Planning Related FAQs

Q: If I own an undeveloped parcel and plan to subdivide it into two or more lots, what local permits do I need to acquire and how do I go about preparing for the permit process?

A: If you own an undeveloped parcel that fronts along a town maintained road, and you wish to subdivide the parcel into two or more lots, you will need to submit to the Town of Hudson Planning Board a complete Subdivision application and subdivision plan, showing the proposed lots and roadway layout, if applicable. The subdivision plan must be prepared by a professional surveyor, who is licensed in New Hampshire. If the subdivision includes construction of a road or other infrastructure improvements (i.e., drain manholes, culverts, water and sewer lines, etc.), you will have to hire a professional engineer, licensed to practice in New Hampshire. Both professionals will be required to prepare the plan, and sign and stamp it with their respective stamps as well.

In addition to submitting the subdivision plan, you will need to submit a complete Subdivision application. You can acquire a Subdivision application at the Community Development Department at Town Hall, located at 12 School Street. Subdivision applications can also be obtained, via mail, fax, or the Town’s website at www.hudsonnh.gov. If you prefer to have the application mailed or faxed, please call the Community Development Department at (603) 886-6008 and staff will be happy to assist you.

Please note, if your parcel contains wetlands or wetland buffers, it is recommended that you consult with a wetland scientist, licensed in New Hampshire, relative to evaluating and determining the degree of wetland impact involved with the subdivision. If the scientist determines that development activities associated with the subdivision encroach within 50-feet of a wetland, you will have to acquire an approval for a Wetland Special Exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment, prior to submitting a Subdivision application to the Planning Board.

Note: A Wetland Special Exception also requires submission of a Zoning Board of Adjustment Input application to both the Conservation Commission and Planning Board. In turn, both bodies conduct separate hearings, with the first hearing held by the Conservation Commission. The Planning Board hearing is conducted only after the Conservation Commission forwards their written comments/concerns to the Planning Board. After the Planning Board’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) Input application hearing, the board forwards their concern(s) on the project to the ZBA. Upon the ZBA’s receipt of both the Conservation Commission and Planning Board concerns, the ZBA will schedule a public hearing for the Wetland Special Exception.

Q: What specific steps are involved with Planning Board’s review of a subdivision plan?/p>

A: The applicant must first develop a set of plans in accordance with town, state and federal laws. Upon completion of the plans, the applicant files an application to be placed on a Planning Board agenda. The steps described herein are intended to summarize the general process flow, and should not be construed as a complete list of steps required to have an application approved.

Step 1 - Complete Application

Applicant to submit a completed application for the proposed subdivision in accordance with all laws and regulations, and may also submit soil typing by a certified soil scientist, if required; submit a wetland impact study by a certified wetlands scientist, if required; submit a traffic impact study by a certified engineering firm, if required; complete a safety consultation with the Highway Safety Committee, if appropriate and Applicant pays all fees for application, abutters’ notices, and consultant fees.

The Town Planner, working with the Town’s consultant engineer, reviews the Subdivision application for completeness, and if determined complete, a public hearing is scheduled for the next available Planning Board meeting (approximately 20 – 30 days).

NOTE: Planning Department uses applicant fees to send certified mail notifications ten (10) days in advance of the public hearing to all abutters and completes formal review for determination of completeness.

Step 2 – Acceptance for Consideration

At the Planning Board’s initial public hearing on the application, the board’s chair opens the hearing by first asking the Town Planner: “Is this application ready for acceptance?” If the Town Planner acknowledges that it (the application) is ready, then the board moves to accept the application. If the application is determined not ready for acceptance, the board votes to defer the matter to the next available meeting.

Application acceptance for consideration constitutes that the Planning Board has taken jurisdiction of the plan, and the time clock to make a final decision of approval or disapproval starts. The Planning Board must make a final decision or receive an extension within 65 days of acceptance for consideration in accordance with NH RSA’s.

Step 3 – Applicant Presents Subdivision Plan

After application acceptance, the applicant presents the details of the plan to the Planning Board. After the presentation, the Planning Board conducts a Q&A period with the applicant and his/her engineer, attorney and other representatives regarding the plan submission and any requested waivers.

At the completion of the above Q&A period, the Planning Board Chairman opens discussions to the public. This is the first opportunity for abutters to ask questions and provide input. At the completion of all public input, which may occur at this first hearing or extend over a period of several meetings, the Planning Board moves to close the public hearing.

Step 4 – Planning Board Votes to Approve or Disapprove Subdivision Plan and Waivers

The Planning Board next moves to approve or disapprove the requested waiver(s). The motion may include conditions of waiver approval, if appropriate.

A motion is next made to “approve or disapprove the plan”. Most often the motion to approve includes conditions of approval or stipulations.

