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Planning News

Welcome to the NHOSI planning news page! This page is intended to provide planning related news for those involved with planning in New Hampshire.

Notifications regarding updates to this page will be sent out weekly through the Plan-Link Listserv. If you are not a subscriber to the Plan-Link Listserv, please visit NH OSI's Plan-Link webpage.

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Current News

Court Orders Census Counting To Continue Through October 31st; Appeal Expected
September 24, 2020

A federal court has ordered the Trump administration to abandon last-minute changes to the 2020 census schedule and extend the time for counting for an additional month. The preliminary injunction issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California requires the Census Bureau to keep trying to tally the country's residents through October 31st. The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision.

Draft 2020 NH Forest Action Plan Available for Public Comment
September 24, 2020

The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands has released the Draft 2020 New Hampshire Forest Action Plan pdf file. Under federal law, a state is required to develop and update every ten years a Forest Action Plan (FAP) in order to be eligible to receive funds under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act. The Division of Forest and Lands is accepting public comment on the draft until October 15, 2020. Comments may be directed to Susan Francher at the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources via e-mail at

Living shoreline project creates a more resilient Wagon Hill Farm
September 23, 2020

In 2019, the Town of Durham, in partnership with the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), University of New Hampshire (UNH), and the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, finalized a design and installed a living shoreline along the tidal portion of the Oyster River at Wagon Hill Farm; the first of its kind in the state of New Hampshire. This innovative restoration project was designed specifically to reduce erosion, replace salt marsh habitat that had been lost or damaged, improve shoreline appearance, and accommodate salt marsh migration resulting from sea-level rise.

With 2 weeks left in the Census, roughly 20,000 N.H. households still haven’t responded
September 19, 2020

With less than two weeks left in the official deadline to complete the 2020 Census, there has been no response from people in about 4.5% of households in New Hampshire – roughly 20,000 houses, apartments, short-term housing units, group facilities and condos. About 1,000 census workers are in the state at the moment, knocking on doors of households that haven’t responded online or during earlier attempts by the Census Bureau.

Buses, Bikes, & Brooms Commuter Challenge
October 1 – 31, 2020

Join other businesses and employers from across the state in celebrating fall by participating in the Buses, Bikes, & Brooms Challenge! Telecommute (work from home), bike, walk, skateboard, carpool, use transit, or any combination of these modes from October 1 – 31, 2020! Are you already working remotely due to the COVID pandemic? This challenge is a great opportunity to build camaraderie and have fun with your coworkers that you now don’t get to see every day. Sign-ups for the challenge will be held online, where participants can join their workplace team, log their trips, and see where they stand against other teams on the leaderboard. If your workplace has yet to join the challenge, contact to add your organization’s team.

Plan NH Belonging By Design Webinar Series
October 6, 13, and 20, 2020, 12 PM – 1:30 PM

Plan New Hampshire will host a three-part webinar series hosted via ZOOM titled, “Belonging By Design”, focused on fostering and supporting inclusion and belonging through intentional planning and design of our built environment. The first webinar on October 6th is titled, “The Story of Congress Square Park, Portland, ME”. The second webinar on October 13th is titled, “Integrating Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) by Design: Approaching DEI with intentionality is vital for improving the built environment”. The third and final webinar on October 20th is titled, “Inclusive Design as a Framework for Creating Equitable Environments”. Registration for each webinar is $15 for Plan NH members and $30 for non-members.

NHMA Webinar - 2020 Hot Topics in Road Law: A New & Improved Hard Road to Travel Virtual Workshop
October 9, 2020, 9 AM – 12:30 PM

New Hampshire Municipal Association (NHMA) Legal Services Counsel Stephen Buckley and Municipal Services Counsel Natch Greyes will discuss the designation and management of Class VI roads, including how and when building permits can be issued under RSA 674:41, granting permission for use of Class VI roads by OHRV's and snowmobiles, and allowing abutting property owners to undertake private repairs. This virtual workshop will also cover management of local highway construction, repair and maintenance through the office of an elected or appointed road agent or expert agent, and the requirement of CDL licensing for municipal highway employees. This virtual workshop will also provide a review of the local regulation of highways by the select board including, parking, street numbers, street names, weight limits, mailbox location, as well as driveway regulation by the planning board. Registration is $55 and limited to NHMA members.

Virtual Discussion of Communities & Consequences II: People and preservation can make a difference
October 16, 2020, 12 – 1:15 PM

On October 16, 2020 at 12:00 PM Planner Steve Whitman of Resilience Planning & Design LLC will facilitate an online conversation with Lorraine Stuart Merrill and Peter Francese, co-authors of the new book, Communities and Consequences II: Rebalancing New Hampshire’s Human Ecology, which shows how local policy choices and decision making affect our economy, quality of life, and have turned us into the second-oldest state in the nation. All three speakers will share compelling case studies of how people are working together to create vibrant and welcoming places including Lancaster, NH for people of all ages and backgrounds, and are fostering a thriving future for their communities and the state. Registration is free, but space is limited. To sign up, email with "October 16" in the subject line.

Previous News

Curbside Competition
September 16, 2020

To help struggling restaurants, cities have converted parking to pickup zones and pop-up patios. But could they find a more permanent home in our post-pandemic streetscape?

Uncertain future for Market and Main after apartments denied
September 15, 2020

The future of the Market and Main complex in Bedford is up in the air after the Bedford Planning Board denied a site plan application for the second phase of the project, which was to include 200 luxury market rate apartments and an 11-screen movie theater. Market and Main is located in the Route 3 Performance Zone which was designed to allow innovative uses and flexible development, but doesn’t expressly allow market rate apartments.

