On November 8th, Governor Hassan signed an Executive Order changing Raymond’s regional planning district from the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission to the Rockingham Planning Commission. The Town initiated this request with the Office of Energy and Planning last summer explaining that, over the years, and particularly since the expansion of NH101, its regional interests and affiliations have gradually turned eastward. Over the next few weeks, the Town is expected to appoint its Commission representatives and begin to engage in RPC meetings and activities, while RPC staff updates regional planning documents, maps and data to include Raymond. RPC Executive Director, Cliff Sinnott met with the Raymond Planning Board earlier in December to discuss the RPC’s current work program, as well as Raymond’s priorities for local technical assistance. Technical assistance requests include developing an agricultural district overlay, assisting with a demographics update, and with a wetlands study RFP. We welcome Raymond to the RPC region and look forward to a long and productive relationship!
Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) Round - Coming Soon!
In January, NHDOT expects to announce a new round of Federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) Program funding. This will be the first competitive application round for CMAQ funding since 2010. The CMAQ Program funds projects that improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. It is a reimbursement program, allowing up to an 80% federal funding share for eligible projects; and has the advantage of funding being available on a much shorter timeline than the regular NH Ten Year Plan process. The coming round will have an emphasis on vehicle replacement for public transit agencies, given fleet replacement needs statewide identified by transit providers. Other common CMAQ projects include traffic signal coordination and other traffic flow improvements, diesel engine retrofits, Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and ridesharing initiatives, bike/ped projects, and new transit service pilot projects. Approximately $20 million are anticipated to be available for the four year funding round. RPC will forward the funding notice when published, and post on the MPO website. Potential applicants are encouraged to begin project development now in anticipation of an accelerated solicitation timeline. Contact Scott Bogle with RPC or Tom Jameson at NHDOT with questions.
Tides to Storms 2 - Municipalities Take Climate Adaptation Actions
The Tides to Storms 2 - Climate Adaptation Implementation project engaged New Hampshire's seven Atlantic coastal municipalities in implementing recommendations from the Rockingham Planning Commission's (RPC) Tides to Storms Vulnerability Assessment (2015). In response to RPC's solicitation to provide technical assistance, each municipality self-selected their project as follows:
Tides to Storms 2 was funded by a grant from the Northeast Ocean Council.
- Portsmouth - research strategies to address coastal flooding in zoning and building codes New Castle - community outreach about the role of coastal buffers in reducing flooding impacts
- Rye - prepare a Coastal Hazards and Climate Adaptation Chapter for the Master Plan
- North Hampton - prepare flood protection provisions for existing buffer standards in the zoning ordinance
- Hampton - prepare amendments to the floodplain development standards in the zoning ordinance
- Hampton Falls - community outreach about the role of coastal buffers in reducing flooding impacts and assist Master Plan committee in incorporating Tides to Storms information in the master plan.
- Seabrook - prepare a Coastal Hazards and Adaptation Chapter for the Master Plan (See the article below for more detail!)
Tell RPC About Your Priority Transportation Projects
The Rockingham MPO is responsible for identifying and addressing transportation improvement needs at the regional level. This includes the development and maintenance of the Long Range Transportation Plan which establishes long-term regional goals, objectives, and project priorities. In April of odd numbered years, the highest priority projects are submitted to NH DOT as part of the State Ten Year Plan process, and proposals selected for inclusion in that document undergo early preparation work. This prioritization process requires involvement from MPO members, and to accomplish that we solicit communities and transportation agencies regarding any new identified transportation projects. Next week a notice will be released announcing this solicitation, and identifying the project selection criteria and process that will be used to prioritize them. New proposals will be due back to the RPC at the end of February. Visit the RPC Project Solicitation page for additional information.
Seabrook: Innovation in Master Planning!
With a Tides to Storms 2 technical assistance grant funded by the Northeast Region Ocean Council, RPC assisted the Seabrook Planning Board in preparing a new Master Plan chapter focused on coastal flood hazards and strategies to address them. The Chapter - Coastal Hazards and Adaptation - contains information from the Tides to Storms Vulnerability Assessment including sea-level rise scenarios, maps showing where future flooding may occur, and impacts to municipal assets and natural resources. The chapter also contains a set of comprehensive recommendations and an action plan that identifies short-term actions for each municipal department aimed at making the town's infrastructure more resilient to sea-level rise and storm-related flooding. The Planning Board adopted the chapter at a public hearing on November 15, 2016, making their Coastal Hazards and Adaptation Chapter the first of its kind in NH (enabled by a 2013 amendment to RSA 674:2.III.o). The Chapter will be posted soon to the Seabrook Planning Board website.