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Aesthetics | Capital Improvements Program | Community Profiles/Community Surveys | Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive (RSA 79-E) | Developments of Regional Impact | Excavation | Fiscal Impact of Residential Development | Floodplain Development | A Granite State Future | Greenways | Home Occupations | Impact Fees | Innovative Land Use Planning | Integrated Land Use Development Permit | Junkyards | Livable Walkable Communities | Master Plan | Neighborhood Heritage Districts | New Urbanism | NH Citizen Planner Collaborative | Noise Control | Paper Streets | Pedestrian/Transit Oriented Development | Personal Wireless Service Facilities | Planning | Planning History | Preliminary Review | Rural Character | Signs | Special Event Ordinance | Sprawl/Smart Growth | Storage Containers/Storage Trailers | Street Naming | Street Tree Ordinance | Tax Increment Financing | Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) | Urban Growth Boundary/Urban Service District Zoning

back to topAesthetics

  • §2.23 Zoning for Aesthetics pdf file
    (From Loughlin, 15 New Hampshire Practice: Land Use Planning and Zoning, Ch. 2, Purposes and Limits, §2.23 (LexisNexis Matthew Bender)
  • Asselin v. Town of Conway, 137 NH 368, 628 A.2d 247 (1993)
    The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld an ordinance that prohibited internally lit signs. An expert testified that internally illuminated signs appear as disconnected squares of light with an overall effect of creating a visual block of the natural environment of the mountain town, and appear to bob around through windshields. "The evidence supports a finding that the restriction on internally lighted signs is rationally related to the town's legitimate, aesthetic goals of preserving vistas, discouraging development that competes with the natural environment, and promoting the character of a 'country community'."
  • "The State zoning enabling act grants municipalities broad authority to pass zoning ordinances for the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community. Asselin v. Town of Conway, 137 NH 368, 371, 628 A.2d 247 (1993); see RSA 674:16, I (1996). In enacting a zoning regulation, a town may consider the knowledge of town selectmen and planning board members concerning such factors as traffic conditions and surrounding uses resulting from their familiarity with the area involved. Quirk, 140 NH at 129, 663 A.2d 1328. Furthermore, a municipality may exercise its zoning power solely to advance aesthetic values because the preservation or enhancement of the visual environment may promote the general welfare. Asselin, 137 NH at 371-72, 628 A.2d 247." [Richard Taylor & a. v. Town of Plaistow
    Argued: February 9, 2005 Opinion Issued: April 22, 2005]
  • Zoning for Aesthetics pdf file
    From Part III, Section C. of Innovative Land Use Controls: Reexamining Your Zoning Ordinance, NHMA Law Lecture #3, Fall 2012 by Attorney Keriann Roman, Drummond, Woodsum & MacMahon and Christopher G. Parker, AICP, Director of Planning & Community Development, City of Dover

back to topCapital Improvements Program

  • A Capital Improvements Plan is Not Just a Wish List, New Hampshire Town and City, September/October, 2016
    The preparation and adoption of a Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) is an important part of a municipality’s financial planning and budgeting process. The purpose of the plan is to recognize and resolve deficiencies in existing public facilities and anticipate and meet future demand for capital facilities and the replacement of vehicles and equipment. A plan typically includes all of the anticipated capital expenditures of a town/city, library and school district for the next six year period.
  • Financing Capital Projects, New Hampshire Town and City, September/October, 2016
    In general, financing should be considered as part of the initial development process of a capital project. Below is a step-by-step process for determining and obtaining the right financing for your project. Of course, a bond counsel attorney should also be hired to review the warrant article for the authorization of bonds and to review the steps required by statute for this process.
  • Orford Takes Stock of Community Facility and Infrastructure Needs - New Hampshire Town and City, September/October 2015, by Nathan Miller and Terry Martin

    The Town of Orford, New Hampshire (Pop. 1,237) is situated along the Connecticut River approximately 20 miles north of the Town of Hanover. In many ways, Orford is a quintessential rural New England town. The town has a rich agricultural history and features some of the finest federal-style architecture in New Hampshire. Like many rural New Hampshire communities, Orford’s residents have long relied on each other to "get things done" in a spirit of pragmatic Yankee volunteerism.

