The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.

Members present: Sherry Sims, Ned Hulbert, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Heri Tryba, Courtney Cox, Nick Colony, Peter Thayer

Members absent: Noel Greiner

Members of the public: Diane Miller, Craig Thompson, Ryan Stone, Winston Sims Conservation Commission Chairman, Lisa Anderson. Andrea Polizos

Attendance and voting members
         Ned Hulbert stated that the voting members present were himself, Sherry Sims, Andrew Maneval, Heri Tryba and Courtney Cox.

Approval of Agenda
         All voted in favor to approve.

Minutes of previous meeting 1/11/17
Sherry Sims moved to approve. All voted in favor.

Community Activities – Diane Miller addressed the Planning Board with feedback received from the January 2017 and the September 2016 Community Conversations gatherings. (See attached for the full text of Ms. Miller’s comments.) Ms. Miller made a formal request to the PB for the town to provide an electronic activities calendar. Andrew Maneval responded that improvements to the town website are in the works and that he believed such a calendar would be doable. Heri Tryba argued for an interactive medium and not just a calendar that allowed for posting of events.

Broadband – The PB discussed the upcoming Town Meeting when the Broadband Warrant Article will be presented. Sherry Sims stated the importance of emphasizing the long range infrastructure needs of the town for making the technology accessible to residents, as well as the economic development goals underlying the initiative. Nick Colony added that prevalent at the Community Conversations discussion was the desire for improved cell service in the area. Nick Colony will schedule a broadband working group meeting before Town Meeting to discuss the options for addressing residents about the proposed warrant article and to determine an order of individuals who will speak to outline the economic development need and to encourage residents to vote for the warrant.

Town Website – Sherry Sims updated the board about attempted upgrades to the town website which, she believes, will be a multi-phased process. The SB has allocated some resources in the proposed 2017 budget and a survey was included in the recent edition of Common Threads to gain feedback about what residents want to see or not see. Heri Tryba again mentioned his concern about the lack of an interactive website. Andrew Maneval offered that whatever amount was allocated in the town budget may offer room for additional resources at some point.

Community Conversations – Ned Hulbert asked what meeting attendees appreciated or didn’t about the event. Attendees stated they enjoyed the open forum and the ability to speak openly. The shorter agenda was cited as an improvement and the childcare available made it possible for parents of young children to attend. Acoustics were said to be problematic and ideas were raised about an alternate venue. The group generally agreed that Community Conversations should occur at least twice a year but no more than three times for optimum effect.

Complete Streets – Heri Tryba reported that SWRPC is preparing a draft of a complete streets policy. The document will include maps of paved and unpaved roads and paths with suggestions for guidelines on such transportation issues as crosswalks and traffic calming measures. Mr. Tryba stated the opportunity to have 8 bike racks at no cost through the program and the possibility of a bigger/public meeting at some point, which could include a workshop or demonstration project. Sherry Sims noted that the proposed policy could be an effective tool for long-term planning and could further support the objectives of the Master Plan. Andrew Maneval noted that it could be published as a “guidance paper” recommended by the Planning Board to the town. Mr. Hulbert stated he expects a draft document to be available by April for presentation to the PB, who would then agree on an approach to taking it to the Select Board.

Draft Aquifer Protection Ordinance – Pete Thayer updated the PB on the review of the Conservation Commission’s draft ordinance and the possibility of suggesting amendments or recommending the draft as it is written. He stated the next step for the study group is to meet with Pierce Rigrod of the state DES.

School Board – Regarding the joint effort by the PB and SB to increase communication with the School Board, and as part of the longer term Master Plan regional cooperation efforts to save towns money over time, the three entities will schedule two working meetings in the spring following Town Meeting. Ned Hulbert will help to organize an agenda planning meeting for the two working meetings by late March or early April.

Review of Warrant Articles
The board looked at the proposed warrants for March Town Meeting to see if there were any that the PB would take a position on.

Broadband Warrant Article – The group discussed the idea of the three-way partnership to fund the broadband study and the change in the amount that the Town would provide. Ned Hulbert stated that the broadband working group would reach out to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Sherry Sims added that they also would apply to the Harrisville Community Fund. Andrew Maneval noted that he and Ned Hulbert could regenerate the Harrisville Business Network as a possible source of private funding. Heri Tryba asked why there was a decrease from $10K to $7K in the amount provided by the town and stated his belief that the PB should not support the article because of the change from the PB’s original proposal to the SB. Andrew Maneval responded that the SB felt the three-way alliance with the revised amounts was a more realistic and agreeable proposal for taxpayers. The PB generally agreed, supporting the draft Warrant Article as proposed. Andrew Maneval clarified that the PB, or any individual, could suggest an amendment.

Employee Retirement Plan – Andrew Maneval reminded the PB that the plan, if passed, has an immediate and long-term effect on the town budget, with annual amounts contributed to the budget over time.

Road paving – Ned Hulbert stated that the warrant article relates directly to the Master Plan and Complete Streets program. Sherry Sims identified it as an opportunity to raise the idea of creating a biking and/or walking lane while the road is being paved. Andrew Maneval outlined the SB’s thinking behind the proposal while acknowledging that an individual could propose a suggestion or amendment. The PB heard opinions that other roads need more attention.

Heri Tryba stated his frustration that the SB put forth the warrant articles without communicating with the transportation and walkability working groups. Andrew Maneval responded that he has mentioned at previous PB meetings that the SB was considering the paving of Bonds Corner and/or possibly other roads (e.g., Church Street) and that the issue raises the central question of whether the town should undertake street maintenance for purposes of vehicular traffic and which town entity should think more broadly about long term planning issues. After discussion and general agreement by the group that long-term planning made better sense, Heri Tryba made a motion that the PB recommend not supporting the Warrant Article on Road Paving in the interest of the Master Plan initiatives for careful planning and in the interest of alignment with Complete Streets, Broadband and other planning initiatives or questions over the next couple of years. Pete Thayer seconded. The vote was 4-0 in favor with Andrew Maneval abstaining. Ned Hulbert and Pete Thayer, representing the PB, will speak to encourage a “no” vote on the warrant at Town Meeting.

Land Conservation Trust Fund – Winston Sims addressed the PB on behalf of the Conservation Commission arguing that the preservation of the LCTF relates to PB and Master Plan concerns involving protection of lands, water supplies and agricultural lands. He provided background information on the establishment of the fund and the amounts and stated his disagreement with the SB’s actions. Heri Tryba and Ned Hulbert both agreed that this item is a Master Plan concern. Andrew Maneval offered the rationale behind the SB’s decision, stating that by nature the LCTF is a capital reserve fund and that to spend it would require a vote of the Town Meeting. He added that the other fund the HCC has access to (the Current Use Transfer Tax Fund, which he believed to be $56K) is available to the HCC potentially more quickly and usefully and potentially allowed the HCC more discretionary access to make more time-sensitive decisions. The group expressed a preference for having the money from the closed fund transferred to the HCC.
            The PB, with Andrew Maneval abstaining, unanimously agreed not to support the closing of the LCTF because of the warrant’s conflict with the Master Plan. Ned Hulbert stated he and Pete Thayer, representing the PB, will speak at Town Meeting to encourage voters to retain the fund as is, as it is a key element in funding future conservation-related needs. 

ADU Warrant
Sherry Sims discussed the format of the ballot for the proposed ADU Ordinance at Town Meeting and the communication outreach options to clarify beforehand the procedure for voters. She stated that an upcoming article in Common Threads will explain to voters what they will be asked to review. Similar information will be posted on the Town Website as an addendum to the PB Minutes. Copies of the proposed amendments will be placed in the Town Offices and in the library as well.

PB Succession
Ned Hulbert stated that the PB will have formal conversations with Ryan Stone, Craig Thompson and Lisa Anderson, followed by a meeting with the SB and then will revisit the topic at the next PB meeting in March or April for final invitations to new members. The individual conversations will include discussing criteria for membership, roles and responsibilities of members, and the process for joining.

Priorities for coming year
Given the time required for the subject, Ned Hulbert proposed a special meeting on Wednesday, March 15, from 6:00-7:30. Location to be confirmed.
Sherry Sims announced that the SWRPC Winter Meeting Topic for its 2/28/17 meeting is “From Hurricane to Climate Change” and that the deadline to sign up is 2/21. She added that the PB would pay the $20 fee if members want to go.

Land Use Regulations Handbook – Copies arrived. Sherry Sims will see if Angela Hendrickson can order more.

Andrew Maneval stated that he met with Anne and John Cucchi to discuss their willingness to drop their lawsuit. They may or may not; the suit has been stayed for the time being. Mr. Maneval also discussed with the Cucchis the idea of bringing another proposal before the PB and Sherry Sims noted, if the proposal involves more than questions about the logistics of applying, it would have to be at a public meeting. Andrew Maneval will get back to the Cucchis regarding the options to move ahead.

Meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.