Monday, January 3, 2011

A December to Remember

This week's blog looks back on what we accomplished as a department for December 2010.
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. This month’s video Dover Download focused on sign regulations.

During the month of December, four (4) blog posts were drafted, including two on the sign regulation and enforcement, one on perambulation, and one on November’s staff report.

Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 63 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 attended the New Hampshire Planners Association meeting in Concord. The group discussed proposed bills before the State Legislature in 2011, and recent trends in Planning law and case law.

In December, the Planning Department viewed a web cast on Bridging the Gap between Community Based Organizations and Planning. This webminar was useful as staff readies to produce the FY12 Community Development Block Grant budget and recommendations for the Dover’s block grant allocation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The webinar focused on how community based organizations and planning organizations interact and relate to each other. One important outcome was on decoding jargon and other communication strategies.

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 also continued to work with School Department staff on the Capital Improvements Program.

12. Complete the implementation of the ongoing energy efficiency improvements and provide periodic reports of energy savings.

The Planning staff completed the requirements to begin using the Energy Technical Assistance and Planning for New Hampshire Communities program, ETAP, administered by the Office of Energy and Planning. This program allows 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.

Additionally, under the ETAP program, a site visit to the armory, off Oak Street, for is scheduled for the first week of January with the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, SRPC, which is the local manager of the ETAP program for the Office of Energy & Planning. SRPC will perform an energy audit on the building to determine future energy improvements that might be made.

Johnson Controls, JCI, the vendor making the energy infrastructure improvements, has completed the lighting retrofit at the McConnell Center. They are now working to finalize the BAS improvements and ice arena improvements. The remaining work at the arena will be completed when the new water tower is installed.

The last remaining item of their contract is the installation of the new blowers at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Recently a solution for the sizing issue for the blowers has been resolved and JCI has given the submittals for the blowers to AECOM, the design engineer to review.

The plant supervisor, Ray Vermette, thinks the submittals will be ready the first week in January. Once the City approves the submittals, they will be sent to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, NHDES, for final approval.

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 review and proof the final piece of the Willand Pond outreach and education project. This product is a trifold brochure and separate one page handouts on various storm water management techniques. The cost of developing these handouts has been covered by the State of New Hampshire, through a grant.

The last water elevation sample of the season was collected in early December, before Willand Pond froze over. The final reading on December 3, 2010 was 189.28 feet above sea level. The elevation in April 2010 was 194.28 feet.



The Planning and Community Development department continued to oversee the development of the FY12 - 17 Capital Improvements Program. Planning staff worked with various departments to update and revise the CIP document as changes were made thorough the month based upon public and Board feedback. On December 1 the City Council held a workshop. The Planning Board held a public hearing on December 7, receiving no feedback. On December 21st the Planning Board endorsed the CIP as presented for adoption.

The Planning and Community Development department worked with residents, pro and con to understand the proposed Arch Street rezoning petition that was submitted in September. Staff reviewed conformities in use and dimensions that were proposed by the amendment. Additionally, staff worked with residents to understand the legality of the amendment.
The Planning and Community Development department worked on an application to the Federal Department of Transportation to obtain a designation for Dover as a walkable community. This application will be reviewed and Dover should be notified within the winter months. If awarded the designation will be helpful in applying for grants to improve pedestrian friendly amenities.

The Planning Department is in the process of completing a project to develop a functional inventory of the numerous conservation lands located throughout the City of Dover. Late in 2009, the City was awarded a grant from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership to assist in hiring a consultant to conduct the research required to complete a City wide computerized, on line “functional inventory” and associated map of all protected lands in Dover. This up to date and easily accessible Inventory will be readily accessible to municipal volunteers and the public through the City website.


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:
• Cornerstone Commons phase III
• Newington Dover bridge
• Indian Brook/Weeks Crossing traffic lights
• Crosswalk assessments
• Picard Lane
• The Village at Thornwood Commons
• Property on Tolend Road, off Pacific Drive

Planning staff continued to work with the Fire and Rescue Department on the updated Hazardous Mitigation Plan.

Planning staff worked with the Economic Development Director to put together and review an RFP for surveying and geotechnical reviews for four city owned parking lots.

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
• Arch Street residents to discuss rezoning.
• Durham Road between Grapevine Drive and the City line.
• Pacific Drive
• McDonalds rehabilitation
• Property in the area of Tuttle Square
• Technical Review for 84 Central Avenue
• Technical Review for Temple Israel off Sixth Street
• 287 Gulf Road
• Pacific Mills
• 6 Brick Road

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