  • The Best Planning Tool You Aren't Using: Capital Improvements Plans, New Hampshire Town and City, September/October 2014, By C. Christine Fillmore

    Although it is a tool many larger communities have been using for years, a capital improvements program (CIP) can be useful and valuable for even very small communities. Essentially, it is a prioritized list of anticipated large expenses. The threshold of what a "large expense" is and the details of what is needed may vary from municipality to municipality, but the process, the governing law and its usefulness are the same across the state.

  • Capital Budgeting and the Planning Board, New Hampshire Town and City, October 2011
    This article is a short discussion about budgeting for major purchases of capital items at the municipal level. Sometimes this will be an important piece of equipment, like a fire truck or a snowplow, but it also includes much larger public works projects, such as a water line or sewer line, which may require years of planning before the actual work begins.
  • See the results of the Municipal Land Use Regulation Annual Survey for municipalities with a Capital Improvements Program.
  • In 2002, HB 1121 amended RSA 674:5, RSA 674:7 and RSA 674:8 to authorize creation of a "capital improvement program committee" to prepare a CIP in place of the planning board.

back to topCommunity Profiles/Community Surveys

  • Community Visioning Events pdf file, University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies, August 2004
  • Community Profile and Visioning
    UNH Cooperative Extension is offering assistance to communities in New Hampshire for increasing public participation in community decision-making. The Community Profile is a process by which communities take stock of where they are today and develop an action plan for how they want to operate in the future. The process provides a method for citizens to affirm community strengths, find collaborative approaches to meet challenges creatively, and manage change. One of the major outcomes of the Community Profile is more citizen participation in the community and the affairs of its government.
  • Community Profiles maintained by the NH Department of Employment Security, Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau
  • How to collect information about your community… or anyone's community
    University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies

back to topCommunity Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive (RSA 79-E)

  • RSA 79-E
  • See the results of the Municipal Land Use Regulation Annual Survey for municipalities that have adopted the provisions of RSA 79-E.
  • Who is using NH's Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive?

    Since 2006, New Hampshire towns and cities have had the option of adopting the Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive, found in state law at NH RSA 79-E. Designed to encourage economic activity while preserving the unique historic and cultural character of towns and villages, the incentive offers property owners a break on their property taxes if they redevelop an under-utilized property. This past fall, a group of graduate students in Plymouth State University's Historic Preservation Program took a close look at the incentive and asked who was using it and to what degree?

    Their results are now available in an online report, A Tool for Your Town: New Hampshire's Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive pdf file. The report explains the incentive process, tallies which New Hampshire towns and cities have adopted it, and highlights success stories in Berlin, Concord, Nashua and Somersworth. It also identifies common challenges for communities and developers and offers a series of recommendations for expanding the incentive's use. "The students' research showed that many towns, cities and developers are unaware of the value of the community revitalization incentive," said Professor Elizabeth Muzzey, who is also the State Historic Preservation Officer. "Their report will hopefully go a long way in changing that."

    Drew Bedard, Martha Cummings, Alison Keay and Joanna Synder authored the report as part of their coursework in Plymouth's Historic Preservation Program.
  • November 2, 2016, Plan-link posting and reply pdf fileabout how RSA 79-E might apply to an older single family home.

back to topDevelopments of Regional Impact

back to topExcavation

back to topFiscal Impact of Residential Development

Floodplain Developmentback to top

A Granite State Futureback to top

  • A Granite State Future - This ambitious three-year project looked at how to improve the towns and the state: what are the options and how can they be achieved? It culminated with an update of the regional plans in each of New Hampshire's nine planning regions. The regional Master Plans were based upon grassroots local values and needs that together presented a vision for how to keep what is valued most while increasing prosperity and economic opportunity.

