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Caspersen v. Town of Lyme

New Hampshire Supreme Court
661 A.2d 759 (1995)


The Caspersens (plaintiffs) own about 800 acres of land in the mountain and forest district (District) of the Town of Lyme (defendant). The Caspersens use their property for forestry purposes and have never attempted to develop it. In 1989, the town adopted a comprehensive zoning ordinance (Ordinance) that permits forestry and single-family dwellings within the District for any lot that is 50 acres or larger. The town’s stated objectives for the District include encouraging the continuation of large tracts of land and encouraging forestry and timber harvesting. The Caspersens challenged the Ordinance. The Caspersens argued that the Ordinance would exclude low or moderate-income housing in the District, making the area less diverse. However, the Caspersens admitted that they had no intention of actually constructing any low or moderate-income housing on their property. The town held a rehearing but did not change the Ordinance. The Caspersens appealed to the trial court. The trial court upheld the Ordinance. The Caspersens appealed and argued that the Ordinance’s restriction on lot sizes: (1) was exclusionary, (2) violated their substantive due process and equal protection rights, (3) violated the state’s controlled growth statutes, and (4) was improperly adopted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Horton, J.)

Concurrence (Brock, J.)

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