It's that time of the month again, time to recount the achievements and goings on that occurred in the department over the last month. Without further ado, I present January to you....
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 CIP review, regulation changes and Energy work.
The Department of Planning and Community Development has 94 Facebook (City of Dover NH Planning) friends, and 162 followers on Twitter (@DoverNHPlanning).
During the month of January, four (5) blog posts were drafted, including one on the upcoming green movie series the Energy Advisory Commission is presenting, one on Master Plan work, one on Paid Parking, one on Energy Improvements, and one on December’s staff report.
Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 33 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.
In January, the Planning Department viewed a four web casts. The first was on how improving transportation networks can improve health and challenge the obesity epidemic the country faces. The second was on improving efficiency through lessening the use of paper in plan review and creating a paperless office. The third was on retrofitting existing commercial corridors into mixed use and sustainable street fronts. The final webinar focused on the revival of streetcars and other multimodal transportation initiatives that are being tried in urban cores.
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 development of future Safe Routes to School grant applications. This program would enhance crosswalks, sidewalks and signage as well as educate students and parents on the value of walking to school.
12. Complete the implementation of the ongoing energy efficiency improvements and provide periodic reports of energy savings.
The Department of Planning and Community Development has overseen the energy efficiency improvements and has worked continuously with Johnson Controls, the vendor to install, test and ultimately commission the infrastructure.
The improvements have included retrofitting lighting; toilet retrofits weatherization and installing air conditioning units in City Hall. Lighting in the Mast Road public works facility, McConnell Center and various recreation facilities has also been installed. Included in the recreation facilities have been improvements to the pools, and vending machines. Finally, improvements will be made to the Waste Water Treatment Facility's aeration blower and upgrades to transformers in various buildings.
JCi has reported the following lowering of consumption and of emissions of green house gases. These emissions amount to:
reduced GHGs 81.8 tons CO2
reduced GHGs 339.8 tons CO2
reduced GHGs 117.8 tons CO2
A good comparison is that the City has lowered the CO2 equivalent to planting 13,830 tree seedlings, if they grew for 10 years, or 123 acres of pine or fir trees. This also equals the emissions of 99 cars (reduced that amount), or saved 1,254 barrels of oil from being consumed.
In regards to consumption savings, overall we have seen:
Cut 215,485 kWh
Saved over $23,000
reduced 7,997 Therms
Saved over $102,000
reduced 1,012 gallon
Saved over $11,000
In total there has been over $137,500 saved because of the improvements.
Overall, the energy infrastructure installation project is winding down except for the few remaining items at the Arena and the blowers at the Waste Water Treatment Facility. The engineers from AECOM have finished their review for the blower submittals and are waiting for HSI (the blower supplier) to submit their shop drawings based on the engineering review. The blowers should be ordered within the next week.
JCI is troubleshooting the temperature difference between the thermostat at the pool and the BAS in the Chapel building. The reading difference between the two locations is approximately 10 degrees different. This ties into part of the remaining tasks for JCI and that is BAS improvements and adjustments for all the buildings reporting on the BAS.
The City is being monitored for ARRA and State compliance for the WWTF blower project in early February. Two people from NH Department of Environmental Services will be coming out to the WWTF to check the logs, records and payrolls submitted so far on the WWTF upgrades done by JCI. The entire project is subject to Federal and State regulations due to it being one combined contract with several funding sources including state and other federal stimulus funding.
The Planning Office is working with Strafford Regional Planning to implement the ETAP (Energy Technical Assistance & Planning) program through the State Office of Energy and Planning. The contractors through the State have inspected the Armory building on Oak Street and started energy usage monitoring and calculations that will coincide with JCI's Energy Services Contract.
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 closed out the original watershed assistance grant the City received from the State of New Hampshire. This grant paid for the outreach and education work that staff have completed with Jeff Taylor. The grant also paid for an engineering study completed by SW Cole. The total value of the grant was over $64,0000.
GENERAL DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
The Planning and Community Development department worked with the Information Technology department to begin a transition from an outmoded Access database used to track plan review and permits to the consolidated VueWorks platform that Community Services is using for work order tracking.
The Planning and Community Development department worked to consolidate and report to the Planning Board, on suggestions that were submitted in December on areas to review in the land use code. This is an annual process, whereby the department asks boards and commissions to comment on the land use code. These areas are then reviewed by the Planning Board in January and prioritized for review and drafting of amendments during the year ahead. This year fourteen (14) areas were suggested by boards and commissions for review.
The Director of Planning and Community Development met with department staff to discuss work plans and projects to undertake in 2011. These reviews assist in developing goals and objectives that are in line with the City Manager’s expectations from staff.
After receiving a functional inventory of open space and conservation properties, the Department of Planning and Community Development has begun the early stages of the Open Space and Conservation master plan chapter. This will replace the 2000 chapter, and bridge the gap between the goals and recommendations contained within it, and the current and future land use chapter we have. Additionally, the chapter will include a recommended land management plan for City owned properties.
A final focus of the Planning and Community Development department for January was the establishment of goals and objectives for a sustainability plan. This plan, which the department is drafting, will examine ways that the City and community can be more sustainable. The first step in this plan is the creation of a survey for employees to take and offer feedback about processes and methods used by the departments and staff to be sustainable.
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:
• Newington Dover bridge
• Indian Brook/Weeks Crossing traffic lights
• Picard Lane
• The Village at Thornwood Commons
• Property on Tolend Road, off Pacific Drive
• Gladiola Way
Planning staff continued to work with the Community Services and Police Departments on an updated Crosswalk Inventory and Assessment.
Planning staff worked with the Economic Development Director to put together and review an addendum for the 2007 Land Use chapter of the Master Plan focusing on Economic Development. This addendum includes goals and recommendations for continued economic vitality in Dover over the next 20 or so years.
Planning staff continues to work with Economic Development and Community Services staff to assist the vendor selected to perform the survey and geotechnical/environmental work on four parking lots (Orchard, First, Third and School Streets).
Planning staff continues to work with Economic Development, Parking and Community Services staff to review options for expanding the FastTrans service to include a short run shuttle between the transportation center and core businesses and properties downtown.
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.
• Appaloosa Drive
• Property in the area of Tuttle Square
• Technical Review for 912 Central Avenue
• 287 Gulf Road
• Pacific Mills
• 344-350 Washington Street
• Chapel Street property