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Authority of Planning Boards

Statute and local ordinance defines the scope of authority of Planning Boards. The authority of Planning Boards may be best classified as duties and powers.

Planning Boards are statutorily permitted and/or required to perform the following duties:

  • Prepare and amend, from time to time, a master plan to guide the development of the municipality, including the authority to make any investigations, maps and reports, and recommendations which relate to the planning and development of the municipality (RSA 674:1, I);
  • At its discretion, to report and recommend from time to time programs for the development of the municipality, programs for the erection of public structures, and programs for municipal improvements (RSA 674:1, II);
  • At its discretion, recommend to the local legislative body amendments of the zoning ordinance or zoning map or additions thereto (RSA 674:1, V); and
  • Perform such duties granted by the municipality as may be necessary to enable the Planning Board to fulfill its function or promote municipal planning (RSA 674:1, VI).

Planning Boards are also bestowed certain powers by statute, most notably:

  • The power to require preliminary review of subdivisions;
  • To approve or disapprove in its discretion plats and plans; and
  • To regulate, approve, and/or deny subdivisions.