back to topGreenways

back to topHome Occupations

  • Sign Regulations and Home Occupations: Accessory Uses, Difficult Issues
    Presenters: Attorney Diane M. Gorrow and Attorney Maureen L. Pomeroy,
    Soule, Leslie, Kidder, Sayward & Loughman, PLLC
    NHMA law lecture #2, Fall 2011
    Accessory uses are subordinate and incidental to principal uses, but they can generate their own major land use control issues. This lecture examines the authority of municipalities to regulate signs on town and private property, state laws on political signs and signs in right-of-ways, and the many constitutional limitations on regulation. This lecture also reviews the often controversial use of residences for home occupations and problems created by expansions of those businesses.
  • APA PAS Report #391, Home Occupation Ordinances, Butler and Getzels, October 1985

back to topImpact Fees

  • See the results of the Municipal Land Use Regulation Annual Survey for municipalities with an Impact Fee Ordinance.
  • See the results of the Municipal Land Use Regulation Annual Survey for municipalities with both a Growth Management Ordinance and an Impact Fee Ordinance.
    Argued: March 5, 2014 Opinion Issued: December 10, 2014
    (Whether developers had standing to challenge the Town’s retention of the impact fees, and whether the Town had authority to adopt its impact fee ordinance.)
  • Chapter 106 (SB 291) 2012
    This bill provides that if a municipality has collected impact fees for improvements to municipal roads, it may spend those fees on state highways within the municipality "for improvement costs that are related to the capital needs created by the development." However, the municipality is not allowed to collect additional fees for improvements to state highways, or to adopt "new impact fees devoted to assessing impacts to state highways." The new law also requires every municipality with an impact fee ordinance to prepare an annual report listing all expenditures of impact fee revenue for the prior fiscal year, identifying the capital improvement projects for which the fees were assessed, and stating the dates upon which the fees were assessed and collected. The report must enable the public to track the payment, expenditure, and status of individually collected fees.
    • Summary pdf fileof the bill from Innovative Land Use Controls: Reexamining Your Zoning Ordinance, NHMA Law Lecture #3, Fall 2012 by Attorney Keriann Roman, Drummond, Woodsum & MacMahon and Christopher G. Parker, AICP, Director of Planning & Community Development, City of Dover.
  • Michael Clare, Trustee of Horizon Realty Trust v. Town of Hudson pdf file
    Argued: January 20, 2010 Opinion Issued: June 16, 2010
    Properly account for the actual work done for which the impact fees were collected and keep detailed invoices showing how and where the impact fees were spent.
  • Demystifying Impact Fees, New Hampshire Town and City, May/June 2013
    The development of land often creates an increased need for capital improvements such as new or improved roads and intersections, water and sewer extensions, and street lighting. New Hampshire towns and cities may charge the developer for these costs in two different ways: off-site exactions and impact fees. This article looks at what impact fees are, how they work, and what has changed over the past year.
  • Court Upholds Planning Board's Ability to Set and Adjust Impact Fees, New Hampshire Town and City, January 2006
  • Edwin and Stephanie Simonsen v. Town of Derry, November 15, 2000
    • Excerpt from LGC Law Lecture #1 pdf file, Fall 2005: Off-site Exactions and Impact Fees: Balancing Municipal Interests and Private Property Rights outlining the history leading up to Simonsen and the resulting 2004 legislation amending RSA 674:21.
  • Chapter 199, 2004, (SB 414)
    This bill amended RSA 674:39 (exemption from subsequent zoning and planning regulations) in several ways. First, it excepts impact fees from the permanent exemption that attaches upon substantial completion of improvements on a subdivision plat or site plan. Second, it authorizes planning boards to define "substantial completion of the improvements," and allows the planning board to include such definition, as well as a definition of the term "active and substantial development or building," either in its subdivision and site plan regulations or as a condition of subdivision or site plan approval. Third, it provides that if the board fails to specify what constitutes "active and substantial development or building" in its regulations or as a condition to approval, the subdivision or site plan will automatically be entitled to the statute's four-year exemption. Finally, it reorganizes RSA 674:39 and makes some technical changes.
  • Impact Fee Development - A Handbook for New Hampshire Communities pdf file- Southern NH Planning Commission
  • Impact Fee for a town-wide road plan? (Plan-link posting and reply January 2008)

back to topInnovative Land Use Planning

back to topIntegrated Land Use Development Permit

  • Integrated Land Development Permit and More, August 12, 2013, Atty. Justin L. Pasay
    In June 2013, the New Hampshire Legislature passed Ch. Law 270 (SB 124), which created an Integrated Land Development Permit ("Integrated Permit") pursuant to new RSA chapter 489. As designed, the Integrated Permit will be sought, at the discretion of the applicant, as an alternative to the process of seeking various individual land development permits or approvals from the Department of Environmental Services. [Note: SB 267 (Chapter 156 of the Laws of 2014) extends to July 1, 2017, the effective date for implementation of the integrated land development permit program within the Department of Environmental Services.]

