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Dover, New Hampshire


Dover, population 25,900 (2000), is located 12 miles northwest of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Dover has had a TDR ordinance since 1990. However, this program is not profiled in Beyond Takings and Givings. The City’s ordinance basically creates two TDR overlay zones: industrial and residential. Within each district, the code provides for the transfer of development rights between sending and receiving areas within these two districts.


The Dover TDR ordinance is designed to preserve lands with conservation values including but not limited to wetlands, groundwater recharge zones, forested areas, wildlife habitat, farmland, scenic views, historic landmarks and linkages to other such areas.

The Industrial TDR District includes land zoned I-4 or B-4. The sending areas are open space and related setbacks. Any land in the I-4 or B-4 that do not qualify as sending areas are the receiving areas.

The Residential TDR Districts include all of the City’s residential zones. The sending areas are all R-40 and R-20 zones and the receiving areas are all non-R-40 and non-R-20 zones east of the Spaulding Turnpike.

Developers wanting to use the TDR option must apply to use special performance standards. In the Industrial TDR District, open space that would normally be required at the receiving site can be preserved on the sending site and standards for minimum lot size and minimum frontage can be waived as long as the development provides acceptable design and landscaping.

In the Residential TDR District, sending sites must be developable and at least five acres in size. Land preserved in the sending area may be counted toward the minimum lot size requirements at a receiving site. In addition, standards for minimum frontage can be waived. Furthermore, maximum density at the receiving site can be increased as long as the final density is consistent with the Master Plan and not incompatible with land uses on neighboring lots.


In June 2001, City Planner Steven Bird reported that the program was not used between 1998 and 2001. However, he understood that TDR was used quite a bit in the early 1990s when the City was establishing an industrial park.