The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Sherry Sims, Ned Hulbert, Jonathan Miner Selectman Alternate, Heri Tryba, Ryan Stone Alternate, Noel Greiner Alternate, Craig Thompson Alternate
Members absent: Andrew Maneval Selectman, Peter Thayer Alternate, Courtney Cox, Lisa Marie Anderson Alternate
Members of the public: Winston Sims, John Cucchi, Anne Cucchi, George Lowrey, Bonnie Lowrey, Richard Lavatori, Christopher Tremblay
Attendance and voting members
The voting members present were Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims (except on the two Cucchi matters), Jonathan Miner, Heri Tryba and Noel Greiner (except on the two Cucchi matters).
Approval of Agenda
After presentation of the agenda by Ned Hulbert, Noel Greiner made a motion to approve. Jon Miner seconded. All voted in favor.
Minutes of previous meeting 7/12/17
Noel Greiner moved to approve the minutes. All voted in favor.
Regarding the Regional Cooperation meeting with the School Board, Sherry Sims noted that those minutes were received and distributed and would be discussed later in the meeting.
Christopher A. Tremblay, 86 Silver Rd, Map 51-Lot 35 & Map 51-Lot 36. Sherry Sims stated that Mr. Tremblay has two adjacent lots on Silver Road he would like to merge. Mr. Tremblay submitted paperwork — including copies of the deeds noting ownership, and of the survey noting that lots are adjacent — and payment in two checks for the application and registration fees. Ms. Sims then read the document signifying the merger for municipal regulation and tax purposes. Heri Tryba asked if the PB had any other responsibility related to examining voluntary mergers. Sherry Sims responded that this case was very straightforward but, in cases where easements or questions from other interested parties were involved, further examination may be appropriate. The PB noted that, in cases of voluntary mergers, abutters do not have to be noticed. Heri Tryba moved to approve. Ned Hulbert seconded. All voted in favor. Sherry Sims noted that Pete Thayer, Secretary, will submit the document to the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds and that the merger would be in effect for the tax year beginning April 1, 2018.
James A. McEwan III Living Trust, Bonds Corner Road (Map 20-Lot 36 & Map 20–Lot 36-3). Sherry Sims read the application submitted by James McEwan whose parcels are owned by James A. McEwan III Living Trust. The lot containing his house is a 9.7- acre lot; the parcel across the road has 1.9 acres, which could not be developed as it is a no-conforming parcel. Ms. Sims noted the documents received in support of the application include the two separate tax bills and the trust description showing the ownership for both lots, as well as two checks.
George Lowrey, resident of Skatutakee Road, stated to the board that he was told several years ago by the Planning Board that he couldn’t merge his two parcels on Skatutakee Road, as they were across the road from each other. Sherry Sims noted that it is allowable. Mr. Lowrey stated he would return to the board with his application.
Ryan Stone asked if there were two lots not large enough to build on but merged would become a buildable lot, are they mergeable. The board stated it wasn’t sure and probably depended on setbacks.
Noel Greiner made a motion to approve voluntary merger. Ryan Stone seconded. All voted in favor.
2-lot subdivision John J. Cucchi Jr., Skatutakee Rd cont’d.
Ned Hulbert noted that the Select Board approved the request for a 65-day extension to review the application. Anne Cucchi then stated that the Cucchis were in the 30 day review period with DES. All parties agreed the application would be continued to the September meeting. There were no questions.
Sherry Sims and Noel Greiner removed themselves from the table for the following:
Application submission lot-line adjustment, 30-32-11 and 30-32-11-1, Dublin Rd. John J. Cucchi, Jr.
Ned Hulbert stated that the subject lot was approved for subdivision in 2015. Using the projection screen, Anne Cucchi pointed out that the Cucchis proposed to move the boundary line between the lots a distance of .63 acres to remove the “awkward L shape” of the lower lot. Cucchi stated that doing so would not affect frontage, driveways, or septic systems and noted the Cucchis have a no-clearing and no-building restriction on the subject portion. Ned Hulbert questioned the new dimensions of the upper lot. Anne Cucchi responded that, with the lot-line adjustment, the upper lot would be 2.58 acres and the lower lot would become 3.63 acres. Ms. Cucchi then submitted the relevant paperwork, including the list of the abutters and the application fee, which the PB received. Upon confirmation by the PB of exact costs to notice abutters, the Cucchis will submit the second check. Ned Hulbert noted the PB will discuss and vote on the matter at the September meeting.
Ms. Sims and Mr. Greiner returned to the table.
