Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting at the Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road, and via zoom on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
Members present: Lisa Anderson, Ryan Stone, Jonathan Miner, Ned Hulbert, Don Scott, Kate Neary, Andrea Hodson, Peter Thayer and Courtney Cox
Members absent: Noel Greiner
Members of the public: Carol Ogilvie
Agenda and voting members
Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Lisa Anderson, Andrea Hodson, Ned Hulbert and Courtney Cox. Members then voted unanimously in favor to approve the agenda.
Minutes of previous meeting 8/12/2020
Lisa Anderson requested that the update on the broadband project, provided at the August meeting, be noted. It was reported that the town was in receipt of the bond funds, that Consolidated within the week would receive 50% of these funds toward equipment and infrastructure costs, and that the start of the fiber layout would begin within 30 days. In addition, Consolidated will provide town with a website link for all residents to use to pre-subscribe for service and to follow the buildout timeline. Members expressed the increased anticipation for improved service given the widespread increase in remote learning and working from home. Following this discussion, all voted in favor to approve the August Meeting Minutes.
Ordinance Review Committee
Lisa Anderson updated members that the ORC’s draft noise bylaw was reviewed by the Select Board and discussed with the Police Chief, and that the committee had reviewed sample ordinances from other towns. Given the feedback and concerns related to the draft, the ORC will revisit the idea of moving this ahead this year. Regarding a proposed amendment to allow the opportunity for reduced setback requirements in the Residential / Agricultural district, the ORC is considering the following: By Special Exception, the following structures may be located within 25 feet of the nearest boundary of any public right of way or side and rear boundaries of the lot: patios, gazebos, greenhouses, garages, storage sheds, (hot tubs, swimming pools), and similar structures. The current ordinance requires a 40-foot setback from side and rear boundaries, and a 50-foot setback from any public right-of-way.
PB members discussed at length whether or how decks would be addressed and whether detached decks but not decks attached to the main house would be included as structures that may be allowed by Special Exception to be 25’ or more from the boundary. Members also discussed further the intent of proposed change, and whether it would still be too restrictive or reasonable. Most members were okay with the draft language; however, it was noted that the phrasing, as proposed, reads that applicants could locate a structure from the boundary line to the 25’ mark, rather than from the 25’ line and beyond. When the question was raised about solar panels and whether these were included, members referred to the Solar Energy System article within town ordinances that allows ground-mounted systems to be located at a minimum distance of 10’ from the property line with appropriate screening. Don Scott suggested further clarification using the word “detached” – for example, as applied to garages.
On a wetland buffer ordinance, the Conservation Commission has been working on proposed language and provided its suggestions to the ORC, which will consider this and all feedback and return to the next PB meeting with updated draft language. The HCC also has offered assistance with public outreach, including for a Community Conversation. The ORC will share the proposed ordinance with PB members at October meeting. Lisa Anderson noted the proposed ordinance amendments will require two public hearings, possible three. The proposed dates include, November 11, December 9, and January 13, all at regularly scheduled Planning Board meetings.
Electric Aggregation Committee / Community Power
The EAC plans to hold Community Conversations in September and October but is grappling with alternative formats given the concern about unreliable internet service. Andrea Hodson explained the committee’s attempts to plan communications around the town website and via email distribution, and to identify the best medium to solicit feedback from residents. More information will be forthcoming prior to the first Community Conversation on September 21. Lisa Anderson raised the idea of working with school Environmental 4H program to help create awareness of the initiative.
Master Plan Survey Feedback
The Co-Chairs, along with Andrea Hodson, will schedule a get-together to compile all the information received to date.
Lisa Anderson noted an upcoming educational opportunity through the Cheshire Academy of Lifelong Learning, an 8-session class entitled, Leadership Monadnock, conducted by Susan Newcomer. The cost is $30. Topics include Social Justice/Community Relations, the City of Keene, the Arts, Health Care, Criminal justice, Housing and more.
Members moved to adjourn at 8:33 pm.