrete is poured.

* A "setback" is the distance that a structure must be "set back" from the property line to protect neighboring homeowners. A listing of setback distances is included in the Building Permit packet.

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