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Site Last Updated
July 18, 2012
What is the Commission and what does it do?
For more information about the Commission, click here for RPC Brochure
The Rockingham Planning Commission is a voluntary local public organization established under state law (RSA 36:45-58) which is funded by, sustained by, and tied directly to local governments. It is run by representatives appointed by its member municipalities. These representatives set Commission policy, make monetary decisions, and decide what work the Commission will get involved in. Commission membership is voted on at town and city council meetings in the individual municipalities served and maintained through the payment of an annual dues assessment.
The planning region covered by the Commission -- one of nine such regions in the State -- includes 27 of Rockingham County's 37 towns (see Figures 1 and 2). The population of the region was 190,930 in 2005, compared with Rockingham County's population of 296,550.
A primary function of the Commission and its staff members is serving the needs of constituent local governments by providing technical planning assistance -- doing such things as preparing land use and natural resource inventory maps, preparing water resource plans, providing circuit rider planner services, helping towns develop master plans and capital improvement programs, informing towns about federal and state dollars that are available, and assisting them in applying for grants.
Equally important, the Commission is involved in regional planning programs in such fields as coastal resources management, transportation, housing, water quality management, water supply, conservation land protection, and public education. The Commission is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for transportation planning in the RPC service area. Another Commission responsibility is reviewing and commenting on projects receiving federal money in the region.
The Commission's territory (mandated by a Governor's Executive Order) and its activities are sanctioned by New Hampshire enabling legislation that dates back to 1935.
The official purpose of the Commission is to guide, coordinate and promote the wise and orderly use of land and resources in the region in order to preserve and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens in the region. The primary mechanism for accomplishing this is the preparation and adoption of a regional master plan.
The Commission's bylaws state that the Commission "shall undertake research and information-gathering activities; prepare, adopt, and maintain a comprehensive plan for the region; assist municipalities and counties in implementing regional plans and programs; coordinate functional plans and programs related to the development of the region; serve as the central agent for plans and programs in dealing with the state and federal governments; encourage intergovernmental planning and coordination, linking local, state and federal governments for effective action; and carry out a public information program to promote widespread public understanding, discussion and participation in regional issues and the solution of regional problems."
While the Commission, as a local public agency, does not itself have the power to implement its plans -- its primary function is to recommend and inform -- our planning efforts are reflected in local government decision-making throughout the region.