Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Zoning Amendments

Tonight, the Dover City Council will review and hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to the zoning code. These amendments, which began in idea form over a year ago, have been the work of Planning Board members, volunteers, staff and result from an extensive review and understanding of our current ordinance.

I would certainly invite the public to attend a this public hearing to provide feedback on the posted zoning amendments. This is the first public hearing the City Council has held on the amendments, but is the third overall. The first was held as part of the Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Planning Board meeting. The second was held on December 20, 2011. The meeting will take place in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. The ten (10) amendments will promote development that will have a positive tax impact, protect natural resources, and better manage growth.

The proposed amendments were presented to the Planning Board at their work session on October 25th after 9 months of drafting and review by the Planning Board. The amendments are the result of an ongoing comprehensive effort by the Planning Board to review the land use regulations for the community. Planning Board members and interested volunteers developed these amendments with staff. Additionally, these amendments contain elements suggested to the City by the United States Environmental Program Agency. These amendments focus on energy efficiency, alternative energy allowance, and sustainable planning and building practices.

A letter has been mailed to all property owners explaining each of the amendments, and inviting recipients to attend the public hearing. My goal in sending the letter, was to explain the amendments in laymens terms. I am sure I have written it here, and said it many times elsewhere that you shouldn’t need to have a master’s degree in planning to understand the City’s land use regulations. We want to have amendments that can be understood and worked with, ones which create opportunities and not roadblocks.

The complete text of the proposed amendments are available on the city's website at here, listed under the "Current Reports” section on the home page. Additionally, a copy is available for inspection under the Planning Department’s page. Hard copies are available at the Public Library and the City Clerk's Office and Planning Department at City Hall.

After the December 20th public hearing, the Planning Board unanimously voted to approve amendments. Now it is the City Council's opportunity to review the amendments. After the public hearing tonight, the Council will hold a workshop where I will give an amendment by amendment review of the proposals. You can follow along by looking at the presentation I'll use.

If you have any questions, or comments, please me at 516-6008, or via email.

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