Town of Columbia, New Hampshire
As adopted March 9, 1971 and amended 1972 - 1977, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and 2013.
The Town of Columbia, in pursuance of the authority conferred by the Chapter 31:60-89, NH Revised Statutes Annotated, 1955, and any amendments thereto, and for the preservation of the attractiveness of the Town, its desirability as a place in which to live and do business, the safeguarding of health, wealth, morals, convenience and safety of its citizens, property values, and an orderly growth in the future, hereby adopts the following Zoning Ordinance.
The Columbia Planning Board feels the following Articles are consistent with the philosophies stated in our Master Plan originally adopted in 1985, and updated in 2007.
Article 1 - Zoning
The Town of Columbia shall have two (2) zoning districts.
A. Flood Plain Zone: All lands designated as “Special Flood Hazard Areas” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in its Flood Insurance Rate Maps dated April 2, 1986, or as amended, which are declared to be a part of this ordinance and are hereby incorporated by reference.
All lands in the FloodPlain Zone, as defined above and designated as “special flood hazard areas” shall comply with the Columbia FloodPlain Ordinance. The regulations of the Columbia FloodPlain Ordinance shall overlay and supplement the regulations of this Zoning Ordinance and shall be considered part of this Zoning Ordinance for purposes of administration and appeals under state law. If any provision of the Columbia FloodPlain Ordinance differs or conflicts with any provision of this Zoning Ordinance, the provision imposing the greater restriction or more stringent standard shall be controlling.
B. Rural Zone: All lands in the Town shall be zoned as rural and subject to the following provisions of this ordinance.
Article 2 - Permits
A. After the passing of this ordinance, it shall be unlawful to erect and use any structure over 100 square feet, or to relocate any building without first obtaining a permit - zoning compliance certificate (“ZCC”) from the Planning Board. For each such certificate from the Planning Board, the Board shall collect and pay to the Town Treasurer the sum for such zoning compliance certificate as stated in Appendix 1. The Planning Board, at its discretion, has the right to waive the zoning compliance fee. This certificate is to be kept posted at the construction site during construction and protected from inclement weather.
B. No zoning compliance certificate shall be required for remodeling or repairing where the purpose for which the building or structure to be used is not changed, or the building is not enlarged or living area expanded.
C. Effective May 11, 2002 a permit for a driveway must be approved by the Selectmen and or Road Agent before issuance of a zoning compliance certificate, (where a driveway does not already exist.) A copy of the driveway permit must accompany the zoning compliance certificate application.
D. Any zoning compliance certificate for a building that will have living space requires a perc test completed within the previous 5 years that allows for a state approved septic on said property. All buildings with pressurized water must present an approved septic design and approval number to the Planning Board before issuance of a zoning compliance certificate. Any alternative waste disposal system must meet with minimum state requirements.
E. If construction of the building for which a zoning compliance certificate has been issued is not begun with one (1) year from date of issuance, said certificate shall expire. Property owner(s) may come before the Planning Board to request an extension of the certificate for up to one (1) year. Any extension thereafter, a certificate fee will be applied.
F. After the passing of this ordinance any sign must obtain a zoning compliance certificate. Any temporary sign can be placed for 60 days or less without obtaining a zoning compliance certificate.
Article 3 - Construction
A. Exterior Walls of a building shall be finished with durable standard materials.
B. Foundations for residences shall be concrete, masonry walls, concrete masonry piers or concrete slab.
C. All chimneys shall be constructed in accordance with New Hampshire’s Fire Safety Code Regulations and recommended practices.
Article 4 - Lot Size, Building Placement, and other regulations
A. A structure shall not be erected or placed on a lot that does not have a minimum size of three (3) acres (130,680 sq. ft.) and does not have atleast two hundred (200) feet of frontage on a state or town road. State or town road as defined in RSA229:5. In the case of a subdivision: the minimum frontage requirements shall apply only to the road or street on which the individual lot driveway enters.
B. No zoning compliance certificate shall be issued for any structure or building, whether it is for human occupancy or not, on any lot which does not have the minimum frontage on a Class V or better highway. Only exceptions are as follows:
1) If the lot is located with minimum frontage on an approved street or road within a subdivision.
2) If the lot is located on a Class VI highway or private road and the Selectmen give their approval.
C. A building should not be erected or placed closer than twenty five (25) feet to all boundaries unless written consent from all parties is presented with the application for a zoning compliance certificate. Further, a building shall not be erected or placed closer than 25 feet from any and all public rights of way.
D. No owner or occupant of any land in said Town shall permit any building or structure of fire ruins to be left unfinished or incomplete but shall complete the removal or reconstruction with one (1) year, unless otherwise specified by the Board of Adjustment.
E. Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to prevent continuance for any existing use of land or buildings except that non-conforming uses shall not be enlarged or extended after passage of this ordinance.
F. A non-conforming use, nonetheless, which becomes non-operative or vacant for a period of one (1) year, shall not thereafter be reoccupied except for a use conforming to this ordinance.
