PLANNING BOARD – TOWN OF HARRISVILLE, NH
RULES OF PROCEDURE
These rules of procedure are adopted under the authority of New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 676:1.
Appointment and Officers
Five Members of the Planning board shall be appointed by the Selectmen to terms of three years each and may be appointed to successive terms.
A Chair shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the Board at the regularly scheduled meeting following the Annual Town Meeting. The Chair shall preside over all the meetings and hearings, appoint such committees as directed by the Board and shall affix his or her signature in the name of the Board.
A Vice-Chair shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the Board at the regularly scheduled meeting following the Annual Town Meeting. The Vice-Chair shall preside in the absence of the Chair on all matters that come before the Board during the absence of the Chair.
A Secretary shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the Board at the regularly scheduled meeting following the Annual Town Meeting. The Secretary shall sign approved plat plans. The Secretary shall file The mylar plan at the Cheshire Registry of Deeds, one signed paper plan with the Selectmen’s office, and one signed paper plan in the Planning board file.
An Ex-officio member from the Selectmen shall be considered a member but shall hold not office on the Board. There shall also be an Ex-officio Alternate from the Selectmen.
Up to five (5) more Alternate Members shall complete the membership of the Board. The Alternate Members shall sit on all matters of the Board and shall have full authority to act in all matters which come before the Board in the absence of a quorum and when so designated by the Board.
A Recording Secretary shall be appointed by the Board and hired by the Selectmen. The Recording Secretary shall maintain a record of all meetings, transactions and decisions of the Board, and perform such duties as the Board shall direct. (See Duties of the Recording Secretary attached). The Recording Secretary shall have no voting power.
Meetings shall be open to the public as provided in RSA 91-A:2. The regular meeting of the Board shall be held at a public building designated by the Selectmen on the second Wednesday of each month. No new issues shall be brought to the table after 9:00 p.m. except by a vote of the Board. The Chair shall allow additional time after 9:00 p.m. to conclude issues on the table.
Additional, cancelled or rescheduled meetings shall be held at the call of the Chair, provided public notice and notice to each member is given at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. (See Notification Procedures.) In the event of extreme weather conditions that pose a threat to human safety, the Chair may, at his or her discretion, postpone or cancel a meeting of the Board. In so doing he or she shall make every reasonable effort to notify members of the Board and members of the public as appropriate.
A quorum for all meetings of the Board shall be three members, including Alternates sitting in the place of members.
Should members find it necessary to disqualify themselves from sitting on a particular case as provided in RSA 673:14, they shall notify the Chair as soon as possible so that an Alternate may be selected to sit in his or her place. Where there is uncertainty as to whether a member should disqualify himself or herself, a member of the board may request that the Board vote on the disqualification. The vote shall be advisory and non-binding. A disqualified member shall not sit at the table during the public hearing and during all deliberations of the case.
Vacancies in membership shall be filled by appointment by the Selectmen for the unexpired term of office.
The order of business for regular meetings of the Board shall be as follows:
- Roll call by the Recording Secretary
- Chair shall certify a quorum and appoint an Alternate to fill any vacancy on the board for hearings and votes by the Board.
- Public Hearing
- Unfinished business
- New business
- Communications and miscellaneous
Please note: The Chair at his or her prerogative may re-order the Agenda with a majority vote of the Board members present.
The Chair shall establish such rules of procedure as are necessary for the orderly conduct of the Board’s business and shall be guided by a desire to maximize public input on matters before the Board.
The written record of the proceedings of the Harrisville Planning Board will be the legal record of its deliberations and decisions. Recording devises may be used to assist in the preparation of minutes; however, recordings are not the official record of Planning Board proceedings. The recordings of meeting minutes will be saved until the written minutes of the Board proceedings are approved, and then they shall be erased.
Public hearings are held to accept and/or consider applications from the public or such business that may require a public hearing. Joint meetings with other land use Boards are encouraged, provided a quorum of each Board is present on issues that require a vote. Generally the order of presentation of an application brought to the Board shall be as follows:
- The Chair opens the public hearing.
- The applicant’s presentation
- Questions and input by the board
- Questions and input by abutters
- Questions and input by the public-at-large
- Board deliberations begins
- The Chair shall indicate whether the hearing is closed or adjourned pending the submission of additional information or material or the correction of noted deficiencies. In the case of an adjournment, additional notice is not required if the date, time and place of the continuation is made known at the adjournment.
Application Submission, Acceptance and Review
Submission of Completed Application
- A completed application shall be filed with the Planning Board only at its regular monthly meeting. Current procedure:Within the first seven (7) days, at least one member of the Board will review the application for completeness. A completed application shall consist of all the data required on the Harrisville Subdivision Application and Checklist form and in Section VII of these Regulations unless a waiver of a particular item or items is requested in writing and granted by the Board.
- At the next meeting for which due notice can be posted, the Board will determine whether the application is complete.If the application is incomplete, the board will notify the applicant of the reasons in writing, and the applicant will need to resubmit under a new notification procedure.
- Acceptance of an application shall only occur at a meeting of the Planning Board after due notice has been given as required by RSA 676:41 (d).
- Acceptance will be by affirmative vote of a majority of the Board members preset.Once the Board accepts an application as complete, the 65-day review period begins.
