Planning and Zoning

Town of Sullivan, NH

Planning Board 


Local Ordinance Amendments on Ballot

At the March 12th Town Elections, voters will see two ballot items with proposed ordinance changes. NH towns are required by law to allow for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and Sullivan currently has an ADU ordinance. The proposed changes would clarify some aspects of the ordinance and make it somewhat easier for landowners to build ADUs. The maximum number and size of ADUs would be limited, however, and the units would still have to meet all requirements for a building permit.

ADUs are defined as complete dwelling units with permanent, separate cooking and bathing facilities on the same lot as and incidental to a single-family principal dwelling. They can be carved out of the principal dwelling (“attached ADU”), or created in an existing garage or outbuilding or newly constructed as a free-standing building (“detached ADU”). Under the proposed changes, detached ADUs would be limited to only one per single-family principal dwelling, and it would have to be on a conforming lot of 2 acres or great.

The Select Board, the Planning Board and the Housing Task Force recommend that you vote YES on both ballot items.

Here is the changed ordinance compared to the current one, and the Community Planning Ordinance marked up to show the changes.

What is a Planning Board?
The general function of the planning board is to provide for the orderly growth and development of the town of Sullivan. This is accomplished through its regulatory and non-regulatory roles:
  • The planning role, in which the board, via the Master Plan, establishes a vision for the future of Sullivan and identifies the steps necessary to achieve that vision;
  • The legislative role, in which the board proposes ordinances and enacts regulations—the rules by which to achieve the vision; and
  • The regulatory role, in which the board applies the ordinances and rules to specific situations in fulfillment of the vision, for example when reviewing development applications. 
Planning board activities include review and approval of applications for driveways and subdivisions, including boundary line adjustments. Periodically, the board proposes amendments to town ordinances such as the Community Planning Ordinance, and updates regulations. Public hearings are held as required, with notices posted in advance.
The planning board will be developing the 2025 Master Plan update for Sullivan. You can read the 2015 Master Plan in the town code section of the web site.
Planning board activities include review and approval of applications for driveways and subdivisions, including boundary line adjustments, voluntary property mergers and earth excavations. 
Sullivan is a member of the Southwest Region Planning Commission, which provides access to planning resources.
Zoning Board of Adjustment
The Board of Adjustment is a 5-member board that functions to:
  • Hear appeals from an administrative decision made by the Board of Selectmen and any other Town Administrative Officers regarding the Community Planning Ordinance.
  • Grant special exceptions and variances to town ordinances. 
The town of Sullivan is zoned rural residential. However, the following uses may be permitted by a special exception from the Board of Adjustment:
  • Multifamily dwelling units.
  • Lodging houses, hotels, motels, or inns.
  • Commercial use including but not limited to: stores, garages, professional offices, post offices, utilities, funeral homes, warehouses, restaurants, junk yards, recreational uses, and campgrounds. 
  • Institutional uses, including, but not limited to: privately owned educational facilities such as schools, daycare facilities, nursery schools, or kindergartens; churches or other places of worship; health care facilities such as convalescent homes or homes for the aged; and public educational facilities.
  • Industrial uses including but not limited to: sawmill operations and forest product manufacturing; removal of natural materials; and other industrial and manufacturing uses which are not injurious, obnoxious, offensive, or otherwise objectionable or hazardous to the community for any cause. 
  • Wireless communications facilities.