Unprecedented housing trends in Nashua causing alarm
September 15, 2020

Concerning housing data is being studied in Nashua as the city struggles with a nearly nonexistent vacancy rate. From 2010 to 2019, Nashua’s vacancy rate has only twice reached as high as 2.5%. A healthy vacancy rate is about 5%. In addition, there are very few units in Nashua that are renting for $1,000 or less, with the vast majority of units renting at a significantly higher monthly fee.

Portsmouth survey-takers: We’ll pay more for changes to McIntyre redevelopment
September 14, 2020

Three-quarters of 3,700 survey respondents said they’d pay for changes to the proposed redevelopment of the Thomas J. McIntyre Federal Building in Portsmouth and most said they’d prefer traditional architecture over contemporary. The current Portsmouth City Council adopted principals earlier this year for proceeding despite the previous Portsmouth City Council having selected Redgate Kane to redevelop the 2.1-acre site on the edge of Downtown Portsmouth.

Dedication of Meredith nature trail marks end of 9-year effort
September 14, 2020

The Laverack Nature Trail at Hawkins Brook in Meredith starts at the back of the parking lot at Meredith Village Savings Bank and winds through a wetland to the athletic fields at Prescott Park, about a half-mile away. The trail, according to its namesake, is another amenity that will help the town of Meredith to move forward in its new identity as a recreation town.

Beyond Complete Streets: Could COVID-19 Help Transform Thoroughfares Into Places for People?
September 11, 2020

COVID-19 has had many impacts on society, though one of the most profound so far has been the dramatic change in how people move about and experience the urban environment. Unsurprisingly, the impact has been felt most profoundly in dense urban areas. In a bid to promote both healthy living and social distancing, many cities have temporarily closed some streets or lanes in exchange for recreational spaces closer to home.

100-plus apartments proposed in Dover
September 8, 2020

A developer wants to demolish two existing railroad related buildings and replace them with two four-story apartment buildings with 108 units near the Dover Transportation Center. The company proposes to demolish two existing buildings – at 35 and 37 Chestnut. St. – and build two apartment buildings at the 2.66-acre site. Jewett Construction Co. recently filed a site plan application with the City of Dover for the project.

Is Rural America Failing or Succeeding? Maybe Both
September 8, 2020

Each decade, many of the most successful nonmetropolitan counties—those with the greatest population and economic gains—are redefined as metropolitan. Today, 71 million people reside in the 753 counties that were once nonmetropolitan, but since 1970 have been reclassified as metropolitan. With so many growing nonmetropolitan counties shifting to metropolitan status each decade due to urbanization, it is little wonder that rural population gains lag behind those in urban areas.

Broadband is More Important Than Ever!
September 7, 2020

Broadband connectivity is an issue which has evolved over many years. Due in large part to the efforts of many dedicated volunteers including local residents and elected officials, progress in addressing broadband connectivity in NH is being made, particularly in rural communities. Funding solutions have been paramount to progress and multi-municipal collaboration is proving to be an increasingly effective strategy. However, the on-going pandemic has served to further expose broadband connectivity issues.

NNECAPA Publishes Lessons in New Ruralism Report
September 4, 2020

The New Ruralism Initiative, launched by the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) in 2015 recently published a downloadable report titled, “Lessons in New Ruralism” pdf file to share with others working or volunteering in planning and community development in small towns and rural areas across the country. The report celebrates the rural renaissance in the making with 20 case studies of successful local initiatives in a wide variety of areas such as local foods, housing, energy, new approaches to cooperatives, community services and more.

Fourth major housing development in recent years pitched to Bedford town planners
September 4, 2020

A 238-apartment complex off South River Road described to the Bedford planning board this week is the fourth major residential development proposed in recent years in Bedford, a matter of growing concern to many residents. The first phase of the development includes two four-story workforce housing apartment buildings with 71 units each, as well as a four-story building with 96 units for residents 55 and up.

NHOSI Planning Division Publishes Data and Maps Webpage
September 1, 2020

The New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives (NHOSI) Planning Division has published a summary of the data and maps produced or compiled by the NHOSI Planning Division and by other state agencies and organizations on its website. Data and maps produced/compiled by NHOSI include the NH Flood Hazards Viewer, Municipal/County/Regional Planning Commission Map pdf file, links to all 234 municipal websites throughout the state, the Municipal Land Use Regulation Survey Interactive Map and subject specific tables, county-level meals and rooms tax data, statewide population estimates and projections, municipal building permit data, and municipal-level American Survey Data organized by subject for 2014 – 2018.

Workforce housing proposal revived for Peterborough’s Evans Flats property
August 31, 2020

The Peterborough Economic Development Authority’s affordable housing subcommittee is ready to share designs for a potential affordable housing project on town owned land on Evans Road with the Peterborough Select Board. The designs envision 16 two-bedroom apartments that could rent for as low as $750 to $850 per month, unsubsidized.

Bedford residents asked to weigh in on final draft of master plan
August 31, 2020

Before Bedford adopts its newly proposed master plan aimed at guiding development throughout the next decade, a final round of community input is being sought. Through several previous public outreach efforts, it was clear that residents want to protect the rural areas of Bedford, as well as its single-family neighborhoods, but there wasn’t clear consensus on (whether) to grow or not to grow.

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NH Office of Strategic Initiatives
Governor Hugh J. Gallen State Office Park
Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor  |  107 Pleasant Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2155  |  fax: (603) 271-2615