So, I am putting together my list of activities for the month of February to submit to the City Manager, and I realized we did a lot this month. It is always interesting to me to see what four full time people and a part time person can get done. I have a great staff working with me, and it is always impressive to see the output we generate, especially when I consider the day to day stuff that isn't included here (plan review, general Q & A, meeting prep etc). As always enjoy and I'll write you soon....
CITY MANAGER GOALS
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 Community Trail Activities, regulation changes and the energy/sustainability film series work.
The Department of Planning and Community Development has 101 Facebook (City of Dover NH Planning) friends and 179 followers on Twitter (@DoverNHPlanning).
During the month of February, four (4) Planning blog posts were drafted, including one detailing short updates on various projects, one on the Conservation Land Inventory completed in January, one on the upcoming Green Film Series, and one on January’s staff report. In addition to the blog post, the Planning Department reviewed and updated its web page (www.dover.nh.gov/planhome.htm).
The Director of Planning and Community Development presented projects and activities that are occurring in Dover to the Strafford County Board of Realtors, on February 17th. The Director also attended the Chamber of Commerce’s legislative reception on February 10th to talk with members of the chamber about activities and regulations in Dover.
The Department of Planning and Community Development assisted to promote the Dover Energy Action Committee film series “Green Moves” at the Dover Library through flyers posted, blog posting, facebook posts, promotion on Dover Download, press release distributed and posting the flyer of information on Channel 22.
The Department of Planning promoted the Dover Community Trail through the facebook fan page for the trail (with 205 fans), and through a press release for tree identification walks on the trail arranged through a collaboration with a UNH forestry graduate student.
The Director of Planning and Community Development attended the Dover Listens meeting on February 15th to be part of the process in developing a more open and free discussion about issues and topics affecting the Dover community. While not a member of the Board, the Director does serve as an adviser for the group and hopes to attend their meetings to be a resource.
Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 23 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 February, the Planning Department viewed a four (4) web casts. The first was a continuation of a series on how improving transportation networks can improve health and challenge the obesity epidemic the country faces. The second was on transit oriented development. The third and fourth focused on planning for aging populations.
The Director of Planning and Community Development attended The NH Planners Association and the NH Municipal Lawyers Association seminar on the “Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act” or RLUIPA. This 2000 Federal law has recently been in the news here, as some local land use board decisions have been challenged under its provisions. Last year, the Town of Richmond NH settled an RLUIPA lawsuit for $1.5 million. There are important implications for all local land use boards in NH.
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.
10. Support local businesses to aid in the community’s economic growth by working in conjunction with local economic development groups and business organizations.
The Planning Office met with Arrowstreet, an Urban Planning and Architectural Design Firm located in Somerville, MA to continue discussions with the firm from Fall 2010 in planning a Spring education and round-table discussion forum regarding transit-oriented development with key stakeholders and the public to be invited. The event will support smart growth and in-fill development in the downtown core.
The Planning Office is working with The New Hampshire Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (NHIAF) and Tuttle Farm to promote Tuttlefest, a winter farming festival scheduled for March 19th, 2011. The organizers of the event are offering a table at the event to promote our Sustainability Planning Initiatives.
12. Complete the implementation of the ongoing energy efficiency improvements and provide periodic reports of energy savings.
The City was being monitored for ARRA and State compliance for the WWTF blower project in early February. Two people from NH Department of Environmental Services came out to the WWTF to check the logs, records and payrolls submitted so far on the WWTF upgrades done by Johnson Controls Inc (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 work done to date does not include their portion of funding but it was included in the monitoring since it is part of the overall Contract. The State will be returning in April/May when the blowers are being installed at the plant. The blowers were ordered this week. We are awaiting confirmation of a manufacture date from JCI on the blowers.
JCI is working with the Building Inspection office to get confirmation of work done correctly on their facility improvements (FIM’s) so the Substantial Completion forms can be signed off.
The Planning Office continues to work with Strafford Regional Planning to implement the ETAP (Energy Technical Assistance & Planning) program through the State Office of Energy and Planning. The contractors started energy usage monitoring and calculations that will coincide with JCI's Energy Services Contract and assist the City to audit energy savings reported by JCI. The Department of Planning issued a press release to inform the public of the YTD dollar and resource savings reported by JCI. In addition the Planning Office met with Strafford Regional Planning to outline the scope of work for a regulatory review which will analyze City codes in terms of regulations related to energy. Recommendations are expected to be provided.
The Planning Office is coordinating the development of a City Sustainability Plan with the Dover Energy Advisory Committee serving as the public advisory group in the plan’s development. City employees have been surveyed for feedback on current practices and were asked for suggestions for future implementation. The Plan will address municipal operations, with a city-wide sustainability policy and procedures recommended for approval to create a cohesive standard for employees to conserve energy and other City resources under a “Lean & Green” tagline. Implementation of the plan will take a “Lead by Example” approach with a very visible effort to inform and educate the public on our City sustainability efforts to create a positive public image of our sustainability-related activities and to promote similar voluntary efforts in the community. Collaborations and partnerships will be sought within the community to further the promotion of the City’s efforts.
16. Continue to work toward improving water quality issues involving Willand Pond and provide regular updates to the City Council.
The Planning Office continues to work with the Community Services Department to organize activities involving Willand Pond. Staff assisted NH Department of Environmental Services staff with locating abutter information and in reviewing plans with residents.
GENERAL DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
The Planning and Community Development department worked with the Workforce Housing Coalition, Dover Main Street and the Dover Chamber of Commerce to set up the showing of a film on infill development with a discussion to follow at the Dover Brickhouse for March 1.
The Planning Board held a public hearing on and adopted an addendum to the 2007 Land Use Chapter of the Master Plan on Economic Development. Additionally, the Planning Director reviewed activities over the past year to update the Master Plan recommendations list to track progress of implementation of the Master Plan. Finally, staff worked with the consultant working on the Recreation Master Plan update to finalize the outreach portion of the document developed to increase publicity of the parks and recreation facilities in the City.
The Department of Planning and Community Development continues to oversee the traffic signal coordination project. This project, which began in August of 2010, retained a consultant to review and coordinate all 33 of the traffic signals in the City. The consultant has completed the inventory and is working to train Community Services staff to use software which monitors flow and timing of lights along the system. The project will connect the lights located between the Hanaford and Hotel Drive along Central Avenue to improve the flow of that segment. This project aims to:
• Average vehicle delay experienced passing through Weeks Crossing during the PM peak hour will be reduced by 71%
• The number of stops each vehicle will experience during the PM peak hour is expected to be reduced by 31%
• The total fuel savings by all users of this area on a typical weekday during the peak hour will be reduced by 23%, which equates to a total of 60 gallons every weekday or more than 15,000 gallons per year. At $3 per gallon, this equates to a community-wide savings of $45,000 annually.
• CO2 emissions will also be reduced by 23% during this one hour period for a total of annual reduction of 132 metric tons.
• Travel time heading northbound on Central Avenue between Hannaford’s and Hotel Drive will be reduced by 16% from an average of 222 seconds to 187 seconds.
• Travel time heading eastbound on Indian Brook Drive from the Spaulding to Somersworth will be reduced by 81% from an average of nearly 500 seconds to 93 seconds.
A final focus of the Planning and Community Development department for February was to continue working on 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
• Wentworth Douglas Hospital expansion
• Gladiola Way
Planning staff continued to work with the Community Services and Police Departments on an updated Crosswalk Inventory and Assessment.
Planning staff continued to work with the Community Services Department on bridge and transportation projects planned for the end of this fiscal year and the one that begins July 1. Meetings were held with staff from the NH Department of Transportation to coordinate additional support with the State as well.
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 worked with land owners of property at the following locations on development or redevelopment opportunities:
• Sixth Street, between Indian Brook Drive and Venture Drive
• Arch Street residents to discuss rezoning.
• Appaloosa Drive
• 515 Sixth Street
• Technical Review for 912 Central Avenue
• 287 Gulf Road
• Chapel Street property
• Littleworth Road property interested in a farm stand
** Planning Department Statistics
PLANNING & ZONING Current month
Planning & Zoning Applications - Total
- Major Subdivision Applications 1
- Minor Subdivision Applications 2
- Minor Lot Line Adjustment Applications 1
- Site Plan Applications 1
- Conditional Use Permit Applications
- Zoning Variance Applications 1
- Zoning Special Exception Applications
- Zoning Appeal Applications
- Sign Permit Applications 5
Zoning Violations Investigated 16