Land Use and Zoning Regulations

Zoning Ordinance

The purpose of this Ordinance is to promote the health, safety and the general welfare of Portsmouth and its region in accordance with the City of Portsmouth Master Plan.

Click here to view the Zoning Ordinance as amended through December 16, 2019.  Check the "Current Zoning Amendments" page for any changes currently under review by the Planning Board or City Council.

Zoning Maps

City of Portsmouth Zoning Maps that show the city broken down by districts, building height standards, and special requirements for facade types, front lot line buildout, and uses.  You can also view this information in the City's online mapping program -- MapGeo.

Download Zoning Maps (As Amended 2/4/2019)

Floodplain Maps

The City's Floodplain District consists of all lands designated as special flood hazard areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and associated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) as amended. Properties in this district are subject to certain regulations, as provided in Section 10.620 of the Zoning Ordinance. The FEMA Map Service Center (MSC) is the official online public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program. The MSC web site can be used to find current, historic, preliminary (draft), and pending (future) FIRM.

Floodplain mapping can also be viewed online using the NH Flood Hazards Viewer developed by the State Office of Strategic Initiatives. The viewer allows a user to view and compare the latest effective and preliminary FEMA flood hazard information and overlay parcel boundaries for most areas of the state. Coastal flood risk projections developed as part of the 2019 NH Coastal Flood Risk Summary are also available in the viewer.

The Current NH Floodplain Mapping Activities web page includes information about FEMA's current floodplain mapping activities in New Hampshire.


The City's sign regulations are included in Article 12 of the Zoning Ordinance.  There are very few regulations that apply to residential properties, however, this document answers some frequently asked questions for property owners in residential districts.  Please contact the Planning Department for more information about sign regulations in the City and for information on applying for sign permits.

Site Plan Review Regulations

There are many purposes for Site Plan Review Regulations, and it is important to understand the uses requiring Site Plan Approval, the application and review process, and other related standards.

Read the Site Plan Review Regulations

Subdivision Rules and Regulations

Consistent with the purpose of the State enabling legislation (RSA 36-21), these regulations are intended to insure the orderly development of the City of Portsmouth by providing that subdivisions are served with adequate utilities and safe, convenient access and with a desirable and attractive living environment.

Read the Subdivision Rules and Regulations