back to topJunkyards

  • APA PAS Report #421. A Survey of Zoning Definitions, December 1989RSA 236:90-110 Control of Junk Yards and Automotive Recycling Yards (state licensing)
  • RSA 236:111-129 Motor Vehicle Recycling Yards and Junk Yards (local licensing)
  • JUNKYARDS: Local Zoning Not Preempted By State Licensing Scheme, New Hampshire Municipal Association Town and City Counsel, May 1997
  • Regulating Salvage Facilities: Balancing Community and Business Interests, New Hampshire Town and City, September 2005
    Requirements surrounding the location and operation of salvage facilities frequently raise legal questions. When the State Legislature drafted the salvage facility laws, it attempted to balance two interests. First, it recognized that a "clean, wholesome, attractive environment" promotes the health and safety of its citizens. Such an environment is "essential to the maintenance and continued development of the tourist and recreational industry." Second, the Legislature understood that the maintenance of legal salvage facilities is a business and should be encouraged. These interests are hardly contradictory. Indeed, state and local governments have enacted regulatory schemes concerning the establishment and maintenance of salvage facilities that advance both goals. The following is a brief overview of the statutory requirements.
  • New Hampshire Green Yards Program - Working with motor vehicle recyclers to improve environmental practices at their salvage yards!
  • Local Regulation of Junkyards and Junky Yards, New Hampshire Town and City, June 2007
    New Hampshire Local Government Center (LGC) Legal Affairs and Government Services attorneys have received many questions from local officials about the regulation of junk. These officials are attempting to prevent harm to persons and the environment while fairly and effectively responding to citizen complaints. The issue is complex, and municipalities must deal with accumulations as small as an individual property owner with unsightly piles in the yard to large commercial junkyard operations that are many acres in size. Our research into these issues has resulted in a new publication titled, How to Regulate Junk and Junkyards: A Guide for Local Officials.

back to topLivable Walkable Communities

  • USDOT proposes to remove restrictive design guidelines that make safer streets more difficult to build
    The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took an encouraging and surprising step this week to make it dramatically easier for cities and communities of all sizes to design and build Complete Streets that are safer for everyone by easing federally-mandated design standards on many roads.
  • Livable Walkable Communities Toolkit - December 31, 2014
    The updated 2012 New Hampshire Livable Walkable Communities Toolkit has been prepared for use statewide as a resource for incorporating livable, walkable community principles into local, state and regional planning programs, policies and statutes. The original Livable Walkable Communities Toolkit was created in 2004 as a resource for improving the livability and walkability of New Hampshire communities. This 2014 update includes information on Complete Streets principles and the current status of Complete Streets policies/resolutions in NH. An underlying goal is to increase rates of physical activity throughout the state. Through a process of community engagement and assessment of the built environment, the Livable Walkable Communities (LWC) Program brings together citizens and stakeholders to develop and act on specific strategies to improve your community’s livability and walkability.
    The updated toolkit identifies the key principles and recommendations for planners and municipalities, as well as coalitions and individuals. With this update the Livable Walkable Communities Advisory Coalition hopes the benefits of livable, walkable communities will be a priority for all new Hampshire Communities.
  • AARP Livability Fact Sheets
    AARP Livable Communities has partnered with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to create the Livability Fact Sheet series. A package of comprehensive, easy-to-read, award-winning livability resources, the 11 fact sheets can be used by community leaders, policy makers, citizen activists and others to learn about and explain what makes a city, town or neighborhood a great place for people of all ages. After all, a street that's made safer for an older adult to walk across is safer for a person walking to work, a parent pushing a stroller, a child riding a bicycle to school. Each fact sheet is a four-page PDF document that can be read online or downloaded and printed. AARP encourages sharing, so please forward the fact sheet URLs or PDFs (individually or as a collection) to colleagues and friends, and use the fact sheets for discussions and research. If you have comments or questions, contact them at and/or
  • The Livability Economy
    Livable Communities provide a host of advantages that enhance the quality of life of residents, the economic prospects of businesses and the bottom lines of local governments. The Livability Economy: People Places, and Prosperity, a report from AARP Livable Communities, shows how livability initiatives contribute to improved economic performance and a more vibrant, desirable and competitive environment for housing and commercial investment. The report's framework focuses on design factors that feature the following livability outcomes that benefit older adults and people of all ages:
    1. COMPACTNESS helps make a community walkable, decreases automobile dependence and supports a socially vibrant public realm
    2. INTEGRATION OF LAND USES helps older adults live closer to or within walking distance of work, community activities and the services they need
    3. HOUSING DIVERSITY helps ensure that appropriate housing is available for each stage of life
    4. TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS help older adults remain independent, mobile and engaged in their surrounding community.
  • The AARP Age-Friendly Communities Tool Kit
    The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities program encourages states, cities, towns and rural areas to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. This tool kit provides a basis for guiding, supporting and evaluating age-friendly initiatives in communities that participate in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which was launched in April 2012 and operates under the auspices of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program.

