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Planning Board

Message from the Planning Board Chair

The Zoning Ordinance of the City of Manchester provides guidance to residents and developers regarding the use or occupancy of any land or building in Manchester. One of the Articles within the Ordinance, Article 10, was originally written to ensure adequate on-site parking for particular uses. The Central Business District (CBD) and the Neighborhood Business District (B-1) are currently the only zoning districts in which all uses are exempt from minimum on-site parking requirements.

While the Ordinance currently has a mechanism for reducing the required parking spaces for a specific development through a request to the Planning Board, a number of cities throughout the country are looking at eliminating minimum on-site parking requirements altogether. It is my opinion, along with some other Planning Board members, that it is time for Manchester to eliminate mandatory minimum parking requirements and allow the market to determine the number of parking spaces built for each property. As the City moves forward with changes and updates to the Ordinance, I would like to hear from the citizens of Manchester on the topic of required parking. If you would like to weigh in on this idea, please send an email to: planningboard@manchesternh.gov

Planning Board

The Manchester Planning Board hears applications for subdivision, site plans, planned developments and conditional use permits. The Planning Board also works on long-range plans such as the community master plan. The Board normally meets twice a month with the first meeting being a public hearing and the second a business meeting. The agenda for the meeting is available on line.

Regulations for subdivisions and site plans are contained in the Subdivision and Site Plan Regulations. Applications are available on this web site. Regulations for Planned Developments and Conditional Use Permits are contained in the Zoning Ordinance.

The Board is composed of nine members and four alternates. Members are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Bylaws of the Board are available to the public.

The Planning and Community Development Department provides staff support to the Planning Board. Any questions or applications should be directed to this Department.

Planning Board Hearings

The Planning Board holds hearing on most major applications. Hearings are normally scheduled for the first and third Thursday of each month. While it is not possible to always predict what questions or concerns will be raised at the hearing, the staff can normally give an applicant guidance on what to expect.

The public hearing is normally held at the meeting at which the application is accepted. The applicant and abutters shall be notified not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing in accordance with NH RSA 676:4. If the completed application is approved with one or more conditions which are to be fulfilled prior to approval of the subdivision and which may, in the opinion of the Board, pertain to abutting interests, the Board will hold a compliance hearing to determine whether the applicant has complied with the conditions. The Board will specify whether such a hearing will be held as part of their action in any Conditional approval.

Planning Board Action

In many cases, the Planning Board will act on an application at the next business meeting following the hearing. If there are unresolved issues, however, an action may take longer. In certain instances where new issues have not been resolved, the applicant may have to request an extension beyond the 65 day time limit for Board action.

Within 65 days of acceptance of application, the Board may grant Final Approval of the application; Tentative Approval specifying bonds, conveyances or other documents to be provided for Final Approval; or Conditional Approval with such conditions as the Board may deem consistent with the purposes herein to be fulfilled prior to a Tentative or Final Approval becoming effective. In granting a Conditional or a Tentative Approval, the Board may specify in its action the time period within which such approval shall be considered valid. Where conditions required by the Board will run with the land, the Board may require that deed restrictions be placed on the property in order to carry out the condition(s).  The Board may authorize the staff to issue a Final Approval upon finding that the specified terms of a Tentative Approval have been met.

Upon a potential disapproval the Board will notify the applicant of such action and shall state the reasons for such action in the Board records in accordance with NH RSA 676:4. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Board concerning a site plan or subdivision, may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court as provided for in NH RSA 677:15.

Following action by the Planning Board, the staff will work to insure all conditions are met and other issues are wrapped up prior to the staff signing off on the application. It is a good idea to develop an Approval punchlist to be clear about what is needed to get the final approval.

This is normally a good time to be working with the Planning and Community Development Department in preparation for the building permit. The Planning staff will forward the signed plan to the building regulations division when completed.

Approved subdivision plans are required to be recorded at the Hillsborough Registry of Deeds. Other approved plans do not need to be recorded unless the applicant has other reasons to do so.