Few things impact our daily lives more than the homes we live in and where those homes are located. The ability for Americans to access housing is a key driver of economic mobility and growth – for individuals and for entire states. Too often, burdensome barriers from land use regulations, including zoning, limit where Americans can live and build new homes.
As the New Hampshire Union Leader reported, Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) partners at Saint Anselm College joined together with New Hampshire Housing, the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, and the State of New Hampshire Office of Planning and Development to take a deeper look at what those barriers look like in the state of New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire Zoning Atlas, an online map and dataset, demonstrates the district-level land-use regulatory barriers that exist in the Granite State. These barriers have a significant impact on new housing construction and economic development.
The interactive tool allows users to adjust regulatory variables to determine which communities are more restrictive than others. The comprehensive Atlas includes all 269 jurisdictions in the state – including more than 2,000 districts – and 23,000 pages of zoning regulations. This project is part of the larger National Zoning Atlas project, which now includes zoning atlases for 21 different states.
The researchers found New Hampshire is not friendly for those looking to build small or starter homes in an economically viable way. The statewide findings page notes only 16 percent of the state’s buildable area allows for development of more affordable, starter homes.
The New Hampshire Business Review highlighted the scholars’ work, noting current zoning policies could “blunt statewide economic growth.”
Max Latona, executive director of the Saint Anselm’s College Center for Ethics and Society, said the project’s goal is to give state and local leaders a better understanding of the scale of our restrictive regulatory environment and help them “make better decisions about zoning in their own community vis-a-vis what’s happening in communities around them.”
Learn more about the New Hampshire Zoning Atlas on Saint Anselm’s website.