The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Sherry Sims, Ned Hulbert, Nick Colony, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Jonathan Miner Selectman Alternate, Peter Thayer, Ryan Stone Alternate, Courtney Cox, Noel Greiner, Lisa Marie Anderson Alternate
Members absent: Heri Tryba, Craig Thompson Alternate
Members of the public: Richard Lavatori, Marylou DiPietro, George Lowrey, Bonnie Lowrey, Scott Stone, Cynthia Stone, Anne Cucchi, John Cucchi, Alex Cucchi, Logan Cucchi, Sarah Cucchi, Max Cucchi, Winston Sims, Harry Wolhandler, Christine Destrempes, Doug Gline, Beate Becker
Attendance and voting members
The voting members present were Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims (except in matters related to Mr. Cucchi), Andrew Maneval, Nick Colony, Courtney Cox, and Pete Thayer
Approval of Agenda
Ned Hulbert reviewed the agenda and all members approved.
Minutes of previous meeting 4/12/17
Andrew Maneval moved to approve. Noel Greiner seconded. All voted in favor.
Minutes of special meeting 4/19/17
Andrew Maneval moved that, subject to one edit exchanging the word “accepted” for “received”, in referring to the Cucchi application, the board approve the minutes of 4/19/17. All voted in favor.
Two-lot subdivision John J. Cucchi, Jr., Skatutakee Road (Map 30 Lot 32)
Ned Hulbert reviewed certain procedural aspects of the application and informed the board of the Town Attorney’s opinion that, if the applicant met the additional requirements of the PB set forth on April 25, in the Town Attorney’s view, the PB could accept the application. Mr. Hulbert then reviewed two checklists: one for the application and the other for the plat submission. Using a digital projection of the application documents, including an overview of the proposed lots, and paper copies of the plat, Mr. Hulbert stated that the PB had received the following: a Letter of Intent; a list of abutters; a request for two waivers (a waiver of a 60-degree intersection and a waiver of a cul de sac at the end of a proposed private road); a letter from the Fire Chief confirming there is adequate space for vehicle turn around; documentation on test pits and that the lot meets zoning requirements; required plat dimensions and 4 copies of such; survey requirements according to section 7 (regarding plat submission); two driveway permits from the Road Agent; a shared driveway easement; soil survey information; a slope analysis; a grading and layout plan, and a drainage summary report displaying storm runoff characteristics; reductions of the plan; and required application fees.
For the plat submission, Mr. Hulbert read aloud the itemized requirements and that the applicant had met them; Mr. Hulbert also mentioned the items that were not applicable. As for a cross-section of the road and a road profile, Mr. Hulbert stated that the PB has requested certification from an engineer that the slope meets subdivision regulations (an 8% slope or less), which he added would be one of the conditions of approval and that the letter is expected within the next week or so. Mr. Maneval noted that this particular requirement is one that could be waived by the PB.
Mr. Hulbert opened up the discussion to questions from other PB members. There were none. Andrew Maneval made a motion to accept the application. All voted in favor.
Anne Cucchi then presented the proposal for the subdivision to include one lot of 1.06 acres with 227’ of road frontage on both Skatutakee Road and a private road, and a second, larger lot of 6.65 acres with 297’ feet of frontage on Skatutakee Road. Both of the lots would have access and driveways off of a private road the Cucchis hope to name Logan Drive, which Mrs. Cucchi stated is already a private road. Mrs. Cucchi then displayed a copy of a 1999 map recorded in the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds showing an approved subdivision with a dotted line off of Skatutakee Road and running through the Cucchi’s property. Andrew Maneval asked Anne Cucchi to confirm her position that the road is already a private road. Mrs. Cucchi responded that they believe it is already a private road based on a 1999 Planning Board decision and signed plat. Anne Cucchi added that the property owners would be responsible for road maintenance. The applicants then showed photographs of modifications and site improvements to the property undertaken in recent years.
When Pete Thayer asked how far the road is from the spring, Andrew Maneval requested that careful consideration be given to the undetermined question of whether the road is an existing private road or a proposed private road and noted that the driveways would be off this road. Mr. Thayer stated his concern relates to potential runoff of salt or sand into the spring. The Cucchis stated they would follow the guidelines of the town for snow removal and confirmed that they would not pave the road. Mr. Maneval reiterated the board’s request regarding grading and the Cucchis responded that they expected to hear back from the surveyor and engineer within the next week.
Mr. Hulbert then opened up the discussion to questions from the public. Winston Sims asked to what extent the PB (and Conservation Commission) could consider matters related to the application while under lawsuit (Cucchi v. Harrisville). Mr. Hulbert responded that he would consult with the Town Attorney about this. Mr. Maneval added that he believes the lawsuit relates to the lack of acceptance of an application and that, given that the application has now been accepted by the PB, the lawsuit is moot. Mr. Maneval added that, as far as any lawsuit against the town or its boards, it is up to the Select Board to determine how to handle such matters. Mr. Sims agreed but questioned whether decisions could be made while under lawsuit. Mr. Maneval reiterated Mr. Hulbert’s response regarding consultation with the Town Attorney.
Bonnie Lowrey of 123 and 89 Skatutakee Road requested the reasons for the proposed locations of the houses on the lots and the reasons for the numerous changes in the applicants’ proposals over the years. Mr. Cucchi responded that the steep grade on the upper portion makes building there difficult and that he believes that the 13-year process of appearing before the town for approvals has helped improve the proposals. Mrs. Lowrey added her concern about protecting the spring. Anne Cucchi responded that they have followed conditions for placement of the septic field at a distance of 150’ from the spring. Mr. Maneval clarified that the spring, though on Town property, is not the Town’s spring and that the Town does not guarantee the quality of the water.
