Draft Goals and Recommendations

This document represents the first complete set of draft goals, actions, and recommendations collected by the planning team for Imagine Nashua. Goals are the high-level topic-based achievements the City hopes to achieve in the coming decades. Actions are the major steps that the master plan will suggest that the community take to realize those goals. If an action has recommendations within it, those are smaller and more concrete steps that can help achieve an action.

This document will be revised and expanded to form the initial draft version of the master plan later this summer.

Submit your feedback about this document here!


Top Goals

  1. Goal: Redevelopment Opportunity
  2. Goal: Equitable and Connected Transportation Networks
  3. Goal: Economic Mobility and Access to Opportunity
  4. Goal: Local Businesses
  5. Goal: Housing Accessibility
  6. Goal: Parks and Natural Areas
  7. Goal: Diversity
  8. Goal: Arts and Culture
  9. Goal: Carbon-free Transportation and Building Design
  10. Goal: Mitigation of Climate Change Impacts

Goal: Redevelopment Opportunity

Promote redevelopment that is mixed-use, multimodal, and sustainable in targeted areas with access to transit, infrastructure and amenities.

Action: Retrofitting Major Corridors

Explore ways to make commercial corridors more attractive and coherent to promote local business activity via: 
  • Encouraging a wider range of commercial uses, mixed-use development, and active ground floor uses
  • Integrating and improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure
  • Incorporating landscaping and green infrastructure elements
  • Enhancing public realm through improved sidewalk conditions and placemaking opportunities
  • Developing form-based code, and facade and signage regulations

Amherst St Corridor

In collaboration with the City and stakeholders, the Master Plan team has identified the Amherst St corridor as the most important large-scale site for long-term planning for Nashua. Many issues come into play here — the effects of regional and macroeconomic shifts in employment as we enter deeper into the 21st century, the challenges associated with shifting transport and mobility away from being dominated solely by combustion-engine single passenger vehicles, balancing the opportunities of denser and more walkable development with the necessary infrastructural and land use changes — and we believe that pushing forward a progressive and transformative reenvisioning of this corridor will serve the entire city well as it grapples with how to address these issues in other locations as well.

  • Issues:
    • Heavy traffic road, auto-dominated design: characterized large surface parking lots between buildings and the street
    • Lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, poor connectivity
    • Access management and traffic issues
    • No clear identity, haphazard development
  • Opportunities:
    • Located on an important state highway (Rt. 101) that connects communities to the west to Route 3.
    • Future opportunities to provide needed housing in this area with walkable mixed-use development, including residential and commercial office/retail uses
    • Wider mix of uses will create more diversified traffic patterns and help preserve and enhance the City’s commercial tax base.
    • Achieve city’s goal to create mobility-oriented roads and streets that balance uses
    • Enhance Amherst St role as important connecting arterial and allow to grow into a successful commercial destination for the city
Diagonal parking
Bike path
Planted Filter
High Speed Transit lanes
Active commercial front
Mixed use development
Green Infrastructure
Mobility-oriented corridor
Upzoning/ greater density
Green Infrastructure
Allow upzoning / greater density
Mobility-oriented corridor
  • Set allowable height to 4 stories for mixed commercial and residential development, the minimum viable density for many market-rate developers. 
  • Reorient commercial buildings to the street and allow for mixed-use typologies
  • Relax minimum lot size, frontage requirements, and setbacks.
  • Right-size parking requirements and require it to be located in the rear
  • Explore carriageway layout with diagonal parking on commercial front as incentive to businesses for increased customer attraction, and as a traffic calming technique [see Amherst Corridor Visioning Concept, Image –]
  • Create signage and storefront guidelines on commercial corridors such as Amherst St. and Daniel Webster Hwy to enhance the corridor’s identity

  • Evaluate opportunities for developing protected bicycle lanes and opportunities for creating shared bicycle/pedestrian pathways to increase safety and accessibility for all ages and abilities
  • Evaluate sections of the corridor where introducing a carriageway is appropriate in terms of commercial activity and means of traffic calming
  • Provide highly visible crosswalks at key intersections with safety enhancements such as crosswalk lighting systems or rapid flashing beacons, where warranted
  • Provide sheltered bus stops with clear transit information and consider as community placemaking opportunity
  • Develop a comprehensive wayfinding strategy with a focus on multi-modal connectivity.
  • Develop entrance corridor signage that both welcomes and guides visitors to key destinations in Nashua
  • Provide planted filter for stormwater management and as a traffic buffer [see Amherst Corridor Visioning Concept, Image –]
    • Integrate stormwater infiltration and vegetal filtering
  • Provide narrow long continuous multi-tree pits under permeable pavement.
  • In areas of high concentration of runoff, consider the incorporation of underground storage cells, preferably under paved surfaces, to encourage stormwater infiltration

Daniel Webster Highway

Daniel Webster Highway, similar to Amherst St, sits at the intersection of a large number of challenges, though they do differ somewhat. Unlike Amherst St, the current mix of big box development and the shopping mall are less likely to change in the immediate future, but the long-term trajectory of these kinds of uses is still uncertain. Generally speaking, this master plan still envisions a long-term rethinking of the corridor’s uses with outcomes in the spirit of the visioning process for Amherst St, though with a much more tentative outlook and timeline, given the lack of certainty around how these uses will shift.

