Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New public sessions focus on Dover planning

As part of our ongoing public outreach and education campaign, I am pleased to announce the launch of a series of discussions about city planning, beginning March 9, 2010. The sessions will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on the first floor of the McConnell Center, in the cafeteria adjacent to the Green Bean.

I will lead the informal, monthly question-and-answer sessions, which are similar in format to the quarterly Dover Discussions led by the City Manager.

My hope is that the planning sessions are an opportunity to provide a “free flow” of information about important planning issues before the city.

It is not my intention to have a formal presentation for attendees. Instead I will be available to answer questions and help residents understand projects in their neighborhood. The drop-in format of the early morning program is designed for the convenience of those who may not be able to come to the Planning office during regular business hours.

I will be available also to answer questions about projects currently under way and provide overview information about the planning and development process in Dover. A citywide zoning map will be on display so residents can see in which zone their property is located and ask questions about their lot. While there will not be an agenda at these sessions, I will have plans that are before the Planning Board. Questions are encouraged, but these sessions are not public hearings.

As always, we are happy to assist abutters in understanding the projects before the Planning Board, but will encourage people to attend the public hearings held at regular Planning Board meetings.

The informal sessions continue a public outreach effort launched to develop and promote the 2009 adopted zoning amendments. As long time readers of the blog are aware, the Planning Department started several initiatives to better facilitate public participation, including a Visual Preference Survey, two charrettes, stakeholder interviews, and four public hearings. I also led two zoning information sessions where the public was invited to meet with him and Planning Board members to discuss the background and intent of the amendments.

I believe that these outreach efforts so far have been successful at increasing public participation in planning, a process I intend to continue to promote. Community planning is a great process, educating the public about the process provides opportunity for involvement and contribution in developing the evolving community plan and vision.

For more information regarding the information sessions, please contact the City of Dover Planning Department at 516-6008.

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