The Rockingham Planning Commission’s housing goals are as varied and complex as the regions housing stock. The Commission advocates for affordable housing accessible to a wide range of income groups. Both owned and rental housing is necessary. Existing housing stock should be maintained and improved to remain viable and new construction should ensure that housing is highly efficient with a goal of being energy neutral.
The existing housing stock region wide provides a great deal of opportunity for home ownership in every community. In the larger communities the variety of housing opportunity spans the spectrum of affordable to very expensive, including both ownership and rentals. In the smaller communities within the region housing opportunity devolves. Single family homeownership predominates and affordability is a challenge. In many communities rental housing is nearly non-existent.
The State of New Hampshire passed a law effective in 2010, requiring communities to provide opportunity for workforce housing in a majority of any areas zoned for residential use. This law requires municipalities to allow for the construction of affordable housing, both rental and ownership. A number of communities in the RPC region have passed zoning ordinances to insure their compliance with this law but affordability remains an issue in many communities in the region.
The Housing Chapter of the Commission’s Regional Master Plan provides a wealth of information regarding the current state of housing opportunity in all of our communities. It offers information on housing ownership and rental costs, vacancy rates, household income, equalized assessed property values as well as tax rates. All of this information is offered for each of the communities within the region as well as the comparable information for the state of New Hampshire. In addition the chapter includes a housing needs assessment that details on a community basis the number of affordable housing existing in the region in 2010 and a projection of the number of affordable units needed to meet proposed demand for affordable housing in each of the towns in the region in 2020.
As a requirement of the federal funding used by all of the regional planning commissions to prepare their new regional plans, a document called a Fair Housing Equity Assessmentwas prepared that details any potential circumstances within the RPC Region that may act as a barrier to housing opportunity.