Future Train Station
Rail trail
Pending development
New active street
  • Conduct a corridor analysis to better understand future use compatibility and redevelopment of current big box retail
  • Generate community, stakeholder and potentially market interest earlier in the process
  • Plan proactively around future commuter rail station locations and surrounding area [see South Nashua Commuter Rail Visioning Concept, Image –, and East Hollis St area concept further below]
    • Facilitate increased housing development and job centers within walking distance of future commuter rail stations
    • Create infrastructure for biking and pedestrian access to meet projected needs
      • Prioritize first-last mile bicycle facilities between future commuter rail stops and neighborhoods
    • Develop a systemic solution for parking
  • Use feedback from Imagine Nashua visioning and public process around Amherst St to align density and dimensional requirements with community-accepted scale
  • Use lessons from the Amherst St process to determine appropriate mix of office/residential for future development along Daniel Webster Highway.

Action: Facilitate public realm expansion and improvement on Main St to maintain downtown’s commercial activity

The temporary outdoor seating and public realm improvements made along Main Street, while initially pursued to promote the health and safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, now present the community with a vision of a new downtown. Despite the logistical hurdles of setting these changes up and temporary look and feel of jersey barriers, the increased option of outdoor seating and reclamation of a significant slice of the street away from purely automotive traffic has shown that a dramatic rethinking of the public realm can work in Nashua. Many concerns brought up hypothetically related to this kind of public realm intervention — reduced parking availability, access to the sidewalk, negative effects on businesses — have either not materialized or have been significantly less dramatic than anticipated. It is the opinion of this planning group that the benefits of these temporary improvements should be made permanent and even expanded as the city looks toward a broader reinvigoration of its downtown businesses.

Main Street North

The northern section of Main St from Factory and Temple St to East and West Hollis St, currently consists of a high density of small to medium scale active commercial and retail development. As a reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, temporary sidewalk expansion has been implemented with positive reactions from citizens and shop owners. The City wishes to explore how this could become more permanent.

Protected bike path on both sides
Extended sidewalk to accommodate additional seating areas
Quality infill development
Quality infill development
Parking alternatives
Parking alternatives
Ample space for seating areas and/or small plazas
Protected bicycle lanes
Add more trees on the sidewalk
Limit parallel parking
Sidewalk expansion/lane reduction
  • Sidewalk expansion/lane reduction
  • Large curb bumpouts
  • Place trees or planted buffer depending on available space, between street and bike lane
  • Consider Public-Private partnership for planter maintenance
  • Place parallel parking segments as a buffer along appropriately identified sections 
  • Provide bike parking throughout Downtown, collaborating with businesses and private institutions and utilizing curb bump-outs on Main St
  • Add more trees on the sidewalk. Narrow long continuous multi-tree pits under permeable pavement 
  • Consider including underground green infrastructure for stormwater infiltration during streetscape improvements work
  • Limit parallel parking along Main Street on key locations where there are quick pick up places and no need for sidewalk expansion to accommodate seating areas 
  • Direct public to parallel parking along perpendicular streets and parking garages or parking lots within an appropriate walking distance from Main St

Main Street South

The southern section of Main St is not recommended for significant lane reduction beyond East Hollis St due to the presence of wetlands/nature bordering Main St, and a lack of continuous parallel roads where traffic could be re-routed. There is longer-term development opportunity in this section to increase commercial and housing density, and continue the public realm improvements suggested for the northern section.

Bike lane
Extending public realm
Quality infill development
Integrating park to Main Street
  • Provide adequate sidewalk 
  • Continue protected bike lane throughout
  • Integrate green infrastructure to capture stormwater runoff in this highly sensitive area near wetlands. Green infrastructure opportunities include employing:
    • Permeable pavers wherever feasible, especially at tree wells
    • Using continuous tree wells when possible with adequate underdrainage
    • Incorporating use of underground infiltration tanks, as necessary
  • Consider Parking alternatives
  • Encourage quality infill development that is consistent with the area and offers opportunities for increased amenities and economic development. It is likely that there are more redevelopment and infill opportunities on the southern section of Main St.

Action: Integrate the Daniel Webster site into its surroundings by developing an appropriately-scaled neighborhood.

Daniel Webster College

Unlike the corridors studied in this master plan, the Daniel Webster College site presents an entirely different set of existing conditions. A large single site, privately owned, abutting both a residential neighborhood as well as a regional airport, is a scenario not readily solved by standard planning recommendations. Generally speaking, economic and urban design analysis has found that all potential uses for the site have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. While the two most promising uses (other than as a airport-associated private college, a use that does not appear economically viable in the short-, medium-, or long-term anymore) appear to be redevelopment as either a light-scale industrial park or a medium-density housing development, community process indicated, quite strongly, that housing is strongly preferable to industrial development. For this reason, this master plan illustrates and presents only this housing scenario as a viable outcome for the site.

Central communal space
Green connections
Site as a community asset
Appropriately-scaled neighborhood

  • Consider the relative fiscal benefits of residential and industrial (property taxes) relative to the fiscal impacts (infrastructure).
  • Encourage a moderate-density residential development that can coexist productively along smaller streets, residential neighbors, and an airport.
  • Require that all new construction be built with adequate additional soundproofing measures to ensure that new development can coexist productively alongside the airport in the long term.
  • Reconfigure sports fields as a better community hub, and encourage more active complementary active uses.
  • Consider viability of the reuse of some (but not all) of the existing buildings for community use or redevelopment opportunity
  • Create green fingers that connect existing biodiverse areas on east (woodland) and west (wetland) of the side
  • Consider these green fingers as new open space enhancing the new residential development. Residential buildings could face these green fingers, which include a variety of private and collective green spaces. 
  • Consider linking these fingers to a low-impact nature path with overlooks along the wetland edge to create open space recreation, connectivity to existing recreational resources, and neighborhood enhancement.

Action: Plan development in Beazer remediation site.

Beazer Site

Very few large waterfront sites remain in the city. The Beazer site, currently completing remediation, is an important location for consideration. Generally speaking, this master plan encourages density in new development, to promote walkability, reduced usage of resources, minimize development footprint, and allow for a larger mix of development typologies. That said, this site, with its minimal roadway access due to the railroad it abuts, faces some fundamental constraints related to infrastructure. For this reason, this plan recommends a phased strategy for mixed use primarily focused on medium-density single and potential multifamily housing, with some new at-grade crossings across the railroad and new riverfront public access points.

  • Update existing zoning to allow residential and mixed-use development

Green infrastructure (infiltration) opportunities include employing:

  • Permeable pavers wherever feasible, especially at tree wells
  • Using continuous tree wells when possible with adequate underdrainage
  • Maintaining planting buffers and incorporation of bioswales where space allows, namely in parking areas

Green connection
Rail trail
Phase 3
Phase 1
Phase 2
Medium density Rowhouses
Moderate density Townhouses
Communal amenity

Action: Build East Hollis St area as cohesive and vibrant mixed-use district anchored by development of potential commuter rail station on 25 Crown St.

East Hollis

Future Train Station
Hub plaza
Mixed use development
Mised use development
Streetscape plan
Build on the mixed-use character of the district
Improve last mile connections
Improve last mile connections
  • Develop a streetscape plan that showcases new design standards for the district. 
  • Create a new hierarchy of streets that provides opportunities for walkability and micro mobility.
  • Integrate intersection improvements (at East Hollis and Bridge St) and improvements on C Street
  • Limit the size of new buildings in the district through development of form-based code so new development complements the scale of the existing district doesn’t encourage large out-of-scale parking lots
  • Encourage incorporation of green infrastructure infiltration, tree planting, and pedestrian access routes within parking areas.
  • Encourage new development to be mixed-use with active ground floor uses
  • Expand and improve public realm connections including sidewalk improvements, visible crosswalks, landscaping and lighting improvements
  • Expand open space opportunity in high traffic areas
  • Extension of Mill Street for drop-off
  • Articulate and connect with anticipated new rail trail 
  • Improve bike and pedestrian infrastructure in the area
  • Provide adequate bike parking and electric vehicle charging stations
  • Develop and design comprehensive way-finding language

Goal: Equitable and Connected Transportation Networks

Ensure access to a range of transportation options that meet the current and future mobility needs of residents, workers, and visitors of all ages, incomes and abilities.

