Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at the Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road, and via zoom.

Members present: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Jon Miner, Don Scott
Members via Zoom: Lisa Anderson Co-Chair, Andrea Hodson, Ned Hulbert, Kate Neary, Pete Thayer, Courtney Cox
Members absent: Noel Greiner

     With the addition of two items, the Electric Aggregation Committee (EAC) and correspondence regarding Hillsborough Aggregates, Jon Miner moved to approve the agenda as amended. Courtney Cox seconded. All voted in favor.

Voting members
Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Lisa Anderson, Andrea Hodson, Courtney Cox and Pete Thayer.

Minutes of previous meeting 5/13/20
     Courtney Cox moved to approve the previous meeting’s minutes. Pete Thayer seconded. All voted in favor.

Election of officers

For the election of officers for 2020, Pete Thayer moved to nominate Ryan Stone and Lisa Anderson to continue as Co-Chairs. Andrea Hodson seconded. By roll call, members voted unanimously in favor. For the position of Secretary, Lisa Anderson moved to nominate Pete Thayer to continue in this position. Courtney Cox seconded. By roll call, all voted in favor.

Ordinance Review Committee (ORC)
     Lisa Anderson shared the committee’s projected priorities for 2020 and requested PB input. She noted the ORC is considering the following: 1) an amendment related to side setbacks in the residential/agricultural district, prompted by the petitioned amendment submitted by Jay Jacobs; 2) review of height restrictions for solar energy systems and personal wireless facilities to ensure consistency; 3) a buffer requirement in wetlands; 4) review of ADU ordinance for sufficient clarity; 5) drafting a noise ordinance; 6) addressing timber extraction in close proximity to wetlands and boundaries, and on steep slopes.

The idea of a noise ordinance has bounced back and forth between the Planning Board and the Select Board. Most members believe it’s better left to the SB but the ORC looked to the PB for guidance. Members discussed the difficulty of enforcement and wondered whether the subject of noise was too multi-layered to attempt an ordinance this year. The idea of restricting  fireworks was discussed, as was the matter of noise from commercial entities versus residential properties. The ORC will consider further in light of the PB’s input.

The idea of local ordinances regarding timber extraction derives from Ryan Stone’s concern about significant clear-cutting in Eastview and on Blood Hill Road and concerns about buffers to wetlands and that regulations possibly not stringent enough to prevent drainage/erosion problems. The ORC will further review state regulations to assess sufficiency for local environmental protections and to explore if further regulation is possible.

     In summarizing, the PB expressed support of the ORC’s revision of setback requirements in the residential / agricultural district, support for review of solar/wireless height restrictions, consideration of a buffer in wetlands, and review of the definitions section and the ordinances overall for housekeeping matters. They feel the ADU ordinance is suitable for now, and that the ORC could further outline specific issues related to noise and timber extraction.

Jaquith Road Gravel Pit
     Ryan Stone stated that theoutline of the gravel pit committee’s report is drafted. The committee hopes to hold its final meeting Tuesday, June 16, when the report can be further fleshed out. The public hearing for the committee to present its findings to the Select Board is Thursday, June 25.

Hillsborough Aggregates
Mr. Stone shared a letter from the Select Board to a Dublin resident and neighbor of Hillsborough Aggregates. The resident had expressed frustration about the high noise level coming from the gravel operation, which was unusual based on typical activity there and related to a unique project underway and within permitted rights. The incident prompted additional discussion among PB members about the level of town officials’ obligation to notify abutters of such unusual activity.

PB Training Session
     Lisa Anderson will meet with Kate Neary for new member orientation. As new or rejoining members, Ms. Neary and Jon Miner respectively received the Rules of Procedure as well as other PB resource materials, including the OEP PB Manual, the new member recruitment/orientation handout, PB roles and responsibilities, notification procedures, and copies of the Master Plan, the Zoning Ordinances and the RSAs related to Land Use.

Master Plan Vision Statement
As PB members solicit feedback from residents in the community, their goal as discussed is to reach a cross-section of the population and then to collect, synthesize and incorporate feedback so that updates to the Vision Statement align with residents’ beliefs about where the town is headed and should be headed. Options for outreach include Common Threads, the website, the Recycling Center, and the Post Office. PB members agreed a questionnaire could be the best approach. Members will collate the comments received and send to Lisa Anderson and Andrea Hodson. In addition, members will draft two questions each and also send to Ms. Anderson and Ms. Hodson.

Electric Aggregation/Community Power update
     Andrea Hodson explained how recent state legislation enables the town to shop for electrical rates on behalf of all residents. At the end of April, the SB established a committee of 5 to explore the best way to go about this.

The EAC’s goal is to develop a community power plan for presentation to voters at Town Meeting.  Potential elements of this plan include negotiating a contract with improved electric rates and identifying options for renewable energy sources, goals the EAC feels are consistent with the Master Plan and which are supported by the Select Board. The committee is connecting with neighboring towns to find out what they’re doing and how they are approaching the opportunity. A summit last week in Concord included representation from towns from all over the state.

Ms. Hodson noted the chief goal is an improved rate by creating purchasing power for the town, or by joining a regional coalition for leverage. There would be individual opt-out option; there also could be an option for a mix of renewable and other energy sources. Pete Thayer, pointing to the healthcare and insurance industries, as well as to the high costs of renewable energy, wondered if bulk buying would necessarily result in reduced costs and be advantageous to residents.  Andrea Hodson noted the NH legislature passed the bill based on data from other states where community power initiatives have proven successful. PB members also discussed that New England pays the highest utility costs, due to lack of competition.  The next step for the committee is to obtain data from Eversource.  Committee members believe the EAC’s goals

Current EAC members are Ned Hulbert, Andrew Maneval, Andrea Hodson, Colin Kennard, Erin Hammerstedt and possibly Doug Gline. The group meets Friday mornings at 9:00 am via zoom and they are looking for additional members.  Anyone interested should notify Andrea Hodson.

The meeting adjourned at 9:08 pm.