LAND USE

Managing the way in which land is used is an essential function of local and regional planning. In New Hampshire, land use planning is governed primarily by state law and through local land use regulations (e.g. zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and nonresidential site plan regulations) that are developed and administered by local planning boards, zoning boards and other appointed and elected officials.  Under NH RSA 36, Regional Planning Commissions play a role in land use planning through preparation of a "[ ] coordinated plan for development of the region..." (the Regional Plan) and preparation of a Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Regional Planning Commissions also review Development Projects of Regional Impact. In addition, NRPC's Land Use team provides support to local planning boards, zoning boards and conservation commissions in a variety of ways including direct staff support through our Circuit Rider program, drafting ordinances and regulations, preparing master plans, capital improvement programs, housing studies and conservation plans, and other plans and studies in support of community goals. The Regional Plan and Housing Needs Assessment are described in greater detail below. Examples of other plans prepared by NRPC in partnership with area communities can be found under Highlighted Projects
Regional Plan
Planning as a region, especially for issues that cross municipal boundaries such as transportation, environment, economic development and impacts from land use planning, helps communities to grow into the places that they aspire to become.  Regional plans are advisory documents intended to assist communities in developing their own plans and in coordinating with one another. Planning as a region, especially for issues that cross municipal boundaries such as transportation, environment, economic development and impacts from land use planning, helps communities to grow into the places that they aspire to become.  Regional plans are advisory documents intended to assist communities in developing their own plans and in coordinating with one another. The Nashua Regional Plan was adopted in December 2014. 
Housing Needs Assessment
Through a compilation of relevant demographic and housing data for each of the region’s municipalities, a regional housing needs assessment examines existing housing inventory and future housing needs for people of all levels of income.  A regional housing needs assessment assists the region’s municipalities in complying with the state master plan statute, and provides specific assistance to municipalities as they seek to plan for the anticipated housing needs of the region.   NRPC’s most recent Housing Needs Assessment, adopted in December of 2019, doubles as the housing chapter for the Regional Plan.