Workforce housing repeal dies in Senate

The New Hampshire Senate on Wednesday killed any attempt to repeal the state’s workforce housing bill, which into effect in 2010.The new law mandates that municipalities formulate some plan that would give a reasonable opportunity for developers to create affordable housing (meaning that a family making median income in the town could live there.) It was backed by a coalition of housing activists, builders and business groups, and that coalition stuck together, giving an earful to lawmakers at both the House and Senate public hearings on the bill.Conservatives may not have been won over by pleas for the struggling moderate-income worker, but they did seem to pay attention when builders said that zoning laws were making it impossible to for them to supply the demand for such housing, and executives who said that it was bad for business to not be able to hire many people who could afford to live nearby, driving up wages and increasing turnover.They convinced committees in both the House and Senate, both of which killed the bill, but the House overturned its committee vote after repeal supporters argued that it violated local control and invoked that 13-letter word: Massachusetts.Supporters pleaded to the Senate that the Granite State law was not like the workforce housing bill in effect in its neighbor to the south because it gave much greater flexibility to communities. Besides, they argued, wouldn’t it make sense to see how the law worked out, before repealing it? That seemed to do the trick.”Let’s see what happens in a couple of years, and if it needs some tweaking, we can do it then,” said Sen. Jack Barnes, R-Raymond. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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