Wednesday, January 11, 2012

December to Remember

Below is my report to the City Manager, for activities the Planning and Community Development department undertook/completed in the month of December, 2011.

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. The Department of Planning and Community Development has 139 Facebook (City of Dover NH Planning) friends and 271 followers on Twitter @DoverNHPlanning).

During the month of September, eight (8) Planning blog posts were drafted, including one on announcing a winter sign sweep; one thanking Ron Cole, former Planning Board member for his twenty (20) years served; two about shopping local, one about the launch of the Gundalow, and one about the tenth anniversary of the Downeaster.  Finally there were two encouraging people to come to meetings (one for FastTrans and on for the Capital Improvement’s Program).

The Department of Planning and Community Development promoted the Dover Community Trail through the facebook fan page for the trail (with 294 fans), as well as a Sustainable Dover facebook fan page for the trail (with 122 fans).

The Director of Planning and Community Development attended a public meeting, on December 29, 2011, on changes that are required to maintain funding for portions of the FastTrans intra-city bus service the City and COAST offers.

Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 56 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.

Attend workshops and participate in other education opportunities to further continuing professional development.

In December, Planning and Community Development staff participated in one (1) webinar. The topic was blue urbanism –how sea level and climate change affect cities and towns.

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 Planning Department worked with the School Department to formalize the request process to utilize impact fees.

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

The City of Dover, NH and Johnson Controls, Inc (JCI). entered into a performance contract in September in 2009. The installation phase was completed with the receipt of the certificate of completion on October 16, 2011. The guaranteed savings portion of the contract (ten years) started on November 1 of 2011 and will end on October 31, 2021.

The original annual savings guarantee of $304,510 includes $256,990 in energy cost avoidance, $13,680 in operations and maintenance (O&M) cost avoidance, and a future capital cost avoidance of $33,840. This initial savings guarantee was increased from the original amount to $319,463 due to Change Order (CO) # 9236-0142-CO2 which comprised of a lighting retrofit project at the McConnell Center. The annual guaranteed energy savings amount escalates by 3% and the O&M savings escalates by 4% each year to compensate for inflation. Total term benefits are $3,623,746. Facility improvement measure (FIM) savings are not guaranteed individually; the savings guarantee reflects the whole project. Therefore deficiencies from one FIM can be overcome by another FIM to result in overall project savings.

As JCI has completed the installation phase baseline information was collected on the FIMS. Installation savings are realized when individual measures are completed but the overall job has not yet been completed. Since measures are completed at different times, they save energy while the other measures are still being worked on. Over the course of the installation period the estimated savings for all measures total 1,043,577 kWh & 1,962 kW ($123,804), 20,739 MMBTU’s ($266,359) and 2,031 kGals of water/ sewer savings ($22,431). There was no operation and maintenance (O&M) savings or capital cost avoidance during the installation period. Total installation period savings are estimated to be $402,233.



The Director of Planning and Community Development spent much time in December working on reviewing performance standards. This included reviewing three books (Extreme Government Makeover, Measuring Up 2.0, and We Don’t Make Widgets), and participating in online research and one on one conversation with others in the field.

In addition to the day to day activities in the Planning Department, staff facilitated the following applications before Boards and Commissions:

Planning Board
·         An extension of a Conditional Use Permit for Thornwood Commons LLC, located on Thornwood Lane. (P05-62)
o   The permit was needed to extend the Conditional Use Permit beyond the original five year approval.
·         An extension of a Conditional Use Permit for VC Dover Investments LLC, located on Grapevine Drive. (P06-25E)
o   The permit was needed to extend the Conditional Use Permit beyond the original five year approval.
·         A Site Plan Review of land for VC Dover Investments LLC, located at Grapevine Drive. (P11-62)
o   This plan will construct a 9,100 square foot retail building.  

Zoning Board
·         One Administrative Appeal was dismissed as moot by the Board for property located at 26 Horne Street.

Conservation Commission
·         NHDES Minimum Impact Expedited Permit for NH Department of Transportation  located at Hilton Park on US Route 4/NH Route 16
o   This is connected to the Little Bay Bridge project. Proposal is to impact 200± sq. ft. of shore land to construct a natural gas pipeline.
·         A Conditional Use Permit was tabled for Michael and Shelby Brewer located on Fourth Street
o   This would allow encroachment into the wetlands buffer for a house and driveway.

