AFFILIATE SPOTLIGHT: New Hampshire Association of Regional Planning Commissions
The Affiliate Spotlight is a new column designed to give readers a closer look at affiliate groups of NHMA. There are over 30 such groups comprised primarily of municipal officials serving a particular position, such a city and town clerks, assessors, health officers, road agents, etc. In this issue, we introduce the New Hampshire Association of Regional Planning Commissions (NHARPCs).
TC: What is the mission/goals of the New Hampshire Association of Regional Planning Commissions?
NHARPC: NHARPC’s mission is to provide a forum for coordination of regional planning initiatives on a statewide basis, and to disseminate information about Regional Planning Commissions to other agencies and organizations. NHARPC maintains strategic partnerships with state agencies, develops shared planning policies, and monitors planning related legislation on behalf of its member Planning Commissions and, by extension, the member cities and towns across New Hampshire.
TC: What are biggest challenges facing your professional group today?
NHARPC: The nine New Hampshire Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) are faced with increasing demand from their member communities for technical planning expertise. Our communities face development and environmental challenges on a daily basis, and the RPCs provide not only local support, but a regional perspective on issues including, but not limited to: Transportation; GIS/mapping; land use; climate and environment; housing; and economic development.
TC: How has NHMA helped your professional group to do your job?
NHARPC: The NHMA is a valuable partner in helping NHARPC achieve its mission. Not only does NHMA provide central meeting/convening space at its Concord headquarters, but it helps to disseminate work product of the RPCs through publication in Town and City magazine, and via webinars focusing on planning issues critical to our member communities. NHMA extends the reach of the RPCs by helping to promote the Planning Principles of Livability, Mobility, Prosperity and Sustainability.
TC: What advice would you give someone who would like to follow in your professional footsteps?
NHARPC: Regional planning is typically not a lucrative profession. However, it is a profession that offers rich rewards in knowing that you’ve played a critical role helping to make New Hampshire a better place to live, work and recreate.
TC: Given the opportunity, what changes would you make to the profession?
NHARPC: Most operating revenue for an RPC comes from project-specific work, as well as from dues that member communities pay on a per capita basis. A stronger level of State support would allow RPCs to broaden their work, and to be adequately compensated for mandated activity such as reviewing Developments of Regional Impacts.
TC: Anything else you would like to discuss about your affiliate group and its relationship with NHMA?
NHARPC: NHARPC’s partnership with NHMA is long standing, and has grown steadily over time. We look forward to many more years of affiliation, and to discovering new ways to collaborate. After all, we both serve the towns and cities of New Hampshire!