The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at the town office building located on Chesham Road.
Members present: Lisa Anderson Co-Chair, Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Ned Hulbert, Jonathan Miner Selectman, Noel Greiner Alternate, Courtney Cox, Pete Thayer Alternate
Members of the public: Ranae O’Neil, David O’Neil, Winston Sims, John Cucchi, Anne Cucchi, Kathy Scott, Don Scott
Meeting called to order at 7:04 pm.
Attendance and voting members
Mr. Stone stated that the voting members were himself, Lisa Anderson, Jon Miner, Ned Hulbert and Courtney Cox.
Approval of agenda
Ned Hulbert moved to accept the agenda. Noel Greiner seconded. All voted in favor.
Minutes of previous meeting 9/12 and of Special Meeting 10/2
Noel Greiner moved to approve the meeting minutes of 9/12. Ned Hulbert seconded. All voted in favor. Courtney Cox moved to approve the minutes of 10/2. Jon Miner seconded. All voted in favor.
John and Anne Cucchi
The PB received the submitted paperwork for the Cucchi’s boundary line adjustment application, including copies of the plat with contours showing the boundary line adjustment and of the plat without contours. The office has checks submitted last month by the applicant and the Cucchis will confirm with the office the remaining amount owed for the newspaper and abutter notices. Plat review will be conducted by Courtney Cox, Jon Miner and Pete Thayer, after which the PB will notify the Cucchis of next steps.
O’Neil Sand Pit – Jaquith Road (Map 10-Lot 31)
David and Ranae O’Neil are requesting to extend their excavation permit which expires at the end of 2018 and allows for excavation of 19,000 yards, about half of which have been removed. Mr. O’Neil hopes to complete work within the next year but requests a 3-5 year- extension in the event this isn’t possible. The PB visited the site in December of 2017 and Mr. Hulbert noted another visit should be scheduled. Following this, Mr. O’Neil will submit an application and abutters will be notified for the public hearing. The PB then scheduled the site visit for Wednesday, October 17, at 5:30 pm. The O’Neils will submit the application by November 1 so that the matter can be noticed and heard at the next regular PB meeting on November 14.
Ordinance Review Committee Update
The board agreed that any recommended modifications to the proposed ordinance amendments, made by both the Broadband/Cell Committee and the PB at the October 2 Special Meeting, would be incorporated into the presentation at the October 29 Community Conversation. Lisa Anderson then shared the rewrite to the impervious cover definition and related provisions as drafted by the ORC at its October 8 meeting. Don Scott spoke to the reasons behind the proposed amendment, citing that the existing ordinance does not take into account engineering advances for managing both water filtration and storm water runoff, which could make the 20% impervious cover threshold one that could be exceeded. Two avenues for decreasing impervious cover include the use of pervious pavers and pervious infiltration patio systems, (even constructing decks with adequate gravel cover underneath), as well as engineering techniques to manage runoff such as infiltration driplines, trenches, basins, rain gardens, level spreaders, drywells, etc., which leave water on property thus reducing off-property water flow. Mr. Scott noted that the committee also added language that puts the onus on the property owner to provide proof from a certified engineer that such techniques are being employed.
Additional amendments are proposed for the Home Occupation and Home-Based Business provisions. Regarding home occupations, the ORC deciding against requiring registration with the town, believing this was could be overly burdensome and ultimately not necessarily useful for town planning purposes. Regarding home-based businesses, the ORC recommends language giving the ZBA the authority to determine the number of allowable non-residence employees based on individual applications. The latter determination would only apply to home-based businesses outside of the Commercial District. A parking setback requirement, initially proposed by the ORC for home-based businesses, also was removed as there are no other parking setback requirements in the existing ordinances.
In addition, the ORC proposes eliminating Article 188.8.131.52, which calls for site plan review by the PB, thus keeping oversight with the ZBA through the existing special exception requirement. The goal here is to eliminate duplicate oversight and yet allow for site plan review by the PB if requested or recommended by the ZBA.
Ms. Anderson then reviewed proposed changes to Article V Nonconforming Uses, Lots, and Structures. To simplify terminology, the ORC proposes universally replacing the word “building” with “structure.” Second, the ORC suggests using the phrase twelve months throughout, rather than the existing variety of phrases such as one year and twelve consecutive months. The group then discussed the proposed allowance, under 5.2.2., of “natural but limited expansion,” based on NH case law which outlines criteria for such expansion allowed without extensive review.
Finally, the ORC recommends clarification or amendment of certain definitions in the Definitions section and proposes the removal of those not referenced anywhere else in the ordinances.
