The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Sherry Sims, Ned Hulbert, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Jonathan Miner Selectman Alternate, Peter Thayer Alternate, Heri Tryba, Ryan Stone Alternate, Courtney Cox, Noel Greiner Alternate, Lisa Marie Anderson Alternate
Members absent: Craig Thompson Alternate
Members of the public: Winston Sims, John Cucchi, Anne Cucchi, Giovanni Cucchi, Pamela Worden, Charles Faucher, Michael Kelley, Erin Langille
Attendance and voting members
The voting members present were Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims (except in matters related to the Cucchi application), Andrew Maneval, Courtney Cox, and Heri Tryba. In Sherry Sims’s absence, Pete Thayer would vote.
Approval of Agenda
Noel Greiner moved to approve the agenda. Andrew Maneval seconded. All members voted in favor.
Minutes of previous meeting 6/14/17 and of Work Session 6/20/17
Heri Tryba moved to approve the June 14 meeting minutes. Andrew Maneval seconded. All voted in favor. Courtney Cox moved to approve the work session minutes. Sherry Sims seconded. All voted in favor.
Public Hearing con’t 2-lot subdivision John J. Cucchi, Jr., Skatutakee Road
Ned Hulbert notified board members that additional documents and information related to the application had been submitted to the PB since the June meeting. In light of the new information received, Mr. Hulbert stated that an additional meeting may be needed before a vote is taken. This, Mr. Hulbert added, would require an agreement of an extension by both the Cucchis and the Select Board given the longer than 65-day application review period. The Cucchis acceded to the possible extension and the two Selectmen in attendance thought the Select Board would agree as well at its regular Thursday meeting.
Mr. Hulbert distributed copies of the material to meeting attendees and displayed them on the projection screen. He noted recent correspondence from Winston Sims of the Conservation Commission, the Cucchis, Pamela Worden and Charles Faucher of Skatutakee Road, and a written summary of Mr. Hulbert’s notes from his consultation with Town Attorney Silas Little. Mr. Hulbert reviewed the documents in chronological order beginning with a letter from the engineer, Thomas Duffield, sent May 30. The engineer’s letter attested to his position that the private road off Skatutakee Road is of sufficiently safe grade for travel, provided the gravel surfaces are maintained and vegetation is kept back from the shoulders and road course.
Based on Mr. Hulbert’s concern, substantiated by a couple of attorneys, that the engineer’s letter was not detailed enough, Mr. Hulbert sent a letter to the Cucchis, following the June 14 PB meeting, requesting elaboration from the engineer on the following: drainage and storm water runoff concerns connected to the private road; drainage and erosion concerns related to the proposed driveways off Logan Road; and road profile data on the grade (slope percentage) of Logan Road at any specific point and as an average across the whole length of the road. Additionally, Mr. Hulbert inquired whether slope averaging, as provided in the engineer’s initial letter, was a normal professional engineering practice.
In an email dated July 7, the Cucchis responded to Mr. Hulbert. Mr. Hulbert read the response aloud, which, in summary, stated their position that the issues related to drainage, storm water runoff and erosion had been addressed in the Drainage Summary Report submitted with the subdivision application on May 10, 2017. That report, noted the Cucchis, contained “Pre-Development” and “Post-Development” analyses of drainage and storm water runoff. The assumptions were calculated in 2006 for a 2007 subdivision application for the same property, based on building locations in very close proximity to, but not exactly the same as, the current application. The Cucchis stated the land has not changed since the report was prepared and that the assumptions are based on where a future owner is presumed to want to build, and that the grading to 4% on the second 100 feet of Logan Road decreased potential runoff from the driveways. The tests, according to the Cucchis, were focused on the northeast portion of the lot, which is the focus of the subdivision application. Responding to Mr. Hulbert’s citations of the Harrisville Zoning Ordinance, the Cucchis stated that the ordinances cited relate to alteration of terrain and conditions that must be met during the building and permitting process, and at this point do not pertain to the subdivision application.
The next letter the board reviewed was received by email from Anne Cucchi on July 11, following a meeting with their engineer to discuss Mr. Hulbert’s question about slope averaging. Mr. Hulbert exhibited a photograph included with the Cucchi’s letter, which explained the engineer’s calculations of “slope percentage averaging.” In light of the engineer’s opinion, the results of the Drainage Summary Report and the reasons stated in their waiver request of the 8% grade requirement submitted with their application, the Cucchis claimed because Logan Road is not a new road, they should not be held to the technical requirements for New Roads outlined in Attachment I of the Subdivision Regulations. The Cucchis also cited relevant ordinances pertaining to the building phase and permitting process. They wondered if the PB would consider applying conditions similar to those applied on their 2015 Dublin Road subdivision approval to their current application. These conditions related to building construction and design requirements for septic fields, driveway footprints and runoff concerns.
