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UVLSRPC Commissioners 

ACWORTH - John Tuthill

CANAAN- Vacant

CHARLESTOWN - Jeremy Wood, Albert St.Pierre

CLAREMONT - Tom Luther, Richard Wahrlich

CORNISH - Vacant

CROYDON - Vacant


ENFIELD - Ed Morris

GOSHEN - Vacant

GRAFTON - Vacant


GRANTHAM - Peter Guillette-Treasurer

HANOVER - Chris Kennedy, Jennie Chamberlain, David Anderson

LEBANON - Dan Nash

LEMPSTER - Read Gildner-Blinn, Mark Lightner

LYME - Bill Malcolm, Vice Chair

NEW LONDON - Jerry Coogan, Peter Nichols

NEWBURY - Vacant

NEWPORT - Jeff Kessler-Secretary/Assistant Treasurer, Barry Connell

ORANGE - Vacant

ORFORD - Ted Cooley


PLAINFIELD - John Yacavone


SUNAPEE - Josh Trow-Chair, Lynn Arnold

UNITY - Kevin Brenker

WASHINGTON - Andrew Hatch

WILMOT - Bill Chaisson, Polly Crocker

SULLIVAN COUNTY - Lionel Chute, Derek Ferland

MEMBERS-AT-LARGE - Peter Gregory, Anne Duncan Cooley, Sarah Jackson, Nancy Merrill, Nathan Reichert

A Little History

(special thanks to Nancy Marashio and the Strategic Planning Committee for this content)

On July 1, 1963 the New Hampshire legislature created and incorporated the Upper Valley Development Council, Inc., granting " the power and authority:

  • To promote all civic improvements within the area, 
  • To acquire by purchase, lease, exchange or otherwise, land and real estate ... to erect, construct, alter, repair, maintain and improve buildings and other structures with full power to own, hold, sell, lease, mortgage and acquire all kinds of property, and,
  • To undertake and engage in, transact and carry on any and all kinds of business that may be necessary in connection with any of the foregoing purposes."

Each member community was entitled to one vote.

October 27, 1964 the Upper Valley Development Council, Inc. became a 501 (c) 6. 

In 1967 the original membership of Lebanon, Hanover, Enfield, Canaan, New Hampshire and Hartford, Woodstock, and Norwich Vermont was amended to include "nonvoting associate membership ... for any person, corporation, or association approved by the board of directors and desirous of furthering the purposes of the council." Effective June 19, 1967 by House Bill 612, non-voting associate membership was established for the Council.

During that same time in 1967, a Study Committee established by community governments of Hanover and Lebanon New Hampshire, and  Hartford and Norwich Vermont considered "how an organization might be formed to more effectively activate the region's common goals 'to confront' problems that no community alone can solve." The sole resulting recommendation was "that a governmental organization be formed that has the capacity to plan, coordinate, and administer the solution of problems that extend over community boundaries."  A professional staff was seen as key to providing needed services to the region and its communities, services in transportation, land use, economic development, environment, and provision of federal assistance.    

The State of New Hampshire made a statewide commitment to regional planning in 1968, emphasizing "the creation of regions with general utility for state agency planning and for regional planning for communities."  The resulting Executive Order designates geographical boundaries of seventeen coterminous regional planning councils "to represent physical, administrative, social, and economic groupings of municipalities" and to maximize both state and federal planning resources.  Dorchester, Grafton, Lyme, Orange, and Orford were added to the four original New Hampshire communities.

On June 13, 1969 the state legislature formally changed the name from the, "Upper Valley Development Council, Inc." to the "Upper Valley Planning and Development Council, Inc."

The 1972 Executive Order of statewide amalgamation for regional planning had placed the Sunapee Region under the responsibility of the Upper Valley Planning and Development Council.  Statutes had also required municipalities to discontinue open burning in municipal dumps by July 1, 1975 and to prepare indexed tax maps showing boundary lines of each parcel of land by January 1, 1980.

Conflict was anticipated between the demands of growth, development, services, state requirements and preservation of the region's environment.  Meetings with local officials to determine needs priorities established technical planning assistance as the highest priority with solid waste disposal second.  Both needs would benefit from regional long range planning.  

In 1973 the Upper Valley Planning and Development Council prepared a problems and issues study of the one city (Claremont) and eighteen towns (Acworth, Bradford, Charlestown, Cornish, Croydon, Goshen, Grantham, Langdon, Lempster, Newbury, New London, Newport, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Washington, Wilmot) which comprised the 630 square mile Lake Sunapee Region, whose man-made uses "have historically appeared to be in harmony with their natural surroundings."  Growth and development within the region was attributed to the "somewhat classical New England landscape of rural villages and small mill towns located within a green, pastoral setting ... a high quality, high amenity environment within which to work and live."  Comprehensive land planning did not keep pace with population growth and land subdivision activity.  At the regional level, planning activities had "been the result of the efforts of basically two private organizations: the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region and the Lake Sunapee Protective Association."  Town membership fees and an annual block appropriation from the State Department of Resources and Economic Development supported the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region, and membership funds supported the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.

