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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.

Current News | Previous News | Planning Events | Grant Opportunities

Current News

Manchester Mayor's Affordable Housing Taskforce releases recommendations addressing city's housing issues
April 6, 2021

On Tuesday, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig released the report pdf file of the Mayor's Affordable Housing Taskforce, a potential blueprint toward providing more affordable housing in the Queen City. The report makes recommendations in three areas: funding and incentives; zoning, regulations and land use; and support services.

208 more apartments proposed for entrance to Merrimack Premium Outlets
April 5, 2021

Developers for Merrimack Park Place, the complex now under construction at the entrance to Merrimack Premium Outlets, are seeking permission to construct twice as many apartments as originally planned. The new plan eliminates a parking garage, 140,000 square feet of retail space and about 160,000 square feet of office space and includes an additional 208 apartments, for a total of 432 apartments.

Element Hotel in Lebanon to Be Converted to Short-Term Apartments
April 3, 2021

The high profile building along Route 120 in Lebanon formerly known as the Element Hotel in Lebanon is assuming a new identity. The owner of the building near the Centerra business park is developing a plan to convert the structure into “micro-housing” targeting recent hires at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and elsewhere who are in the process of relocating and in need of temporary housing.

Smart Growth Online Webinar: A New Approach to Parks and Recreation System Planning
April 16, 2021, 1 PM

During Smart Growth Online’s April webinar, Dr. David Barth, will outline an approach to creating parks systems that generate greater economic, social, and environmental benefits. Dr. Barth will explain why parks and recreation systems should be regarded as elements of an integrated public realm and illustrate how these spaces can be designed to generate multiple community benefits. Registration is free, but required.

U.S. Census Bureau Data Summit: Accessing Census Bureau Data for Rural Communities
April 20, 2021, 2 PM

The U.S. Census Bureau will be hosting a Data Summit on “Accessing Census Bureau Data for Rural Communities” as part of its 2021 Data Summit Series. The Summit will review basic Census geography, rural vs. urban terminology, as well as tools and tables using the American Community Survey (ACS) for the contemporary rural landscape. Registration is free, but limited to the first 1,000 registrants.

Virtual Incremental Development Boot Camp
May 6, 13, 20, 27, 2021, 9 AM – 12 PM

This Virtual Incremental Development Boot Camp, hosted by New Hampshire Housing gives participants an opportunity to apply previous training at an Incremental Development Workshop to their actual development project. Participants will work through exercises like building and refining their pro forma, creating an investor proposal package, and drawing out the zoning parameters for their lot. Attendance at a previous Incremental Development one-day Workshop Course is required. The early bird registration rate of $499 ends on April 12, 2021. Scholarships are available by e-mailing George Reagan at

2021 NHDES Virtual Drinking Water Source Protection Conference
May 19-20, 2021

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) will hold its 2021 Drinking Water Source Protection Conference online. It will feature roundtable discussions and presentation such as using federal and state dollars to conserve water supply lands, climate impacts affecting public water systems, NH public health study concerning exposure to contaminants in drinking water, and much more! For further information, continuing education credits (CEUs) for NH Water Operators, and registration please access the link above.

NHMA Webinar: 2021 A Guide to Effective Code Enforcement
May 20, 2021, 9 AM – 12 PM

Join Attorneys Matt Serge and Christine Fillmore from the law firm of Drummond Woodsum, for this half-day virtual workshop which will provide municipal officials with practical guidance on how to navigate the nuanced procedures associated with code enforcement, as well as practical advice in pursuing an enforcement action against non-compliant property owners. Our legal experts will address some of the most difficult issues under the law, including junkyards, dilapidated buildings, and health codes. Attendees will receive an electronic copy of the publication, A Guide to Effective Enforcement: Investigating and Enforcing Code and Land Use Violations and the 2021 Supplement. Registration is $55.

Previous News

Ex-Dover courthouse sold for residential-commercial project
March 31, 2021

The former Strafford County Courthouse in Dover has been sold to Chinburg Management LLC, which is planning to convert it into a mix of residential and commercial units. In addition to the redevelopment plan, Chinburg Management is also planning to construct a new building in the nearby parking lot. The project will include 12 units of affordable housing as part of its 60 planned residential units.

New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands Releases Final Version of the 2020 New Hampshire State Forest Plan
March 30, 2021

The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands released the final version of the 2020 New Hampshire State Forest Action Plan pdf file. The State Forest Action Plan is a 10-year strategic plan for New Hampshire's forests that provides long‐term, comprehensive and coordinated strategies for addressing the challenges and opportunities facing New Hampshire's forests.

Planning Board scales back West Lebanon housing development
March 30, 2021

A developer’s plans to build 22 single-family homes and duplexes near Route 10 in West Lebanon were scaled back by city officials who worried this week that the project was too densely configured. The Lebanon Planning Board voted, 5-3, on Monday night to deny the developer’s plan, saying instead that he should stick to the 19 units allowed under Lebanon’s regulations.

