Note: All permits must now be done electronically. Please click on the above Icon and then type in Allenstown NH. Click on Sign Up and follow the instructions to complete a permit.
APPLICATIONS MUST BE MADE AT LEAST 26 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE PLANNING BOARD MEETING (BOARD MEETS 1ST AND 3RD WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH). PLEASE ALSO DELIVER TWO LARGE FULL PLAN SETS AND ANY DRAINAGE STUDIES TO THE BUILDING INSPECTOR IN ADDITION TO MAKING ONLINE SUBMITTAL.
The Planning Board in Allenstown
New Hampshire State law RSA 674:1 spells out the responsibilities for Planning Boards across the state. Among their responsibilities are to hold public hearings RSA 676:4 on various development proposals. Dividing land (known as a subdivision RSA 674:35 review) or the development of a commercial or multi-family development (known as a site plan RSA 674:43 review) are the two most common activities. Site Plan and Subdivision applications are processed at a regular meeting of the planning board through public hearing meaning that abutters RSA 676:4 are notified and notice for the public hearing has to be given in the paper (the Concord Monitor). Other activities, such as excavation permits RSA 155-E or conditional use permits are also processed in a similar manner.
What is the Planning Board Public Hearing Process in Allenstown? The process begins with the applicant contacting the Building Inspector to inquire as to whether or not the proposed development activity conforms to the Zoning Ordinance. In addition to several other functions, the Zoning Ordinance specifies the required lot dimensions and where in town various uses are permitted. If the proposed development does conform, the Building Inspector will then direct the applicant to begin the application process. The details for each application type are listed below, including links to the relevant application materials. If the proposal does not conform to the Zoning Ordinance, a Variance (Section 402 pg.28) or Special Exception (Section 405 pg.29) will need to be sought form the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). The Building Inspector can assist with the ZBA application process as well.
What is the Planning Board’s application process? The Planning Board’s approval process for all public hearings is spelled out in the Subdivision Regulations (Article IV pg.6-12). After the applicant has initially contacted the Building Inspector and has completed the relevant application package online (other items are to be submitted to the Planning Board via email at firstname.lastname@example.org ), the first step will be the Technical Review Committee (TRC) (Section 4.04.c pg.9) At the TRC, the proposed plans are reviewed by the Town’s various department heads in an effort to identify any issues specific to the various departments in town. Once the TRC has been completed, the Building Inspector, along with the Town’s Planner, will review the application for further compliance with the Zoning Ordinance, Planning Board Regulations (Site Plan, Subdivision, or Excavation Regulations, as applicable), and the application checklist. Once this Checklist Review meeting (Section 4.04 pg. 9-10) has been completed, the Planner will issue a review memorandum to the applicant and/or applicant’s agent (surveyor, engineer, attorney, etc.) outlining what is missing or inadequate with the application. Opportunity is then given to rectify any issues and resubmit materials. Once revised materials have been received, the Town will notice abutters and notice the public hearing in the Concord Monitor and a revised memorandum will be issued.
What can I expect at the public hearing? By state law RSA 676:4, no site plan, subdivision, or excavation application can be approved without a public hearing. Also, state law requires that abutters are notified RSA 676:4 by certified mail and that the development proposal is noticed in the newspaper ten days (not counting the day of notice or the day of meeting) prior to the meeting. Once notice has occurred, the public hearing will take place at a regular meeting of the board (usually a Wednesday night). At this meeting, there are several milestones and corresponding votes: the Planning Board determine if the application has a regional impact RSA 36:56; the Planning Board must act on any waiver requests RSA 674:36; the Planning Board must determine if the application is complete RSA 676:4 enough for them to act on; and, lastly, the Planning Board must vote to approve or deny RSA 676:4 the application.
Other public hearing factors:
- The applicant and the Board can agree to continue an application RSA 676 to a subsequent meeting if there are missing items that need to be provided.
- Abutters have the right to speak and provide comment.
- If deemed a Regional Impact an application will be continued to the next meeting pending notification of any impacted abutting communities as well as the Regional Planning Commission.
- Conditional approvals RSA 676:4 may be granted. This means that approvals are granted with required conditions attached. The overwhelming number of approvals granted by any planning board in the State of New Hampshire will have conditions of approval associated with the board’s action.
- The Planning Board may use a variety of consultants RSA 676:4. and technical specialists to help with the processing of an application. These include: the Planner, the Town’s Engineer, the Town’s attorney, as well as any other relevant subject matter expert. Escrow fees will be asked for as part of the application package to pay for these services. An escrow account will be set up to cover the costs of such consultations. Any unused funds will be returned to the applicant (upon the applicant’s request once the plans are signed), and, in the event more funds are needed to cover consultant costs the applicant will be required to provide additional escrow funds.
The Planning Board can also engage in the following activities:
Conceptual Consultation is an opportunity to present an idea to the Board in a general, nonbinding manner to get a sense of what to expect prior to engaging in the formal design process. Such consultations may be for subdivisions or site plans. Conceptual Consultation is governed by the (Section 4.01 pg.7) of the Subdivision Regulations and require a written narrative be submitted to the Board. The applicant may choose to submit a map, sketch, or photographs of the existing site but any sketches of the proposed development shall be processed in accordance with the Design Review process outlined below.
Design Review is a more formal version of a Conceptual Consultation with the key difference being the inclusion of a drawing of the proposed development. Such a proposal is governed by (Section 4.01 pg.7) of the Subdivision Regulations and will require a written narrative similar to that required by the Conceptual Consultation above, as well as drawings and any other exhibits the applicant wishes to submit. In addition, abutters must be noticed by state law RSA 676:4, and therefore, appropriate abutter notification fees are required.
Conditional Use Permit: Outdoor Flea Markets are controlled by (Section 1120 pg. 51) of the Zoning Ordinance and require an application, appropriate fees, and public hearing. An outdoor flea market may or may not require site plan review if the site plan thresholds, as described in the Site Plan Regulations, are met. If such a Conditional Use Permit is part of a larger Site Plan application both applications, and subsequent approvals can be processed concurrently.
Conditional Use Permit: Groundwater Protection Ordinance: Conditional Use Permits associated with the Groundwater Protection Ordinance are controlled by (Article XXIV pg.110) , Groundwater Protection Overlay District, of the Zoning Ordinance and require an application , appropriate fees, and public hearing. If such a Conditional Use Permit is part of a larger Site Plan or Subdivision application both applications, and subsequent approvals can be processed concurrently.