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Legislation for Property Owners on Private Roads Introduced

On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, House Bill (HB) 1490 to establish a committee to study the taxation of property owners on private roads was introduced to the House Committee on Municipal and County Government by Dover Representative Peter Schmidt and co-sponsored by State Senator David Watters. HB 1490 came about through the efforts of the New Hampshire Private Road Taxpayers Alliance (NHPVRTA), a non-profit organization trying to unite property owners on private roads on a state-wide basis to support their efforts to rectify the unfair tax treatment of property owners on private roads. The NHPVRTA can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

After introduction of HB 1490 several private residents from different parts of New Hampshire including the President of the NHPVRTA spoke to the committee in support of the bill. These residents owned property on private roads that were of all types, dirt, gravel, stone and paved and only one was from age-restricted community development. There were approximately 18 members of the Municipal and County Government Committee (MCGC) present and an equal number of individuals present supporting the bill.

The common theme in support of HB 1490 was that although owners of properties on private roads were assessed and paid taxes equal to owners of properties on public roads they had substantial additional costs for snowplowing, maintenance and replacement of those roads that other taxpayers did not. It was mentioned by one supporter that all 11 of the senior communities in Londonderry are situated on private roads.

Some private road property owners talked about safety issues in the event of a need for emergency services stating that their private roads although acknowledged by the local authority and required to meet certain minimum standards were incapable of access by certain types of emergency equipment. A retired Fire Captain addressed his concerns about the existence of certain inaccessible private roads. A City Councilor also addressed the committee about his take on the issue of private roads but he concluded that since there is an apparent proliferation and concern about issues surrounding private roads that it would probably be a good idea to study the problems.

The MCGC members were very respectful of the supporters of HB 1490 and quite a few committee members asked very good follow-up questions but many of those questions could not be answered as there was insufficient research done to this point about certain relevant facts. One example of an unanswered question was “what percentage of NH roads are private roads?”

The committee now needs to deliberate on HB 1490 and a decision should be made in about 2 weeks.