Monday, November 15, 2010
October in review
Every Month, I have to submit a report to the City Manager of activities the Planning Department completes. From time to time, I have posted that report as a blog entry. This is one of those times.
Next week, we'll have a more touchy feely post... promise. My thanks to Dilbert.com for comic.
The first part of my report to the Manager focuses on how I am assiting him in meeting his goals. The second portion focuses on general department activities.
FY2011 CITY COUNCIL EXPECTATIONS OF CITY MANAGER
4. Continue to communicate with the community through hosting of periodic ward and neighborhood meetings such as quarterly Dover Discussions along with exploring new methods to increase interaction and participation by citizens in local governance and community forums.
The Department of Planning and Community Development continued to update its blog, face book page and twitter feed to communicate with the public. Planning staff has also participated in the Video Dover Downloads providing information to the public. During the month of October, four blog posts were drafted, including 2 on sustainability, one on Master Plans and one on the Dover FastTran program.
The Director of Planning and Community Development spoke at the Workforce Hosuing Coalition of the Great Seacoast’s quarterly Housing Happy Hour. This talk focused on combining affordable housing and mixed use/infill developments, and was hosted by Centrix Bank in Dover. There were many Dover residents in attendance.
The Director of Planning and Community Development spoke at the Citizen’s Leadership Academy on October 21, 2010. The topic was how the department facilitates growth and development within the City working with residents to establish the community character. The Director also attended the graduation a week later.
Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out over 50 letters to new homeowners congratulating them on their purchase, as well as informing them of the current zoning for their property and alerting them to the various methods the department uses to inform and update the public. These letters are sent to homeowners quarterly.
8. Attend workshops and participate in other education opportunities to further continuing professional development.
The Planning Director and the City Planners participated in three web based professional development seminars on planning innovations and development trends. These webinars focused on crafting clear agreements with developers. These webinars last into the winter.
The Planning Director was a featured speaker at the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association conference the first week in October. The session was a primer on Form Based Code, and the Director spoke on Dover’s experience and on cultivating public participation in rezoning efforts.
In addition to speaking at the NNECAPA conference, the Director of Planning as well as the two City Planners attended the two day conference. The focus on the conference was on sustainability. Sessions included both energy efficient planning initiatives as well as how the State Federal and Local governments can work together to improve energy efficiency through transportation improvements.
9. Develop a closer working relationship with the School Department and all other City Departments. Further explore and pursue opportunities where City and Schools can combine and/share services for the benefit of the community and report to the City Council.
The Department of Planning and Community Development continues to assist the School Department in finalizing its portion of the Capital Improvement’s Program. Additionally, the Planning Director continues to work with the Superintendent to review existing land uses surrounding the various schools.
12. Complete the implementation of the ongoing energy efficiency improvements and provide periodic reports of energy savings.
A new water tower for the Arena was approved by the City Council. Funds are being transferred from the Rec. Dept’s natural gas line to capital improvements. The old tower is leaking and does not have the extra storage capacity necessary due to the energy saving measures implemented at the Arena. The old tower ran water consistently through the piping system and the improvements don’t require the water running constantly creating a reservoir of water. This reservoir is located adjacent to a transformer being replaced so until this issue is addressed, the transformer cannot be replaced. Lighting work with the State of NH Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds is continuing at the McConnell Center with the project nearly 2/3 completed. The City is meeting in early November with Johnson Controls to discuss the Waste Water Treatment Plant blower increase in size and decrease in energy efficiency issues that have arisen from AECOM’s design of the blowers. Training for the thermostats connecting the AC units in City Hall has been scheduled for the first week of November.
Finally, JCI has received notice that the Server room AC unit has cleared customs in California and is in the process of being shipped to Dover.
16. Continue to work toward improving water quality issues involving Willand Pond and provide regular updates to the City Council.
The Friends of Willand Pond met, as did the ad-hoc Committee on October 26th. This non-government group meets once a month to review opportunities to promote usage of the pond and stewardship of the pond. The group is continuing to work towards improving the public awareness of the opportunities at the pond. The Department of Planning and Community Development continues to tweet and post on Facebook the weekly water elevation for Willand Pond. Overall, there has been a lowering of the water level by approximately 5 feet since April.
GENERAL DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
The Community Trail continues to be a focus for the Department of Planning and Community Development. The Department continues, through the work of Intern Michele, Alexander, to coordinate efforts by the Community Work Program from Strafford County to clean up of the trail. Brush removal and draiange clean up has been underway. Additionally, the City received quotes for the planting of the final landscaping along Belknap Street. There will be a grand opening of the trail on November 13th at 9:30 am. The event will include an official walk of the urban portion of the trail and a dedication of the Rotary Club installed trail head.
The Planning and Community Development continued to oversee the development of the FY12 - 17 Capital Improvements Program. Preliminary project requests were submitted by various departments and reviewed by the Planning Director. The Finance Director is reviewing costs and developing the financial models for the program. Additionally, planning staff is developing outreach and education components for the CIP, including a web page, Google map, and a guidebook. Finally, planning staff is working with the Media Services Coordinator to develop a video presentation of the CIP for the joint Planning Board/City Council workshop on November 10, 2010.
The Planning Director drafted and submitted two additional Economic Revitalization Zone applications to the State of New Hampshire. These two additional zones are intended to assist businesses on Mast Road (gravel pits) and Sixth Street/Venture Drive (Enterprise Park) with re-investment in their properties.
The Planning and Community Development worked on organizing and reviewing for accuracy and clarity, the City’s impact fees. This was done in conjunction with work on the Capital Improvements Program. These fees may be used to offset costs borne by the City for investment in infrastructure.
DEPARTMENTAL COLLABORATION & ENHANCEMENTS
Planning and Community Development staff assisted the Community Services and Inspection staff with a review of outstanding issues on several projects, and took the lead on reaching out to the developers. The plans/projects are as follows:
• Picnic Rock
• Cornerstone Commons phase III
• Newington Dover bridge
• Beacon Circle
• Indian Brook/Weeks Crossing traffic lights
• 344-350 Washington Street
• 129 Silver Street
• Crosswalk assessments
• Traffic Signal Coordination
• 150 Henry Law Avenue
• Picard Lane
• Bill Dube Ford/Toyota
• Dover Auto World
Planning staff worked with the Fire and Rescue Department on the updated Hazardous Mitigation Plan.
Planning staff worked with land owners of property at the following locations on development or redevelopment opportunities:
• Off Central Avenue along the Rollinsford Town line
• Reviewing the previous efforts on creating an historic district
• School Street and Mechanic Street
• Thornwood Lane/Middle Road
• Sixth Street, between Indian Brook Drive and Venture Drive
• Temple Israel off Sixth Street
• Arch Street residents to discuss rezoning.
• Picard Lane
• Ceilo Drive
• Parcel on Dover and Park Streets
• Former Strand Theater.