Master Plan

Dover's Master Plan Introduction

A Master Plan is a comprehensive plan which guides the long-term physical development for a community. Each plan should be reviewed every 10-20 years. Dover began a recent cycle updating the Master Plan in 2020.

If you have questions about the review process, please contact Erin Bassegio in the Planning Department.

The following are brief descriptions of completed sections of Dover's Master Plan update. You may download PDF versions of the chapters using the free Adobe Acrobat reader to view them.

Additionally, you can view the 2024 Update on Recommendations - Executive Summary.

The Vision Chapter was the latest chapter of the Master Plan to be reviewed and updated. To learn about the Vision Chapter, titled Distinctly Dover, please click here.

Climate Adaptation - 2017

The City of Dover is undertaking the development of a new chapter of the Master Plan that will address issues related to changes in climate.  The Climate Adaptation Chapter is being led by a steering committee comprised of Dover citizens appointed by the Planning Board.  The Dover Planning and Community Development Department, Strafford Regional Planning Commission and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service are providing support for the project.  As the project proceeds, draft documents and other materials will be placed here for review.  The process will include public outreach efforts and events to insure that citizens have an opportunity to express their thoughts.  The process will result in a chapter that will be presented to the Planning Board for their review.  At that point, the Planning Board will conduct a public hearing and then schedule a meeting for adoption once final edits have been completed.

An online survey has been created to provide all interested stakeholders with an opportunity for feedback on the actions drafted by the Steering Committee. There are six main topic areas of the chapter. Each topic area has at least one issue and associated objective(s), and each objective has several draft actions. The Steering Committee is looking for your feedback on these draft actions.

 Click here to go to the survey

Vision – 2023

This chapter of the City’s master plan captures that long term view and serves as the foundation on which all of the remaining chapters of the master plan are built. The entire master plan is used to shape city and community policy decisions and is particularly useful in defining land use regulations and long-term capital budgeting priorities.

Land Use Analysis - 2015

Dover's heritage and character is important to its residents. This is a community that looks forward, with a mind for understanding the impacts past development has had. This is a community which strives to be first. It understands the Yankee ideal of conservation of resources, land and otherwise. The community’s Master Plan transforms that ideal and the community’s visions into a roadmap for a future; a future that looks towards the next 400 years. Land Use is an important component of that future, and this chapter is designed to provide recommendations about Dover’s future land uses and land use decisions that will be made over the next decade.

Transportation - 2016

This chapter of the City of Dover Master Plan is being updated. A draft of the revised chapter was adopted by the Planning Board on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Goals for this chapter include reviewing opportunities for traffic calming, expanding the City’s Complete Street network and reviewing opportunities for mass transit in Dover. At the workshop the consulting team will have three areas for residents to give feedback and ask questions about. Each area will have maps and graphics, which can be used to generate conversation about the topic. Those three areas are:

  •          Traffic Congestion/Crash Locations
  •          Transit/Bike/Pedestrian Connectivity
  •          Neighborhoods/Traffic Calming/ Land Use Patterns


The Stewardship of Resources chapter, recently adopted, brings together a range of resources and issues that were identified during the development of the Vision Chapter as critical components of what helps to make Dover a unique place. Specifically, the Stewardship of Resources chapter will address the following topics: energy, natural resources, historic and cultural resources, coastal management, natural hazards and social capital.

Recreation – 2020

A traditional recreation master plan chapter provides municipalities with a broad range of recommendations for enhancing parks and recreational opportunities; however, arts and cultural activities are often absent from the process. This document, written 11 years after the last update, integrates art and culture with recreation and describes a holistic planning approach. The term cultural recreation is used throughout this chapter to describe the blend of arts, culture, and recreation. These valuable services provide individual and community benefits and incorporating them together will further the City’s vision of becoming a healthy, active, and culturally diverse city.

Community Facilities and Utilities - 2022

The City of Dover and its employees are recognized as providing a high level of effective services. The Dover government is a large, complex organization delivering a wide and diverse range of services to the residents and businesses of the City. City business is conducted by the City Council managing about half of the budget and the School Board managing the rest with only bottom line funding approval by the Council. By definition it is a bureaucracy and, like most other bureaucracies, our City government and its activities has evolved over time to meet the new demands placed on it by growth. Sometimes that growth has been slow and steady and sometimes it has been very rapid such as we are currently facing as we enter the new millennium. In either case, attention has sometimes been focused on meeting the new needs rather than finding ways to deliver existing services in the most efficient way. The City and School budgets have been developed separately without first setting limits for combined growth and identifying areas of mutual need and possible joint efforts to hold costs down. This has resulted in adding new people, facilities, equipment, and activities at ever-increasing costs. Efforts at last minute budget cutting to hold cost down have sometimes been misdirected to things such as deferring necessary maintenance or new programs, which eventually resulted in higher costs. Dover needs to change that approach to managing its business.

Open Space and Conservation- 2012

Dover has a long history of placing a priority on environmental protection and management. Open Space and Recreation Plans were developed in 1973, 1978, 1988 and the 1988 City-wide Master Plan contained a detailed chapter on the open space and recreation needs of Dover. This chapter serves as an update to the 1988 Master Plan and integrates the information and recommendations contained in previous plans with the most recent needs that have been identified in Dover.

Recommendation Summaries

Annually, the Department of Planning and Community Development reviews progress made on Master Plan recommendations and produces a report updating the community on that progress.

Previous Chapters

Dover has been reviewing and producing comprehensive or master plans since 1963. Below is a sample of previous plans.


Throughout the Master Planning Process, public participation is a key element. Below is a sample of presentations related to the Master Plan that have been created over the years.


Throughout the Master Planning Process, conveying information visually is important to educating the public and steering committee. Below is a sample of maps related to the Master Plan that have been created over the years.