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 include zoning 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 Floodplain District consists of all lands designated as special flood hazard areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as all extended flood hazard areas as defined by the City's Zoning Ordinance.  Properties in this district are subject to certain regulations, as provided in Section 10.620 of the Zoning Ordinance. The City's MapGeo mapping program can be used as an initial reference to determine if a property is potentially located in the City's special flood hazard area or extended flood hazard area. However, 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) Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

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

The purpose of the Site Plan Review regulations is to provide standards for non-residential development and multi-unit residential development. Overseen by the Planning Board and authorized by NH state statute, site plan review helps to ensure that uses that are permitted by the zoning ordinance are constructed in such a way that they fit into the area in which they are being constructed without creating problems for drainage, traffic, lighting, or other site-related impacts.

Read the Site Plan Review Regulations

Related information (the below references are provided as supplements to the site plan review standards):

Subdivision Rules and Regulations

Consistent with the purpose of the NH state statutes, these regulations are intended to ensure the orderly development of the City 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