When an additional question from the public arose about the distance and slope of the road to the proposed lots, Mr. Hulbert reiterated that the PB awaits the results of the engineer’s study. Andrew Maneval stated once again that the road has alternately been referred to by the Road Agent as a road and a driveway and that the question remains which it is. Mr. Cucchi stated that, on the maps, it is referred to as a drive. Mr. Maneval summarized that the PB will need to deal with whether all of it is an existing private road or if it needs to be approved as one.
Mr. Hulbert made a motion to schedule a PB site visit to the property before the next regular meeting on June 14. All voted in favor. A date was set for Thursday, June 8, 2017 from 6-7pm . The site visit will be posted as a regular meeting but not legally noticed, according to PB Rules of Procedure. Questions can be taken during the site visit, but no discussions will take place.
Following a two-minute recess, the PB resumed with the following agenda items:
Community Conversation June 5, 2017 from 6-8pm
The PB discussed the program and agenda for the evening, agreeing it would include an educational component, questions and answers, an overview of the recommended guidelines and ideas of SWRP regarding Complete Streets, an emphasis on bringing residents into the discussion and process, and conveying the major pros and cons of various policy decisions and options. Andrew Maneval encouraged as many PB members as possible to attend. Babysitting and food will again be provided. Sherry Sims will confirm logistics with the school.
Concerning a request of the PB from Ginny Brooks to co-sponsor a community activity, the board discussed the matter and decided it would offer verbal support, help publicize the event and encourage the good idea but would not serve as an official co-sponsor.
Andrew Maneval updated the group, noting he and Ned Hulbert would soon mail a letter to businesses and individuals to seek support and that Lee Garland is researching grant opportunities. Mr. Maneval added that he heard from the town of Dublin that they would like to work with Harrisville and invited PB officials to an upcoming meeting in Dublin. As far as a timeline Mr. Maneval stated that, as soon as the private fundraising concludes (he estimates mid-June), the Town will know what its contribution will be and an RFP will go out seeking bids to perform the engineering study.
Aquifer /Water Protection Committee
Pete Thayer stated that the next meeting will occur before the end of May when the committee will consider a format and content for a late summer Community Conversations.
Regional Cooperation Meeting
Ned Hulbert noted that the Select Board (Jon Miner and Andrew Maneval), the School Board (its three members) and Planning Board (Heri Tryba and Ned Hulbert) would meet either late May or early June to discuss ways to work together more effectively and to schedule another meeting for July. Andrew Maneval noted the importance of the Superintendent’s attendance. He further noted the importance of broadening regional cooperation efforts beyond school issues to include long-term considerations regarding fire and police, recycling, etc.
New Zoning Map
Sherry Sims announced the Select Board approved the idea of SWRP’s creating a zoning map and that Henry Underwood is working on it. Andrew Maneval noted the SB’s discussion of having an official town map prepared that would include all the streets and road classifications.
Master Plan Committee
Andrew Maneval noted the need for a couple of new representatives on the committee.
OEP Conference – Master Plan
Sherry Sims updated the board on the recent conference in Concord that she attended with Charles Sorenson. She noted a particular panel called “Time to Think Differently About the Master Plan”, which included the following advice: Keep a 20-year horizon in mind when formulating and updating a master plan. The panel recommended a “rolling” process v. a one-time document creation. The panel also recommended the idea of a steering committee to work on modifications to individual chapters or sections, use of the website for online polls about what’s working and what isn’t, and for periodic assessment of results by town boards.
PB Orientation and Training Sessions
Two sessions were scheduled, the first for June 20 from 6-7:30 pm and the second session on August 29 from 6-7:30 pm.
Proposed Application Form for Conditional Use Permit
With the ADU Ordinance approved at Town Meeting and in effect, Sherry Sims distributed a proposed application form for the Conditional Use Permit, required for residents who want to build an accessory dwelling unit in an existing or new structure in Lakeside/Residential districts. Following discussion and suggestions, Andrew Maneval moved that, subject to the recommended corrections, the form be approved on a temporary basis until a different application is drafted and approved. All voted in favor.
Proposed Zoning Revision Draft by Andrew Maneval
Ned Hulbert introduced the idea of having several conversations about Andrew Maneval’s draft, based on its length and the challenge of introducing new zoning ordinances to the town. Andrew Maneval noted he would appreciate help working in particular on the Definitions section and that he’s working on an overall description of the proposed changes. He added that several people outside of the PB have offered to read it and he has shared it with them to get their feedback. He added he would love to see the PB’s ideas on what he’s proposed and what he will eventually formally propose to the PB, and that he hopes the PB can agree on a proposal to ultimately recommend at Town Meeting. The board discussed a variety of options for reviewing Mr. Maneval’s draft. Sherry Sims raised the question of the importance of taking the needed time, having a committee (of PB members and non PB members) review it versus board review at regular meetings, and being transparent in the review process, given how substantive the proposed changes are. Mrs. Sims also asked the PB to consider whether or not they want to undertake a complete overhaul of the zoning ordinances. Mr. Maneval responded that he has anticipated the timeframe that would be required to solicit and discuss feedback and that it has been his hope all along that the PB could collaborate in making a recommended proposal in plenty of time for Town Meeting. He further stated he believes the zoning ordinances are a critical component of the PB’s responsibilities and functions.
Ned Hulbert requested that PB members read as much as they can of the proposed draft and compare it to the existing ordinance so that the group can begin discussions at next month’s meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.