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It is a State requirement upon which our Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, Site Plan Regulations, Capital Improvements Plan, and other related regulations depend.
As defined by the State: “The purpose of the master plan is to set down as clearly and practically as possible the best and most appropriate future development of the [town], to aid the [planning] board in designing ordinances that result in preserving and enhancing the unique quality of life and culture of New Hampshire, and to guide the board in the performance of its other duties in a manner that achieves the principles of smart growth, sound planning, and wise resource protection.”
It is the Planning Board’s statutory duty to oversee the updating of the Master Plan.
The Board of Selectmen uses the Master Plan in legislative and policy-related decisions they encounter: upgrading of roads; approval of conservation land purchases; Town-wide policy decisions.
The Planning Board uses the Master Plan to guide them in judicial site plan review: assure that an application is consistent with the town’s goals. The Planning Board also uses the Master Plan in a legislative capacity: proposing amendments to the Zoning Map and the Zoning Ordinance.