Tuesday, March 13, 2012

February Goings On

Wondering what we did in February, in the Planning Department? Wonder no more, just 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. The Department of Planning and Community Development has 145 Facebook (City of Dover NH Planning) friends and 294 followers on Twitter @DoverNHPlanning).

During the month of February, four (4) Planning blog posts were drafted, including one on explaining zoning amendments the Council adopted, one reviewing the EPA Nitrogen Loading requirements currently under review, one discussing the Dover 2023 Community Visioning process. Finally, the January report to the Manager was included.  The blog had over 370 page views in the month of January.

The Department of Planning and Community Development promoted the Dover Community Trail through the facebook fan page for the trail (with 295 fans), as well as a Sustainable Dover facebook fan page for the trail (with 126 fans).

The Director of Planning and Community Development filmed a promotional video for Dover Download and to air on Channel 22. This video highlights the Dover2023 Community Visioning project.

The Director of Planning and Community Development was a guest on WTSN’s Open Mike on February 27, 2012. The topic was the upcoming Community Visioning project.

The Director of Planning and Community Development attended the EPA public hearing on the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, The Director spoke as part of the City’s presentation on the implications a 3% nitrogen load might have on smart growth and other planning initiatives the City has undertaken.

The Director of Planning and Community Development attended the ward 1/3/6 Citizen Speak Out session on February 23, 2012 at Langdon Place.

Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 28 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, Planning and Community Development staff participated in one (1) webinar. The topic was regulating sand and gravel mining.

In February, Planning and Community Development staff participated in four (4) tele-seminars. The topics all related to creating healthy communities and how planning activities can work to develop healthy lifestyles for residents.

The Director of Planning and Community Development continued as one of the 35 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. In February, the group visited Spaulding High School, in Rochester, as part of Education Day.

The Director of Planning and Community Development continued to be part of the team developing conference topics and themes for this year’s New Hampshire Planner’s Association annual conference in May.

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 Planning Department followed up with the School Department on the projects that had been included in the Capital Improvement’s Program. The follow up was both to understand the projects that may begin as part of the FY 2013 authorization, but also included a review of potential projects for FY14 – 19.

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 Director of Planning and Community Development continued to work with the Economic Development Director to review the proposed infill development proposal and its revisions, as presented by River Valley Development.

Planning and Community Development staff worked with the Economic Development Director to identify potential business stakeholders who might participate in the Dover 2023 project.



Planning and Community Development staff conducted an A-Frame sign sweep, the week of 20th through 24th of February. This sweep was developed to review potential illegal A-Frame signs that might exist in the City. As a result Planning staff will work with business and property owners to better understand the City’s sign regulations.
The Planning Department continued to work towards completion of the Community Trail. In February work on the trail included working towards an easement agreement with two abutters to the trail, as well as coordinating two separate grants to secure funds for extensions of the trail toward the south of Fisher Street.

Additionally, the Director of Planning and Community Development worked with Timberland, Inc on developing a scope for a work day that will be held in Dover to celebrate Earth Day. This scope included reviewing sections of the trail to have volunteers work on and potential projects along the canoe launch installed in 2011.

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

Planning Board
·        Granted a Conditional Use Permit to allow Seacoast Kettlebell to relocate from their existing Central Avenue location into an industrial space located at 23 Horne Street.
·        Held a public hearing on applications submitted by public service organizations to the City for an allocation of funds granted to Dover by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
o   14 applications have been submitted for public service and public facilities funding.
·        A Conditional Use Permit was granted for Michael and Shelby Brewer located on Fourth Street
o   This will allow encroachment into the wetlands buffer for a house and driveway.
·        Granted a one year extension for a major subdivision approved in 2006.
o   This is a four lot subdivision off Tolend Road on a private road.
·        Granted approval for Graystone Builders (owners Lionel and Kristina Paradis) to subdivide land on Tolend Road.
o   This subdivision will create 4 lots, along the existing roadway.
§  No new road will be created.

Zoning Board
·        Granted a variance for STF Development Corp. at 39 Dover Point Road from Section 170-12.A of the Zoning Ordinance.
o   This will allow construction of 8 townhouse residences, with shared access to the adjacent parcel
·        Granted a variance for South Dover Investment Group at 37 Dover Point Road from Section 170-12.A of the Zoning Ordinance.
o   This amended a prior variance approval to allow for 32 units, and  removed the requirement for congregate care, to provide that the units on the first floor be occupied by residents age 55 or older, to remove the age restrictions for the second and third floors, and to remove the requirement that food service be provided.
·        Granted a variance for The Housing Partnership (Owner Sydney Robbins Trust). at 1 Dover Street from Sections 170-12A and 170-12B of the Zoning Ordinance.
o   This will allow construction of 42 apartment residences within an existing warehouse.
o   This will allow a reduction in the amount of passive open space required on site from 4300 square feet to 2600 square feet.
o   This will allow the structure to exceed the height restrictions in the district by 12 feet (currently the building exceeds the height by 10 feet).

Conservation Commission
·        A Conditional Use Permit was endorsed for Michael and Shelby Brewer located on Fourth Street
o   This will allow encroachment into the wetlands buffer for a house and driveway.

Transportation Advisory Commission
·        Continued to review a request from a resident to install a yield sign at the intersection of Spruce Lane and Garrison Road (in favor of Garrison Road).
·        Received an update regarding traffic hazards on Portland Avenue.
·        Discussed regarding school transportation issues

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.
The Master Plan Steering Committee held meetings on Tuesday, February 7, and February 28.  The Committee worked on the survey that will be used to gather input. The work included reviewing questions asked during the 2006 Speak Out sessions as well as the UNH Telephone Survey that was conducted. Additionally, the community conversation, which will be held March 10, 2012, was discussed and prepared for.

The Conservation and Open Space Steering Committee recently completed a year long effort to update the Conservation and Open Space chapter of the Dover Master Plan.  The committee was comprised of members from the Conservation Commission, Open Lands Committee and other interested members of the public.  On February 16, 2012, the Committee members voted to endorse the final draft of the chapter and forward it onto the Planning Board for their review.  The Chair of the committee, Lee Skinner, will be presenting the revised chapter to the Planning Board at a workshop on March 13, 2012 . It is expected that the Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the chapter on March 27, 2012.

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, as well as part of the application process, which began in January and will be completed in March.

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 has undertaken a review of the final 5 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. Planning staff will be completing most of the amendments and presenting them to the Planning Board on March 13, 2012.

The first 10 amendments that were approved by the Planning Board are before the City Council for its review and adoption. The City Council forwarded the amendments to a public hearing on February 8, 2012. After the public hearing the Council held a workshop and then approved the amendments, with a minor addition, on February 22, 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 Assistant City Planner and the Economic Development Director are working on education and outreach material to reach out to businesses regarding Dover’s sign regulations.

The Director of Planning and Community Development is conducting a review of the Department’s web site and the information contained within it and other similar sites to ensure that data is current and valuable.

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.


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
· Silver Street reconstruction request for proposals.

Planning staff worked with land owners of property at the following locations on development or redevelopment opportunities:
  • NH Coffee on Sumner Drive
  • 365 Sixth Street
  • Technical Review for 1 Washington Street (yoga studio expansion)
  • Technical Review for Olive Meadow Lane
  • 1 Dover Street
  • 37 Dover Point Road
  • 28 Dover Point Road
  • Thornwood Commons project
  • 16 Industrial Park Drive
  • Ross Furniture
  • 11 Webb Place

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