Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at the Town Offices, 705 Chesham Board, as well as via zoom.
Members present at Town Offices: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Don Scott, Courtney Cox
Members present via Zoom: Lisa Anderson, Andrea Hodson, Ned Hulbert, Kate Neary, Pete Thayer
Members absent: Jon Miner, Noel Greiner
Members of the public via Zoom: Mary Day Mordecai
Members voted to approve the agenda as distributed.
Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Andrea Hodson, Courtney Cox, Ned Hulbert and Lisa Anderson.
Minutes of previous meeting 3/4/2020
Andrea Hodson moved to approve the meeting minutes of March 4, 2020. Pete Thayer seconded. By roll call, Ryan Stone, Don Scott, Andrea Hodson, Pete Thayer and Kate Neary voted in favor. The motion passed with Lisa Anderson, Ned Hulbert and Courtney Cox abstaining due to absence.
Transportation Committee update
Mary Day Mordecai briefed the board on the status of the crosswalk project. Conversations with the DOT, an engineering study and more intensive analysis confirmed that a landing platform would be needed on the north side of Main Street, near Harrisville Designs, which would require rebuilding the wall there. This is private property owned by Historic Harrisville. Both the Transportation Committee and HHI would like now to explore how the crosswalk could fit into a larger pattern of pedestrian traffic on HHI’s village properties. In the meantime, the TC will continue its effort to slow traffic entering the village with signage facing vehicles traveling from the Nelson direction, plus signage indicating pedestrians ahead. The TC continues to explore grant options, DOT support, and funding through SWRP.
The committee also continues its work to remedy the Route 137/Hancock Rd speed and visibility problem and seeks Planning Board, Select Board and Traffic Safety Committee support on these issues. On the idea of a radar sign along Route 137, Ned Hulbert explained that, according to the DOT engineer, the best location for this would be a few hundred feet from the intersection heading south on Route 137 from Hancock. The committee will again ask the DOT about the option of reducing the speed limit on this section. The existing limit is 35 mph in this location but 50 mph otherwise.
Any next steps on the crosswalk requires approval from HHI. A Community conversation on the topic was believed to be a good idea. The SWRPC grant deadline is the end of June and this is something the PB has endorsed previously. Ultimately the TC hopes for a letter of support from the Select Board to the SWRPC. Separately, the PB will check in with the principal on the status of the crosswalk project at Wells Memorial School.
Town process for information distribution
The PB discussed how Covid-19 information is being distributed, including via the bulletin board, installed by Emergency Management Director Jeff Cady at Veteran’s Park near the library. The town also posts updates on the website and its Facebook page, and sent a mailer to all residents early on with contact and resource information. Andrea Hodson noted that the town is considering email platform options, such as Mailchimp, so residents could opt to subscribe to (or opt out of ) email notifications from the town. She noted that many residents are already on a number of different email lists.
Gratitude was expressed for all Jeff Cady has done to coordinate various efforts around town. The group discussed suggestions to pivot the bulletin board to prevent drivers from stopping along Main Street to attempt to read it from their cars but instead to encourage drivers to pull off into the Island Street parking area. The SB will discuss with Mr. Cady.
Ordinance Review Committee
Lisa Anderson noted that the previous members of the Ordinance Review Committee have committed to resuming work this year. In addition, the Select Board office is preparing to send the updated ordinances to the printer. The group discussed different options to reduce printing costs. Separately, Lisa Anderson noted that the ORC’s focus in the coming year is the idea of a wetlands buffer, reviewing the solar and personal wireless facilities sections to ensure consistent treatment, consideration of a noise ordinance, timber extraction ordinance, and revisiting the suggestion by Jay Jacobs to reduce the side setback required in the residential/agricultural district. The committee also will review the ADU ordinance for possible amendment.
For greater user-friendliness by applicants and board members, the PB will continue to consider flow charts to accompany application forms. The board also will get Lynn Cook’s feedback on the Voluntary Merger form and flow chart.
Planning Board Review: Gravel Pit and Jaquith Road
Ryan Stone summarized the gravel pit committee’s work at its first meeting, including discussion of the mandate of the Warrant Article, the relevant regulations, and plans for a site visit as part of the second meeting on May 19 meeting. The committee looks to minimize impact on neighboring properties, while considering legal requirements and the committee’s mandate. Pete Thayer asked about the neighbors’ concerns given that this is for town use and not a commercial operation. Lisa Anderson noted truck traffic, noise, dust and visual impact. Mr. Stone reiterated that the committee will study uses and conditions of use and present findings at a public hearing, tentatively set for June.
PB Training Session(s): Rules of Procedure
In light of Covid 19, the board chairs will figure out how to set training sessions up individually and / or remotely. Ned Hulbert pointed out that the NHMA has 1-hour training webinars into how planning boards work. He will check on the next session date and if the sessions are taped for later viewing.
2020 Planning Board Agenda Discussion
Board members discussed ideas for revisiting the Vision Statement of the Master Plan. Ryan Stone asked members to reread the statement, and the pages preceding it, and ask themselves if it still aligns with their vision of the town or if it needs modifying. Members also will ask neighbors or other contacts to solicit feedback. Andrea Hodson will share with PB member the questions she put together. The goal is to collect and synthesize feedback for sharing at the June meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:59 pm.