The Harrisville Planning Board held a special meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 from 5:30-7:00 pm.
Members Present: Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims, Heri Tryba, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Courtney Cox, Pete Thayer alternate, Noel Greiner alternate, Nick Colony alternate, Jonathan Miner Selectboard attendee
Members of the public present: Brian Foucher, Pat Putnam and Anne Howe
Meeting called to order by Ned Hulbert at 5:30 pm.
Attendance and voting members
Ned Hulbert stated that the voting members are himself, Sherry Sims, Andrew Maneval, Courtney Cox and Heri Tryba.
Approval of Agenda
Ned Hulbert reviewed the agenda to include discussion of the proposed ADU amendment, Broadband/Cell Service, and the Walkability project, with brief comments on the budget. Noel Greiner motioned to approve. All voted in favor.
Proposed ADU Amendment to Zoning Ordinance
Sherry Sims reviewed the edits to the proposed ordinance, including removal of language related to duplexes due to lack of consensus among PB members, as well as removal of proposed changes to the Conservation Subdivision Ordinance for the same reason.
Mrs. Sims argued for the inclusion of the requirement for obtaining a Conditional Use Permit from the PB, because, as she stated, under the RSA for innovative land use controls, which addresses the Conditional Use Permit, the CUP may be administered by any number of boards or individuals but, if administered by someone other than the PB, then the PB needs to comment on the decision and provide input into the way the CUP is administered, thus requiring PB involvement in the process.
Related to the issue of requirements for minimum size and maximum size of ADUs, Mrs. Sims recommended that, for now, language pertaining to such requirements be removed given no consensus was reached. For language on ADUs on a detached building, given that Harrisville currently allows for ADUs in a detached building by Special Exception from the ZBA, Mrs. Sims proposed to allow that avenue to remain but to alter the process by which its done; in other words, through a Conditional Use Permit from the PB.
Mr. Maneval stated his support of the proposed ordinance as drafted, feeling it’s an improvement on what exists; however, he stated his opposition to any Conditional Use Permit requirement. Mr. Maneval also disagreed with inclusion of the owner/resident requirement.
Heri Tryba stated his opposition to the proposed draft based on his belief that too many substantive changes were made since the initial draft and his feeling that the current draft isn’t solid enough.
Noel Greiner made a motion to proceed and accept the ADU Ordinance as prepared with the proposed changes. Courtney Cox seconded. The board voted 4-1 in favor with Mr. Tryba voting against for the reasons stated above.
Brian Foucher, Harrisville resident and Broadband Committee member, attended to explain to the PB the thinking behind the proposal for a broadband/cell study for the town and potential funding options for it. Mr. Foucher stated his belief that the single biggest purpose of improved internet service within Harrisville is to foster future economic vitality within the town. He cited the potential to attract a younger population, the potential to entice small and home-based businesses and the desire to preserve home values by having broadband available as the chief reasons he believes Harrisville should invest in bringing the technology to the area.
Drawing on his experience working with other towns and his knowledge of efforts underway to improve internet access in rural areas, Mr. Foucher described examples of public-private partnerships (Chesterfield) as well as privately-bonded initiatives (as in the town of Lyme). He stated that the town of Chesterfield appropriated money from its budget last year to fund a two-part study. The PB asked questions about cost, infrastructure requirements, what a design study would entail and how the town could benefit from economies of scale by sharing design study costs with adjacent towns. Mr. Foucher explained that the design study would identify the most strategic locations in town for sites to be installed. Discussion included the idea of town-owned or managed easements as potential locations for equipment. There also was discussion of the different requirements and benefits of fiber in underground conduits as compared to wireless transmitters and receivers on poles. Mr. Foucher noted that embarking on the study would be an enticement for providers to come into the area and offers the potential for competition in the future. The group agreed on the importance of the long term planning aspect of the initiative, even if the immediate need is not an urgent one.
In light of timing, other pressing issues, and not having heard back from the state on the TAP application, the PB discussed and generally agreed that a more scaled back plan, focusing initially on safety and the installation of two crosswalks in the village, makes the most sense. Next year and longer term, focus and implementation could broaden to include safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists to school and between the village and other points in town. Heri Tryba expressed his concern that small steps without a larger plan could result in inefficient spending.
2017 Budget Proposal
Sherry Sims distributed a copy of the budget proposal, which stays fairly flat compared to 2016. Noel Greiner made a motion to adopt the budget proposal as presented. Motion seconded. All voted in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.