Article 5 - Trailers and Mobile Homes
1.) Mobile home: a detached residential dwelling unit designed for transportation, after fabrication, on street or highway on its own wheels and arriving at the site where it is to be occupied as a dwelling complete and ready for occupancy, except for assembly operations, located on jacks, or other temporary or permanent foundations, connections to utilities, etc. A travel trailer shall not be considered a mobile home.
2.) Travel trailer: a camper trailer that is considered a recreational vehicle and is meant to have a motor vehicle registration.
B. Permitted Uses:
1. A mobile home to be occupied as a dwelling shall be allowed if the following conditions are met:
a) the town issues a zoning compliance certificate prior to placement of the mobile home.
b) Lots will conform to present requirements for permanent housing (size of lot, frontage, placement, water, sewerage, etc.)
c)The minimum size of the mobile home will be 600 square feet.
d) the mobile home will meet present requirements of Columbia’s Zoning Ordinance regarding chimneys. (Article 3 section C.)
e) the mobile home will meet present requirements of Columbia’s Zoning Ordinance regarding foundations, and exterior walls, (Article 3 sections A and B) to include skirting of mobile home.
f) A zoning compliance certificate is also required of a mobile home intended to be a replacement of an existing mobile home, or one lost by fire, accident , or any force of nature.
g) All mobile homes must be placed and secured on a continuous concrete foundation slab.
h) by state law, any mobile home must be clear of all taxes and liens from its’ prior location (RSA 80:02-A)
a) mobile home camper or trailer may be maintained as living quarters by a person employed in adjoining construction work or for whom a residence is being built, or as an office, store room, or shop in connection with construction work. This is provided that such use is shown to be a temporary expedited and also that the use will conform with all sanitary codes. Such a mobile home to be removed 30 days after completion of project.
b) Mobile homes acquired for purpose of resale may be displayed only in an area approved by the Planning Board after an application for a zoning compliance certificate to display has been filed by the business owner(s) and landowner(s) and after approval by the Planning Board subsequent to a public hearing on the issue.
C. Camper trailers (all recreational vehicles) are not to be inhabited in Columbia on any lot as permanent camps. A zoning compliance certificate may be issued for not more than one camper trailer per lot - with proof of current registration - for up to six (6) months in one (1) calendar year. A camper trailer (recreational vehicle) inhabited on a private lot for more than two (2) weeks in any one (1) calendar year must comply with all sanitary waste provisions required by the New Hampshire Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission and any local ordinances and regulations. Applications must be accompanied by the proper fee according to Appendix I.
Article 6 - Trailer Parks
A. Any existing trail parks to be enlarged or extended after the passage of this ordinance must have lots with a minimum of one-quarter (1/4) acre (10,890 sq. ft.) per dwelling unit with additional one-quarter (1/4) acre (10,890 sq. ft.) of green space per lot and have adequate sewerage disposal and running water. Green space may be used as common area, sewerage and water facilities. All such developments must have a minimum fifty (50) foot wide natural buffer area along perimeter of development to include the main access to park. No dwelling, accessory structure, collector, service roads, or parking areas shall be permitted within the designated buffer area. Primary roads are allowed to cross the buffer. All future installations of water, electrical, and sewerage lines shall conform to the foregoing lot size.
B. Trailers or mobile homes to be placed in trailer parks or placed on private land must have a minimum area of 600 square feet. They must be placed on a continuous concrete foundation or slab to be a minimum of 4 inches thick with a 16 inch grid of ½ inch re-bar or mesh and to be fastened down at the cost to the trailer park owner or landowner. The base of the house trailer or mobile home shall be fully skirted by durable standard material utilizing industry approved methods.
C. An application for a zoning compliance certificate to place a trailer or mobile home in a trailer park shall be signed by the owner of the mobile home or trailer and also by the trailer park owner where it is to be placed.
D. Mobile home census: on a form to be furnished by the selectmen, operators of trailer parks shall submit a census report on or before April 15th each year.
E. Zoning compliance certificates for additional structures ( porches, sheds, carports, etc, ) shall meet requirements for placement (Article 4-section C) and be signed by trailer owner/renter and trailer park owner.)
Article 7 - Enforcement
A. It shall be the duty of the Planning Board and said Board is hereby given the power and authority to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance.
B. The Planning Board shall issue any and all zoning compliance certificates requested when such certificates are in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance.
C. Upon any well founded information that this ordinance is being violated the Planning Board shall, on their own initiative, take immediate steps to enforce the provisions of this ordinance by seeking an injunction against said violations or by any other legal means.
D. All property owners taking any action which requires a zoning compliance certificate, before receiving approval shall be subject to an “after-the-fact” penalty of no more than double the application fee. Once assessed no application approval shall be granted until all charges are paid.
Article 8 - Penalty
Any failure to comply with the provisions of this ordinance shall, upon written notification by certified mail by the Planning Board, be subject to a fine of not more than $275.00 for each day the violation shall continue. RSA 676:17
Article 9 - Board of Adjustment
A. Within thirty (30) days after the adoption of the ordinance and there after as terms expire and vacancies occur, the Board of Selectmen shall make appointments to a Board of Adjustment of five (5) members conforming in duties to the provisions of Section 67, Chapter 31 on the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated, 1955.
