Newmarket Updates Master Plan Existing Land Use Chapter

award_newmarketIn a collaborative effort between a designated Newmarket Master Plan subcommittee and the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, this spring an existing land use chapter update was prepared for Newmarket that showcased the Town’s commitment to smart growth and sustainability. The original chapter was adopted in 2001 and no longer accurately depicted the existing forms of land use. Master plans are typically updated every ten years.

Over the course of five months (October, 2012 – March, 2013) a volunteer-based Master Plan subcommittee was formed to take on the update process. This group was made up of seven interested participants, all chosen due to their expertise and direct knowledge regarding the community. During the update process it was the primary goal of the subcommittee to incorporate updated land use information and planning techniques to better represent the current condition of the Town. By providing the most detailed information on existing land use, the chapter offers insight on how to best manage development for a more sustainable and successful future. Newmarket was no longer seeing the strip, sprawl, and scattered forms of land use that were predominate during the 1990’s. Instead, residential open space design development, land conservation, and redevelopment, growth management, and infill development lead the way in current forms of land use. New land use patterns were identified and mapped, which included: residential expansion, economic growth along the Route 108 corridor, the Newmarket industrial park, and downtown revitalization efforts including the mill redevelopment. The mill redevelopment project was a principal example of a sustainable planning option. It provides commercial and housing opportunities where citizens both live and work, a mix of integrated community uses, and offers public transit with both COAST and Wildcat Transit bus stops within walking distance.

Lastly, a zoning-based build-out analysis was developed by the Strafford Regional Planning Commission as part of the update process. This analysis attempts to show what might happen if a community grows to the full extent allowed under its’ present development regulations. While it is not meant to paint an exact picture, it can serve as a useful tool for administrators, planners, and emergency managers that wish to anticipate the possible impacts of future development.

According to Town Planner, Diane Hardy, “The build-out analysis allows us to predict what the future of Newmarket will look like based on the availability and suitability of land for development, the constraints posed by natural features and hazards as well as by our current zoning regulations. The next step in the master plan process will be to look at future land use to determine whether our current course is consistent with the collective vision that we hold for the future.  If the consensus is no, then different development scenarios will need to be identified. The build-out analysis could be calibrated to illustrate the impacts of various alternatives to help guide decision-making, if alterations are deemed to be necessary.”

Newmarket has also continued to strengthen their local regulations and planning approaches by making drainage and stormwater system improvements, adopting new stormwater regulations, and updating environmental overlay districts to guide development away from floodplains, preventing wetland destruction, and the enhancement of water quality.

As our communities continue to grow they will face development challenges that are being seen throughout the country. This will require more thoughtful and innovative planning methods in order to balance economic development with environmental protection.

In 2012, the Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) received funds from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to support community assistance, including the master plan existing land use chapter update.

For more information on the Newmarket Master Plan, please click the following links:

For any other questions, please contact Kyle Pimental, SRPC Regional Planner or call 603-994-3500.