By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on June 15, 2011, I vetoed HB 109, an act relative to residential fire sprinklers.
HB 109 prohibits local planning boards from requiring the installation of a fire suppression sprinkler system in proposed one or two-family residences as a condition of approval for a local permits. It also lessens the ability of local communities to work cooperatively with developers to move projects forward in cost-effective ways. Instead of allowing communities to work with developers to substitute sprinkler systems, communities will now have to revert to requiring what may be more costly options: fire ponds, cisterns, wider road widths, increasing the size of building lots and increasing the size of distance between buildings.
HB 109 will also prohibit municipalities from enforcing their current sprinkler ordinances. Today, communities from Salem to Hooksett to Boscawen to Lebanon have these ordinances, which have been approved by the local governing bodies.
I believe that the decision of whether or not to require fire sprinklers for new or renovated residential development should remain a local one. The State should not dictate a required course of action. It is obviously the local community that is impacted from new residential development both in terms of land use and in terms of bearing the costs of providing increased fire protection services. This legislation will remove local control over an important issue.
The State Fire Marshal and numerous local fire departments across the State also have concerns about the ability of local officials to continue to have fire sprinkler systems as a local option.
For these reasons, I am vetoing HB 109.