Earlier this year RPC was awarded a grant under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Measuring Multimodal Connectivity Pilot Grant Program. The goal of the pilot project is to improve bicycle network planning for New Hampshire’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) through further development and refinement of a shared model for evaluating Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS). Level of Traffic Stress is an approach to measuring the suitability of roads for bicycling recognizing differing stress tolerance based on people's level of riding experience. LTS analysis considers traffic speed, traffic volumes, shoulder width and the presence of parking and bike lanes.
The NH Legislature has recently passed several bills impacting Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Adjustments (ZBAs) concerning public hearing dates, application submittals and membership. Rockingham Planning Commission (RPC) recommends Planning Boards and ZBAs review their Rules of Procedures to ensure they are in compliance with the soon to be effective state laws outlined below
1. HB 136 – An act increasing the maximum period for the zoning board of adjustment to hold a public hearing.
Effective July 9, 2019
This bill amends RSA 676:7, II by increasing the number of days that a ZBA has to hold a public hearing from 30 to 45.
2. HB 245 – An act relative to the planning board's procedures on plats.
Effective July 9, 2019
This bill amends RSA 676:4, I(b) which, in part, governs when planning board applications must be filed. The current statute requires that applications be filed at least 21 days before the acceptance meeting. This bill allows a planning board to specify a filing deadline for a period of time less than 21 days in its rules of procedure.
3. HB 370 – An act relative to membership on city and town planning boards.
Effective August 20, 2019
This bill amends RSA 673:7, bringing treatment of planning board members in cities in line with that of towns. More specifically, it removes the prohibition against appointed city planning board members holding other municipal office. It permits any 2 appointed or elected members of the planning board in a city or town to also serve together on other municipal boards or commissions, except for the conservation commission, the local governing body, and local land use boards as defined in RSA 672:7.
The RPC in coordination with The Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) has begun work on the base mapping, resource development, and demonstration projects needed to develop a Long-Term Drinking Water Supply Plan for Southeastern New Hampshire. This proposal is intended to be Phase 1 of a two-phase planning process that will provide:
A set of regional maps showing the locations of drinking water supplies and provide contextual details to better communicate potential threats to drinking water sources and opportunities for their protection.
Pilot projects to demonstrate one of the water resource protection tools to be used as a case study for the Long-Term Drinking Water Supply Plan for Southeastern New Hampshire. Stay tuned for more updates!
The James Hayden Award was established in remembrance of Jim Hayden, RPC Commissioner from Newfields and long time District Conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service) for Rockingham County for many years.Jim retired from the SCS in the mid 1980s and became RPC Commissioner in 1988.He was instrumental in the development of the County Soil Survey and in efforts to protect the natural resource base of the County and region in the face of extensive development.He contributed to the creation of many of the essential tools that most towns still use today in planning, including wetlands, shoreline and aquifer protection overlay zoning and also promoted the use of soil and resource mapping in community and site planning.Accordingly, the Hayden Award is intended to recognize those in the region who have made significant contributions to their communities or the greater region in natural resource conservation and planning.The Hayden Award has been awarded seven times since its inception:Forest Griffin of North Hampton & Exeter in 2003; Larry Smith of East Kingston in 2007; Alice Tonry of Hampton Falls in 2008; Mary Currier of RCCD in 2009; The Tucker and French Families of Kingston in 2010; and Sue Foote of Seabrook in 2011 and to the North Hampton Forever Land Conservation Initiative in 2012.
Daniel Quinlan Award
The Daniel Quinlan Award was established in memory of Dan Quinlan, long serving RPC Commissioners and twice RPC Chairman from Windham.Dan was exemplary over many years in service both to his Town (as library Trustee, Planning Board member and other roles) and to the regional community as RPC Commissioner and Master Plan Committee, Regional Impacts Committee and Chair for two terms.He worked to ensure the best for the Commission, but also to ensure that the Commission did its best to serve his community and region.His skill was to bring people together to solve problems.The Quinlan Award is given in recognition of those in the region who made significant contributions to sound community and regional planning and have fostered intermunicipal cooperation and collaboration in the region.The Quinlan Award has been awarded seven times since its inception:Merilyn Senter of Plaistow in 2005; Cliff Sinnott, RPC Executive Director in 2006; Glenn Coppelman of Kingston in 2008, Ted Tocci of Hampton Falls in 2009; Tim Moore of Plaistow in 2010; and Warren Bambury of Hampton in 2011, and to Steve Miller, GBNERR and Sherry Godlewski of NHDES in their roles as Co-Chairs of the Climate Adaptation Workgroup.
A 30-day public comment period for Amendment
1 to the 2019 TIP begins Monday, June 10, 2019 and concludes on
Tuesday, July 9, 2019. A public hearing to consider the changes and any
received comments is scheduled for Wednesday July 10, 2019, beginning at
PM at the Hampstead Town Hall (11 Main Street, Hampstead). The
Planning Commission will met after the public hearing and adopted the
changes to the TIP. Amendment #1 considers changes to four statewide projects and programs and full details are found on the TIP Amendments page of the website that is linked below.
Why not have more fun getting to work this spring? Throughout June NH employers statewide will be competing to get commuters out of the single occupant vehicle as part of the CommuteSmartNH Commuter Challenge. CommuteSmartNH is an initiative of the nine regional planning commissions, NHDOT and other partners. The big goal is to reduce vehicle trips, thereby reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. For individual commuters the result is lower commuting costs, a little friendly competition, and maybe a way to fit a workout into a busy schedule.
Is your workplace up to the Challenge? For more information go to www.commutesmartnh.org or email Scott Bogle at email@example.com
In 2019, RPC will work with 8 municipalities, libraries, and school districts to form an aggregation to procure electricity from a competitive supplier. The anticipated timeline is to issue a RFP in early August, sign contracts in September, and begin taking supply in November.
The goal of the Rockingham Planning Commission Electricity Supply Aggregation is to purchase electricity as a group from a competitive supplier at a lower rate than each member could receive on its own. By purchasing as an aggregation, municipalities and school districts can offer electricity suppliers a larger demand than if they each tried to purchase electricity individually. The larger demand, in turn, allows suppliers to offer a better rate.
RPC serves as an aggregator to facilitate a bid process among competitive electricity suppliers licensed with the NH Public Utilities Commission. Each aggregation member signs its own contract with the supplier for a fixed electricity supply rate. Rates and contracts are identical for each member within a given electric distribution territory. Questions? Contact Tim Roache, Executive Director at 658-0518.
Registration is now open for "Happy & Healthy Communities" the New Hampshire Planners Association 2019 Spring Conference on June 6-7 in Exeter/Rye.
The conference will start Thursday June 6th in the afternoon with a walking tour led by RPC's Julie LaBranche. Then an ethics session led by Ben Frost before a social networking hour.
On Friday June 7th, the day will include sessions on the NH Healthy Aging Data Report, fresh off the presses, a keynote by Hon. John T. Broderick, Jr. (former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court) about changing the conversation on mental health and how to reduce stigma and other topics relating to Health, Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Coastal Concerns.