Following that, Mr. Hulbert displayed the correspondence from Pamela Worden and Charles Faucher of Skatutakee Road to the PB, urging the board to reconsider its May 10, 2017 vote to approve Logan Road, a vote which allowed the Cucchis sufficient road frontage to subdivide. Ms. Worden and Mr. Faucher expressed concern that such a position by the board would establish “a wrong and dangerous precedent” and that they did “not find records indicating that a road was ever approved.” They also stated that the Cucchi’s 2008 subdivision application “shows the drive as a ‘proposed drive.’” Ms. Worden and Mr. Faucher urged the PB to consider the property’s proximity to Lake Skatutakee and, rather than waive slope requirements, enforce them more strictly.
Anne Cucchi then spoke to reiterate the engineer’s opinion that the Drainage Summary Report sufficiently addresses drainage and runoff issues based on the present condition of the road and property, and the proposed subdivision application. Ms. Cucchi added that the engineer’s assumptions are based on the most likely building locations but cannot be any more specific until specific plans are submitted by future property owners. She explained that the road could be reconstructed to adhere to the 8% grade regulation but she wondered if the town would want that. Ms. Cucchi also noted that the averaging, as calculated and shown in the photograph, is common practice according to the engineer. John Cucchi added that part of the property had been leveled to 4%, increasing filtration of runoff and improving stormwater management.
During the public comment period, Winston Sims expressed concern about the location of the proposed driveways given the steepness of the slope. Noel Greiner expressed desire to see additional professional engineering input, similar to the concerns regarding runoff concerns and DES permit requirements raised by Mr. Little. Sherry Sims, as a member of the public, asked what the slope would be to circumvent the septic area to reach the upper lot.
The final document reviewed was Mr. Hulbert’s notes from his conversation with Mr. Little. In summary, Mr. Little advised that, “Under RSA 483-B, DES permitting requirements for the proposed shoreland lot…must be placed as conditions of approval of the Cucchi subdivision, should the PB decide to approve the application.” Mr. Little raised additional concerns related to required road width for a private road and resulting runoff from increased surface areas, and stated that a professional engineer, and not the Cucchis, must supply answers to the questions at hand. Mr. Little asked if the PB shouldn’t require the Cucchis to do the DES permitting work in advance for the PB since it would have to be done anyway.
Anne Cucchi asked that the board review the materials already provided, and reiterated that those concerns could be addressed at the time construction plans are submitted.
Hearing from the board, Heri Tryba asked for additional time to look at the Drainage Summary Report. Andrew Maneval referred to two main sections of the Subdivision Regulations: first, Section 4, sub part 2, related to findings of excessive slope or other hazardous conditions, which Mr. Maneval stated gives the PB grounds not to approve the application; and, second, Section 11, Administration and Enforcement, which allows the PB to modify requirements on specified grounds. Both sections define the PB’s rights. Mr. Maneval expressed concern about the question of driveways and preserving clean water and other natural resources, as outlined in the town’s Master Plan, as well as the Master plan goal of stimulating the local economy. Additionally, Mr. Maneval requested that the minutes show that RSA 674-41, which addresses development on a private road, outlines another limitation on building; specifically, it requires the town governing body to ensure there are proper conditions for construction before issuing permits. He also noted the Shoreland Protection regulations which would be relevant but noted that none of the regulations appear in the subdivision application process. Instead they are outlined in the building permit and construction phase regulations. Mr. Maneval stated he’s not sure any of the regulations he cited apply to most of the circumstances at hand with the Cucchi subdivision application.
Charles Faucher asked the board to share its reasoning behind approval of the private road at its last meeting. Following Mr. Maneval’s confirmation that the approval of the private road allows for sufficient frontage for creation of the second lot, Mr. Hulbert added that the town attorney had stated it was perfectly acceptable for the PB to approve the existence of the private road. Mr. Maneval added that he considered the fact that it had a longtime use as such for access to houses and property and that responsibility for it fell to the property owner or owners. Anne Cucchi asked if the board’s decision had anything to do with the fact that the road had been listed as a road on a plat filed in the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds. Mr. Maneval responded that it may have influenced some board members though it hadn’t influenced him. Mr. Hulbert added that the town attorney did not feel that was sufficient basis given that a later document does not include the road as such. Winston Sims then asked if there are certain standards that a private road would have to meet and if they have to be met prior to any approval and Mr. Hulbert responded that Sections 12 through 14 outline the conditions but that the PB has the authority to waive them. When asked by Anne Cucchi if the board had not approved the road as a private road at its last meeting, Mr. Hulbert responded that it had and that the town attorney agreed it was done and that it is a private road.
Mr. Tryba asked if anyone on the board was rethinking that decision and Mr. Hulbert responded he was not but he wasn’t sure where the others stood. Nobody stated so. Mr. Hulbert then stated his position that another meeting was necessary before a decision on the application could be rendered, seeking additional input from a professional engineer on the issue of the driveways and slopes and the issues raised by Mr. Little. Mr. Maneval asked for Anne Cucchi’s view on the request that, if DES approval has to be obtained, why not seek it in advance. Ms. Cucchi responded that she’s not sure what exactly the board seeks and John Cucchi added that they had gone through this process during their previous subdivision approval and that no further specifics could be answered until specific building plans were put forth by a future owner.