back to topMaster Plan

back to topNeighborhood Heritage Districts: A New Tool for New Hampshire Communities

  • Neighborhood Heritage Districts (also known as Conservation Districts) are found throughout the country, but until recently New Hampshire lacked information to help municipalities establish them. The NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Historical Resources was honored to receive a Johanna Favrot grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, matched in-kind by funds from the DHR and the National Park Service, to develop a legal framework and to prepare a citizen handbook for establishing and administering these districts. The DHR is pleased to announce the availability of Neighborhood Heritage Districts: A Handbook for New Hampshire Municipalities pdf file.
  • Section 3.7 Neighborhood Heritage Districts from Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques: A Handbook for Sustainable Development

back to topNew Urbanism

back to topNew Hampshire Citizen Planner Collaborative

The New Hampshire Citizen Planner Collaborative began to develop in 2007 with several state organizations and municipal land use board members who wanted to create alternative opportunities for lay citizen planners (land use boards) to gain access to existing training and create a "one-stop shop" for those board members to find future training opportunities and network.

back to topNoise Control

back to topPaper Streets

  • Paper Streets The Gap Between Dedication and Acceptance, New Hampshire Town and City, April 2007
    Any area shown on a recorded map or plat at the registry of deeds as a highway, but which does not have any physical improvement constructed on the face of the earth may be called a "paper street." For the purposes of this article, also included in this category are those roads which do exist on the ground in some form, but which have not been formally accepted as a public highway. Each "paper street" presents vexing problems for affected landowners, municipal officials, land surveyors, conveyancing attorneys and financial institutions.