The committee will further consider helpful feedback received at the Community Conversation on October 29 on the proposed Zoning Ordinance amendments, as well as feedback received at the public hearing or hearings to be held prior to final submission to the Town Clerk of a Warrant Article for 2019 Town Meeting.
Community Conversation – Ordinance Revision – Monday, October 29, 6-8:30 pmat Mill #1
The PB discussed the format, materials, presenters and logistical preparation needed for the upcoming event. Lisa Anderson will work with Ned Hulbert to finalize the agenda and format. Members helping with setup will arrive at 5:30 pm. The ORC will work with Carol Ogilvie to prepare an informational document on the proposed ordinance changes to post on the website. Following a question from Winston Sims, the PB confirmed any questions and concerns of the Conservation Commission about the proposed ordinance amendments would be considered as part of the drafting process. PB also noted that Harry Wolhandler, HCC Chair, is a member of the Ordinance Review Committee. Suggestions and plans for promoting the event included an email blast, posters around town, and posting on the website. An article has already appeared in Common Threads.
Streetlight Committee – Update from 9/24/18 Community Conversation
Ryan Stone summarized the progress of the streetlight committee and the report presented to the Select Board as part of the mandate under the 2017 Warrant Article. He noted that the committee’s presentation included the history of lighting in town and the background of the streetlight issue. In addition, the status and cost of the refurbished lights was discussed as well as the expected cost for future fixture refurbishment. To date, all the lights are operating with incandescent bulbs, with the committee working toward the transition to screw-in LED bulbs when an appropriate light and rate plan become available. The committee continues to work out certain issues, include a proposal to the town at the 2019 Town Meeting, and timeframe, to help fund the project expenditures. To date, the cost has been $3,200 for the refurbishment of the 16 fixtures the town has in its inventory. Kathy Scott further explained that transitioning to the currently available LED bulb that would fit the radial wave fixtures requires petitioning by the town to the PUC. That bulb is not currently rated for outdoor use.
Luncheon to honor service of past PB members
The board thanked Ned Hulbert and Mary Day Mordecai for hosting the event and, in turn, Mr. Hulbert thanked members for their contributions to the meal.
Potential new PB members and process clarifications
Members discussed the most appropriate and effective options for inviting interested parties to learn about service on the PB and the importance of communication with the Select Board during the process. All agreed attendance at PB meetings, and conversations with sitting board members about the commitment required, are the most helpful ways to initiate the process.
NHMA workshop summaries
Lisa Anderson discussed insights from the Right to Know seminar, noting that members need to be careful to limit group emails to scheduling matters and to await public meetings to discuss anything beyond this. She explained that, though meeting minutes must be publicly available within 5 business days, there is no required deadline for formal approval. Finally, she explained the conditions needed for the PB to enter into non-public session, under RSA 91-A:3II, including conferring with town counsel or holding discussions related to personnel matters, among other circumstances; however, members noted that many of the conditions relate more to the Select Board than to the PB.
Jon Miner summarized the seminar on PB Fundamentals, noting the helpful training previously conducted by Ned Hulbert and Sherry Sims for new PB members. He added that the seminar reviewed relevant land use and PB statutes and case law, as well as the subject of recusal. Ryan Stone further described conditions for recusal, the main one including having interest in the outcome of a decision.
Courtney Cox and Pete Thayer attended the class on Plat Reading, recommending that plats be marked up with colored pencils and that information in all cases be trusted but verified.
Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
Ned Hulbert explained that the PB had stopped participating in the CIP process and that, though statutorily the PB is allowed to be involved, the SB has taken on and managed the process over the past couple of years. If the PB wants to become more aware of items under discussion or to propose new initiatives related to the Master Plan, Mr. Hulbert and Ryan Stone welcomed this. Jon Miner explained that the SB does not want to restrict the PB’s involvement and explained the process largely develops out of feedback from department heads or observations of SB members. He encouraged PB members to attend SB meetings if they wish to get involved in the process and that issues can be discussed in PB meetings as well. Kathy Scott noted the difference between planning and budgeting and encouraged ideas from the PB. Mr. Hulbert asked if the board needs to be thinking about funding for affordable housing or the library or schools.
The PB briefly discussed that it continues to assess options and costs for a vertical file and flip chart and upcoming NHMA workshops.
Finally, the PB acknowledged receipt of correspondence from Mr. Cucchi alleging inappropriate behavior by members of various town boards. No further discussion occurred.
The meeting adjourned at 9:25 pm.