Mr. Hulbert then requested a deferral for one more meeting, noting the need to get the Select Board’s approval for an extension and the request to answer a couple of specific questions. Ryan Stone asked Mr. Hulbert to outline these. Mr. Hulbert stated that to have the DES clarify questions about slope and concerns related to any alteration in terrain or use of hardpack would help the board. Mr. Hulbert later affirmed he would like to have such an engineer present to respond.
Referring back to the Drainage Summary Report, Mr. Tryba stated he felt some of the board’s concerns were addressed but that he wasn’t sure there was a sufficient enough response to the key concern of potential runoff into the lake or that an analysis based on a 10 year storm event sufficed for that specific piece of property. He urged board members to study it further. When asked by Mr. Maneval if there was need for a motion to continue the application, Jonathan Miner asked if it wasn’t delayed long enough. Mr. Hulbert stated he didn’t think so. Pete Thayer stated he believed, as Mr. Maneval had stated, that it was the board’s job to consider the application at hand and that more specific questions could be answered later by other governing boards during any building permit and construction phases. Mr. Tryba stated he didn’t believe it was unreasonable to take more time given the sensitivity of the specific piece of land.
Mr. Cucchi asked what if they just got DES approval, or conditions of approval, ahead of time, while also allowing for the extension? Mr. Hulbert stated that would be very helpful. He then asked PB members if that was enough? Mr. Maneval stated yes, but that everyone should note that specifics about driveways would still not be known until future approval processes for specific building permit applications. Mr. Hulbert then closed the item, confirming that the Cucchis would secure something in writing from the DES prior to the next PB meeting and that the PB would seek approval from the SB for the extension.
Following a two-minute recess, the PB continued with the following:
Water Protection Group
Mike Kelley and Erin Langille attended to discuss an update on the August 21, 2017 Community Conversation at Historic Harrisville’s offices. Mike Kelley stated it was the goal of the group to get feedback from the community on their concerns and wishes related to water protection and that Chick Colony and Pierce Rigrod would be on hand to address attendees and kick off the discussion. The PB reviewed an outline of tasks required to conduct a Community Conversation and several members agreed they would help with set-up tasks on the list.
Old Home Days and Complete Streets
Ned Hulbert updated the board to express the positive feedback received from the community to the two demonstration crosswalks placed in the village during Saturday’s events.
He also updated the PB on the Complete Street’s representatives’ discussion with the SB about its meeting with DOT engineer Larry Keniston and his suggestions for traffic calming on Hancock Road and Bonds Corner Roads. The Complete Streets Group, now called the Transportation Committee, The SB agreed with Larry Keniston’s recommendation regarding bringing white side lines in to 10 feet with the double yellow line. The Complete Streets group, now called the Transportation Committee, next will meet with residents of Hancock and Bonds Corner Roads by August to discuss their thoughts on Keniston’s recommendations. They will then present their findings to the SB.
Regarding the three state roads in town, the SB agreed with Larry Keniston’s recommendation regarding requesting the DOT to paint the white side lines to bring them in to 10 feet with the double yellow line. This will improve traffic calming on the state roads according to Keniston. The Complete Streets group also delivered a formal request from the SB to the DOT to paint the three state roads in town, as they are being resurfaced within the next year. The DOT delivered this request to Concord, and noted that painting will likely be completed by late fall on August resurfacing projects in town.
Regarding the Complete Streets policy document to be proposed to the SB – if the PB agrees after discussion to move it forward -, Heri Tryba noted it was distributed to board members by email and encouraged everyone to review it for discussion at next month’s meeting.
Broadband Study Fundraising Progress – Andrew Maneval noted that the group was close to reaching $7,000 of the $14,00 it hoped to reach from approximately 45 gifts to date. Mr. Maneval stated he believed enough money had been raised to get started and, that once the exact amount available is determined, the RFP will be issued.
Regional Cooperation – Ned Hulbert noted that the second meeting with the School Board had occurred that afternoon pertaining to the Harrisville School District’s arrangements with SAU 29. Mr. Maneval added that, at this point, the regional cooperation initiative remains a long-term planning project with the School Board.
Proposed Zoning Revision – Ned Hulbert stated the board aims to discuss the draft and a process next month and that they would like to invite Carol Ogilvie, former head of planning for Peterborough, and one other experienced planner, to attend and offer their perspectives, possibly at the September meeting. After that, the PB would consider its next steps. As this might be a lengthy session, it is also possible that a special meeting might be called devoted solely to this topic.
New Member Training Sessions – The group debriefed on its first training session held on June 20, with members positive about the open dialogue and opportunity to discuss PB issues in a less formal gathering. The next training session is Tuesday, August 29, from 6-7:30 and will focus on Master Plan priorities and working groups.
Sherry Sims noted a column in SWRP’s newsletter related to Master Plans and the role of the arts as a contributor to the local economy and revenues in the Monadnock Region.
The board acknowledged Noel Greiner’s appearance on WMUR’s New Hampshire Chronicle, Thursday, July 13, at 7:00 pm.
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm.