Roles and Responsibilities of Land Use Boards in New Hampshire



Executive Powers:

  • The town's executive branch – they manage the prudential affairs of the town, carrying out the votes enacted at Town Meeting.
  • Prepares town warrant and budget.
  • Prepares annual report and publishes reports of all other officers.


  • Regulation of town highways
  • Layout of highways
  • Manage and regulate town property.
  • License junkyards
  • Order demolition of hazardous buildings.
  • Act as code enforcement officer.
  • Act as health offices
  • Enforce the zoning ordinance and other land use regulations, as dictated by those regulations.
  • Administer the building permit process.


Adopt, Amend, Administer:

  • Subdivision Regulations
  • Site Plan Review Regulations
  • Excavation Regulations
  • Driveway Regulations

Develop and Maintain Master Plan

Amend Zoning Ordinance

Prepare Capital Improvements Program


  • Hear appeals from administrative decisions
  • Hear applications for special exemptions in the zoning ordinance.
  • Hear appeals for a variance from the terms of the zoning ordinance.
  • Grant equitable waivers for dimensional requirements.
  • If authorized to act as Building Code Board of Appeals, hear appeals to vary provisions of the building code.


  • The only local board specifically charged with protection of the natural resources of the municipality.
  • May advise the Planning Board or other local bodies on conservation matters.
  • Conduct research
  • Coordinate activities of unofficial bodies with similar purposes.
  • Keep an index of all open space and natural areas in town.
  • May undertake to designate, map and document prime wetlands.
  • Opportunity to comment on state wetlands permits.
  • Opportunity to comment on excavation applications.