Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017NH211B

Stormwater and Development: How do New Hampshire’s communities address the impacts in the land use planning process?

Institute: New Hampshire
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $12,192 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,517

Principal Investigators: June HammondRowan

Abstract: Land use and development are shaped by the plans and development decisions made at the local level by local Planning Boards. Land development has long been recognized to impact both the quality and quantity of stormwater causing pollution and flooding creating a major and growing challenge nationwide by imposing serious impacts on water quality, public health and local economies (USEPA, 2016). This study will analyze New Hampshire municipal Master Plans and local land use regulations to determine how communities are addressing stormwater impacts during the local land use planning process. A comprehensive analysis of the current approaches to addressing stormwater impacts from development in our state will help determine successes and gaps in protecting both the quality and quantity of our water resources. Data for this study will come from publically available Master Plans and land use regulations from New Hampshire communities. Our goal is to sample at least a third of these communities distributed across all of the state’s nine regional planning commissions. Master Plans in New Hampshire are required to have a vision and land use sections and these components will be analyzed using NVivo qualitative research software to determine if municipalities recognize stormwater impacts how they address these impacts. Land use regulations (Subdivision and Site Plan Review Regulations, Zoning Ordinances) will also be reviewed using a scorecard based system to evaluate the approaches used in municipalities to control stormwater. The results of our research will reveal how our communities have developed and implemented planning goals to address stormwater impacts which will be useful to planners, communities, organizations, and agencies engaged in stormwater management across New Hampshire.