The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the town office building located on Chesham Road on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Sherry Sims, Ned Hulbert, Courtney Cox, Pete Thayer Alternate, Noel Greiner Alternate
Members absent: Lisa Marie Anderson Alternate, Jonathan Miner Selectman Alternate, Ryan Stone Alternate, Andrew Maneval Selectman, Craig Thompson Alternate
Members of the public: Winston Sims
Attendance and voting members
The voting members present were Ned Hulbert, Sherry Sims, Courtney Cox and Pete Thayer.
Approval of Agenda
Ned Hulbert reviewed the agenda, after all voted in favor to proceed.
Minutes of previous meeting 1/10/18
Noel Greiner moved to approve the minutes of 1/10. Sherry Sims seconded. All voted in favor.
Excavation 137, Map 10 Lot 6 Hillsboro Aggregates
The group discussed Lisa Stewart’s response to the PB’s letter requesting that Hillsboro Aggregates demonstrate compliance with RSA 155 (E) and the regulations required therein. Ms. Stewart’s letter stated that Hillsboro Aggregates had received a letter from the Select Board, which Ms. Sims read aloud, stating that the operation was legal and proper. Ms. Sims noted that the Select Board does not have oversight over RSA 155 (E) and that the SB’s letter does not mention the PB’s authority. Ms. Sims shared with PB members the draft of a follow up letter she drafted, noting the PB’s oversight and reiterating Hillsboro Aggregates’ need to furnish the proper reports establishing its grandfathered status and otherwise requiring a permitting process for any excavation operations on the subject property. PB members reviewed and suggested edits to Ms. Sims draft. The consensus of the group was, following Silas Little’s review and input, the response should be sent.
The group discussed the PB’s draft year-end report for the Town Annual Report and approved the draft Ms. Sims had prepared. She will forward it to Angela Hendrickson for inclusion in the 2018 edition.
Zoning ordinance revision
Ned Hulbert reviewed that the SB had approved the $2500 budget item for a professional consultant to assist with the ordinance review and amendment process, including the subdivision regulations. Mr. Hulbert stated that no decision had to be made immediately on the exact approach Carol Ogilvie would take but wants board members to think about the direction in which they would want to proceed, assuming the town budget is adopted on March 13 and work would begin in the spring. Members discussed their opinions on the best approach to maximize Ms. Ogilvie’s expertise given the task at hand and the recommendations of Ms. Ogilvie and Lisa Murphy to the PB. Ned Hulbert stated the group would revisit the subject in March.
Review warrants for upcoming meeting 3/13/18
Members discussed which possible warrant articles would be of particular interest to the PB. Regarding any warrant article related to road work, Ned Hulbert stated that the Transportation Committee would not take a position at least this year, given the one-year adoption with possible renewal by the Select Board of the Complete Streets Resolution. He added that the Complete Streets Resolution includes recommendations related to multi-modal improvements for pedestrians, cyclists or autos and to broadband if, in the future, conduit needs to be laid along particular roads.
Mr. Hulbert then asked if the warrant article related to the closing of the Land Conservation Trust Fund was of concern. Sherry Sims replied that it may be, as it relates to Master Plan issues. Subsequently, Winston Sims addressed the PB, providing background to members, stating that the LCTF was established in 2008 for the purposes of either purchasing land outright or for purposes of conservation easements, a fundamental task of conservation commissions in the state. He also noted that when the Select Board proposed the same article at Town Meeting in 2017, it was voted down by a significant margin. Mr. Sims stated his position that the HCC, in re-proposing the article this year, did not consider a number of factors, including Mr. Sims’s discussions with three different property owners about the potential disposition of their lands and the fact that the LCTF was not significant enough to purchase these lands. Mr. Sims noted his concern that, should the HCC need to approach the SB for additional funds, the board would not be in a position to grant an adequate amount. Mr. Sims also expressed concern about the HCC’s position that its retention of $50,000, should the LCTF funds be returned to the Town’s general fund, would be sufficient for its needs, for example to combat aquatic invasives or face any environmental threat. He stated he believes that the HCC needs to retain substantially greater amounts for conservation and environmental purposes and to meet objectives outlined in the Master Plan to protect the town.
Mr. Sims then stated his position that waterfront property values in town would be affected, losing up to 19% of their value, in the event of an influx of invasive species. Mr. Greiner agreed with Mr. Sims based on his research on the subject in recent years, and Mr. Greiner noted the potential decline in the overall tax base and the effect it would have on non-lakeside properties whose taxes would increase to compensate. Mr. Greiner added he believes the PB should support the keeping of the fund because it was good for the town. Sherry Sims added that she feels the LCTF supports the Master Plan’s goals for preserving the quality of water and beauty of the town and recommended the PB oppose the warrant article.
When asked what his fellow HCC members stated in their support of the warrant, and what the commission vote was to propose it, Mr. Sims responded that the HCC voted 4-1 in favor and that he was the only member to oppose it. He felt the HCC did not thoroughly or adequately review and discuss the proposal but he was questioned regarding his description of the HCC’s discussions and regarding the extent to which relevant matters were considered.
Following further discussion, Courtney Cox moved for the PB to take a position against the proposed warrant article, given its contrary effect on the goals of the Master Plan, including vitality and economic viability, and the good of the town. Ned Hulbert seconded. All voted in favor.
As a final matter, the co-chairs recommended, given imminent absences and lack of urgent business, against holding the regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. All agreed. Thus, the next meeting of the PB will be held the second Wednesday in March.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.