  • Recommendation: Create an (ADA) Transition Plan to guide the upgrade of existing public right-of-way infrastructure to meet accessibility standards.
  • Recommendation: Review designs for all new public right-of-way projects to ensure they comply with ADA accessibility standards.
  • Recommendation: Adopt the Access Board’s Public Right of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) to help engineers meet accessibility standards.
  • Recommendation: Create a form that can be accessed online for residents and visitors to submit reasonable modification requests to respond to accessibility issues.
  • Recommendation: Develop Complete Street Guidelines to streamline future design and create dimensional standards based on national best practice guidance such as NACTO Urban Street Design Guide, NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, NACTO Designin for All Ages & Abilities, NACTO Transit Street Guide, AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, FHWA Achieving Multimodal Networks, FHWA Bikeway Selection Guide, FHWA Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, and MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Design Guide
  • Recommendation: In conjunction with Complete Street Guidelines update road and sidewalk standards to meet the needs of all transportation users.
  • Recommendation: Develop Complete Streets Task Force to champion transportation efforts in the City.
  • Recommendation: Improve pedestrian and bicycle access to all open spaces, and recreational areas.
    • Evaluate opportunities for developing buffered or protected bicycle lanes and opportunities for creating shared bicycle and pedestrian pathways to increase safety and accessibility for all ages and abilities.
  • Recommendation: Address areas of concern highlighted in the Nashua Bicycle and Pedestrian Project including, Main Street/Downtown, Amherst Street, Daniel Webster Highway, and the North End. 
  • Recommendation: When roads are improved (including repaving), consider and implement accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians in the design, when feasible.
  • Recommendation: Prioritize first-last mile bicycle facilities between future commuter rail stops and neighborhoods
  • Recommendation: Include bicycle parking in major activity centers and destinations to encourage bicycling throughout the city.
  • Recommendation: Develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for the city, to further implement these recommendations.
  • Recommendation: Identify streets where fatal or serious injury collisions are likely to occur and prioritize these areas for safety-related improvements.
  • Recommendation: Ensure municipal fleet vehicles are made safer, especially for people walking and biking.
  • Recommendation: Outfit municipal trucks with side guards to reduce the risk of serious injuries to people biking and walking in the event of a collision and convex mirrors to improve blind spot visibility.
  • Recommendation: Procure fire trucks with shorter wheelbases so they can take tighter-radii turns, allowing intersections to be engineered with these tighter turns in mind and slowing vehicles in intersections.
  • Recommendation: Seek funding through private, public, partnership to reimplement bike share systems.
    • Consider working with a vendor to expand shared options to include ebikes and/or electric scooters
  • Recommendation: With funding allocated to a new bikeshare program, start a pilot in one zone of the City with key destinations to build up support and a fan base among the community.
  • Recommendation: As support and funding continues to grow, expand the bikeshare program throughout the City.  
  • Recommendation: Ensure that bikeshare stations are placed near important destinations, like job centers, shopping areas, the downtown, and popular civic assets (the riverfront, town hall, the library, etc.) to encourage the use of less carbon intensive transportation methods.
  • Recommendation: Work with a carshare vendor to locate shared vehicle spaces in residential neighborhoods so people can reduce their need to own a private vehicle while retaining access to cars when necessary.
    • Work with developers to include car share spaces in lieu of parking minimums.
  • Recommendation: Conduct a feasibility study to determine the desire for employer based carpooling or rideshare programs. 
  • Recommendation: Provide wayfinding and educational programming to aid residents, visitors, and people who work in Nashua how to use the alternative transportation methods.
  • Recommendation: Expand transportation services for seniors to encourage aging in place.
  • Recommendation: Expand the capacity of the Nashua Transit System’s City Lift Senior Service program by increasing the number of vehicles and rides provided.
  • Recommendation: Implement bus lanes, improved transit shelters, and transit signal timing in coordination with Nashua Transit System and other regional transit authorities to improve bus operations.
  • Recommendation: Improve frequency on key Nashua Transit System routes
  • Recommendation: Expand Nashua Transit System route in the evenings, on weekends, and on holidays so transit is a reliable option for everyone.
  • Recommendation: Advocate for new Nashua Transit System and regional transportation routes to cover more of the places people live, work, and visit in Nashua.

Goal: Economic Mobility and Access to Opportunity

Ensure Nashua workers have access to opportunities in the city and regionally through workforce training, career development, and quality education.

  • Recommendation: Continue to recruit prospective employers in emerging 21st century industries including research and development-based employers, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and other similar technology sectors.
  • Recommendation: Explore development incentives/invest in infrastructure along commercial corridors such as Amherst and Daniel Webster Hwy to position limited key land areas for future office/mixed-use commercial development including R&D and appropriate life science opportunities.

  • Recommendation: Large parcels of land should always be considered as potential locations for these emerging industries, and development review should always remember the risk of short-term development revenue at the expense of long-term economic growth for the city.
  • Recommendation: Assess training needs of local workforce especially low and moderate income residents to access jobs in emerging target industries, and use needs assessment to inform creation of new/specialized training programs
  • Recommendation: Provide training for STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) skill development through a combination of models mixing formal educational options with skill development camps and programs.
  • Recommendation: Promote youth line of sight into job options through information campaigns, exposure events, and internship opportunities when appropriate

Goal: Local Businesses

Promote and support local businesses that reflect the unique character of Nashua, and foster opportunities for cultural tourism in the city by encouraging the creation of new small businesses in areas with improved walkability and sufficient customer base density.

Goal: Housing Accessibility

Create a greater mix of housing types that are accessible to Nashua residents at all life stages, household compositions, physical abilities, and socioeconomic levels as identified in the 2020 City Housing Study.

Create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Recommendation: Place the oversight of the Affordable Housing Trust (AHT) within the Community Development Division to create synergy with the City’s Consolidated Plan, Master Plan, development permitting, and connections with other housing partners.
Update inclusionary housing regulations
  • Recommendation: Consider revising the current Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policy to apply city-wide to any residential or mixed-use development that exceeds a certain number of units (e.g. any development containing 10 or more units).

Reduced permit fees, eliminated off-street parking requirements, reduced lot sizes for detached ADUs, simplified gross square footage limits for both detached and attached ADUs, flexibility in entrance locations, the allowance of modified roof lines to create more usable space, and allow ADUs to be placed within the rear setback (as noted in the 2020 housing study)

  • Recommendation: Also as noted in the study, conduct a city-wide campaign on the benefits of ADUs, with example plans and an explanation of the permitting process.

Goal: Parks and Natural Areas

Recognize parks and natural areas as vital elements of Nashua’s green network: Enhance access to and better connect Nashua’s existing open space network for citizens of all ages, abilities, and incomes.

