Planning Department to Host Second Public Information Meeting on proposed Wetland and Flood Plains amendments to City Zoning Ordinance

October 29, 2019

Please note, a second public information meeting has been scheduled for November 6, 2019.

The Portsmouth City Council is currently reviewing proposed amendments to sections of the City’s Zoning Ordinance that regulate Wetlands Protection and Flood Plains.  Both the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board have held work sessions on these amendments and, after a public hearing on September 19, 2019, the Planning Board recommended adoption of these proposed amendments to the City Council.

Flood Plain

These proposed amendments respond to recommendations included in the City’s 2025 Master Plan and as an outcome of the City’s Climate Resiliency and Adaptation Initiatives.  The proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, Article 6 – Overlay Districts, Section 10.620 – Flood Plain District and Article 15 – Definitions include revisions for complying with National Flood Insurance Program regulations, addressing impacts of climate change and projected sea level rise, and strengthening thresholds for when properties are required to come into compliance with Flood Plain standards for development.

Wetlands Protection

These proposed amendments will provide additional detail to assist the Conservation Commission and Planning Board in their implementation of wetland protection regulations and include best practices for working in and near wetland environments throughout the City. The proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, Article 10 – Environmental Protection Standards, Section 10.1010 – Wetlands Protection include clarifying the characterization of impacts to the wetland and buffer, adding information related to the compensatory removal of impervious surface and the requirements for a wetland buffer enhancement plan, providing guidance on living shorelines for tidal areas and use of porous pavement in the wetland buffer, and delineating wetland buffer areas.

The above amendments will apply to properties that meet one or both of the following conditions:

1)   all or a portion of the property is located in a wetland area or wetland buffer area;

2)   all or a portion of the property is located within the City’s flood plain overlay district or is immediately adjacent to a flood plain overlay district.

The Planning Department will be holding public informational meetings to go over these amendments and to answer questions from the public on Tuesday October 29 AND Wednesday November 6 starting at 6pm in Conference Room A in Portsmouth City Hall.

For more information, click here or contact the City’s Planning Department, which is located on the 3rd floor of Portsmouth City Hall at 1 Junkins Avenue.

The City Council’s current schedule for review of these zoning amendments is provided below.  This schedule is subject to change depending on the vote of the Council.

  • City Council First Reading -- Monday, October 28, 2019
  • City Council Public Hearing and Second Reading – Tuesday, November 12, 2019
  • City Council Third Reading and Adoption of Zoning Amendments – Monday, December 2, 2019
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