We hope this site brings our work to you, the citizens of Dover.
The Commission meets on the second Monday of each month, at 5:30 in the City Hall.
For more information, please feel free to call the Planning and Community Development Department @ 516-6008.
What is a Conservation Commission?
New Hampshire RSA 36-A authorizes a municipality to establish a conservation commission “for the proper utilization and protection of the natural resources and for the protection of watershed resources of said city or town”. A commission is the only local body specifically charged with protecting natural resources; it provides a focal pint within municipal government for environmental concerns. Without a conservation commission, other boards may or may not be aware of and consider natural resources in carrying out their responsibilities.
A commission is an advisory body: it may offer advice on conservation matters to state and local agencies and boards, such as the Department of Environmental Services (DES) Wetlands Bureau, planning board, or City Council. It is the only local board authorized to “intervene”, or request more time, to review applications submitted to DES Wetlands Bureau.
What is the Dover Conservation Commission?
In December 1973, the Dover City Council established a Conservation Commission “for the declared purpose of developing, protecting and promoting the natural resources of Dover, for promoting an awareness of the conservation practices and policies throughout the city and for protecting the watershed resources of the city.” The authority for municipalities to establish Conservation Commissions is specified in New Hampshire State statute RSA 36A as outlined in this statute, Conservation Commissions are to:
• Conduct researches into its local land and water areas;
• Shall seek to coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes;
• Shall keep an index of all open space and natural, aesthetic or ecological areas within the city, and all marshlands, swamps and all other wet lands in a like manner. The Conservation Commission will have a plan for obtaining information pertinent to proper utilization of such areas, including lands owned by the state or the city, and may recommend to the city council a program for the protection, development or better utilization of all such areas; and
• Shall keep accurate records of its meetings and actions and shall file an annual report which shall be printed in the annual municipal report.
Dover City Code Chapter 14 outlines the powers and duties of the Dover Conservation Commission, which echoes the above state statutes and adds the following:
• The Commission shall prepare, adopt and, from time to time, review and amend a conservation and open space plan and shall submit said plan to the Planning Board for consideration as part of the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Dover.
• The Commission shall inform itself of the ways and means by which its plans and programs may be achieved and shall advise municipal agencies, the City Council, private interests and the public of the manner in which these objectives may be accomplished. It may accordingly advertise, prepare, print, and distribute books, maps, charts, plans, and pamphlets, which, in its judgment, it deems necessary for its work as defined herein.
• The Commission may receive gifts of money and property in the name of the city, subject to approval of the City Council. It may also, subject to approval of the City Council, acquire such land or water rights, development rights, or easements as may be necessary to acquire, maintain, improve, protect or limit the future use of or otherwise conserve and properly utilize open spaces and other land and water areas within the city. Such lands are to be managed and controlled by the Commission for conservation purposes.
• The Commission may establish a Conservation Fund for purposes consistent with its natural resource protection goals.
Role of the Conservation Commission
The Conservation Commission plays an important role in the City’s land protection and conservation efforts. Any expenditures from the conservation fund for the purchase of conservation easements or the purchase of property, requires the approval of the Conservation Commission after holding a public hearing. The Conservation Commission works closely with the Dover Open Land Committee (OLC), which is a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission.
Information on the OLC can be found at Open Lands Committee
Open Land and Recreation Areas.
The Conservation Commission also acts in an advisory role to the Planning Board during the land development process. When a landowner proposes to impact or fill wetlands, wetland buffers or the Conservation District, the conservation Commission reviews the application for a Conditional Use Permit. The Conservation Commission then makes a recommendation to the Planning Board, which makes the final decision. The Conservation Commission also is consulted for their opinion on developments in the Groundwater Protection District and on proposed excavation permits.
Information on the Conservation Commission can be found at Conservation Commission
View the Conservation Lands Audit and Online Inventory