New Colonial signs seen heralding downtown Laconia revival
March 30, 2021

The installation of the sign and marquee outside the Colonial Theatre was greeted Tuesday as a symbolic moment showing that Laconia’s downtown is on the rebound. The marquee and blade are one of the finishing touches on a year-plus renovation effort. The project, which cost $18 million, will result in a restored historic Colonial Theatre that will seat 750 and, proponents hope, generate new restaurants, cafés and shops nearby to cater to theatergoers.

Comments about the vision of Bear Brook State Park are now welcome
March 29, 2021

For the first time in more than 25 years, Bear Brook State Park has released an exhaustive study that documents improvements and updates needed at the Granite State’s largest state park. The nearly 200-page report pdf file centers on all aspects of park maintenance and upkeep, and addresses its goal of finding balance between recreation and the protection of natural resources. Comments can be emailed to until April 30, 2021.

Assisted living facility in Bedford opens its doors
March 29, 2021

About 16 months after breaking ground, Bowman Place at Olde Bedford now has its first two residents. The $40 million senior living community opened its doors this month at 24 Olde Bedford Road in Bedford. The three-story, 95,000-square-foot building has 105 apartments — 36 memory care units and 69 luxury assisted living apartments.

New Hampshire Senate OKs grant distribution plan for broadband projects
March 26, 2021

The state would provide matching grants using federal funds to build out broadband internet service in rural communities if Senate Bill 85 bill passed unanimously by the New Hampshire Senate on Thursday becomes law. The bill also instructs the Office of Strategic Initiatives to set up a fund and competitive grant process and devise “objective criteria” to judge which subdivisions, communications districts, or even private investors will get the money.

Portsmouth residents' visions for McIntyre site unveiled as developers push back
March 23, 2021

A market shed, a connection through Commercial Alley and the revival of the Old State House are some of the newly-drafted features proposed in several schemes for the redevelopment of the 2.1-acre downtown McIntyre Federal Building in Portsmouth. Urban design firm Principle Group revealed four updated schemes for the redevelopment of the McIntyre last Thursday night, representing the visions of residents who took part in a public process.

Lodging, health care fuel town building boom
March 22, 2021

A proposal by Littleton Regional Hospital for a medical-office building and an urgent-care center are the latest in a building boom in Lincoln that in 2021 may also see construction of three previously approved lodging projects. Those projects — Phase II of the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain, a Hampton Inn and a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott —would add more than 250 rooms for visitors to this western gateway to the White Mountains.

Somersworth booming with more confidence
March 20, 2021

On the Maine border just north of Dover, Somersworth is a working-class community revitalizing its downtown, attracting new businesses and working to move beyond its grittier past. Downtown’s resurgence can be tied to a change in the city’s self-worth, upgrades to roads and parks, and its location as the next logical place for growth along the Seacoast. The city’s mayor hopes that three major properties sell this year: the former General Electric plant (now Aclara Technologies), the former police station and the city-owned parking lot of Somersworth Plaza.

Franklin Whitewater Park to Break Ground in Summer 2021
March 19, 2021

The only whitewater park in New England will break ground on July 12, 2021 in the heart of downtown Franklin. The new park — and the city’s downtown — sit right on the Winnipesaukee River. When finished, the park will consist of 13 acres, with an adjacent 21 acres and three whitewater features. In addition to the whitewater attraction, the park will be home to several other trail systems and a bike pump track, a climbing wall, and cabin and campsite accommodations.

OSI Publishes 2020 Editions of Planning Board and Board of Adjustment Handbooks for Local Officials
March 19, 2021

The 2020 editions of OSI’s The Planning Board in New Hampshire: A Handbook for Local Officials and The Board of Adjustment in New Hampshire: A Handbook for Local Officials are now available for download. The 2020 editions are also available as supplements to the 2019 editions. The 2020 editions include planning related legal and procedural changes which became law during the General Court’s 2020 Legislative Session. These handbooks are designed to serve as an introduction to the organization, powers, duties, and procedures of Planning Boards and Boards of Adjustment in New Hampshire.

Swanzey zoning board OKs exception for 84-unit affordable apartment complex
March 16, 2021

The Swanzey Zoning Board of Adjustment has advanced a proposed 84-unit affordable apartment complex in West Swanzey, granting the special exception the project needed to move forward. In a public hearing Monday night, the five-member Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to approve the request from Avanru Development Group, to construct a pair of three-story residential buildings at a vacant site on Route 10.

Hudson Planning Board to Vote on Hudson Logistics Center on March 24, 2021
March 15, 2021

After 10 months of studies and presentations, one of the largest warehouse and distribution facilities in the state could soon be approved by the Hudson Planning Board. The public will have its last chance to comment on the 2.6 million square foot distribution center project at a special meeting on March 24th. Afterward, the board will deliberate and vote on the application.

Monadnock region towns partnering on broadband
March 15, 2021

Jaffrey could be the next town in the Monadnock region to partner with a private company to bring high-speed internet to residents. The town recently announced it picked Consolidated Communications as a partner on a $1.2 million plan to bring in fiber optic internet service. Consolidated first got broadband started in the Monadnock region in Chesterfield, and it recently completed similar projects in Dublin, Rindge and Westmoreland, with upcoming projects in Walpole, Harrisville, and Mason.

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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