Board Action on Completed Application
- The Board will begin to consider the merits of the proposal in the completed Application upon acceptance.The board will act to approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove the Completed Application within 65 days of acceptance unless the Applicant and/or Selectmen grant an extension.
- The Board may apply to the Selectmen for an extension not to exceed an additional 90 days before acting to approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove an application.An Applicant may waive the requirement for Board action within the time periods specified in these regulations and consent to such extension as may be mutually agreeable. (RSA 676:4, I (f))
- Approval of the application shall be certified by written endorsement on the plat, signed and dated by the Chairman and Secretary of the Board.The Planning Boar Secretary is responsible for filing the approved Plat with the Registry of Deeds of Cheshire County within 90 days of the signing. The Applicant shall submit a check made out to the Town of Harrisville for payment of the recording fees.
- If any application is disapproved, the grounds for such disapproval shall be stated in the records of the Planning Board and in written notice mailed to the applicant within 144 hours of the decision.
At the discretion of the Board, site visits may be required as part of the Board’s review process. Applicants shall arrange to make such visits possible.
Policy Concerning Email and Other Between-Meetings Communications
- Purpose. The aims of this policy are
* To ensure compliance with the letter and spirit of the Right-to-Know Law, RSA 91-A, and with the Due Process rights of parties before the Board.
* To clarify Board members’ ability, between meetings, to research issues and prepare motions or other potential Board actions, thus promoting efficient use of meeting time, but only to the extent allowed by law; and
* To clarify the role of electronic media such as Email in achieving these goals.
- Definitions. In this policy:
* “Communication”means a transfer of information, objective or subjective, from one person to another. It includes face-to-face or phone conversations, letters, memos, Emails, web sites, or any other medium, regardless of the location or ownership of any device or equipment used.
* Any communication involving more than one Board member shall be considered either a “Distribution” or an “Exchange.”
* A “Distribution”is a one-way communication, where no between meeting response (except acknowledgment of receipt) occurs or is expected.
* An “Exchange”is a between-meeting communication, or series of them, which involves a between-meeting response, or expectation of response.
* “Ex Parte Communication”is communication, other than at a legally noticed meeting, between a Board member and a person with an interest in, or affected by, a pending or future case, or other matters within the Board’s jurisdiction.
- Between-Meeting Activities of Individual Members. Individual members may, between meetings, prepare drafts of motions or other potential Board actions. They may also research or investigate general or specific factual issues. However, if the research pertains to a matter then pending before the Board, the member shall, at the public hearing, disclose research and/or investigation and the names of individuals consulted and/or treatises or reference works consulted. The parties to the matter then pending before the Board shall be given a meaningful opportunity to respond.
- Distributions. A Distribution may be made to any number of Board members, so long as it does not become an Exchange. Whenever a member makes a Distribution concerning a pending or future case, and it involves a quorum of the board (counting all senders and recipients):
- A copy shall be forwarded to the Town Counsel, who shall determine, under RSA 91-A or other applicable law, whether the Distribution is subject to public disclosure. An additional copy shall be placed in the pending case file maintained for public viewing by the Town Clerk:
- Unless the information is exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A, the member making the Distribution shall report on it, and its contents, at the public hearing on the case; and
- Parties to the case shall be given a meaningful opportunity to respond to the information in the Distribution.
- Exchanges.Exchanges involving a quorum or more of the Board, or of any subcommittee as defined below are prohibited. Such Exchanges shall be considered deliberations, and shall occur only at meetings noticed in accordance with RSA 91-A. An Exchange pertaining to any activity allowed under paragraph C is permitted if the number of Board or subcommittee members involved is less that a quorum; however:
* Each member involved shall be responsible for preventing the number of member involved from reaching a quorum;
* Information discussed in, or generated by, an Exchange shall not be subject to further Distribution; and
* No Exchange shall include any vote or straw vote, or and Ex Parte communication.
- Ex Parte Communications. Board members shall not initiateEx Parte communications. Refer to RSA 91-A.If an Ex Parte communication is initiated by another person, the Board member contacted shall:
* Refrain from discussing the substance or merits of a case;
* Inform the person, if necessary, that such a discussion could lead to disqualification;
* Refer the person to a Board meeting, as appropriate; and
* Report on the conversation to the Board at a public meeting.
- Scheduling and Agenda. Notwithstanding paragraphs D, E and F, nothing in this policy prevents any Distribution, Exchanges or Ex Parte communications which pertain solely to:
* Scheduling of meetings or hearings;
* The determination or ordering of agenda items or topics to be taken up at meetings or hearings; or
* General procedural requirements pertaining to such scheduling and agenda matters.
- Subcommittees. A subcommittee is any group of two or more persons, including at least one Board member, to which the Board has assigned a specific task related to Board business. A subcommittee shall be considered a public body, and all provisions of RSA 91-A and this policy, applicable to a quorum of the Board, shall also apply to a quorum of a subcommittee.
These rules of procedure may be amended by a majority vote of the members of the Board provided that such amendment has been noticed and heard at a public hearing. If the amendment is brief, the hearing may be waived provided such amendment is read at two successive meetings immediately preceding the meeting at which the vote is to be taken. The amended procedures shall be filed with the municipal clerk.
Adopted: July 13, 1993
Revised: June 14, 1995
Revised: March 22, 2000
Revised: March 14, 2007
Revised: December 9, 2009
Revised: July 11, 2018