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Understanding land use regulations in New Hampshire

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Land Development & Zoning

Land use regulations in New Hampshire are necessary to guide development throughout the state. These laws also aid in the preservation of property and culture.

Land use rules govern how property can be used, developed and protected to balance economic growth, environmental conservation and community interests.

Zoning laws

Zoning laws are a fundamental component of land use regulations in New Hampshire. These laws divide the state into different zones or districts. Each district determines rules for permissible land use and other development standards within its boundaries. Zoning helps ensure compatibility and promotes orderly and sustainable growth.


Subdivision regulations govern the division of land into smaller parcels for development purposes. These establish requirements for platting, lot size, road construction, utilities and other improvements. Subdivision laws promote safe and efficient growth while protecting natural resources and preserving communities.

Wetlands and natural resource protection

New Hampshire has robust laws to protect wetlands, shorelines and other natural resources. These rules restrict activities in environmentally sensitive areas to prevent habitat destruction, water pollution and flooding. For instance, you may need permits to build near wetlands.

Environmental review processes

Some development projects in New Hampshire may be subject to environmental review processes to assess their potential impacts. These reviews test air and water quality, wildlife habitat and cultural resources to inform decisions and reduce adverse effects. Projects may need permits or approvals from state or local environmental agencies.

Public participation

Public participation is an important aspect of land use regulation in New Hampshire. Stakeholders can participate in planning through public hearings, meetings and comment periods. Public input helps ensure that these decisions reflect community values and interests.

Understanding the basics of land use regulations in New Hampshire is important for developers, property owners and community members. By familiarizing themselves with the planning elements, they can engage in the process and contribute to communities.