Monday, April 9, 2012

March (Planning) Madness

Below are the activities that the Department of Planning and Community Development undertook in March of 2012.

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 151 Facebook (City of Dover NH Planning) friends and 300 followers on Twitter @DoverNHPlanning).

During the month of March, two (2) Planning blog posts were drafted, one previewing the Dover 2023 Community Visioning process. The second covered the February report to the Manager.  The blog had over 320 page views in the month of March, which brings the total page views to over 10,000 for the blog.

The Department of Planning and Community Development promoted the Dover Community Trail through the facebook fan page for the trail (with 301 fans), as well as a Sustainable Dover facebook fan page for the trail (with 128 fans).

The Director of Planning and Community Development filmed three promotional videos for Dover Download to air on Channel 22. The videos highlight the Dover2023 Community Visioning project, upcoming Planning Board workshop topics, and the adoption of the Open Space and Conservation chapter of the Master Plan.

The Department of Planning and Community Development held four community input sessions in March as part of its Dover 2023 Community Vision project. The first meeting was held March 10, at the Dover Middle School. Following the kick off meeting, staff held neighborhood meetings at the three elementary schools (March 13, 14 and 22). These meetings were designed to gather input from attendees on how they see Dover evolving over the next 10 plus years. As part of the Dover 2023 sessions, staff used technology to ask participants questions with instant feedback through the use of the City’s electronic polling software.

In addition to the Dover 2023 sessions, Planning staff developed a survey which allows participants to answer similar questions to those being asked at the sessions, and partake in the process if they cannot attend the meetings.

As part of the Dover 2023 outreach, staff participated in an editorial board meeting with Foster’s Daily Democrat and appeared on Open Mike with Mike Pomp on WTSN.

The Director of Planning and Community Development was a featured speaker at the Dover Chamber of Commerce’s forum on the challenges and opportunities that are a result of Dover’s continued growth and development. This forum occurred on March 14 in the McConnell Center.

Finally, this month the Department of Planning and Community Development sent out 32 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, Planning and Community Development staff participated in one (1) webinar. The topic was economic opportunities with an aging population.

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 March, the group visited various arts and culture destinations in Portsmouth, accompanied an air refueling flight with the Air National Guard out of Pease ANGB and visited Stonewall Kitchen’s facility ion York Maine as part of Economic Development 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.

The Director of Planning and Community Development was a featured speaker at the Local Energy Solutions conference held in Penacook NH, on March 31, 2012. The Director was a member of a panel discussion focused on best practices by local governments for promoting energy infrastructure improvements and conservation in both municipal and community methods.

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.

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.

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

Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) has completed the first quarter energy report for the City. JCI completed energy upgrades and improvements to City buildings and facilities as part of a guaranteed energy savings contract with Dover. The City is on track to save $319,463 in the first year of the contract with JCI which started in November through October, annually for a ten (10) year period. Fiscal year to date savings are $186,516. The report can be viewed at, under “Current City Reports.” The report is titled: Johnson Control M&V Report 1st Quarter Report



Planning and Community Development staff worked in March with staff at COAST to review locations for bus stops and ways to improve transit frequency, such as the use of a device which would allow public transit busses to have a priority at traffic lights. COAST is reviewing if this implementation is allowed by the State of New Hampshire and will advise staff. This work is part of a larger discussion on ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems), which works to improve transportation corridors to improve flow and lessen pollutants.

Planning staff worked on early stages of participation in May’s Bike/Walk to work week. The City has hosted a free breakfast to “green” commuters for the past two years and plans on promoting the event this year, as well.

Planning and Community Development staff worked in March to review extraction permits in Dover. These permits are required for property owners to operate a gravel pit in Dover. Annually these permits are reviewed by staff and approved by the Planning Board. The work in March was preparing for the reviews in April, by meeting with pit owners to layout the process and discuss opportunities for improvement in the process.

