Conway Master Plan Update 2024

Town of Conway, New Hampshire
A land use planning map on a table

In the 20 years since the Town of Conway, New Hampshire last updated its Master Plan, the community has seen significant change. There has been a continued shift toward a recreational tourism-based economy and away from an economy based on heavy industry. In recent years, housing prices have soared. Many homes that were once available for long-term residents have become short-term rentals for visitors. Most development in Conway over the past 20 years has been commercial in nature; more recently, Conway has seen a marked rise in new hotel development. Climate change has also continued to progress, leading to warmer winters that negatively affect the community’s culture of winter fun and threaten the health of local ecosystems.

As a community, Conway is challenged by its successes – people want to live in Conway, and people want to visit. New residents, particularly prospective second homeowners, can typically afford higher home prices than current residents. This squeezes out locals who cannot keep up with rising housing costs. The Town is also a primary gateway to the White Mountain National Forest, which sees over 6 million visitors annually. While this high level of visitation helps sustain Conway’s economy, it also places additional strain on the Town’s infrastructure, including roads, water, and wastewater. 

SE Group’s team of community planners and analysts worked with the Town of Conway to develop a new vision for the Town of Conway that manages commercial development, enhances recreation, and addresses local housing need. This vision is summarized in the following Plan Vision Statement.

“Located in the scenic Mount Washington Valley, the Town of Conway is a community rich in history, charm, and natural beauty. Through carefully revised zoning policies, Conway preserves its beloved village centers, supports small businesses, and sustains a community in which residents and families thrive. The Town is a model for sustainable economic development and land use, balancing tourism and community housing needs with firm commitments to protect the town’s natural environment and historic resources.”

People standing around a conference room table pointing at land use maps

SE Group worked closely with the Town of Conway and community stakeholders to advance the following project goals, offering a suite of action-oriented recommendations for each:

A.    Improve Long-Term Housing Availability and Affordability
B.    Thoughtfully Manage Commercial Development
C.    Promote a Local Economy That Works for Conway
D.    Steward Conway’s Unique Natural Resources & Open Spaces
E.    Support Conway’s Arts, Culture, & Historic Character
F.    Enhance Transportation Options to Connect People and Places
G.    Steward Conway’s World-Class Recreational Opportunities
H.    Enhance Municipal Services and Plan for the Future

The 2024 Conway Forward Master Plan will serve as an important tool for the Conway community to meet its challenges. Town planners and staff, community organizations, and Town residents can all rely on this plan as a roadmap toward a more prosperous, healthy, and equitable future for the community. 

This is a plan to MOVE CONWAY FORWARD!

Interested in learning more about this project?

Click here to view the project StoryMap website.

Click here to read the final plan.