The Harrisville Planning Board held a work session at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. The purpose of this meeting was a training session for new and current members.
Meeting called to order at 6:00 pm.
Members present: Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims, Pete Thayer Alternate, Courtney Cox, Ryan Stone Alternate, Lisa Marie Anderson Alternate, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Craig Thompson Alternate
Members absent: Noel Greiner and Heri Tryba
Training session overview
Co-chairs Ned Hulbert and Sherry Sims, with input from Andrew Maneval, led discussions of the various working or study groups of the Planning Board, as well as potential working groups moving forward, given the priorities outlined in the Master Plan. In reviewing the background, current status and future needs and objectives of these groups, Mr. Hulbert, Ms. Sims and Mr. Maneval invited questions and requested that new members consider how they might want to participate.
Mr. Hulbert stated that the current study groups include Transportation, Broadband/Cell, Water Protection and Regional Cooperation. The current Process Groups, he noted, are the Master Plan Committee and Community Conversations. Upcoming study groups would include zoning ordinance revision pertaining to broadband/cell, housing and possibly other areas. On an ongoing basis, Mr. Hulbert added, the PB would continue its focus on its main tasks of zoning and land use applications, ordinances, the Master Plan and annual organizational concerns. Board members were also asked to keep in mind that those leading or overseeing a study group would bear certain management responsibilities, including everything from publicly noticing meetings to preparing and distributing agendas and handouts, and taking minutes.
The first study group addressed was Transportation. Emerging out of the Complete Streets Group, it has been looking at making state and town roads safer and more accessible for residents and for economic development purposes. This group is working with the Select Board and town and has connected with Safe Roads to School, a group that includes parents and staff of Wells Memorial School. Mr. Hulbert noted that an updated map with all town roads and trails was completed in July.
The group then discussed the NH State policy recommendations for safe streets, cited on p. 33 of the Master Plan, and why the state hasn’t enacted measures to implement its Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan from 2000. Sherry Sims noted the state will paint white lines on the shoulders of state roads if towns request it. Andrew Maneval wondered whether the state mandate may or may not conflict with individual town’s interests and regulations.
Mr. Hulbert asked the group to consider, within the next month or two, their interest in joining the Transportation Group given that a few of the current PB members serving on the committee, will be stepping aside.
Andrew Maneval informed board members that the committee had tentatively but not conclusively selected a company to conduct the engineering study and that a preliminary meeting with the company was scheduled for that coming Friday. Mr. Maneval hoped the study would be concluded by year end and recommended that the PB continue to oversee the Broadband Committee. He added that solutions could be expensive and may require ordinance changes and possibly work at the state level to implement the telecommunications capabilities. In response to a question about keeping emergency response systems a priority in te process, Mr. Maneval noted that, separately, the Department of Emergency Management is working on a statewide emergency service system, and that implementation of all capabilities could be a phased process.
The group reviewed the discussions and outcome of the recent Community Conversation, noting residents’ interest in the topic. Ned Hulbert commented that the question was raised whether the current ordinance and standards for groundwater protection are adequate. In response to Craig Thompson’s question regarding a threshold for a town-wide wastewater treatment plant, the PB co-chairs responded that it was a long-term planning process question.
Ned Hulbert reviewed the many potential opportunities to build relationships, collaborate and manage costs. Andrew Maneval added that priorities could be immediate or long term and subject to statutory limitations and interests of numerous parties but that possibilities include regional cooperation on emergency services, recycling, police and fire and school.
Master Plan Committee
Mr. Hulbert reviewed that this is an oversight and advisory group charged with making recommendations to the PB, which the PB could adopt or not. It was noted that the Master Plan is intended to shift over time based on input of current boards and interests of the community. Ned Hulbert noted again that certain members will drop off each working/study group and that new members are needed.
Given the amount of time required to prepare for these events, Mr. Hulbert expressed the need to share the planning and logistical responsibilities. Mr. Maneval stated his understanding that Community Conversations didn’t fall under the Planning Board’s responsibilities but would involve the effort of any group interested in putting one together. Toward that end, the group agreed a template of what needs to be done to host a Community Conversation could be developed and made accessible for prospective organizers by the PB given its experience conducting five of them in the past year and a half.
Finally, the group discussed the desire to get the land use boards together with the Select Board and stated they welcome a discussion with Jay Jacobs regarding suggestions for revisions to the zoning ordinances. Andrew Maneval noted that, in particular, sections 5.2 and 5.4, related to non-conforming uses and non-conforming lots, are capable of multiple interpretations and need to be clarified.
Next training session
The co-chairs announced that the next training session will focus on processing applications and will be more interactive. The date for the training will be set at the PB’s September 13th meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 pm.