Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

Location:   Town offices Date: March 26, 2021
Opened:    9:00 am Adjourned: 11:35 am

Select Board Members: Jay Jacobs, Kathy Scott, Andrea Hodson _____________________________

Attendees: Don Scott, Ted Braun, Julia Pakradooni, Barbara Watkins, George Colony, Wayne Derosia, Police Chief Tollett, Jeff Miller, Ann Colony

Recycle Center – The board discussed the idea of organizing a 3 or 4 person committee, to assess the town’s current recycling operation and to develop a three-part plan involving: 1) buildings and grounds, including equipment; 2) operations; and 3) public outreach. The Conservation Commission has expressed interest in helping, possibly organizing an ambassador program for rotating involvement with the committee. The Select Board will oversee plan and implementation with Jay Jacobs as lead. The SB will continue discussion and reach out to potential RC committee members.

Town website – Andrea Hodson will meet with Gwen Ames about handing off the website.

Silver Lake Parking – The board continued discussion with representatives of the Stoney Beach Research Group on an implementation plan to manage parking at Silver Lake, in the area of the boat ramp. Members of the group proposed a plan (copy on file) that would prohibit parking on the south side of Breed Road, to reduce the number of parking spaces currently available, for safety, traffic and lake load reasons. Kathy Scott offered an update on the Right to Public Waters program and feedback from the state that it would support what the town wants to do on this issue.

Barbara Watkins presented a history of the parking plan agreed to by town voters in 2008, a plan that also prohibited parking along the south side of Breed Road, but for which signage was never installed and which was never enforced. She also shared excerpts of old meeting minutes, following a timeline of discussions and comments about public hearings that occurred prior to this vote. An ordinance prohibiting swimming at the boat launch also was cited.

Using the map shared on screen by George Colony, conversation went back and forth as to ideas for allowing and restricting parking for vehicles and trailers, and as to an agreeable number of spaces. The research group reiterated the formula used by lakes and towns around the state, calculating acreage per available spaces for parking. Jay Jacobs proposed allowing parking on the South side of Breed Road off the pavement (as posted now). No specific number was agreed upon.

George Colony noted for the board that several property owners had given permission for No Parking signs to be posted along their property.

Ted Braun discussed his research, which involves data collection for the last 3 years from Lake Hosts from Skatutakee, Granite Lake and Silver Lake. Mr. Jacobs questioned the accuracy of this data as well as the research group’s claim that 75 spaces are currently available. Andrea Hodson stated the goal is to establish parking parameters from data rather than come up with an arbitrary number. The group again studied the map, disagreeing on the numbers. Kathy Scott stated Right to Public Waters allows public access for boating, picnicking, and fishing and that swimming is at the town’s discretion because of safety. The focus returned to parking.

Fire Chief Wayne Derosia questioned the claims of safety concerns, given his 17 year experience in his position and his time as a boater on the lake. He also asked for Select Board meetings and discussions on this topic to occur outside working hours so members of the public who use the lake can attend. Kathy Scott cited pedestrians in the road, swimmers in boating area and stated that the town wants to prevent the possibility of an accident.

During further discussion of reasonable number of spaces, Mr. Jacobs stated he doesn’t believe it’s the Select Board’s place to restrict parking to a given number as there is no state guidance on this. While he understands the concerns and frustrations of Silver Lake homeowners, he emphasized that board members have to represent everybody. Kathy Scott stated the town does not have to provide for everybody. Andrea Hodson added the board is authorized to regulate parking. 1 spot for 28 acres of lake is the average across the state .

Attendees continued to attempt to settle on an allowed number of parking spaces. A 2010 letter from the NH DOT cites a town policy of no parking on the south side of breed road and offers support for whatever the town decides and offers to install signage.

Jay Jacobs then moved to bring to a public hearing a proposed parking plan allowing parking on the south side of Breed Road and on the north side as presented in the map, and at time of public hearing the board will have a specific number of feet covering both sides. Prior to a second, Andrea Hodson expressed concerned that this increases the number of spaces from 30 to 48 and ignores benchmarks from other towns and the increasing load on the lake. Jay reiterated his belief that the numbers are arbitrary because they don’t take into account towns where parking very difficult. He also doesn’t feel the town has power to regulate boat traffic on Silver Lake and that the town offers safe parking now. Kathy Scott stated the town has been told by state agencies that the town has a right to regulate parking to protect resources while allowing access for proper use. She believes the proposal is right for the site. Ms. Hodson proposed no parking on south side after which she and Ms. Scott agreed the south side of Breed Road should be for emergency vehicle parking only.

With no second on the previous motion, Kathy Scott moved to accept the parking plan as depicted on the screen that includes no parking on the South side of Breed Road.

Returning to motion not seconded.

Kathy Scott moved to accept the parking plan as shown on the screen, drawn by Don Scott, that includes parking around the boat ramp, parking on the north side of Breed Road from the access to the boat ramp to Westside Road, along the right-of-way, off the road, and no public parking on the south side of Breed Road. Andrea Hodson seconded. George Colony noted that in big picture there has been an expansion in parking over last 10 years. Chick Colony added that the board’s obligation is to the residents and to the town’s resources and taxpayers. He believes if the town regulates, the state will either back up or not, and that this is just going back to the plan approved in 2010 with enforcement.

Mr. Jacobs called for a roll call vote. Ms. Scott and Ms. Hodson voted in favor. Mr. Jacobs was opposed. The motion carried 2-1.

The board then discussed bringing the parking plan to a public hearing, differing on the purpose. Mr. Jacobs noted the purpose is to gather public input. Ms. Hodson and Ms. Scott believe the state agencies all support the town’s wishes.

Ms. Hodson asked if the Implementation Plan could be prepared by next week, the plan to include precise measurements for parking, signage for parking. The next piece of the plan will address ordinances related to swimming and non-boating activity. The police chief was asked his thoughts on slowing driving speed in the area. He noted pedestrian crossing signs could help and also speed enforcement.

Separately, the board accepted into the meeting minutes the Stoney Beach Research Group’s memo to the board.

Finance/other business – The board acknowledged the health insurance premium increase from HealthTrust is 6%, as estimated.

Town Clerk – The SB signed oaths of office for deputy tax collector, deputy treasurer, assistant town clerks, finance coordinator and administrative assistant.

2020 Audit – The office staff will choose an audit day in May for Matt Murray to come on site.

Cyber public entity application completed

The board okayed the new timesheet

The SB signed the pay warrant for $5,911.33.