  • Recommendation: Seek out public, private partnerships to allocate funding to protect the Pennichuck Brook corridor, including Pennichuck Pond. The area is currently unprotected and at risk of development. 
  • Recommendation: Expand planning for Salmon Brook Corridor by increasing public access, extending existing conservation land protection, and providing a pedestrian trail.  
  • Recommendation: Review park inventory to determine how accessible parks are for all residents. Seek funding and build neighborhood parks in areas of the City that are park deficient.
  • Recommendation: Work with graphic designers and a signage company to streamlined signage for the citywide park network.  
  • Recommendation: Create a digital map platform and way-finding app, and printed map materials to provide residents and visitors information on how to access the City’s park system.
  • Recommendation: Create bike and pedestrian access to parks and within all open spaces and recreational areas in the City. 
  • Recommendation: Provide bike parking and repair stations at all park facilities. 
  • Recommendation: In conjunction with digital mapping efforts for park access create and combine layers for bike and pedestrian trails so park visitors can understand the amenities at parks citywide.  
  • Recommendation: Seek funding to create a rail to trail network along Daniel Webster Hwy and seek out new locations to expand rail to trail networks throughout the City. When building rail to trail networks explore how to connect new networks to existing and future street bike trails.
  • Recommendation: Invest in universal design retrofits to playgrounds.
  • Recommendation: Identify trails that are appropriate for ADA accessibility upgrades.
  • Recommendation: As part of a feasibility study, determine if there are opportunities to create human and wildlife trail corridors that would connect municipal and private conservation areas all the way to the Monadnock region.
  • Recommendation: As part of the regional park connections determine how to create connections to Mine falls park and  Nashua River Rail Trail

Goal: Diversity

Celebrate and integrate the diversity of cultures, religions, languages within our communities and support this diversity in city policies and programs.

  • Recommendation: Require all new developments to provide public amenities and open space for new residents and the surrounding community.
  • Recommendation: Develop interactive app or online resource that provides information about city services, resources, events, booking and other information to residents and visitors
  • Recommendation: In conjunction with improving wayfinding and signage in the parks seek funding to expand signage at  key entrances to the city and neighborhoods. 
  • Recommendation: Consider new locations for murals and sculptures created by local artists. New public art could be featured at key entrances to the City. 
  • Recommendation: Engage with business owners to activate storefronts and encourage collaboration with local artists, vendors and community organizations.
  • Recommendation: Create partnerships between city and community organizations to organize, market and plan events.

Goal: Arts and Culture

Prioritize arts and culture as an important aspect of inclusive economic development and strengthening placemaking in the community.

  • Recommendation: Seek additional funding to allocate to facility upgrades and new venues. 
  • Recommendation: Complete internal feasibility study to determine private partnerships to help fund more events and support small pop-up music venues.  
  • Recommendation: Research new locations for small venues or pop-up events.

  • Recommendation: Modify zoning to allow artist live/work spaces across districts and neighborhoods in Nashua
  • Recommendation: Incorporate public art into capital projects
  • Recommendation: Promote and support local artists by city-sponsoring art installations and displays in public spaces such as park and municipal buildings
    • Create a public art commission with members including local artists and arts organizations to approve public works of art
    • Identify potential funding sources.
    • Connect local artists with business owners
    • Provide free arts and cultural programming in public parks seasonally by partnering with local artists and identifying infrastructure needs
  • Recommendation: Encourage developers to include public art, artist live/work space, and cultural amenities and flexible programming space in new development proposals
  • Recommendation: Reduce zoning and regulatory barriers for art studios, galleries, and performance venues across the city

Goal: Carbon-free Transportation and Building Design

Advance carbon-free transportation and building design to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Recommendation: Develop public awareness campaigns to encourage consumer purchase of electric vehicles.
    • Provide training for City staff to understand the benefits of electric vehicles and infrastructure needed to increase charging capacity for the City.
    • Provide workshop and event days to educate the public on the benefits of switching to electric.
    • Work with local dealerships to provide multiple options in electric vehicles.
  • Recommendation: Increase availability of charging stations throughout the city.
    • On City owned land provide high-speed Level 3 DCFC charging stations.
    • Facilitate the creation of additional privately-owned but publicly-accessible Level 2 charging stations.
    • Increase the number of City-owned Level 2 charging stations.
    • Develop requirement for new construction to require publicly-accessible charging stations
    • Conduct a feasibility study to determine where curbside charging stations could be located in denser areas/along important corridors
  • Recommendation: Increase number of City-owned electric vehicles.
    • Require any new municipal vehicle is an electric vehicle and require the transition to all municipal vehicles be zero-emission by 2030. 
    • Develop procurement procedure to allow for increase in purchasing for electric vehicles. 
    • Meet with city staff including emergency management (police, fire, emt) and determine need and cost of new electric vehicles
  • Recommendation: Ensure that new development is EV-ready, and consider right-to-charge ordinance for multifamily housing.

Recommendation: Create design and performance-based guidelines to address environmental impacts of new development following green building standards

  • Recommendation: Implement municipal community electricity aggregation drawing on renewable electricity generated regionally.

Goal: Mitigation of Climate Change Impacts

Mitigate the impacts of climate change on the community and encourage public health.

  • Recommendation: Create a citywide management plan to address invasive species and encourage the use of native species and pollinator-friendly landscaping in city owned and maintained open spaces. 
  • Recommendation: Provide training for existing and future employees to properly maintain areas with green infrastructure, invasives, and pollinators.

