Developing a Vision Chapter for the Town of Newmarket

Newmarket_Visioning LogoMore than ten years had passed since Newmarket evaluated its community vision and future direction as part of the town’s master planning process. Municipal officials and residents recognized it was time to revisit the 2001 vision statement in order to ensure opportunities for securing a vital, healthy future for current and future residents.

With support from SRPC staff, the town developed and implemented a process to engage residents in envisioning the town’s future. This process enabled Newmarket to gain a better understanding of residents’ near and long-term views of the community and provided ideas or addressing current and future challenges. When asked to share her experience, Town Council member Toni Weinstein said, “One of the things that stood out to me was the diversity of the participants. As someone who has worked in various ways to get people involved, I was extremely impressed with the number of people who attended the presentations, particularly when it took place on a sunny Saturday! It speaks in part to the concern of the community, but also to the effort of the organizers to effectively get the word out.”

Through a combination of interactive forums with presentations, small group discussion, live polling, and an online survey, SRPC received input from over 455 residents. The intention was to generate a broad, updated vision statement presenting the town’s 2025 vision as realized. Weinstein added, “The program seemed to elicit information from participants in various ways. Using technology, small group discussion and larger presentations helped people feel comfortable with their individual participation. Everyone had the opportunity to be heard. The facilitators were knowledgeable and kept the meeting moving. I was impressed by the quality of the presentations and also by the information that was made available to the public.”

As a result of this effort, Newmarket’s overall vision statement guides the town in becoming more resilient against coastal and riverine flooding through local land use policies and regulations that reduce risk and vulnerability. The town supports the integration of climate adaptation measures into municipal programs, policies, and operations, as well as the promotion of smart, sustainable development. This has led to greater community resilience against adverse impacts and infrastructure vulnerability associated with climate change, such as sea level rise and flooding due to the increased frequency of major storm events.

The Vision Chapter was adopted by the Planning Board on November 10, 2015. Two appendices were also adopted as part of this process that detailed the outreach and visioning process, as well as the public input results. To view the updated chapter, please visit: Newmarket Vision Chapter.

This project was funded by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services New Hampshire Coastal Program, which enables SRPC to provide professional planning services to the five coastal communities within the region.