The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Sherry Sims, Ned Hulbert, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Heri Tryba, Noel Greiner, Nick Colony, Peter Thayer, Jonathan Miner Selectman attendee
Members absent: Courtney Cox
Members of public and town officials: Donna Stone Town Clerk, Craig Thompson, Ryan Stone, Winston Sims Conservation Commission Chairman, Lisa Anderson
Attendance and voting members
Ned Hulbert stated that the voting members present were himself, Sherry Sims, Andrew Maneval, Heri Tryba and Peter Thayer.
Approval of Agenda
Noel Greiner made a motion to approve the agenda. All voted in favor.
Election of PB Secretary
The PB proposed to elect Pete Thayer as Secretary. Andrew Maneval seconded. All voted in favor.
Minutes of previous meeting 12/14/16, 1/4/17
Noel Greiner motioned to approve both sets of minutes. Andrew Maneval seconded. All voted in favor.
Public Hearing: Proposed Zoning Amendments – Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
Sherry Sims explained the background and purpose of the new state law, which prompted the PB’s drafting of a proposed amendment to Harrisville’s zoning ordinance related to ADUs. Mrs. Sims described the aspects of the state law (NH RSA 674:71-73, Accessory Dwelling Units and RSA 674:21, Innovative Land Use Controls, effective June 2017) with which the town has no choice and those with which the town has some flexibility in meeting the overall goal of expanding the mix of affordable housing opportunities. Mrs. Sims then reviewed the proposed ordinance, including how it differs from the state law where applicable, and the board discussed modifications to the language so that a fully drafted ordinance, Article XXIX Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), could be put forward as a warrant article at Town Meeting. In addition to the broader intent of the ordinance, discussion focused more specifically on language related to size requirements, accommodations for certain conditions, and the need for a Conditional Use Permit by the PB in high density and lakeside areas and for detached units.
Noel Greiner proposed to accept additional language recommended by Anne Howe related to allowable exceptions in size requirements related to medical and other disabilities, exceptions that incorporate Universal Design Principles. Heri Tryba proposed an addition to Anne Howe’s language after which Mr. Tryba, Andrew Maneval and the group discussed various ways to address this in the proposed ordinance, including reincorporating language that had been removed from a previous draft prepared by the PB. In the vote on Heri Tryba’s addition, the board voted 1-4 against (Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims, Andrew Maneval and Pete Thayer voted against and Heri Tryba voted in favor) and the proposed addition was defeated.
A motion was then made by Heri Tryba to allow additional exceptions to the maximum size requirement by adding to Article 29:6.1 the following language: “… the maximum size of an ADU may not exceed 1,000 square feet. The Planning Board may authorize variations from maximum size by Conditional Use Permit for medical and/or other disabilities.” Andrew Maneval seconded. All voted in favor.
The board reviewed and agreed on other final clerical edits to the proposed draft. Ned Hulbert then made a motion that the Planning Board put forward the proposed draft ADU ordinance as a warrant article. Pete Thayer seconded. During the discussion, Jonathan Miner requested that the record reflect his disagreement with the Conditional Use Permit requirement. Heri Tryba added he would abstain from voting on the motion given his preference for a more comprehensive ordinance, more in keeping with the housing committee’s original draft as a better reflection of the Master Plan. Andrew Maneval then stated that, although he disagreed with three or four serious principles laid out in the proposed ordinance, he nevertheless would vote on it given his feeling that the document was an improvement. The vote was 4-0 in favor, with one abstention (Heri Tryba).
Introduction of Two Possible Warrants
Ned Hulbert introduced drafts of two possible warrants for discussion by the board, specifically to determine whether or not the Planning Board should recommend them to the Select Board as suggested strategic economic priorities for the town.
The first draft warrant article related to proposed crosswalks within the historic village, as a scaled-down plan to propose additional road, path and trail improvements to promote safe travel in the village and from the village to other areas of town. Andrew Maneval stated, though he is in favor of crosswalks, he feels it isn’t an issue for a warrant article but one that the Select Board could address separately with the appropriate town officials and bodies. The board discussed that many questions remain outstanding, including involvement of the state to determine sight lines and on other engineering issues, as well as the best way to address residents’ safety concerns. Heri Tryba raised his concern that putting forth the warrant article went against the goals of the Master Plan. Ned Hulbert stated that the overall goals of Complete Streets remained a work in progress and Sherry Sims added that it was also a matter of determining PB priorities and that Broadband may be the more pressing issue where more immediate attention and resources were needed. The group decided that it would recommend to the Select Board that it consider cross walks or other traffic calming measures at the school and at two locations in town that are risky for crossing as a 2017 budget allocation, after dialogue with the Complete Streets working group, which will be in contact with a DOT historic preservation employee, who might work with the Select Board and others to decide the best approach and implementation strategy. Also the Select Board can consider input from those attending the upcoming Community Conversations meeting on January 17 before finalizing its decision to allocate money for safety crosswalks or other traffic calming measures.
The second draft warrant addressed Broadband and Cell service within the town. Ned Hulbert explained that the draft proposed the idea of matching funds, a partnership between the town and private investors, to raise the money needed for an engineering design study as an initial step to improve wireless and internet coverage and potentially introduce competition among telecommunications providers in the area. Andrew Maneval clarified that the proposal included a maximum potential contribution by the town of $10,000, the amount determined by the potential amount matched by other investors. Noel Greiner stated his opposition to any funding by the town given his belief that all funding should come from private companies providing the service. There was general consensus that Harrisville’s zoning ordinance, the way it is now written, is a hindrance to potential service providers. The group discussed the importance of the technology, and the importance of planning for and developing the necessary infrastructure, for the future of the town. Some members felt the zoning ordinance issue should be addressed first while others felt an engineering design study would help determine how the ordinance might be modified to accommodate infrastructure needs.
Andrew Maneval moved that the PB recommend to the Select Board that the Broadband / Cell proposal be put forth as a draft warrant article for Town Meeting. Sherry Sims seconded. The vote was 4-1 with Noel Greiner opposed.
Andrew Maneval noted that February 7 is the last date for a special warrant article. He indicated his awareness that the timing of the Select Board’s consideration whether or not to support the proposal was important for the PB’s purposes and next steps. Ned Hulbert reiterated that the topic would be a focus of the upcoming Community Conversations meeting on January 17, where added input will be given to the Select Board as to how to frame this warrant.
Website Budget considerations
Ned Hulbert stated that the issue was raised with the Select Board and Andrew Maneval confirmed that the town website will be dealt with as part of the SB budgeting process.
January 17, 2017 Community Conversations – 6:00 – 8:30, sponsored by PB, supper 6-6:30.
Topics: Crosswalks and Broadband with brief reports by Community Activities and Gym groups.
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm.