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Services - Land Use and Housing
Land use, transportation, natural resources, and community networks are strongly linked, and this relationship is paramount to all local, regional and statewide planning and program decisions. Changing land use patterns directly impact community services and facilities, such as water and sewer, police, fire and emergency services, recreation, and building inspection. As a result, LRPC works directly with our member communities in the development of land use studies, specific area plans, build out analyses, and other local and regional land use planning initiatives.
Local Master Plans
- The master plan is both a reference and policy document. It contains appropriate maps, charts and supporting text, which present the recommendations of the planning board, and offers guidelines for community decision makers. The plan should be the most complete source of information about current conditions and trends within the municipality. The process used to prepare a master plan generally consists of five steps: visioning, data collection, data analysis, writing the plan, and adoption and implementation.
- LRPC has assisted in the development of many Master Plans. Recent efforts have included working in the towns of Ashland, Bristol and Center Harbor to assist with community surveys, meeting facilitation and plan development. Assistance provided in other communities include: Alexandria, Alton, Andover, Barnstead, Freedom, Hill, Holderness, Moultonborough, New Hampton, Northfield, and Sandwich.
- Download At-A-Glance pdf
- A CIP is the financial equivalent of a community master plan. The CIP serves as a decision making tool used to plan and schedule town improvements over at least a six-year period. It bridges the gap between planning efforts and the fiscal realities of providing municipal services. Under RSA 674:5, the sole purpose of a CIP is to "aid the mayor or selectmen and the budget committee in their consideration of the annual budget." The CIP provides a suggested timeline for budgeting and implementing needed capital improvements. As an advisory document, the CIP is designed to guide the overall direction of the capital portion of the municipal budget rather than serve as a rigid requirement for annual capital expenditures. (reference RSA: 674-5)
- LRPC has assisted in the development of CIP's for Belmont, Hill, Meredith, Northfield, Tilton
Zoning is a process of regulating use of land, buildings and structures that may be permitted in a community by establishing legal regulations based on the recommendations in the master plan. Zoning should be looked at as a positive tool for encouraging certain development, preserving existing characteristics, and facilitating growth in a manner consistent with the traditional character of the community. In this way, zoning is a method of implementing the Master Plan. It is based on the plan and helps to put the plan into effect. Therefore, a zoning ordinance is a land use planning tool used to assist in directing the future development and preservation of community. (reference RSA 674:16)
The broad purpose of subdivision control is to guide municipal development, to protect the prospective residents and neighboring owners from problems associated with poorly designed areas, and to advance the recognized purposes of the police power. (reference RSA:674:35)
Site Plan Review
A site plan is a plan which may be required to be submitted to the planning board prior to development of a particular tract of land. The plan must show the proposed location of the buildings, parking areas, landscaping, drainage and other installations on the plot, and their relationship to existing conditions such as roads, neighboring land uses, natural features, public facilities, ingress and egress roads, interior roads, and similar features.
Site plan review is one of the most useful techniques in modern land use control. It is an extremely important device to insure that uses which are permitted by the zoning ordinance are constructed on a site in such a way that they fit into the area in which they are being constructed without causing drainage, traffic, or lighting problems. (reference RSA:674:43)
Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques Handbook 2008 - (7MB)
Recent publications include:
Development Activity in the Lakes Region: 2014 Annual Report
Development Activity in the Lakes Region: 2013 Annual Report
Development Activity in the Lakes Region: 2011 Annual Report
The Lakes Region Housing Needs Assessment 2010
Development Activity in the Lakes Region: 2008 Annual Report
Housing and Conservation Planning Program
Lakes Region Housing Needs Assessment