Rockingham Planning Commission is one of nine regional planning commissions in New Hampshire established by RSA 36:46. The Commission’s region consists of 27 of the 36 Rockingham County communities. Operating as a political subdivision of the State of New Hampshire, the Commission serves in an advisory role to local governments in order to promote coordinated planning, orderly growth, efficient land use, and environmental protection. The Commission’s professional planning staff provides an array of planning assistance to the communities which are active members. Membership, which is optional, is retained through annual due assessed to each community on a per capita basis.
The Commission consists of an appointed, volunteer board of directors (Commissioners), and a paid professional staff (Staff Roster). Each member municipality appoints at least two representatives to the Board. The Commissioners meet monthly to adopt and oversee the annual work program and budget, establish Commission policies on a variety of land use and planning issues important in the region and discuss current planning topics. In addition to local membership dues, the Commission contracts with individual municipalities for the preparation of special documents and projects Funding is also obtained through state and federal grants aimed at strengthening local and regional planning.
Additional information on RPC’s work program, services and funding sources are available at:
The Rockingham Planning Commission is a voluntary local public organization created and sustained by its member communities and their appointed representatives. Its purpose is to foster sound planning, wise use and careful stewardship of the region’s natural and man-made resources. This is accomplished, first, by providing professional planning assistance and advice to member communities concerning local and regional planning and second, by actively promoting and facilitating cooperation and coordination among the communities. To fulfill the first aspect of this mission, the Commission will endeavor to maintain professional expertise and support in the following areas: municipal and regional land use planning, natural resources and conservation, regional transportation planning, coastal resources management, economic development and geographic information systems development. To fulfill the second aspect of the mission the Commission will rely upon the efforts of the appointment commissioners to facilitate inter-community cooperation and communication. - (Adopted January 18, 1996)
Rockingham Planning Commission was established in its current form in 1982, the result of the merging of two smaller regional planning commissions that were each established shortly after the original designation of regional planning districts in 1969. The Southern Rockingham Planning Commission (OSP planning district 15), was based in Salem and covered nine communities the southern and central part of Rockingham County. The Southeastern New Hampshire Region Planning Commission (planning district 16) was based in Exeter and included 18 communities in eastern Rockingham County including the seacoast. When the agencies merged, the two offices were consolidated into one location in Exeter.
Each of the predecessor agencies were formed in the early 1970s soon after regional planning commissions were enabled by state law (RSA 36). Membership in the agencies has always been voluntary. Initially just a handful of communities joined each commission as founders. Today there are 27 municipalities in the region.
The principle focus of the agency at it inception was to assist our member communities with managing the impact of rapid growth and development which characterized southern New Hampshire through the 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s. Much of this work centered around land use planning technical assistance, water quality planning, transportation planning, historic preservation and solid waste management. Over time RPC’s work has expanded to include community development, hazard mitigation and facilitating regional cooperation.