back to topPedestrian/Transit Oriented Development

back to topPersonal Wireless Service Facilities

General Resources

Court Decisions

  • Neil Nevins & a. v. New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development & a.
    Argued: November 14, 2001 Decided: March 11, 2002
    (Case involving the communications tower on Mt. Kearsarge)
  • Federal Court Upholds Only One of Five Reasons to Deny Cell Tower Permit, USCOC of New Hampshire, RSA #2, Inc., (dlb/a US Cellular) v. City of Franklin, New Hampshire Town and City, March 2006
  • New Cingular v. Candia, NH, et al. pdf file
    09-CV-387-SM 08/11/10 United States District Court District of New Hampshire Civil No. 09-cv-387-SM Opinion No. 2010 DNH 145
  • New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, v. Town of Greenfield pdf file
    09-CV-399-SM 09/09/10 United States District Court District of New Hampshire Civil No.09-cv-399-SM Opinion No. 2010 DNH 162
    • ZBA's cell tower decision reversed for inadequate written findings (NHMA summary)
    • On September 9, 2010, the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire granted summary judgment in favor of AT&T and against the Town of Greenfield and its Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in a case in which AT&T challenged the denial of its application for an area variance to install a 100-foot cell tower in a residential area. The court found in favor of AT&T because the "ZBA's public-interest determination relies on circular reasoning and fails to recognize that enhanced cellular telephone service and co-location are decidedly in the public interest." The court concluded that, "[c]areful review of the record… demonstrates that the ZBA's determinations either fail to satisfy the written-decision requirement, or are not supported by an adequate quantum of evidence," and that the "fundamental problem with the ZBA's decision is that it fails to put the correct evidence on the proper scales in the first instance." The court ordered the ZBA to "promptly authorize construction of the subject tower as proposed." [Arent Fox LLP]
    • Because the defendant ZBA's denial of a variance for a 100-foot cell tower failed to satisfy the written-decision requirement of the Telecommunications Act and was not supported by substantial evidence, the court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and ordered the defendants to authorize construction of the tower, as proposed by the plaintiff. 26 pages. Chief Judge Steven J. McAuliffe. [NHBA]
  • Industrial Communication and Electronics, Inc. v. Alton
    US District Court, District of NH, No. 07-cv-082-JL, October 4, 2010
    • The abutters to the site of a proposed cell phone tower moved to stay the court's order approving a settlement agreement, reached between the wireless services provider and the town to resolve the provider's claim under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which provided that a variance would issue for the tower. The court had approved the settlement over objections by the abutters, who had intervened in the case but had never presented any of their own claims for relief; the abutters then brought an action in state court challenging the variance under state law. In denying the motion to stay, the court ruled that neither the fact that the provider and the town were invoking its order approving the settlement as a defense to the state-court action, nor the fact that the abutters had appealed that order to the court of appeals, justified the requested relief. 18 pages. Judge Joseph N.
      Laplante. [US District Court Bar News, September 2010]
  • Industrial Communications and Electronics, Inc. v. Alton, et al.
    US Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, No. 10-1738, May 19, 2011 (errata 5/31/14)
  • Industrial Communication and Electronics, Inc. v. Alton
    US District Court, District of NH, No. 07-cv-107-JL, September 21, 2012
    • The plaintiffs, providers of wireless services, brought a claim against the Town of Alton under 704(a) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, claiming that its refusal to allow them to construct a proposed wireless tower was an effective prohibition on the provision of wireless services in violation of the Act. At trial, the claim was defended by a married couple who own property abutting the site, and who had intervened in the case, rather than by the Town. Following the trial, the court found and ruled that the Town's refusal to allow the tower amounted to a violation of the Act. In reaching this conclusion, the court rejected the abutters' arguments that (1) the acquisition of one of the plaintiff providers by another provider during the pendency of the litigation, but after the denial, meant that the plaintiff could not show a coverage gap without accounting for the coverage by the acquiring provider, (2) a three-tower solution, which had never been proposed during the lengthy process before the Town boards, was a feasible alternative to the plaintiffs' single proposed tower, and (3) the plaintiffs could not prevail on their claim because they had not proposed lower heights during the process. 85 pages. Chief Judge Joseph N. Laplante. [US District Court Bar News, September 2012]
  • New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. Stoddard pdf file
    US District Court, District of NH, No. 11-CV-388-JL, February 16, 2012
    • ZBA decision to grant rehearing may violate FCC "Shot Clock" for cell tower application if case is prolonged past 150 days (NHMA summary)
      The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) is intended to facilitate the national growth of the wireless telecommunications industry, including a mandate to municipalities to accommodate construction of telecommunications towers. 47 U.S.C. 332§ (7). Among other restrictions, the TCA provides that land use boards must act on applications for cell towers within "a reasonable period after the request is duly filed." In 2009 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order, known as the "Shot Clock Ruling," which creates presumptions that (a) 90 days is a reasonable period to make a decision on an application for a new antenna on an existing facility (known as "co-location"), and (b) 150 days is reasonable for construction of a new wireless tower. If those deadlines are not met, applicants may sue in federal or state courts, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. §332©(7)(B)(v), and the court will presume that the delay is unreasonable unless the municipality can prove otherwise.
    • The initial application review and any rehearings by the board must take place within the 90 or 150 day time periods in order to avoid unreasonable delay. "Accordingly, the Shot Clock Ruling's 150-day deadline for the processing of wireless communications facility siting applications encompasses not only the time it takes a local government to reach an initial decision on an application, but the time it takes to complete the rehearing process set forth in N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§677:2 and 677:3 as well."