  • Recommendation: Build upon research from 2017 Climate and Health Adaptation Plan findings by the NRPC.
  • Recommendation: Address Heat island effect and determine areas throughout the city that were identified as high priority in CHAP such as the French Hill neighborhood.
  • Recommendation: Collaborate with the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Infrastructure Resilience to Climate to determine areas in Nashua that are most vulnerable to increased precipitation and riverine flooding risk. 

  • Recommendation: Add resilience into project scoring within Capital Planning.
  • Recommendation: Create citywide guidelines for how to implement stormwater management and green infrastructure, including planting plans, preferred materials, and maintenance suggestions. 
  • Recommendation: Provide educational training for residents and city maintenance workers to encourage adoption and understand how to maintain GI. 
  • Recommendation: On city owned land create goals and metrics for implementing GI. 
  • Recommendation: Incorporate GI tools into design guidelines for development.

Land Use and Development

  1. Goal: Development Balance
  2. Goal: Livability and Public Realm
  3. Goal: Design Process and Transparency
See Top Goals on Redevelopment Opportunity.

Goal: Development Balance

Maintain and celebrate areas and neighborhoods in the city that are well established and continue to advance community values of equity, resilience and climate protection through appropriate infill development (in existing areas) and adaptation/preservation of built and natural resources.

  • Recommendation: Modify dimensional regulations specific to neighborhood or district character, including minimum lot size, frontage requirement, setbacks, open space and parking requirements. 
    • Develop comprehensive form-based code so new development complements the scale of the existing district or neighborhood
  • Recommendation: Where appropriate, allow a wider range of uses, relying on dimensional and design standards, in order to retain neighborhood character while creating local destinations that can support existing businesses, and encourage local walking and bicycling trips.
  • Recommendation: Work with the Nashua Historic District Commission to create an updated inventory of the city’s historic properties 
  • Recommendation: Create interactive map of surveyed historic properties and resources and make this information available to the public
  • Recommendation: Encourage adaptive reuse that preserves the character-defining architectural features of historic buildings
  • Recommendation: Develop a comprehensive and citywide preservation plan to identify specific preservation strategies the City can implement to preserve its historic resources, including buildings, neighborhoods, parks, and municipal grounds.

Goal: Livability and Public Realm

Foster neighborhoods in which current and future residents, and business owners will want and be able to live, shop, work, and locate their businesses.

  • Recommendation: Plan for a scalable, predictable and adaptable approach to improve design quality across the city 
    • Use Imagine Nashua public visioning process and scenario development to establish city-wide urban design guidelines that take into account historic context and local character, and desired future outcomes 
    • Require developers to meet with City early on and review established urban design guidelines, before development conceptualization begins
  • Recommendation: Incentivize private developers to include publicly accessible spaces for community gathering in new development projects
  • Recommendation: Establish dimensional standards and design character as urban design guidelines referenced in previous action
  • Recommendation: Streamline approval process to allow more street activation elements in public way including signage, awnings, seating
  • Recommendation: For larger developments, create guidelines/requirements to include public pathway connecting pedestrian and bikes
  • Recommendation: Encourage family-friendly programming and flexible use areas

Goal: Design Process and Transparency

Employ a design review process based on the themes of the Nashua Master Plan, which incorporates community vision and local feedback in a predictable manner.

  • Recommendation: Update zoning in targeted redevelopment areas identified in the Imagine Nashua Master Plan with clear instructions of what is permitted and reduce the reliance on special permits and variances.
  • Recommendation: Encourage adoption of form-based code where appropriate, such as Main St, East Hollis St area and and Amherst St corridor development
  • Recommendation: Ensure that members represent a wide variety of backgrounds relevant to the built environment expertise and across various parts of the city to ensure that approved projects are of high quality design
  • Recommendation: Hold periodic programming including open houses, neighborhood meetings, online forums, status updates to create opportunity for the public to engage, learn about, and stay updated with city land use policy and development


  1. Goal: Housing Affordability and Stability
  2. Goal: Environmental Sustainability
  3. Goal: Form and Design
  4. Goal: Livability and Development Coordination
See Top Goals on Housing Accessibility and Redevelopment Opportunity.

For detailed information on key housing issues and strategies for implementation in Nashua, please see the recently completed 2020 Housing Study. The following actions are extracted and generalized from recommendations outlined in the Housing study which can be found on the documents page.

Goal: Housing Affordability and Stability

Update policies and regulations to increase and maintain rental and ownership affordability across the city and remove barriers to accessing affordable housing options.

  • Housing in the Downtown and South Main Street
  • Housing along major commercial corridors
  • Integrating “missing middle” housing options into the existing city fabric
  • Distribution of affordable housing options across other parts of the City
  • Adding or changing housing programs or funding over time
  • Recommendation:The City should continue to explore all options such as deferring tax payments if affordable housing is included, selling the land at a significant discount, or providing a grant or no interest rate loan for a portion of the cost.
  • Recommendation: Consider hosting a developer tour and/or a roundtable to showcase available sites (public and private) that are available for development. As part of the roundtable, a discussion could be facilitated to identify potential barriers to completing a project on a site.

