As with last month, I am going to dedicate this entry to reflect the report I gave to the City Manager of activities the Planning Department completed in November.
The first part of my report to the Manager focuses on how I am assisting him in meeting his goals. The second portion focuses on general department activities
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, facebook page and twitter feed to communicate with the public. Planning staff has also participated in the Video Dover Downloads providing information to the public. November’s video Dover Download focused on the CIP and Community Trail grand opening.
During the month of November, four (4) blog posts were drafted, including one on the Capital Improvement’s Program, one on community investment, one on October’s staff report, and one on the zoning amendments before the City Council.
The Director of Planning and Community Development attended the Dover Discussion for wards 5 and 6 held November 4th, and the Ambassador Program kickoff event on November 5th.
The Director of Planning and Community Development met with members of PlanNH to discuss opportunities for reviewing charrette and other public involvement opportunities. The Director also met with interested civic leaders about developing a long range downtown master plan (as outlined in the CIP and Master Plan).
Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 10 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..
8. Attend workshops and participate in other education opportunities to further continuing professional development.
The Planning Director and the City Planners participated in two web based professional development seminars on planning innovations and development trends. One webinar focused on LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) concepts and how to integrate those concepts into regulations. The second focused on time management.
The Planning and Community Development department met with Michael Wang from Arrow Street Consulting to review opportunities for infill growth and transit orientated development. This meeting was focused on learning new techniques and continuing to educate staff on the methods used by other communities to attract development where infrastructure and other support networks are in place for development.
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 met with members of the School Department to discuss the Safe Routes to Schools project that the State of NH operates. In 2009, the City was awarded a grant to upgrade sidewalks, signage and crosswalks in the Woodman Park school district. A plan is being drafted to bring improvements to the remaining eligible schools (Garrison and Horne Street elementary schools, and Dover Middle School).
The Department of Planning and Community Development also continued to work with School Department staff on the use of impact fees and the process involved with defining the amount of students a development might produce.
The Department of Planning and Community Development discussed the recommendation in the Master Plan that the School Department coordinate transportation issues such as sidewalk and crosswalk safety with the Transportation Advisory Commission (TAC) and invited their representative to attend the November TAC meeting and future TAC meetings as necessary.
12. Complete the implementation of the ongoing energy efficiency improvements and provide periodic reports of energy savings.
The Planning staff is investigating using the recently begun Energy Technical Assistance and Planning for New Hampshire Communities program administered by the Office of Energy and Planning. This program will allow Dover to rely on outside experts to assist in a review of regulations to determine if Dover’s code encourages, discourages or does not affect energy efficiency opportunities by homeowners.
The Grand Opening of the urban portion of the Dover Community Trail, in which the City provided refreshments and breakfast food sponsored by Centrix Bank for over 100 people, was planned as a Zero Waste Event. Zero Waste efforts begin with the refusal to use single-use plastics and to make a concerted effort to reduce the use of any disposables for the event, even recyclables. Some of the decisions made for this event included: utilizing reusable cutlery, utilizing reusable cloth tablecloths instead of plastic, using baskets and ceramics for food display instead of plastic, serving tap water in glass pitchers instead of bottled, purchasing event food in recyclable paper boxes instead of single-use plastic containers, picking up ice from a local coffee shop in a cooler instead of buying bagged ice, and using biodegradable cups and bowls. At the end of the event there was only one small handful of waste, a few items to recycle, and a container of compost. Consider the waste typically left over at an event of 100+ people- this was well received and a great success. Local businesses were extremely receptive to the idea, and helpful in the planning.
Dover’s Energy Advisory Commission hosted a Button Up NH workshop on November 15th. This workshop invited residents to come and learn how they could effectively improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Planning staff attended the workshop, as did members of the DEAC.
The City met with Johnson Controls and ADI to review the size of the blowers and the cost difference for the WWTP. Johnson Controls will be modifying their design submittal for the NH Department of Environmental Services and the City will review before the design is sent to the State.
The AC units for the Server room are still on order. Electrical work to prepare the room is being completed by Ewing Electric.
The last transformer was changed out at the McConnell Center. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program lighting project is nearing completion in the McConnell Center as well. A change order was signed for a new water tower at the Arena. This was holding up installation of the new transformers due to the location of the old tower overflow tank and it’s proximity to the transformer.
16. Continue to work toward improving water quality issues involving Willand Pond and provide regular updates to the City Council.
The Director of Planning and Community Development met with Jeff Taylor and Associates to discuss the final piece of the Willand Pond outreach and education project. This piece includes developing and stormwater guidebook to educate the residents of the area to the innovative, and in some cases low cost ways, homeowners can reduce their contribution to stormwater displacement.
The Willand Pond Ad-hoc Committee met on November 23rd to discuss the progress of the well project overseen by Community Services as well as the report being generated by Emery and Garrett. The Friends of Willand Pond met October 28th.
GENERAL DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
The Community Trail continues to be a focus for the Department of Planning and Community Development. The Department was happy to welcome residents to the grand opening of the urban portion of the trail on November 13th. The event included an official walk to Fisher Street from the Transportation Center. The event also was the City’s first zero waste event.
The Planning and Community Development continued to oversee the development of the FY12 - 17 Capital Improvements Program. Planning staff developed an outreach and education components for the CIP, including a web page, Google map, and a video guide for projects. This video was presented to the City Council and Planning Board on November 10, 2010 and was made available online and on channel 22 in an expanded version. The Planning Board held a public hearing on November 16th on the CIP.
Planning staff patrolled the City for illegal signs. These signs were located within the Right of Way, on utility poles or in other hazardous locations. In total, staff collected 73 signs and is working with the owners of the signs to educate them on the correct way to install signage in Dover.
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
• Indian Brook/Weeks Crossing traffic lights
• Crosswalk assessments
• Picard Lane
• Bill Dube Ford/Toyota
• Dover Auto World
• 67 Knox Marsh Road
• Gladiola Way
Planning staff worked with the Fire and Rescue Department on the updated Hazardous Mitigation Plan.
Planning Staff attended the Connect Northern New England Economic Scenario session presented by Fairpoint at Pease Tradeport with the Economic Development Director. This session reviewed demographic data available to communities to review impact that development might have on a community. This session was November 12th.
Planning staff worked with land owners of property at the following locations on development or redevelopment opportunities:
• 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
• Central Avenue between Morin Street and Weeks Crossing
• 54 Old Rochester Road
• Chestnut and Lincoln Streets
• 31 Dover Point Road
• Durham Road between Grapevine Drive and the City line.
Michele Alexander, who started as an intern for the Planning and Community Development department, and stayed as a volunteer through the summer, has left to seek gainful employment. Michele worked on various projects, most notably the Community Trail, assisting in writing a Standard Operating Procedures handbook and also drafting work plan templates for special projects.