Step 5 – Notification of Plan Approval and Recording of Plan

Upon subdivision plan approval, a “Notice of Approval” is mailed to the applicant and the applicant’s engineer and the 30-day appeal period begins. During the appeal period, the following issues need to be completed prior to the plan being recorded at the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds (HCRD): Town Planner reviews plan for completeness, Town Counsel favorably reviews the Development Agreement and recommends same to the Planning Board, the Planning Board determines and votes on a surety amount, ensuring completion of the subdivision in its entirety.

After the foregoing matters are complete, the Planning Board endorses the plan and Development Agreement, and both are recorded at the HCRD, together with any other documents as required by the Planning Board.

Q: What defines an abutter to a subdivision?

A: An abutter to a subdivision is defined in § 289-3. Definitions, as: ABUTTERS - The owner of record of a parcel of land which is contiguous, at any point, to the parcel being subdivided and/or which has frontage on a common road at any point within that portion defined by the perpendicular extensions across the road, from the points of intersection between the edge of the road right-of-way and the property lines of the parcel being subdivided, or any person or persons holding legal title of land within 120 feet of the exterior boundaries of a given lot.

Q: How often will an abutter get a certified mail notification of a Public Planning Board Meeting?

A: Abutters are notified once in accordance with RSA 676:4 ten (10) days prior to the first public hearing. If a hearing requires a second, third, or subsequent public hearings, an abutter must check the official town postings at (1) Town Hall and (2) The Post Office, and on the Town website at www.hudsonnh.gov to find out when the next public hearing will occur. If a plan undergoes a significant design change during the process, the Planning Board may deem it necessary to re-notify the list of abutters by certified mail.

Q: Will a subdivision plan be approved or denied at the first public hearing?

A: A typical subdivision may be reviewed over the course of 2 to 3 public meetings. This allows the Planning Board, other Town authorities and the Town consultant engineer ample time to review the plan, conduct a site walk, and hear abutter and general public concerns before taking final action on the subdivision plan. For administrative or simple boundary line changes, the entire subdivision/lot line relocation processes may be completed at a single public hearing.

Q: What can I do as an abutter to stop a development from going in?

A: Every landowner has a constitutional right allowing them to develop the land that they own. The Planning Board must work within the specific federal, state and town regulations that address growth controls and act accordingly within the law. An abutter has several opportunities during the public hearing process to voice concerns about a given subdivision that may alter the final design of the subdivision or decision of the Planning Board.

Q: What resources do I have to become more informed on the town, state, and federal regulations?

A: There is a wealth of information available on the Internet, via state and federal agencies. In addition to the Town’s website, start with the Office of Energy and Planning at www.nh.gov/osp and their library at http://www.nh.gov/oep/resource-library/index.htm and review the content there. Free Internet access is available at the Hudson Public Library.

Q: When does the public get to voice their position on a subdivision plan?

A: Public input occurs during public hearings for all land use boards including the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Conservation Commission, and during the site walks. Each respective land use board may review the proposed plan over the course of several public hearings. If you are unable to attend a public hearing, consider writing a letter to the Town Planner prior to the meeting. The Planning Board Chairman will either read or reference your letter into the record.

Q: As an abutter, what kind of information is the Planning Board interested in hearing about?

A: As an abutter, the Planning Board is interested in hearing your favorable or opposing views, alternative plan options, and questions on issues with respect to the property under development. Often the best alternative plans come from abutters who understand the area./p>

Some of the most effective things an abutter can do are: be prepared for the hearing -- this ensures that important issues are not overlooked or forgotten during the hearing when you are under pressure and time is limited; after receiving your certified notification as an abutter, seek out information regarding the project from the Planning Department; develop a list of questions and points that you would like to make at the hearing; review the Town’s Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision of Land Regulations, prior to the hearing. By reviewing said documents, you can gain valuable insights to questions you want answered or you may be able to answer same from your reading of these documents. Please note, the Town’s Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision of Land Regulations can be read/downloaded on the Town’s website at www.hudsonnh.gov. Both documents can also be acquired at the Community Development Department at Town Hall, 12 School Street; talk to your neighbors and insure they are informed and get involved; if you plan to cite references, documents, books or other tangible things, be prepared with backup documentation or references that would allow another person to investigate and verify.

If you are unable to attend a hearing and you have a position to express, write a letter to the Planning Board Chairman, c/o Town Planner, Town Hall, 12 School Street, Hudson, NH 03051. Your letter will be read into the record during the meeting.

