The Town of Bedford New Hampshire has updated its Land Development Control Regulations to recognize the practice of landscape architecture. The State Legislature approved the practice law over 16 years ago. The Bedford Planning Board held a public hearing in mid-September and unanimously approved the recommended changes.
A small number of towns and Cities in the state of New Hampshire have recognized the practice of landscape architecture but this is the first code change in the state of New Hampshire that refers to the state statute that defines a “Professional Landscape Architect (PLA) as a person licensed to practice landscape architecture under NH RSA Chapter 310-A:141 and all applicable state laws”. Defining and referencing the governing State statute is common practice in most of the other 49 states in the country.
The reference to the state law is critical because the practice of landscape architecture as defined in Chapter 310-A:141 includes the preparation of landscape plans, planting plans, land development plans, drainage plans, construction documents, specifications, and construction supervision prepared and provided to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. These plans shall be prepared and signed and sealed by a Professional Landscape Architect (PLA) who is licensed in the State of New Hampshire. A practicing landscape architect located in New Hampshire also needs to be insured and registered to conduct business in this State.
To assure compliance with the plans that are prepared by and signed and sealed by a New Hampshire licensed landscape architect and approved by the Planning Board the Bedford code states the following: “The Planning Board may require a Certificate of Compliance signed and sealed by a Professional Landscape Architect, certifying that all plantings and associated elements of the landscape design have been installed per the approved landscape plan”
A written Certificate of Compliance is critical to assure governing and approving agencies that plans signed and sealed by any New Hampshire licensed professional are constructed. Any modification made in the field must be approved in writing by the licensed professional. It should be noted that any modifications made during construction without the written approval of the licensed professional can become the liability of the contractor, owner, and the inspector/agent of the Town that signs off on the project.
Article Prepared by: Leo Urban, NH PLA, ASLA, Plan NH Member, Founder, and Principal at Urban Associates, Inc. a Local Landscape Architectural Firm. Mr. Urban assisted the Bedford planning staff with drafting changes to the existing code. Mr. Urban attended the public hearings in support of changes to the code to comply with NH RSA Chapter 310-A:141, which was adopted by the State Legislature over 16 years ago.