Division of Historical Resources "Section 106" review forms


Planningback to top

back to topPlanning History

  • Municipal Planning in New Hampshire in the 20th Century
    An Account from the Capital City of Concord, NH
    Notes and Talking Points - R. P. Raymond
    NHPA Presentation - Annual Meeting December 10, 2010
  • Around the Planning World in 90 Minutes
    Spring Planning and Zoning Conference, April 2005
    Joanne Cassulo, Senior Planner and Sandrine Thibault, AICP, Principal Planner - NH Office of Energy and Planning

back to topPreliminary Review

back to topRural Character

back to topSigns

  • Signs for Jesus, et al. v. Town of Pembroke, NH, et al. Case No. 15-cv-482-PB Opinion No. 2017 DNH 016

    Hillside Baptist Church and Signs for Jesus were denied a permit to install an electronic sign on the Church’s property in Pembroke and they brought an action against the Town alleging violations of the United States Constitution, the New Hampshire Constitution, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

    On January 27, 2017, the US District Court in Concord concluded that (1) the Town’s decision to deny the Church’s request for an electronic sign had nothing to do with either religion or the content of the Church’s speech (2) the decision served the Town’s important governmental interests in aesthetics and traffic safety in a manner that was narrowly tailored to serve those interests, (3) the decision does not unreasonably burden the Church’s right to practice its religious beliefs, to practice free speech, or to use its property and finally, that the Town has not treated the Church differently from any other similarly situated landowner.

    In light of these conclusions, the court found that the Church’s contention that it should be free from the effect of the Town’s electronic sign ordinance amounts to a demand, not for a level playing field, but instead for a right to be treated differently from all other private landowners. Neither the state and federal constitutions nor RLUIPA requires this result.
  • See NHMA Law Lecture #1 - Developments in the Law: Accessory Dwelling Units, Agritourism, and Signs - Fall 2016
    This lecture explores a trio of recent legal developments that will undoubtedly impact your community and you land use ordinances. These include the passage of Senate Bill 146 which preempts local regulation of accessory dwelling units; the passage of Senate Bill 345 which, in response to the New Hampshire's Supreme Court's decision in Forster v. Town of Henniker, further limits local control of agritourism activities; and the United States Supreme Court's surprising decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which substantially curtails the ability of municipalities to regulate sign content. Presenters: Benjamin D. Frost, Esq. AICP, New Hampshire Housing, and Timothy Corwin, Esq. AICP, City of Lebanon
  • Supreme Court reaffirms broad prohibition on content-based speech restrictions, in their September 28, 2015 decision, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, AZ.
  • Sign Ordinances and Free Speech, An Update pdf file- Nashua Regional Planning Commission Fact sheet, November 2016
  • Carlson's Chrysler v. City of Concord pdf file
    Argued: April 3, 2007 Opinion Issued: November 8, 2007 (electronic signs, commercial speech)
    • Summary of the case pdf file(Ben Frost Plan-link posting 11/9/07 (see additional analysis in the NHMA law lecture on signs below)
    • Signs of the Times, Part II - Local Ban on Electronic Signage Upheld pdf file
    • See Sign Regulations and Home Occupations: Accessory Uses, Difficult Issues
      Presenters: Attorney Diane M. Gorrow and Attorney Maureen L. Pomeroy, Soule, Leslie, Kidder, Sayward & Loughman, PLLC
      NHMA law lecture #2, Fall 2011
      Accessory uses are subordinate and incidental to principal uses, but they can generate their own major land use control issues. This lecture examines the authority of municipalities to regulate signs on town and private property, state laws on political signs and signs in right-of-ways, and the many constitutional limitations on regulation. This lecture also reviews the often controversial use of residences for home occupations and problems created by expansions of those businesses.
  • Sample sign ordinance, simple and fairly restrictive
  • United States Sign Council
    Since its founding in 1972, originally as the Eastern States Sign Council, the United States Sign Council has been dedicated to providing an educational resource for the sign industry, and is now the largest association of independent sign shops in the world.

back to topSpecial Event Ordinance

  • Examples of local ordinances
  • Special Events: Whose Party Is This, Anyway?, New Hampshire Town and City, October 2009
    As local officials, we are often asked for permission to use public facilities. This may involve indoor events, such as an anniversary party in the town hall, or an educational talk in the library, or an evening of training at the fire department. Outdoor events may involve use of sports or recreational facilities for adult league play, or a summer road race on local roads, a soccer or tennis camp operated by a private vendor on a public facility, or outdoor concerts at a local park. Most of these requests are routinely granted, because they add to the quality of community life. However, the potential for injury and liability is always present, so thought should be given to how the events are organized so that all of the persons and entities involved are adequately protected against an unreasonable risk of loss.
  • Special Event Permits: A Useful Tool, New Hampshire Town and City, May 2009
    In the 1800s, it was not at all unusual for traveling revival meetings to go from town to town, setting up huge tents for outdoor events led by the famous preachers of the day. These events could be held over several days and brought hundreds of people together in one place to hear sermons and lectures. The circus was also popular for many years as traveling entertainment, moving from town to town, bringing hundreds of circus performers, workers and animals to put on the show and also visitors to town to see the show.