Ensure timely preparation and presentation of the FY13 – 18 Capital Improvements Program.
The Capital Improvement’s Program was approved by the City Council on December 14.

Coordinate update of Land Use and Transportation chapters of the Master Plan, through development and implementation of Speak Out Dover and associated survey programs.
Staff drafted and released a request for proposals for a consultant to assist the committee in gathering community information and views to develop the visioning and goals for the Master Plan.  

Three teams were interviewed by a panel, and one consultant, Roger Hawk, was selected for the work. The City Council awarded the bid on December 14, 2011, and this work should begin in January.

The Master Plan steering committee met for the first time on Wednesday December 28. It elected Planning Board member Kirt Schuman as its chair.

Planning and Community Development Staff worked with PlanNH, the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast and the Urban Land Institute to develop a charette and education program that will be held in the late winter/spring for the downtown.

Review, and update as needed, the Community Development Block Grant program to ensure compatibility with Best Management Practices.
Department of Planning and Community Development staff continued to review how neighboring communities administer their Community Development Block Grant programs. This review is part of the overall review staff is completing on our program.

Promote streamlining plan review through use of electronic means amongst internal staff (smart board at TRC etc).
Pricing of the installation of a smart board in the Second Floor conference room in City Hall has placed this project on hold.

Analyze the City Code to ensure that City regulations encourage sustainable practices in city operations and encourage green practices by residents and business owners.
The Planning Board approved 10 of the 15 land use amendments suggested by the EPA Building Blocks report. These amendments act to promote alternative energy sources, reduce the City’s carbon footprint and encouraging use of sustainability through resource allocation. The City Council will review these zoning amendments.

The Planning Board posted 22 subdivision and 9 site review regulation amendments. A public hearing for these amendments will be held on January 10, 2012.

Develop educational opportunities for staff and board/commission members that are low resource cost, whether through staff presentations to boards/commissions, or web based education.
The Director of Planning and Community Development worked with the Planning Board Chair to develop an educational program for the 2012 workshops that occur the second Tuesday of the month for Planning Board members. There are 9 workshops scheduled with topics ranging from legislative updates, to low impact development.

Increase outreach and education to business and residents on benefits of infill development and transit oriented development as means to develop and redevelop in Dover’s urban core.
The Director of Planning and Community Development and the Economic Development Director have discussed options for increasing education about signage for the business community.

Coordinate discussions and implementation of improved pedestrian and vehicular way finding signs in downtown Dover.
Notes and ideas from the May wayfinding meeting have been reviewed, by planning staff and are being coordinated for follow up.


The Planning Department worked with the Community Services Department to identify needs on the Community Trail. This work included requesting bids for extended the section on Whittier Falls Way to the Spaulding Turnpike.

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:
·  Gladiola Way
·  Nye Lane/Pacific Landing
·  Willand Pond
·  375 Sixth Street

Planning staff worked with land owners of property at the following locations on development or redevelopment opportunities:
  • NH Coffee on Sumner Drive
  • 385 Sixth Street
  • 1 Washington Street
  • 3 Dover Street
  • 35 Second Street
  • Intersection of Oak Street and Central Avenue for redevelopment
  • Intersection of Court Street and Central Avenue for redevelopment
  • Thornwood Commons project
  • Robbins Auto properties throughout the City
  • Property on Mast Road
  • Property on Tolend Road
  • 6 Brick Road


After 20 years on the Dover Planning Board, Ron Cole, chairman for 17 years, has stepped down from the Board. Ron’s last meeting was December 20, 2011. Ron was a fixture on the board for his tenure offering a positive outlook, strong citizen planning skills, and a desire to improve Dover on a daily basis.

The Director of Planning and Community Development was selected as one of the 2012 participants in the Leadership Seacoast program. This program is 9 full days, spread out over 4 months, designed to challenge personal assumptions about critical issues while exploring diverse ideas, resources and practices. This is all done with a focus of the seacoast region.

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