Complete Streets/Transportation Committee – Heri Tryba updated the PB that Complete Streets has transitioned into the Transportation Committee. After the group learned of the SB decision to have a yellow line painted along Hancock Road as a traffic calming measure, the Transportation Committee met with a DOT engineer to get insight and, more recently, with Hancock Road residents. Among other recommendations, the engineer recommended not painting the yellow line, stating its ineffectiveness at reducing speeding. Residents in the area are still looking for traffic calming measures and for more police enforcement. Jon Miner noted that the Town has applied for a grant for a moveable digital speed limit signs. The committee talked to the engineer about several other options, including the idea of removable (in winter) speed tables and advisory shoulders. On state roads where yellow lines have to be painted, the engineer recommended asking the DOT to paint two white lines on either side of the yellow line, narrowing the driving lanes to 10 feet each. The SB approved the request for this measure, which the state plans to carry out by the spring of 2018 on the state roads being repaved this summer and next spring.
The Transportation Committee plans a second meeting with a larger group of residents, including those along Bonds Corner Road and Hancock Roads. The meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, August 16, from 7-8 pm in Historic Harrisville’s Granite Mill. Ned Hulbert emphasized the purpose of the meeting is to get residents’ input and that the other options (to putting no striping on town roads) are potential longer term measures. Jon Miner asked if the engineer’s opinions had been validated by another source. Ned Hulbert responded that he wasn’t sure but thought possibly they had been in the Multimodal Transportation Guidebook.
The PB then moved on to its initial discussion of the “Proposed Policy and Design Guidelines” document that came out of the Complete Streets project with SWRP. Ned Hulbert noted the group met for 9 or 10 months, focusing on how to make the town’s streets more accessible and safer for pedestrians, bicycyclists and automobile traffic. Mr. Hulbert stated the first question before the board is whether or not it wants to adopt the policy and the guidelines. If so, the PB would then recommend them to the SB for approval.
Sherry Sims reiterated that, while the document is called a policy, it is really advisory. A couple of members of the board were reluctant regarding the term “policy” and the idea of adding another layer of regulations in town. Ms. Sims responded that the Complete Streets group made sure the document was consistent with the goals of the Master Plan, which also is non-binding, and the policy document I a foundation for ordinances and regulations rather than a regulations mandate.
The group then discussed what costs or restrictions it would put on the town while weighing the ideas of safety and planning and the transportation portion of the Master Plan. Ned Hulbert added that the intent is to put into place “best practices” and to solicit input from the community on any proposals or recommendations for roads – not to increase spending without town due process. Sherry Sims noted that the “yellow line group” is an example of this approach. Heri Tryba reiterated the importance of the document as part of the planning process and to foster collaboration among town boards. He noted that good planning saves money in the long run. Craig Thompson asked if adopting the Complete Street guidelines would enhance the town’s relationship with the DOT. Ned Hulbert responded that he believed the more DOT working contacts the town has the better. Heri Tryba added that he believed a unified town plan and position on transportation issues would be well received and enhance the opportunity for support and funding from the state. The board agreed to continue the discussion next month.
Water Protection – At the upcoming Community Conversation on Monday, 8/21, Erin Langille and Mike Kelley will lead the discussion, the purpose of which is to hear residents’ questions and concerns. Chick Colony will speak on the history of water in Harrisville. Pierce Rigrod from the state will discuss the technical aspects, including wells and contaminants. There will be a follow-up opportunity for well testing offered by DES in the fall. Ned Hulbert reviewed the assigned or assumed tasks and asked for four board members to arrive by 5:30 pm to set up. Email invitations will go out on Friday.
Broadband Cell Study Project – The RFP was developed and went out. The town has been talking with Dublin about the possibility of working with the same vendor, though Dublin is not looking at cell coverage. The committee has raised $8,600 in tax-deductibe donations towards the $14,000 total goal. It hopes to come close to the fundraising goal by end of September. Mr. Hulbert noted he would be in touch with all PB members about making a donation and thanked those who had already donated.
Regional Cooperation – At the last meeting on July 12, representatives of the Planning Board, School Board and Select Board met to discuss school board functions and administrative costs. The PB hopes for better attendance by School Board members at the next meeting, planned for October or early November, and to identify and foster opportunities for cost sharing, collaboration and planning on a longer-term basis. Ned Hulbert and Heri Tryba cited the potential to work together on transportation and broadband mutual opportunities. The possibility of helping find rental housing for school families is a complicated topic and was agreed to be a future PB conversation.
Training: Master Plan upcoming – Tuesday, 8/29 from 6-7:30 pm. Will discuss various working groups and community conversations responsibilities
Ned Hulbert reminded the group that the long-term goal of the training sessions is to prepare board members to take on more responsibilities in the coming year and to enable transition of leadership. He added that September’s training session will be a planning meeting, where the co-chair will practice “live preparing” for and chairing upcoming board meetings, with newer members being asked to co-chair to gain experience.
Meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.