Rezoning property, so it meets commercial zoning district guidelines is quite the process. First, the property must be deemed suitable for commercial use. But then the site planning process begins. Site planning considers the layout of any structures, site access, and even parking areas. Some of the time, site planning is combined with the approval of combining multiple existing lots into one larger lot.
To begin the commercial site planning process, you need to call the planning office for a preliminary meeting. This meeting will determine if a site plan is necessary.
The Commercial Site Planning Review Process for New Hampshire
If a site plan is necessary, the developer needs to complete the local government’s site plan application along with a conceptual plan. This gets the review process started. A technical review is completed by members of different departments. A developer should expect to receive comments from the traffic engineering, building, environmental, utilities, and fire safety departments, as well as a few others. All the comments the developer receives will allow them to know what other permits and information is required prior to the construction starting.
Those comments can also raise issues that should be addressed before the project moves forward. As soon as all of the issues are addressed, a final site plan application can be completed and submitted. Developers can choose to ignore the issues that were addressed by the different departments. However, obtaining final site plan approval can be difficult if any of those issues are considered major concerns.
Items Reviewed During the Commercial Site Planning Process
- Layout of Structures – This includes the size, height, and location of buildings.
- Internal Traffic Flow – This ensures traffic can flow smoothly without major issues.
- Site Access – There may be limitations as to how traffic can enter and exit the property.
- Pedestrian Safety – Additional sidewalks or crosswalks may be necessary.
- Parking – Adequate parking, including handicap spots, are necessary for any commercial site.
- Connection to All Municipal Utilities
- Onsite Retention of Drainage if Required by the Local Government
- Onsite Lighting – Sufficient lighting is required and should not interfere with neighboring properties.
- Environmental Protection – This can include conservation easements, tree preservation, pollution control, and much more.
- Open Space
- Fencing and Screening – This is mostly around dumpsters, but can include neighboring properties.
Completed Applications for the Commercial Site Planning Process
The planning board has 65 days to act on a complete final site plan application. The only exception is when the city council or the selectmen extend it by 90 days, or an applicant waives the deadline date by filling out a waiver.
A public meeting is held, where the planning board can ask questions and the public can provide input. At the end of the meeting, the planning board will make the decision to approve, disapprove, or conditionally approve the plan.
Do you need assistance with commercial site planning? Contact me today and let’s talk.