Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at the Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road, as well as via zoom.
The meeting opened at 7:00 pm.
Members present on site: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Jon Miner, Don Scott
Members present via Zoom: Lisa Anderson Co-Chair, Andrea Hodson, Kate Neary, Pete Thayer, and Ned Hulbert
Members absent: Noel Greiner, Courtney Cox
Agenda and voting members
With the addition of an item on the Gravel Pit Committee, Jon Miner moved to approve the agenda as distributed. All voted in favor. Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Lisa Anderson, Andrea Hodson, Ned Hulbert and Pete Thayer.
Minutes of previous meeting 6/10/2020
Members moved and voted unanimously to approve the minutes of June 10, 2020. Ned Hulbert abstained due to his absence from part of the meeting.
Ned Hulbert updated the board that the engineer hired for the crosswalk study determined that there was inadequate landing space for the proposed placement of the crosswalk near the General store. With five feet of walking space required on both sides of the road, the north side of Main Street needs expanding. Given the dropoff there, as well as the ledge on the south, or General Store, side, the Transportation Committee in conjunction with Historic Harrisville has determined that the plan requires further discussion as part of a larger walking path plan on Historic Harrisville property.
In the meantime, the Transportation Committee continues its focus on traffic slowing on Main Street coming from the Nelson direction, as well as on Route 137 near the Hancock Road intersection. The committee is requesting from the DOT a radar sign on Route 137, just north of Hancock Road, and will submit an application for a MAST grant from Southwest Regional Planning Commission to cover the cost of the two radar signs, both of which would be permanent. PB members discussed where the signage would be located exactly and what signage currently exists.
Asked about the status of the Safe Routes to School project, Mr. Hulbert stated that the school committee is being reformed, due to Covid 19 interruptions, and that the school needed to renew its grant. The committee expects an update soon from Principal Kate Shanks.
Electric Aggregation Committee Community Power Update
The EAC continues to explore the purchasing power of the municipality and the options for securing better electric rates and a wider range of renewable energy options. The committee plans to conduct a community conversation to explore how interested Harrisville residents are in pursuing these goals, creating a reserve fund, and identifying who can build and maintain the necessary infrastructure to support the town’s needs. The EAC believes the committee’s goals are in keeping with the goals of the Master Plan for viability and sustainability, and that the added goal of renewable energy economic development also aligns. Ryan Stone and Amy Roberts have joined the committee.
Andrea Hodson further noted that the EAC is researching options for the town to pursue this alone, via an energy broker, or in conjunction with other towns, or Cheshire County, and what makes the most sense for bringing the opportunity to Town Meeting and for leveraging more purchasing power. The EAC is interviewing brokers at this time, and mapping a timeline between now and Town Meeting, including for public outreach. EAC meetings will be opening up for public access, via zoom, and will be noticed.
Gravel Pit Committee
Ryan Stone reviewed highlights of the GPC’s public hearing with the Select Board, when the final report was submitted. A copy of the committee’s recommendations is on the home page of the website. Mr. Stone noted that questions arose again at the public hearing about the town’s intent to conduct a noise study. The committee did not specifically recommend this but, Mr. Stone added, the Select Board could decide on its own if it chooses. Mr. Stone expressed concern that, following acceptance of the report from the committee, the Select Board also adopted the recommendations within what he sees as minimal time. Andrea Hodson stated she felt the report was thoroughly reviewed, as it was made available in advance. As for next steps on the gravel pit, discussion of implementation of the committee’s findings is on the SB agenda.
Ordinance Review Committee
The ORC has met twice since the last PB meeting. Lisa Anderson noted that the committee has determined the town has no jurisdiction over timber regulation, unless such activities are part of a subdivision application. The ORC continues to discuss the feasibility or practicality of a noise ordinance and will discuss with the Police Chief. The two other areas of focus this year are setback requirements in the Residential / Agricultural District and in wetlands. The committee is aware that a definition for “accessory structure” needs to be added to the zoning ordinances.
Returning to the RSA language enabling jurisdiction over timber extraction, members asked if there was a way to circumvent this RSA by enacting a town ordinance, rather than through the zoning codes. The Select Board office will explore the possibility. The next two ORC meetings are July 13 and August 3, both days at 4:00 pm. Ms. Anderson noted that she will be taking the minutes from now on.
Planning Board New Member Training
The first session of new member training has been completed. Lisa Anderson will schedule the second.
Upcoming NHMA workshops and webinars
Upcoming opportunities include a Right-to-Know and Governmental Records Webinar on Wednesday, July 15, from 12-1pm. PB members should visit the NHMA website, nhmunicipal.org, and click on “Events and Training”.
Master Plan – Revision of Vision Statement
Andrea Hodson created a Google Doc to facilitate obtaining and synthesizing feedback about the Vision Statement. The general feeling from those residents who have provided input is that the current Vision Statement remains relevant, with perhaps a couple of needed additions. The feedback will direct the PB toward their areas of focus for Master Plan updates.
Lisa Anderson will email the survey template to PB members, noting members should feel free to ask additional questions as would be helpful. Please return feedback to Lisa in the next two weeks to allow time to synthesize and present for discussion at the August meeting.
Concern over potential zoning violation
Don Scott raised a question about a previously issued zoning approval and whether or not the approval had any conditions placed on it related to parking. PB members heard excerpts of the minutes of the relevant ZBA hearing on the matter. The minutes noted that the ZBA had determined adequate parking was available on site. Mr. Scott expressed concern about potential impacts to the adjacent water body. The question will be directed to the SB.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm.