Where did the time go? Well in March we did a lot. Don't believe me? Read on....
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 Downloads focused on illegal sign removal, the green movie series, Community Development Block Grant applications, regulation changes, the launch of Sustainable Dover, progress on the Open Space Master Plan and the upcoming gravel pit permit approval process.
The Department of Planning and Community Development has 101 Facebook (City of Dover NH Planning) friends and 194 followers on Twitter @DoverNHPlanning).
During the month of March, six (6) Planning blog posts were drafted, including one detailing census results, electronic distribution of planning materials (plans, notes, minutes etc), an update on traffic light coordination occurring, one about experiencing planning in Florida, one on spring cleaning, including sign removal, and one on February’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 Rotary Club of Dover, on March 30th. That same day, the Director also spoke to soon to be graduates from the University of Southern Maine’s masters in Community Planning program about planning trends, and the value of a career in the public sector.
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 241 fans), and through a press release for a third tree identification walk 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 March 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 advisor for the group and hopes to attend their meetings to be a resource.
The Director of Planning and Community Development attended the Budget Revealed on March 31, at the McConnell Center.
Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 31 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 March, the Planning Department viewed a eight (8) web casts. The topics included planning for child care, planning for the elderly (including elderly uses, and transportation issues for an aging population), how to ensure that special assessments are constitutional; two were on sustainability (climate change, and empowering residents to live a low carbon lifestyle). One session was on using social media in government, and finally staff attended a web session on the Baldridge management style and assessment tool.
The Director of Planning and Community Development met with a UNH Student performing a case study of the City of Dover’s implementation of the Form Based Code zoning in downtown Dover. Additionally, the Director met with a representative from the City of Montpelier, Vermont, which is looking to implement the code, to discuss the process and obstacles we faced in Dover.
The Director of Planning and Community Development put a proposal into the New Hampshire Planners Association to speak at the group’s spring conference. Selection of topics will occur in the month of April. Additionally, the Office of Energy and Planning requested that the Director speak at its spring conference on implementing the Master Plan. This conference will occur in June.
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 was a sponsor with The New Hampshire Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (NHIAF) and Tuttle Farm for Tuttlefest, a winter farming festival held March 19th, 2011. Staff attended the event from noon to six PM, manning a booth and promote our Sustainability Planning Initiatives.
12. Complete the implementation of the ongoing energy efficiency improvements and provide periodic reports of energy savings.
The blower order for the waste water treatment plant was finalized and a shipping estimate of June was given to the City. Johnson Controls (JCI) submitted a proposed lighting change for the McConnell Center which they thought could mostly be covered by a rebate from PSNH. The change order for the water tower at the arena was completed. This will allow the overflow tank on the chiller to be removed and the remaining transformers to be replaced at the facility.
JCI is working with the Inspections Division for final sign off on the permit required items that JCI installed. Once Inspections signs off on the items, a notice of substantial completion can be issued to JCI.
The Department of Planning and Community Development was notified that the City of Dover has been chosen by the EPA as a beta site for new sustainability initiatives. This technical service grant, awarded to 32 out of over 350 applicants nationwide, will allow the City to review regulations to ensure that they are encouraging sustainable/green practices.
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 the film The Next American Dream on infill development with a discussion to follow at the Dover Brickhouse for March 1. Over thirty (30) people attended the event and a future one is being planned for May. In addition to showing the film, the department obtained a copy for reuse among community members for the Public Library.
March 28th was the first of the quarterly illegal sign sweeps that the Department of Planning and Community Development holds. The sweep conducted by the Zoning Administrator and Planning Director, collected 24 illegal signs. These signs were collected from utility poles and the Right of Way. Collected signs will be held until the owner pays an associated fine per sign and may have the sign returned.
March 21st saw the debut of the Sustainable Dover facebook page and web page on the City’s web site (http://www.dover.nh.gov/sustainability.htm). These two web resources will document the activities the Department of Planning and Community Development is undertaking to promote sustainability in the municipal organization as well as the community itself. From the web page, residents can track progress, review reports and offer feedback on areas the staff can review and incorporate into the overall plan.
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
• Picard Lane
• The Village at Thornwood Commons
• Gladiola Way
• Naser Jewelers
Planning staff worked with the Community Services and Finance Departments on collecting fees associated with the land use change tax that is assessed when a property is developed, if it had been in Current Use prior to development.
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
• Technical Review for 287 Gulf Road
• Technical Review for Chapel Street property
• Littleworth Road property interested in a farm stand
• Downtown property for a potential farmers market.
• Grapevine Drive
• Danbury Court
• 35 Dover Point Road
• Industrial Park Drive
• Cochecho Street
• Washington Street
• Basils Place