back to topSprawl/Smart Growth

  • RSA 9-A State Development Plan
  • RSA 9-B State Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Policy
  • Smart Growth Report (2016)  pdf file
    Principal among CORD's duties is the implementation of the state's smart growth policy, as embodied in RSA 9-B. CORD is responsible for encouraging smart growth consistency in the distribution of state agency funds to local and regional entities, the capital budget requests of state agencies, state agency facility location planning, and building operation and maintenance plans. Every four years, CORD is required to report to the Legislature on its findings on the consistency of state agency actions with the smart growth principles.
  • The Myth of Smart Growth pdf file- Eben Fodor, December 2012
  • The Smart Growth Network (SGN)
    A partnership of government, business and civic organizations that support smart growth. Since its creation in late 1996, the Network has become a storehouse of knowledge about smart growth principles, facilitating the sharing of best practices and acting as a catalyst for implementation of ideas.
  • Getting to Smart Growth II  pdf file, by ICMA and the Smart Growth Network
    Getting to Smart Growth II: 100 More Policies for Implementation is the newest primer in the ongoing series from the Smart Growth Network and ICMA, and follows on the heels of the extremely popular first volume of Getting to Smart Growth. The publication serves as a road map for states and communities that have recognized the need for smart growth but are unclear on how to achieve it.

    Like the first volume pdf file, Getting to Smart Growth II provides 10 policy options to achieve each of the 10 Smart Growth Principles. These policies are supported with 'Practice Tips' which offer additional resources or brief case studies of communities that have applied the approach to achieve smart growth. Features of the new volume include:
    • An entirely new list of 100 policies for implementation
    • More case studies and examples in each chapter
    • An appendix listing funding resources for smart growth projects.
  • New England Resources
  • Innovative Permitting Initiative within the Department of Environmental Services
    The New Hampshire Department of Environment Services (DES) is embarking on an exciting new agency initiative to improve our technical assistance and permitting programs to achieve superior environmental results, streamline our permitting procedures, and improve coordination with other agencies and municipalities.

back to topStorage Containers/Storage Trailers

back to topStreet Naming

  • RSA 231:133 Names; Changes; Signs
  • Bureau of Emergency Communications (9-1-1) Mapping GIS/Addressing
  • The Thorny Issue of Street Names and Address Numbers, New Hampshire Town and City, January 2008
    The idea is deceptively simple: street names and numbering systems should be clear and logical so that emergency workers can respond quickly to a call for help. Reducing response time for emergency calls is the purpose of New Hampshire's coordinated statewide enhanced 911 system (E-911). RSA 106-H:1. However, a drive through many older New Hampshire communities or a glance at a newspaper is all it takes to see that there are still quite a few confusing street names and numbering patterns. This is hardly surprising in a state where streets have been developed, changed and extended for well over 350 years.

back to topStreet Tree Ordinance

back to topTax Increment Financing

back to topTransfer of Development Rights (TDR)

back to topUrban Growth Boundary/Urban Service District Zoning

  • See the results of the Municipal Land Use Regulation Annual Survey for municipalities with Urban Growth Boundary/Urban Service District zoning.
  • Moving towards a smarter Sonoma County, Greenbelt Alliance
    Greenbelt Alliance is committed to promoting people-oriented neighborhoods and protecting the gorgeous open space in Sonoma County. We were instrumental in helping the County establish its urban growth boundaries (UGBs)—one of the most effective tools for combating sprawl. Sonoma is the only county in the Bay Area with UGBs around each of its incorporated cities.
  • Urban Growth Boundaries pdf file
    Local Planning Assistance Center, St. Paul, MN
  • Fact Sheet - Growth Management Laws
    American Farmland Trust - Publications

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NH Office of Strategic Initiatives