Starting a Business in Hillsborough

The Town of Hillsborough welcomes your business. With good communication and cooperation, we can work together to ensure a fair and expeditious process.  

Where to Begin


Your first step is to contact the Planning Director via e-mail  or project narrative form.  This form serves as a means for you to communicate with the Planning Department in writing about your plans for the property.  In addition, this narrative allows the Planning Staff to determine what (if any) review procedure is appropriate.  We have also developed a Business and Developer's Handbook.  This is a guide that gives you an overview of the Planning and approval process.

Existing Buildings


If you are moving into an existing building, you will need to contact the Building Department to determine what permits and inspections are required and to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy. The primary contact for the Building Department is Nancy Torres who can be reached at 603-464-3877 ext. 223 or by email. Nancy will assist you by answering your questions and making appointments with Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer Michael Borden for inspections.

You may need a change of use or Site Plan Review if the land use is different from the previous occupant of the building. Please also contact the Hillsborough Water/Sewer Department for information about requirements for a new occupant of an existing building with town water and/or sewer service.

New Buildings or Additions


If you are constructing a new building or adding an addition,Site Plan Review may be required. Contact the Planning Director for requirements and further information. If your property fronts on a State highway, you will need a driveway permit. Contact the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) District Engineer for permit requirements. Following the Site Plan Review process a Building Permit will also be required. Contact the Building Department for permit requirements.

Land Subdivision


If a Subdivision is required, contact the Planning Director for requirements and further information.

Zoning Relief

Sometimes a Variance or Special Exception is necessary for your project to proceed.   The Planning Director will help you navigate the process and schedule your hearing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Road/Street Related Requirements


The Planning Director will direct you to the persons responsible for reviewing and issuing road related permits. The regulation of access to, development of, and use of Town roads is shared by the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Building Inspector, and Public Works Director. State and Federal highways are controlled though the office of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) District Five Engineer. NHDOT permits are issued after a separate, parallel process which may take two or more months to complete.

Floodplain, Wetlands & Surface Waters


All developments are subject to the Floodplain Stream and Shoreline Protection and Waterfront Development ordinances as well as the State of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). The NHDES regulates activities associated with wetlands, erosion, and sedimentation of surface waters. Activities which are within a wetland or adjacent to a prime wetland, which include onsite disposal of sewage, which disturb at least 100,000 square feet of surface area, or which are within 250' of a pond or fourth order stream may require a permit from the NHDES. Contact the permits bureau for rules, application forms, and requirements. In general, NHDES will not proceed with a permit application until Town permits are conditionally approved. The NHDES review process may take two or more additional months to complete.