The City of Nashua currently offers two separate residential rehabilitation programs through the City’s CDBG Housing Program. The first is an owner-occupied Housing Improvement Program (HIP) which provides 0% interest loans to correct code, safety, health, or accessibility issues. The City also began offering a rental rehab program to assist landlords with correcting serious code, safety, health, or accessibility issues.

  • Recommendation: Given the estimated rehabilitation needs of property just in the Downtown area alone (estimated at $12 million), these two rehabilitation programs are of critical importance to improving and maintaining higher quality affordable housing across the City.
  • Recommendation: Keeping these programs in place and making them financially sustainable over time should be a priority for the City. One way to do that is to find ways to either leverage other funding sources or find ways to require payment of the loan over time to build a revolving source of capital.
  • Recommendation: Revisit the feasibility of offering first time homebuyer assistance in the form of down payment assistance and closing cost assistance. 
    • These two barriers to homeownership are becoming more acute as home prices continue to escalate year over year making it more difficult for households to purchase homes for the first time and have some ability to move from rental to ownership housing.
  • Recommendation: Evaluate the type of program to offer and the most effective way to fund that program.
  • Recommendation: The City should begin conversations with major employers, like the hospitals, to gauge interest in partnering over time on an employer assisted housing program.

Goal: Environmental Sustainability

Promote and support high-quality, green building design that is climate-resilient and energy-efficient.

  • Recommendation: Phase out fossil fuel systems for heating and appliances and encourage the retrofit of full electrification for existing buildings.
  • Recommendation: Revise land use code to explore requiring renewable energy facilities such as solar installations and energy storage for new multifamily residential construction.
    • Explore requiring eco-roofs for all new development. Solar, solar thermal, green roofs, white/cool roofs, and blue roofs all qualify.

  • Recommendation: Evaluate how historic buildings will be impacted by future hazards and determine how to retrofit buildings to accommodate future flooding that is compatible with historic fabric. 
  • Recommendation: Encourage all buildings to adopt energy efficiency upgrades that are compatible with historic fabric.
  • Recommendation: Determine zones of impact throughout the City and provide guidance on how the community can prepare for future hazards based on level of impact.

Passive house minimizes heating and cooling loads through high levels of insulation, high-performance windows, minimized thermal bridging, and right-sized HVAC systems. 

Goal: Form and Design

Goal: Livability and Development Coordination

Mobility and Transit

  1. Goal: Land Use Integration
  2. Goal: Reliability and Efficiency of Multimodal Operations
  3. Goal: Regional Connectivity
See Top Goals on Equitable and Connected Transportation Networks and Carbon-free Transportation and Building Design.

Goal: Land Use Integration

Ensure that transportation policy decisions, strategies, and investments are coordinated with land use goals and support the desired urban environment.

  • Recommendation: Research best practices on how to implement parking policies that reduce the use of private vehicles and support other forms of transportation. 
  • Recommendation: Explore the application of demand-based pricing strategies in order to discourage reliance on cars and maintain the availability of on and off-street parking supply.

  • Recommendation: Develop metrics/guidelines that can be used to assess the resilience of existing transportation infrastructure and inform the planning of investments in transportation infrastructure. 
  • Recommendation: As part of capital planning, create a resilience score for future projects to improve the resilience of new infrastructure based on impact of future climate hazards.
  • Recommendation: When building new developments focus on creating a sense of place and alert drivers to the presence of non-motorised users. 
  • Recommendation: Implement “slow street” measures and traffic calming designs to encourage cars to share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Recommendation: Mitigation efforts may include building transit shelters, expanding the nearby sidewalks or bicycle facilities, increasing the bicycle parking, limiting the number of on-site parking spaces, charging for parking spaces, tree planting, or more.

Goal: Reliability and Efficiency of Multimodal Operations

Ensure safe and efficient operation of transportation systems and balanced use of street systems for all modes, with focus on pedestrian and bicycle networks.

  • Recommendation: Ensure bicycle and pedestrians can safely cross intersections with creative crosswalks, pedestrian signalization.  
  • Recommendation: Focus safe crossings along 101A Regional Rail Trail, West Hollis Bike Route from Mine Falls to Southwest Park, and the Main Street “road diet”. 
  • Recommendation: Require all street improvement projects and repaving projects to incorporate bicycle facilities consistent with bicycle trail expansion.
  • Recommendation: Encourage use of the existing and future network by helping users navigate to their desired destination with multi-lingual wayfinding signs, QR codes, creative paint treatments on roads, maps.
  • Recommendation: Focus signage along and leading to the Heritage Rail Trail, Mine Falls Park, Countryside Drive, and Groton Road.

The Nashua Bicycle and Pedestrian plan noted a general lack of connectivity between bicycle and pedestrian networks and a need to focus on addressing the lack of connectivity. 

  • Recommendation: Focus new sidewalk construction to connect to existing sidewalks and near areas with high pedestrian activity, such as business districts.
  • Recommendation: Focus new bicycle facility installation to connect to existing trails and bike lanes.
  • Recommendation: Address lack of connection on Kinsley Street and Spit Brook Road. 
    • Kinsley St: Sidewalks west of Woodward Ave and plenty of space for at least a bike lane if on-street parking can be moved/pushed to side streets
    • Spit Brook Rd: Sidewalks are missing from most of the length on at least one side, and lane-narrowing can provide enough space for bike facilities

Goal: Regional Connectivity

Enhance movement of people and goods between Nashua and the greater metropolitan region, and encourage increased activity north and south via improved passenger rail connections.

