posted on: 3/28/2019

On Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 7 p.m., the City of Dover invites residents, property and business owners to meet with the committee reviewing potential rezoning that promotes economic development and improved quality of life in Dover. This is a follow up to an earlier public hearing held by the committee in January.

After reviewing transportation corridors and existing infrastructure, the committee has developed potential recommendations to present to the Planning Board. At its December 2018 meeting, the committee decided that prior to presenting a final report, it would invite the public to attend the Jan. 17 meeting to offer comments and proposals.

At that meeting, a dozen residents attended and offered feedback on how they’d like to see Dover develop in the future, including focusing on areas the City has made significant infrastructure investment, the need for a mix of uses and continued support for walkable, bikable and transit oriented uses. Discussion included a review of how much of the city was zoned residential and how much of Dover’s land area is conserved.  

Committee seeks public input on rezoning options

posted on: 3/28/2019

On Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 7 p.m., the City of Dover invites residents, property and business owners to meet with the committee reviewing potential rezoning that promotes economic development and improved quality of life in Dover. This is a follow up to an earlier public hearing held by the committee in January.

After reviewing transportation corridors and existing infrastructure, the committee has developed potential recommendations to present to the Planning Board. At its December 2018 meeting, the committee decided that prior to presenting a final report, it would invite the public to attend the Jan. 17 meeting to offer comments and proposals.

At that meeting, a dozen residents attended and offered feedback on how they’d like to see Dover develop in the future, including focusing on areas the City has made significant infrastructure investment, the need for a mix of uses and continued support for walkable, bikable and transit oriented uses. Discussion included a review of how much of the city was zoned residential and how much of Dover’s land area is conserved.

Similar to January’s meeting, this meeting, held in Council Chambers at City Hall, and broadcast over Channel 22, will begin with an open invitation to those in attendance to help design the ideal zoning map in Dover. A map of the city with basic utilities and roadway networks will be displayed and those in attendance will have the opportunity to comment on where they would like to see residential and non-residential zones.

According to Dan Barufaldi, Dover’s Economic Development Director, evaluating Dover’s zoning is important to its future viability.

"Dover needs to continue to preserve the continued job growth viability of Dover for the next several decades,” Barufaldi said. Barufaldi has spoken previously about the need to be a job center as well as a place to raise a family. “We want to be vibrant and accessible to all age brackets and demographics, and work to maintain our diversity. We stand first in New Hampshire and want to maintain that position."

Planning and Economic Development staff will be on hand to review portions of the city’s Master Plan related to zoning and provide guidance, but staff will not direct the conversation. In January, Scott Johnson, chair of the committee, noted, “We have worked over the past year, in an open forum, to review Dover and how it might continue to grow. While we have had feedback along the way, we want to hear from the community at large and see if we missed something.”

This session is a further opportunity for the public to contribute to this project.

Christopher Parker, Dover’s Assistant City Manager who oversees planning activities looks forward to the feedback.

“Dover operates strategically,” Parker said. “Zoning changes are among the most important strategies we have for long term growth and vibrancy. At the same time they are some of the toughest decisions staff and policy makers make. These decisions are not made lightly. The more input people can give, the more information decision makers have when choosing a path.”

After the public has an opportunity to present ideas, the Committee will review its draft recommendations, and the feedback provided in January. Finally, those present will be invited to provide additional feedback.

After this meeting, the committee will meet again and make final recommendations to be included in a report to the Planning Board. The report will detail a list of short-, medium- and long-range recommendations for consideration. Each recommendation will include a map of the area proposed for rezoning, a basic recommendation for changing the zoning district, and an explanation of the rationale for the change. Finally, staff opinions on the effects of the change will be included. This report would be made available in the Planning Office, Economic Development Office and online.

Upon receiving the report, the Planning Board can choose which recommendations to pursue and in what timeline. Recommendations are reviewed in a thoughtful and community driven process. Similar to proposals in 2017 and 2018, city staff will develop reports on a review of infrastructure, a build-out analysis, potential traffic impacts, and a review of environmental constraints. Upon review of this material, as well as extensive public comment, the Planning Board can then act to adopt or reject proposals. If adopted, the proposals would then be forwarded to the City Council for ratification. According to Parker, this process usually takes six months.

The rezoning committee appointed by the Planning Board on Jan. 23, 2018 is Lee Skinner, Planning Board; City Councilor Marcia Gasses; Scott Johnson, DBIDA; Sean O’Connell, representing the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce; School Board member Zachary Koehler; and Chris Wyskiel, a resident of Dover. The goals of the committee are to objectively review the community without preconceived notions of what may or may not be recommended.

The draft recommendations are available online here.

For more information, please contact the Economic Development Office at 516-6043, or the Planning Office at 516-6008.