After the adoption of legislation comes administrative rulemaking. At this stage the agency tasked with enforcing the law adopts procedures that will determine how the law is to be enforced. The administrative rulemaking process occurs after a law is adopted or modified. This process also occurs periodically (approximately every 5 to 7 years) for existing laws to keep them relevant and up to date. Current use tax assessment is an exception to the 5-to-7-year update cycle. The assessment rates for timberland and timberland land enrolled in documented stewardship within the current use program are reviewed and adjusted annually to take into account shifts in timber stumpage values.
The NHTOA actively monitors upcoming rulemaking proceedings and actively represents our members’ interests in them. Annually, the NHTOA participates in the current use assessment rulemaking and, on average, two other rulemaking proceedings per year, ranging from air/dust emission rules governing sawmills and wetland protections during forest management work to alteration of terrain rules governing wildlife food plot installations as part of a land stewardship plan.
Current Use Assessment
The assessment rulemaking process began July 27 when the N.H. Current Use Board met and accepted assessment rates for presentation at the fall forums (dates and locations to be determined). In addition to the forestland and forestland with documented stewardship assessment rates, this year there will also be an in-depth discussion of the assessment rate setting process for agricultural lands. Watch the NHTOA literature and website for details on fall forum date and locations.
Alteration of Terrain
Earlier this year the N.H. Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) initiated a rulemaking proceeding to modify the alteration of terrain permitting process. Of particular interest to the NHTOA are the proposed changes for converting forestland to open space (i.e., permanent openings – wildlife food plots, field reclamation, etc.). These proceedings were initiated after the state recognized the current rules do not work well for this type of conversion (they are geared towards permanent land development – paved surfaces, building, etc.). Because many NHTOA members incorporate permanent openings into their property’s stewardship planning the NHTOA is participating in this proceeding. The public comment period on the draft rules closed on July 10 and we anticipate a revised rule draft later this summer. Watch the NHTOA literature and website for details on this proceeding.
NHDES’ proposed Alteration of Terrain Rules
NHTOA’s comments to proposed Alteration of Terrain Rules