  • Recommendation: 25 Crown St in Downtown and the Dow Property, Spitbrook and Exit 2 in South Nashua [See Top Goal: Promote Redevelopment]
  • Recommendation: Facilitate increased housing development and job centers within walking distance of future commuter rail stations
  • Recommendation: Create infrastructure for biking and pedestrian access to station sites that include shade and separation from parking lot traffic
  • Recommendation: Plan to preserve space along walking routes to the stations for valuable multi-uses for the community.
  • Recommendation: Connect the stations to nearby housing and commercial areas with sidewalks and bicycle facilities.
  • Recommendation: Reserve space at the stations for secure bicycle parking.
  • Recommendation: Develop a systemic solution for parking to limit vehicle trips to and from the stations.

Economic Development

  1. Goal: Employment Diversity
  2. Goal: Location and Regional Position
See Top Goals on Redevelopment Opportunity and Economic Mobility and Access to Opportunity and Local Businesses.

Goal: Employment Diversity

Facilitate growth of a strong and diverse business sector to expand opportunities and attract new workers, and ensure a range of jobs that aligns with local talent and skills.

Goal: Location and Regional Position

Embrace Nashua’s competitive advantage straddling the state border between two metropolitan regions, and both draw on and contribute to the employment and housing markets in both of those regions.

Open Space and Natural Resources

  1. Goal: Recreation and Open Space
  2. Goal: Outreach and Education
  3. Goal: Riverfront Access
See Top Goals on Parks and Natural Areas and Mitigation of Climate Change Impacts.

Goal: Recreation and Open Space

Expand and enhance existing open spaces and networks through flexible community programming and climate adaptation planning. Balance protection of Nashua’s environmental assets with opportunities for redevelopment.

  • Recommendation: Work with Park Maintenance and Public Works to create consistent planting plans and strategies to streamline planting and maintenance throughout the City.  
  • Recommendation: Streamline wayfinding and signage for historical landmarks. Work with the Merrimack Historical Society to continue to mark historical places throughout the City and along the Brook.
  • Recommendation: Seek out public, private partnerships and alternative funding to expand park programming at Square Fields and at parks that have limited programming. 
  • Recommendation: Clearly identify and communicate open space opportunities in conjunction with development opportunities.
    • Educate developers on benefits of public realm goals for successful implementation of design guidelines or goals.
  • Recommendation: Review the inventory of public restrooms and recreational opportunities throughout the City and consider parks and open spaces that would benefit from new facilities or resources. 
  • Recommendation: Design gathering spots for residents and visitors to gather with neighbors and connect with new people.
  • Recommendation: Build on ongoing efforts to create a natural resources inventory and update inventory with park improvements. 
  • Recommendation: Identify high-value natural resources areas, and incentivize development that encourages public access and use in these zones.
  • Recommendation: Create digital platform for the public to easily access the inventory and create print options for residents to review the information

Goal: Outreach and Education

Document and raise public awareness of Nashua’s conservation land, open space, and recreational assets and promote stewardship through education and community engagement opportunities.

  • Recommendation: Create open space group on facebook or instagram where residents and visitors can share events and park meetups  
  • Recommendation: Develop a single repository for information on the City website that includes an interactive web map of open space assets, including both City-owned and private properties.
  • Recommendation: In conjunction with the wayfinding and signage improvements, promote the resources on the City’s social media platforms. 
  • Recommendation: Expand environmental programming at parks to cultivate respect and appreciation for open space and stewardship at a young age. 
  • Recommendation: Work with Grow Nashua and other gardening efforts to develop a citywide urban gardening program. Consider parks or schoolyards to build gardens and create educational programming around gardens.

Goal: Riverfront Access

Advance goals outlined in the Nashua Downtown Riverfront Master Plan and continue to leverage this vital environmental, community and economic asset through the lenses of equity, resilience and climate protection.

  • Recommendation: Improve accessibility of the riverfront for all users by upgrading existing access points, ensuring all access points are up to ADA standards, and improving signage.
  • Recommendation: Seek out funding to extend the pathway on the north side of the River to Lincoln Park in conjunction with the extension of Franklin Street to join the Broad Street Parkway.
  • Recommendation: Link the shoreside walkway to redevelopment of the old riverside industrial area and connect it to the new Riverside apartment complex at the outlet of the Nashua River.
  • Recommendation: The newly expanded Nashua River Eastern bikeway/walkway should include a branch that crosses the Nashua River on the abandoned railroad bridge and thereby provide pedestrian access to  the Thoreau’s Landing condo community.
  • Recommendation: Expand the Heritage Trail along the Merrimack River from the Massachusetts border to Franconia Notch.
  • Recommendation: Secure funding to remediate the rivers and hire an environmental firm to access the discharge and determine where remediation should be prioritized.

Arts and Culture

See Top Goals on Diversity and Arts and Culture.