Monday, June 14, 2010

Rezoning, 2010

It seems like just yesterday we were talking about rezoning. Well, here we are again. Residents of Dover should have received the citywide mailed letter over the last two weeks. Compared to last years effort, this rezoning initiative is relatively minor. There is no Form Based Code, there are no areas being rezoned, and there are no shifts in environmental regulations.

What we have this year are twelve (12) regulation amendments that focus on clarifying and cleaning up regulations. I think it is safe to say there are as close to housekeeping as we have ever gotten.

The Process
Last year, as we were winding down, the Zoning Board chair asked the Planning Board why the ZBA had not been invited to the table. It was explained that as the interpreter of the ordinance, the ZBA can not be involved with crafting the regulations. At the same time, I realized that their input was important. Subsequently, in November of and December of 2009, any boards the Landuse regulations interact with were asked to review the regulations and suggest areas for the Planning Board to review. The results were reviewed by the Board in early January.

In all there were just over twenty (20) areas pointed out. The Planning Board selected 18 or so to review. Over the past five (5) months, the staff and Board have reviewed and developed amendments that will have a public hearing on June 22nd.

The Amendments

A full text of the amendments is located here. They are described briefly below.

The first amendment removes the word morals from the zoning purpose statement.

The second amendment refines the definition of abutter to include a first class mailing to those who own condominium units. This amendment also refines the definition of customary home occupation, and adds a new definition for farm animals for house hold use, livestock, poultry and swine, as well as a new definition for conservation lots.

The third amendment renames the B-5 district from Commercial/Retail to Gateway and adds purpose statements for each district.

The fourth amendment adds the Conservation Lot use to the R-40, R-20, and R-12 districts. This will allow a lot owner to subdivide their parcel without creating a lot with frontage solely for the purpose of donating the new lot to a conservation entity.

The fifth amendment adds the extraction use to the I-4 district. It also renames the gravel pit use to extraction in the R-40 district.

The sixth amendment moves drive in theaters from the R-40 to B-4 districts.

The seventh amendment adds clarification to the rules governing the conversion of a single unit house to a two family unit.

The eighth amendment adds the use of farm animals for family use to many residential districts, as well as describes the limitations to allowing urban agriculture.

The ninth amendment allows retail stores in high density residential districts via a special exception.

The tenth amendment renames the Commercial subdistrict in the Central Business District and removes the allowance for freestanding signs.

The eleventh amendment adds regulations for illuminated signs to have dimmers at night, and brings the City's election sign regulations in compliance with State law.

The final amendment clarifies the height allowances for fences (3 feet in front of your house, up to 8 feet on the side and rear).

If you have any questions or comments, please attend the Planning Board meeting on June 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm in City Hall. You are also encouraged to come by the office or contact staff via phone, 516-6008, or email

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