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

Planning Board
·         Approved the Community Development Block Grant action plan for FY13. This will be forwarded to the City Council for adoption in April.
·         Held a public hearing asking the public for input on land use regulations the Board might want to review.
o   None were suggested
·         Held a public hearing on the Conservation and Open Space chapter of the Master Plan
o   This was adopted unanimously by the Board after the hearing.
·         Approved a site plan for the Dover Housing Authority to create a parking lot addition for housing on Union Street.
·         Held a public hearing on renovating a former shoe factory/warehouse into 42 units of housing located at 1 Dover Street.
o   The public hearing was recessed and a site walk was scheduled for April 3, 2012.
·         Approved a Minor Lot Line Adjustment for two parcels located on Wentworth Terrace.
o   No new lots were created.
·         Approved a Minor Subdivision of land on Gulf Road.
o   1 new lot was created using the Kings Highway private driveway.
·         Granted a Conditional Use Permit to allow for a shared parking for a new restaurant to be developed where the former “Blockbuster Video” was located on Webb Place.
o   The space will be divided into a “Five Guys” restaurant and a retail space.

Zoning Board
·         Granted a variance for Dover Flower Studio LLC at 652 Central Avenue from Section 170-12.A of the Zoning Ordinance.
o   This will allow for the erection of a 11 square foot projecting sign, where freestanding signs are not allowed by right.
·         Granted a special exception to Dover Flower Shop LLC at 652 Central Avenue from Section 170-12.A of the Zoning Ordinance.
o   This allows a neighborhood sized retail use to be placed where a retail use had previously operated.

Conservation Commission
·         A revision to a previously supported NHDES Minimum Impact Expididted Permit was endorsed for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation located at Hilton Park (Little Bay Bridge Project).
o   This will allow for the impact of 200± sq. ft. of shore land to construct a natural gas pipeline by means of a horizontal directional drill under Little Bay/Piscataqua River.  Revision is to construct 113 feet of gas pipeline to connect to the existing gas transmission line.  Buffer impact was endorsed by Conservation Commission on December 12, 2011.

Transportation Advisory Commission
·         Denied 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 the traffic calming project on Atkinson, Belknap, Cushing and Lexington Street
·         Reaffirmed a request to replace a “Yield” sign on Pierce Street with a “Stop” sign

Energy Commission
·         Held an organizational meeting, approving rules, identifying when meetings will occur and discussing the election of officers.

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 meeting on Wednesday, March 28.  The Committee reviewed the outcomes of the March kick off meeting, held March 10, and the neighborhood meetings held March 13, 14 and 22nd. Additionally, the committee discussed the survey that is available, and the work to be completed as part of the April meetings.

The Open Space and Conservation chapter of the Dover Master Plan was approved by the Planning Board on March 27, 2012. The Chair of the committee, Lee Skinner, presented the revised chapter to the Planning Board at a workshop on March 13, 2012 

Review, and update as needed, the Community Development Block Grant program to ensure compatibility with Best Management Practices.
As the FY2013 CDBG fund allocation process is underway, Planning Staff is working on documenting the process and investigating areas for improvement. One current revision has been to the format the information is presented to the Planning Board.

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 presented them to the Planning Board on March 13, 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. The March topic was the Conservation and Open Space Master Plan. The April topic is land use board orientation and sidewalks vs shoulders for roadways.

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 continue to develop outreach materials for businesses on Dover’s sign regulations.

The Director of Planning and Community Development is developing an invitation to business owners. The invitation will be to meet with Planning staff and discuss the relation between developing a quality of life Dover residents would like, while being supportive of economic development.

Coordinate discussions and implementation of improved pedestrian and vehicular way finding signs in downtown Dover.
Planning staff met with residents who wish to work on this project. Staff is reviewing the wayfinding plan that the Dover Main Street organization completed previously.


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
·  Willand Pond
·  Silver Street reconstruction request for proposals.
·  Harvest Place
·  Appaloosa Drive

Planning staff worked with land owners of property at the following locations on development or redevelopment opportunities:
  • NH Coffee on Sumner Drive
  • Spruce Lane
  • Technical Review for 1 Dover Street (43 Unit Apartment)
  • Technical Review for Union Street (parking lot)
  • 475 Tolend Road
  • 37 Dover Point Road
  • 28 Dover Point Road
  • Thornwood Commons project
  • Ross Furniture
  • 11 Webb Place
  • 44 Arch Street
  • 1 Washington Street
  • 2 Washington Street
  • Various properties owned by Robbins Auto Parts Realty
  • Property at the intersection of Oak Street and Central Avenue.


The Director of Planning and Community Development was invited by the NH Local Government Center to develop a series of lectures on the success Dover has had with innovative land use regulations for the fall Municipal Law Lecture series. This series will be throughout the state and occur in October and November. 

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