The Community Development Office is working on the following special projects (scroll down for more informaiton):
Regulatory Review – Round II Community Planning Grant – Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
In July, 2012 the Town of Amherst was awarded a grant of $12,500 to conduct a Regulatory Review of the land use related ordinances and regulations to accomplish the first priority action listed in the 2010 Master Plan to: update the zoning ordinance and subdivision and site plan regulations to reflect current practice and to provide clear guidance for land use management.
The Regulatory Review has been completed and was accepted by the Planning Board at their April 17, 2013 public meeting. The next steps will roll into the Round II Community Planning Grant awarded in March, 2013.
Round II Community Planning Grant
In March, 2013 the Town of Amherst was awarded a grant of $29,300 to utilize the results of the Regulatory Review of the six water resource related ordinances, to combine and update with current Best Management Practices (BMP’s) the Watershed Protection District and the Wetlands Protection District in order to protect the high quality drinking water and watershed of the Town of Amherst and the region. The revision to these ordinances will be an important contribution to protecting the Town’s and Region’s natural resources from degradation, as a majority of the Town’s Commercial and Industrial zoned land is undeveloped or underdeveloped, and sits atop one of the state’s highest quality aquifers.
This project will kick off in May, the Town has reopened its search for responses to the Request For Qualifications to be posted here and at NH Citizen Planner website through May 3rd, 2013 (run by UNH Cooperative Extension for the Community Planning Grant’s projects). For more information on this project and the grant please contact Sarah Marchant, Community Development Director at 603.673.6041 x204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capital Improvements Program 2014-2019
The Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) is a program authorized by State law to link local infrastructure investments with master plan goals, land use ordinances, and economic development and by bridging that gap the fiscal realities of improving and expanding community facilities are realized.
As authorized by RSA 674:5-8 the CIP is the responsibility of the Planning Board or a formally appointed capital improvements program committee, to prepare and amend a recommended program of municipal capital improvements projected over a period of at least six years. The Town of Amherst last adopted a CIP in 2005 as the 2006-2016 Capital Improvements Plan. The CIP is designed to be updated and adopted annually to provide timely tool to the Board of Selectmen and School Boards in long-range planning of municipal expenditures. Without annual updates the CIP quickly becomes obsolete.
The Planning Board cited their highest priority of 2013 as resurrecting the Capital Improvements Planning process as a way to link long-term planning, avoid spikes in the tax rate, and provide incentives to economic development. To this end, the Community Development Department is coordinating a new beginning to this process.
To initiate the process, a CIP Committee will be formally appointed. The committee’s work will start in mid-April and end in October. The ten member committee will meet largely over the summer months to evaluate the projects submitted by Department Heads and applicable groups to create the 2014-2019 Plan (see attached CIP Steps and timeline). To be successful the committee will need members from the following backgrounds who are willing and able to meet over the summer months:
- Board of Selectmen (BOS) Member
- Town Ways & Means Rep
- Souhegan School Board (SBS) Member
- Amherst School Board (ASB) Member
- SAU Representative
- School Ways & Means Rep
- Planning Board (PB) Member
- Planning Board Member
- Citizen Member
- Citizen Member
Alternates for the BOS, SBS, ASM, and PB should also be appointed. Once appointed the committee members will decide upon a specific meeting schedule.
We are excited to restart the CIP program and look forward to a productive summer. Once the CIP is drafted it will ultimately be adopted by the Planning Board as a tool to be utilized by the Board of Selectmen, School Boards, Ways and Means Committees, and the Planning Board for orderly short-term and long-term planning and investment in capital projects.