Dover’s Master Plan

Did you know that Dover has a Master Plan?  Do you know why a Master Plan is important for Dover?  Neither did I, until recently.  Dover’s city leadership has deep roots in the city and is extremely passionate about responsible economic and community growth.  A critical component to responsible growth is setting strict zoning guidelines that regulate how land can be used and under what regulations from the city.  New Hampshire law specifies that if a community desires to adopt zoning regulations, the planning board must first adopt the mandatory sections of the master Plan (RSA 674:18).  There are two mandatory sections that are specified (Vision and Land Use).  In Dover, this allows the planning board and city to dictate how our land is developed and can set some regulation on requirements for development that allow Dover to grow, while keeping true to our culture of a family friendly city.

Dover’s Master Plan is a strategic document that guides the city in decision making and long-range planning focused on its community first culture.  It helps to guide things like, appropriate use of our land to protect public health, welfare and safety.  Put simply, Dover’s Master Plan is focused on who we want to be as a community in the year 2023 on our 400th anniversary, but the planning board has decided to also make this a living document with regular updates to the plan that incorporate new sections and updates others to ensure we always have a long-range outlook on where we want to be and why we feel like that is so important for Dover.  Here is Dover’s high level vision with its 8 interconnected parts:

When Dover celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2023 it will be a dynamic
community with an outstanding quality of life because it has achieved
the following interconnected characteristics:

  • Residents celebrate safe, family friendly neighborhoods, a strong sense of
    community and an excellent school system.
  • The historic downtown is alive with a wide variety of retail, dining,
    entertainment, cultural opportunities and a mix of housing choices that
    make it the vibrant focal point of the community.
  • Municipal government and schools are run effectively and efficiently with
    full transparency, resulting in high quality services, well maintained
    buildings and infrastructure, a great recreation system and a competitive
    property tax burden.
  • The community is fully served by public transportation and is very
    accessible for walking, bicycling and persons with disabilities.
  • Vehicular traffic volumes and speeds are well managed.
  • Dover attracts and retains stable, well-paying employers because it is
    business friendly and has a high quality of life.
  • Rural character is preserved and well designed development is
    encouraged in and around the downtown core and waterfront.
  • Enhanced environmental quality and sustainability are actively pursued
    and inherent in all the City’s activities.

In Dover, our Master Plan identifies the following other areas of public concern:

  • Transportation
  • Stewardship of Resources (energy, natural resources, historic and cultural, coastal management and social capital)
  • Climate Adaptation (new section under development now)
  • Recreation
  • Community Facilities and Utilities
  • Open Space and Conservation

As an example of what can be found in the master plan are projects that have a direct impact to you.  Specifically calling out some of the transportation projects in Ward 6:

  • Long Hill Road. Currently only a small portion of Long Hill Road—the segment between Old Rochester Road and New Rochester Road—includes sidewalk. Installing sidewalk from the intersection of Old Rochester Road west to Phillip Street for this very short distance would provide access to Long Hill Memorial Park and connect into the City’s existing sidewalk network on New Rochester Road (NH Route 108). Several neighborhoods in the Mohawk Drive/Apache Street/Cheyenne Street vicinity (approximately 115 homes) would gain dedicated pedestrian access to the park, and tie into the existing sidewalk network.

Also, what about biking around the city, you would be happy to know that the city has thought about this and it is also part of the transportation section of the Master Plan.

  • In order to address long-term bicycle needs, the City should formalize a
    citywide bike plan that identifies existing gaps, determines recommended
    routes with specific treatments and amenities, and establishes targeted
    improvement projects (either standalone or in conjunction with other
    on-going improvement projects within the City). These can be
    incorporated and programmed into the City’s CIP for implementation. A
    focus area of the plan should prioritize and seek opportunities to
    connect bicycle use to the community trail in a way that makes riders feel
    safe. The plan should also include an inventory of existing bicycle racks
    and feature recommendations for future rack placement. Additional
    consideration could be given to developing a separate plan that targets
    navigating through the downtown area.
    Aside from a long-term plan, the previously mentioned Strava data
    provides some insight into roads currently being used for bicycle travel
    in the City. Using this information—in conjunction with a future,
    more-detailed engineering review—consideration could be given to
    evaluating and designating bike loops for recreational use with
    shared lane markings (SLMs or “sharrows”) at:

    • Henry Law Avenue/Back Road/Court Street/Central Avenue
    • Back Road/Middle Road Loop
    • Sixth Street/County Farm Cross Road/County Farm Road


There is a lot of information available on each of these sections of the Master Plan located on the Dover website here: 

Also, I would encourage you to take a look at the Vision document from the Master Plan, located here:

Have a question about the Master Plan or would you like me to research something on your behalf, let me know.  What about suggestions for the plan, let me know and I would be happy to advocate.


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