D. Key Recommendations and Improvements
Many of the recommendations and strategies within this Plan will lead to positive changes and improvements. Some of them will have direct impacts and immediate results, such as added benches on the boardwalk, and some will have long-term impacts and may be part of a larger strategy, such as zoning changes that impact development patterns. The follow list is a summary of key recommendations and improvements that are detailed in this Plan:
Land Use improvements that are envisioned in the Master Plan include the following:
- New zoning, site plan and design guidelines that will reinforce the moderate scale and pleasant qualities of Hampton Beach
- The reinforcement of distinctive sub-areas or districts within the Beach, including a vital commercial and entertainment central area and other areas more geared to year round residents or seasonal hospitality
- Reorganization of traffic and parking to allocate more land near the Beach for pedestrians and the activities they generate, and to improve the image of the beach
- Reorganization of the State Park areas to promote separate destinations geared to different use groups, including an active central performance and entertainment complex, areas geared to families and small children, and areas devoted to more passive enjoyment of the beach and harbor.
Physical improvements that are envisioned in the Master Plan include the following:
- New large and small park amenities along the waterfront ranging from new beach pavilions to park benches
- Changes in circulation patterns, streets, and lanes to move traffic more efficiently and dramatically reduce the congestion on the Beach
- Institution of new options for access and circulation through an internal beach trolley system that links parking and beach destinations, and off-site parking with shuttle service during peak times
- A new emphasis on pedestrian and bicycle use through extensive sidewalk, streetscape, and bikeway improvements
- Reinvestment in the existing private property to upgrade the appearance and value of the Beach area, and new private development in key locations
- Improved informational and directive signage
- Reorganized and improved business signage to create a more attractive place
- Improved gateways that welcome visitors to Hampton Beach
- A higher Hampton River Bridge to improve vehicle and vessel traffic
- Utility improvements so that the land uses at Hampton Beach are fully supported by adequate and environmentally responsible services.
Regulatory actions will include the following:
- Establishment of zoning incentives to help upgrade site and building conditions
- Better enforcement of zoning and building codes
- The reduction in the granting of variances or special exceptions that weaken the land-use regulations
- Institution of improved parking standards
- Continued enforcement of environmental standards.
Economic improvements will include the following:
- Multiple programs and financial incentives to support reinvestment in commercial properties and diversify businesses
- Diversify and enhance the aesthetics of the Beach in order to stimulate increases in property values, tax revenues, and employment
- Expansion of higher value, year-round residences in appropriate locations
- Expansion of the tourism season through special events, promotions, and physical improvements
- Catering to a more economically diverse clientele, emphasizing longer stays during the core summer season and during the shoulder season months of April, May, June, September, and October.
Program and management improvements will include the following:
- A management entity to coordinate the actions of multiple agencies and implement the plan recommendations to help revitalize and maintain the area
- A coordinated parking and traffic management approach by both the Town and the NH Division of Parks and Recreation
- New recreational programs that focus on the area’s natural resources
- Dune protection through a dune and sand management program
- A new harbor committee that coordinates activities in Hampton Harbor.
This Plan focuses on the core commercial area and central portions of Hampton Beach, which has experienced the most problems and the greatest apparent disinvestments (see Figure 1). It has the highest concentration of attractions, the most prevalent parking and pedestrian deficiencies, and is subject to the greatest amount of change due to the economic conditions found there. The central area also establishes the dominant image of the Beach; and as such, improvements here will indirectly shift perceptions and value of the Beach.
This Plan also includes North Beach. Although this area has fewer and less complex issues today, the quality and value of these places are integral to the Master Plan. They have received careful consideration in terms of their future use and character (see Figure 2).
Figure 1. Major Improvement Areas along Hampton Beach