Adopted in 2009, Dover has the first Form Based Code in the state of New Hampshire. Yet even while it was being formulated, Summit Land Development saw the possibilities in its philosophy, and proposed a development that would eventually exemplify what a new approach to zoning could and would produce.
Form Based code (or Smart Code of New Urbanism) reflects, in part, how early development of New England towns actually happened, with density in the centers and “rings” of lesser density and then more rural going away from the core. With Form Based Code)(FBC), each section has different regulations, but the most important characteristic is that new buildings and their uses are in sync with what is already there – keeping to the “rhythm” of the neighborhood. In Dover, this meant that new buildings would be consistent with what was already there in Dover – in look and feel, setbacks – even, to a certain extent, materials used.
This particular project was an in-fill of mixed uses and demonstrates that it can be done and done well. It brings new vitality to an underutilized section of town, and the Dover FBC is flexible enough to allow an array of services in future projects necessary to residents and workers alike.
The jury found that this project was “an innovative rethinking of the purpose and mechanics of zoning and that it is noteworthy for presenting an example of theory in practice.”