Documentation: Consider writing a letter expressing your position on an issue to the Planning Board Chairman, and request that your letter is included in the “Planning Board Meeting Packets”, which are sent to each board member 5 days in advance of the hearing; Consider taking pictures that show problem areas or areas of concern (i.e., drainage problems, specifically flooding after heavy rains, or water channels, or poorly drained areas, old growth trees, conservation areas and topographical areas of steep slopes); Internet-based research – if you do said research, please provide the URL links (in writing), and print out the page(s) of interest; book or hard copy references – make copies and distribute at the meeting to board members; video or DVD – if a video/DVD would help present your concerns, make a short video for presentation at the meeting. Please note, you can email the content of your DVD to the Planning Board, which can then be presented at the hearing. The email address is jcashell@hudsonnh.gov.

Respect: Respect others opinion and/or conclusions drawn based on their perspective. It often differs from the opinions and conclusions you have drawn. Remember your goal is to insure the board understands your position and has as much information as possible on a topic, enabling them to make an informed decision.

Examples: Citing specific examples help illustrate to the board and other residents on what you would like or not like to happen. For example, “On Bush Hill Road, the developer for that subdivision used hay bales and silt fences to control erosion. I would like to see similar erosion control techniques used in this development.”

Advance Copies: The Planning Department provides each board member with a meeting preparation package generally 5 days before the meeting. The package includes the meeting agenda, meeting minutes, notes, reports, and any materials the Town Planner deems appropriate for board members to read prior to the meeting. Highly Recommended - If you prepare a letter or other forms of documentation that you would like the board members to read and review at the meeting, make 17 copies of your letter so that there are enough for all members and staff. If you drop documentation off at the Community Development Department by 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday the week preceding the meeting, the Town Planner will include the information in the meeting packets.

Q: In the Town of Hudson, what blasting regulations and procedures are in place to protect property owners from loss or damage to their property, resulting from subdivision blasting activities?

A: In regard to the Town of Hudson regulations and procedures on blasting and the use of explosives, please refer to Chapter 202 of the Hudson Town Code, at www.hudsonnh.gov . Hard copies of said regulations can also be obtained at the Community Development Department Office at Town Hall, 12 School Street or they can be mailed, faxed, or emailed upon request. Please call (603) 886-6008 for additional information on blasting or to request a copy of Chapter 202 of the Hudson Town Code.

For additional information concerning subdivisions, please review the Town of Hudson Zoning Ordinance and the Planning Board Subdivision of Land Regulations, which are available online at www.hudsonnh.gov or can be viewed/purchased at the Community Development Department, Town Hall, 12 Library Street.

Q: When does the Planning Board meet and what are the submission deadlines/requirements?

A: The Planning Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Community Development Conference Room. at Town Hall, 12 School Street. For information pertaining to Subdivision and Site Plan submission requirements please see Subdivision application and Site Plan application. Both applications can be found on the webpage.

Prior to preparing plans for Planning Board review, applicants should review the Town's Zoning Ordinance and the Planning Board’s Subdivision and Site Plan Regulations. These regulations contain information on permitted uses, dimensional restrictions, application procedures, and specific plan requirements. Copies are available for $5 from the Community Development Department at the Town Hall or can be viewed/ downloaded on the Town’s Website. For additional information on Subdivision and Site Plan submission requirements, please contact Community Development Department staff at (603) 886-6008.

Q: How can abutters or interested citizens raise concerns about a project to the Planning Board?

A: Abutters often play a crucial role by providing information and helping the Planning Board to evaluate plans. Abutters and other citizens interested in a project are encouraged to call the Community Development Department with concerns or comments, view the plans at Town Hall, submit written comments, attend the Planning Board meeting(s), or watch the meeting on local cable Channel 22.

Q: Do I need Planning Board approval for my project?

A: Approval from the Planning Board is required for all subdivisions, lot line adjustments, new non-residential development, and expansions or changes of use to non-residential buildings or sites. For additional information, please contact the Community Development Department at Town Hall (603) 886-6008.

Q: Do I need a permit to fill a low spot on my property?

A: No permit is required to fill a low spot unless it is a wetland. Wetlands are designated by wetland or soils scientists based on specific criteria including vegetation, soils, and hydrology. In many cases, a wetland does not contain standing water. Both State and Town regulations require a permit for filling or alteration of wetland areas. For additional information, including a list of soil/wetland scientists, please contact the Community Development Department at Town Hall (603) 886-6008.

Q: Do I need a permit to install/repair my dock or retaining wall on the shoreline?

A: The State requires permits for all docks, wall, piers, and other shoreline structures. For more information, please call the State Wetlands Bureau at (603) 271-2147 or visit their web page at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wetlands/cspa/index.htm.

Q: How do I submit a citizen-zoning petition?

A: The deadline for submitting citizen zoning petitions is in early December each year. Amendments must be written in proper form and signed by at least 25 registered voters. For assistance with drafting zoning amendments, please contact the Community Development Department at Town Hall (603) 886-6008.