 By 1974 the Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council (as it had begun to be called) was selected for "further analysis" in an examination to profile the ten state regional planning agencies.  That analysis documented a central office in Lebanon and a regional office in Newport "to maintain close contacts in both sub-regions" and the expanded coverage of 1,200 square miles, approximately 70,000 people and 31 municipalities crossing Grafton, Sullivan and Merrimack counties as well as the two states. Commitment to local identity and autonomy as well as a lack of understanding of regional planning required active promotion by the Council of the merits of regional planning. The scope of work expanded beyond management of industrial development to technical assistance for municipal governments to review and comment authority under federal procedures, and to regional planning such as sanitary landfill, mass transit, and elderly services.

The Upper Valley Solid Waste Management District was established in September of 1983, largely in response to NH RSA 149 – M requiring all NH communities to belong to a formal solid waste district by October 1, 1983. The Upper Valley – Lake Sunapee Council accepted the lead role and drafted by-laws and a planning schedule for the review of the communities of Canaan, Enfield, Grafton, Grantham, Hanover, Orange, Piermont, Springfield, NH and Thetford Vt.

The Upper Valley – Lake Sunapee Council opened a sub-office in Newport in June 1984. 

In 1988 the first Regional Plan laying out regional priorities resulting from examination of growth trends and local needs was produced.

In 1990 the Sullivan County Economic Development Council emerged from the administrative umbrella of the Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council to devote resources to Sullivan County’s redevelopment efforts. The organization was later known as the Western Region Development Corporation.

In 1995 An Act, "extending the date for the submission of a river basin planning and assessment program by the department of environmental services and making an appropriation therefore and relative to the Upper Valley Regional Planning Commission became the Commission" was enacted as a result of HB651 Final Amendment read: 208:6 The Upper Valley Planning and Development Council, Inc., incorporated by 1963, 435 as amended by 1967, 547 and 1969, 593 shall be known as the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission. All powers and duties of the Upper Valley Planning and Development Council relative to regional planning commissions under RSA 36:45-53 shall be transferred to the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission. Notwithstanding RSA 36:46, the new commission shall continue as a regional planning commission governed by RSA 36:45-53. The commission shall have 12 months from the effective date of this section to bring operation into full compliance. 208:7 Repeal. 1963, 435, as amended by 1967, 547 and 1969, 593, relative to the Upper Valley Planning and Development Council, is repealed. Approved, June 12, 1995.

In 1997 the Economic Development Council assisted by the Council was formed and later became the Grafton County Economic Development Council. 

On May 20, 2000, the State of New Hampshire enacted Chapter Law 200:1 (codified in RSA 36) entitled "Regional Planning Commissions" with an effective date of July 29, 2000.  The new law specifically re-enacts the status of Regional Planning Commissions as "political subdivisions" of the State of New Hampshire.  The new law also amends the purpose therein (RSA 36:45); amends the formations and representative of its members (RSA 36:46); and specifically defines its finances (RSA 36:49).

After a 2003 Vermont study to determine "logical geographic and coherent socio-economic planning" areas, the Vermont members became part of a Vermont-only planning commission. Also at this time the Commission established a partnership with North Country Council to enable Grafton County communities to join the North Country Comprehensive Economic Development District to enable the communities within the region to apply for and receive US Department of Commerce Economic Development funding.

On July 1, 2004 the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission became a New Hampshire-only regional planning commission for the first time.


State of New Hampshire.  (1963).  An Act relative to the incorporation of the Upper Valley Development Council, Inc.

State of New Hampshire.  (1967).  An Act creating an associate membership in the Upper Valley Development Council, Inc.

State of New Hampshire.  (1969).  An Act relative to the incorporation of the Upper Valley Planning and Development Council, Inc.

New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development.  (1969, March).  Report of the Governor's Committee on Regional Planning.  Concord, New Hampshire.

Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Council Newsletter, Spring 1984.

Van Asselt, Karl A., Executive Director.  (1974, September).  The Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council: A Regional Planning Agency Case Study.  Durham NH: New England Municipal Center.

Golden, Elizabeth, Associate.  (2003 November 13).  The Geographical and Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Towns of Hartford, Norwich, and Hartford Relative to the Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee, Two Rivers-Report).  St. Albans, Vermont: Yellow Wood Associates, Inc.

RSA 36:37-36:44 (1967)

Ward, Robert L., Regional Planner - Project Supervisor.  (1973 May).  Regional Problems And Issues: A Background for Planning for the Lake Sunapee Region.  Lebanon, New Hampshire: Upper Valley Planning and Development Council.

Evans, Robert L. and Stearns, S. Russell, Co-Chairmen Ad Hoc Regional Planning Study Committee.  (1967 October 19).  A Proposal for Regional Planning and Inter-Community Cooperation for the Upper Valley.  Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Public Affairs Center.

Melanson Heath & Company,PC.  (2009).  "Notes to the Financial Statements."  Audit of Financial Statements.  Nashua, New Hampshire.

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