Article 10 - Amendments
This Ordinance may be amended by a majority vote at any legal Town Meeting when such amendments have been presented to the public as required by New Hampshire RSA 31:63a
Article 11 - Format
The format of this ordinance shall be the responsibility of the Planning Board.
Article 12 - Saving Clause
The invalidity of any provision of this ordinance shall not effect the validity of any other provision.
Article 13 - When Effective
This Ordinance and any amendment thereto, shall take effect immediately upon its passage.
Article 14 - Adoption
March 2001 Town Meeting adopted an ordinance regulating the building and placement of personal wireless service facilities. A copy of this ordinance is on file with the Columbia Town Office.
Article 15 - Planning Board Members
The Planning Board shall consist of five (5) members and two (2) alternates. One shall be a selectman designated by the selectboard , the remaining four (4) members to be elected by the legislative body in accordance with RSA 673:2II (b)(2) or such state statutes as may apply. The alternate members shall be appointed.
Article 16 -
Article 17 - Landfills and Incinerators
Landfills, incinerators, and other uses related to waste disposal shall be deemed prohibited. The Board of Selectmen shall be permitted to provide for waste disposal for the municipal purposes of the Town and other towns with whom they may contact, in designated landfill or waste disposal sites. With the exception of the authority of the Section, as above, waste disposal shall not be allowed by special exception.
Article 18 - Definitions
Unless otherwise stated words shall, for the purpose of this ordinance, have the meaning indicated in the Article. Words used in the present tense shall include the future. The singular includes the plural and the plural includes the singular. The word “person” shall include a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, trust, unincorporated association of persons or any other legal entity recognized by the State of New Hampshire. The word “shall” is mandatory not directory.
Accessory building or use: A building or use located on the same lot as the principal building and the use of which is considered customarily incidental to those of the principal building such as: detached garages, swimming pools and equipment sheds.
Buffer: An area of land surrounding dwelling units where nothing may be constructed. Vegetation may consist of plants, trees and shrubs that will enhance the surrounding areas without damaging the natural habitat.
Building: Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls designed or built for the support, enclosure, shelter or protection of persons, animals or property of any kind.
Camp or cottage: A building of such nature that it may only be used for recreational purposes.
Contractor: Any person, firm, corporation or other business entity engaging in improvements to, or repairs to, or reconstruction of, or other changes to realty. This includes but is not limited to, general contractors, excavators, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, septic designers, engineers and architects. Contractors are responsible for compliance with this ordinance and shall not commence work any work prior to obtaining and securing all necessary certificates and approvals.
Cluster housing: Any development consisting of three (3) or more dwelling units on a single piece of property. Form of ownership may be commercial, condominium or such other legal form of ownership as permitted under laws of the State of New Hampshire.
Driveway: An access way serving not more than two (2) lots.
Dwelling unit: A room or group of rooms, with its own sanitary and kitchen facilities, forming a habitable unit for one family, used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
Fence: A barrier constructed of wooden posts, wire, iron, etc., used to separate or as a means of protection or confinement.
Frontage: The distance that a lot borders on a public street that has been approved by the Planning Board in a subdivision.
Green space: Land which remains undeveloped and is maintained for the benefit and enjoyment of residents of adjacent dwellings, or the public, in a residential development.
Height: The vertical distance between the mean finished grade at the structure and the highest point of the roof of the structure.
Incinerator: A facility which employs a method of using controlled thermal combustion, including flame combustion, to thermally break down waste or other materials, including refuse - derived fuel, to an ash residue that contains little or no combustible materials.
Landfill: Place where waste, including but not limited to, household trash, construction debris and industrial refuse is deposited and buried with earth.
Late fee: Any fee collected for issuance of a zoning compliance certificate applied for after the work has begun.
Lot: A parcel of land of atleast sufficient size to meet the minimum requirements of the ordinance for use, area, setback, frontage and having access on an improved street or right-or-way.
Non-conforming lot: A lot, which does not conform to the requirements of this ordinance.
Open space: Land upon which there is no construction, left in its natural state or enhanced by landscaping.
Permitted use: A use of property, which is allowed by this Ordinance.
Private Road - A roadway providing access to three (3) or more lots but which is not maintained by the Town.
Public Right-of-Way: Any town, state or federal highway or road and the land on either side of the same, as covered by statutes to determine the width of right-of-ways. Roads and streets are public right-of-ways.
Setbacks: Cannot be any closer than twenty-five (25) feet to any boundary.
Sign: Any medium, which is used or intended to be used to attract attention to its subject matter. Neither court and government notices, nor the flag, emblem or insignia of a nation, political unit, school or religion are considered signs.
Structure: A structure shall be considered to be anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground. Structures include, but are not limited to: buildings, swimming pools, barns, manufactured housing, carports, and garages. Minor installations such as but not limited to: mailboxes, radio antennas and flagpoles shall not be considered structures.
Variance: Variances may be granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in accordance with RSA 674:33 in cases where, owing to specific conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship and so that the spirit of the ordinance shall be observed and substantial justice done.