Communities throughout our region, as well as the entire southeastern portion of the state, have been experiencing unprecedented growth pressures. Communities are seeing the affects of this growth in the form of changing landscapes, development, and population increases. The SRPC has expert staff to respond to the long-range and day-to-day needs of our member communities and provide support services to assist local planning officials and staff. The SRPC staff is able to address issues over the phone and are available to research current planning trends and issues for presentation to member communities.
Local planning boards and planning offices are working to keep up with review of applications and ever changing regulations, and seldom have the time or the staff to undertake long range planning projects. Our goal at SRPC is to provide staff support with both cost effective and professional services ranging from plan review services, to Master Plan development and revisions, to zoning ordinance and regulation revisions and map adjustments, to providing technical advice on land use.
Plan Review Services can include office hours for meeting with applicants and concerned citizens, site plan and subdivision application review, preparation of staff summaries and recommendations, and attendance at planning board meetings.
Master Plan Development can include updates or the addition of new chapters to address specific areas of emerging interest or concern, such as drinking water supply, transportation, stormwater management and natural resources.
Training and Technical Services are available in the form of training workshops for planning boards and zoning boards of adjustment, and technical memos on specific land use and environmental issues these boards may face.
Zoning ordinance and regulation revisions are essential to keep pace with changes to state and federal regulations and to respond to changes in technology with respect to stormwater management, water quality protection, resource management, and changes in local and regional land use and development patterns.
Other Assistance Available through SRPC
SRPC can provide planning and technical assistance to member communities through our grant partnerships with various state and federal agencies. Assistance is available for specific ordinance and regulation development and planning initiatives relating to water quality, land conservation and open space, and resource protection.
Innovative Land Use Model Ordinances
SRPC staff will work with communities to customize and consider for adoption of Innovative Land Use Model Ordinances developed by the Department of Environmental Services and the Regional Planning Commissions. These model ordinances can be accessed on-line at:
Land Conservation Plan
SRPC staff will work with communities to customize and consider for adoption the model ordinance for The Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire's Coastal Watersheds. The Plan can also be adopted as part of a community's Master Plan as a reference document to guide implementation of goals and objectives for protection of natural resources.
What is the link between Transportation and Land Use?
As our population increases and large tracts of open lands are developed into residential subdivisions or commercial areas, roads are being widened and new roads are constructed. Sometimes the transportation facilities that link activities, services, uses and neighborhoods are not often provided. The design of transportation facilities, such as connector roads, driveway access points, public transportation, sidewalks, trails and bike routes has a major impact on a community's character. Whether a community has these facilities is the result of land use decisions. [See our "How to Series" for the publication "How To... Link Land Use and Transportation" for more information about this topic.]
How can communities achieve the transportation land use link - with thoughtful planning and regulation changes that incorporate transportation principles and strategies into the land use planning process.
Subdivision and Site Plan Regulations
Improved integration of land use and transportation planning can be accomplished by requiring that transportation amenities, connections and services be provided when a local land use board approves development. Often these transportation elements can be provided by the developer as part of their project approval when the requirements are supported by the community's Master Plan and required in their regulations.
Access Management Plans
Access Management is implementing a set of planning strategies to ensure the safe and efficient flow of traffic, while maintaining the character of a community. Access Management strategies include: spacing and design of driveways, median openings, and interchanges; placement of abutting parking facilities; and use of instructional signage. The appropriate strategies vary with the roadway function, the character of the abutting land, and the long-term planning policies.
Using Access Management strategies can provide a variety of benefits to a community:
- maintain safety and quality of life of their residents and visitors;
- increase public safety by reducing accidents, travel time and congestion, while maintaining existing roadway capacity;
- lower road improvement costs, improve air quality, and preserve or enhance property values along a highway corridor;
- cost effective planning strategy to limit a sprawl pattern of development; and
- applicable to all roadways including major and minor arterial roads, collector roads, and local streets.
Transportation Corridor Studies
This type of study can be conducted on local roads of importance, or be limited to evaluation of specific road segments and key intersections. Factors to be considered include: traffic volume and efficiency, accident data, existing patterns of development, development potential, siting of new access or connector roads, parking standards (i.e. the sea of parking at the roads edge), and pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. The results of such a study can yield a long-range plan for managing access within a community.