Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  April 22, 2021  
 Opened:    7:00 pm Adjourned: 9:30 pm  

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

Attendees:  Barbara Watkins, George Colony, Pam Wilder, Roy Ayotte, Pat Colony, Mary Day Mordecai, Ned Hulbert, Julia Pakradooni, Cathy Lovas, Winston Sims, Priscilla Hardy, Les LaMois, Linda Taylor, Rich Taylor, Mark Ferguson, Chick Colony, Jeff Cady, Rosamund Delori, Pete Thayer, Mike Reilly, Anne Freisinger Cucchi, Ranae O’Neil, Sue Coleman, Jeff Trudelle, Ben Dexter, Andrew Scanlon, Felicia Aaron, Tonya Wilder, Christie Willikens, Deb Abbott, Don Scott, Pat Putnam, Annala Derosia, Jerry Moschan, Audrey Wiita, Ted Braun, Doug Byam, Sharon Breidt, Bryan Kingsbury, Felicia Wilder, Greg Stoutzenberger

Transportation Committee – The board received an update on the speed radar signs and requested approval from the Select Board to change the solar powered radar sign to be installed on Main Street in the village to an electrical hookup, as the solar energy in that location is inadequate. Following brief discussion, Jay Jacobs moved to approve. The board voted unanimously in favor.  The board will sign the requisite paperwork related to the MAST grant that funded the signs.

Mayfair Farm – The board discussed notification from the State Liquor Commission that Mayfair Farm has applied for a Retail Table Wine liquor license. Notification from the state gives town officials the opportunity to comment on applications; applications require town approval. The board reviewed the state’s application process and considered the previous application by Aldworth Manor for its license. They had questions regarding any proposed change in business plan by Mayfair Farm related to its application and will await additional information before commenting, including input from the Code Enforcement Officer and Police Department.

Silver Lake – Chair Andrea Hodson reviewed the issues discussed to date on the Silver Lake Parking plan (see Select Board Minutes of April 1, 8 and 15).  She noted that the revised plan, proposing 38 spaces near the boat ramp, was sent to the DOT for comment. She then acknowledged correspondence to the board from those supporting the plan and those opposed.

Subsequently, Ms. Hodson addressed the two petitions submitted to the Select Board and Town Clerk. The first petition received April 21 contains handwritten signatures of 57 qualified voters and petitions the board to abstain from modifying parking at the Silver Lake Boat Ramp and to bring any vote on the parking plan to Town Meeting in May 2021.

 The first petition reads: We the citizens of Harrisville, NH petition the town selectmen/women to abstain from modifying parking at Silver Lake. The plan proposed by the town would limit access to the lake by reducing the number of residents able to park and use the location for leisure. This proposal is also part of a campaign by Silver Lake Association to exercise control over free and public space. Both the Planning Board and Zoning Board should have been consulted about this proposition and were left out of the decision-making process. The recurring patrons of Silver Lake have historically been courteous to one another when making considerations for parking and will continue to do so in the future. We demand the town refrain from changing the current structure of the area. Per RSA 39:3 we petition the selectmen to add further discussion of parking at the Silver Lake boat launch to town meeting 2021.

The second petition, with 327 plus signatures from Harrisville and around the state, petitions the Select Board to call for a Special Town Meeting to bring a vote on the parking plan before the townspeople.

Both petitions will go to town counsel for review. Kathy Scott noted that the DOT had not yet commented on the board’s proposed plan and that the board needs this input before proceeding. She also noted that the question of viable parking on Seaver Road, given its narrow width, needs to be addressed. The board will discuss this with the Road Agent and whether there is an option to widen it.

Ms. Hodson addressed modifications to the proposed plan, based on the previous meeting’s discussions, including moving tandem parking to the south side of Breed Road, adding a couple of spaces on the north side, designating tie-down space for boats within the parking lot area, and adding a handicap spot.  Overall the plan modifications increased the potential number of spots to 41.

The Chair also noted she would check in with the town’s insurance company regarding liability. Mr. Jacobs questioned the need for this given state agency responsibility for state-owned facilities. Kathy Scott noted the town is responsible for the boat ramp.

Following citation of Lake Host statistics, Jay Jacobs also questioned whether the comparisons year after year were comparable, that statistics presented by Lake Hosts need to take into account not just the number of boats in and out but the number of hours lake hosts were on duty each time. Andrea Hodson and Kathy Scott spoke to the increase in numbers of boats over the years as a testament to increased congestion on Silver Lake and lakes all over the state. Mr. Jacobs stated this is an attempt to use safety as a reason to control parking and control access to the lake, and that the number of boats on the lake is a state issue, not a town issue. The way to deal with this is to approach the state. Ms. Scott and Ms. Hodson insisted it is the town’s responsibility to control the site and ensure safety. Mr. Jacobs asked for statistics that speak to safety concerns. His two attempts to make a motion were not heard.

The Chair noted the board’s authority derives from RSA 47:17; and RSA 41:11.

Opening the meeting to public input, Cathy Lovas introduced speakers. Kelly Byam addressed the liability question RSA 508:14 addresses governmental entities and recreational immunity When allowing public access for recreation should cover the town. It’s referred to as the recreational immunity clause.

Winston Sims asked about any discussion participants and petition signers who have served as Lake Hosts. He believes that experience allows for greater insight into the issues. Andrea Hodson and Jay Jacobs noted the training they had received.

Tonya Wilder brought up the two petitions, stating the purpose of the in-person petition is to invoke RSA 39:3, that a petition with 50 or more signatures from residents require the Select Board to call a special meeting or, if Town Meeting is within 60 days, to add the matter to the warrant, giving the townspeople the right to vote on the matter. One possible outcome of this could be the formation of a committee consisting of people experienced in boating and parking trailers and more familiar with the lake in general.

Ms. Wilder then raised the insurance question. She doesn’t believe the town is liable if it is not charging for use of the facility. She further noted that the statistics cited from 2019 are not accurate in that only cars with boats are counted, not those that bring visitors for swimming or recreating . She further requested that the constant interruptions of Jay Jacobs, when attempting to speak or make a motion, be stopped.

Andrew Scanlan returned to the Lake Host issue and asked if their hours are tracked, wondering if they are there the same number of days each week to know if the comparisons are comparable. The board chair will add the lake host detail to the record.

Kelly Byam then asked about the handicapped parking and how someone would get into that spot. Jerry Moschan added he believes it might be more useful to designate a regular spot versus a tandem spot for this. Don Scott subsequently clarified that the way the plan is drawn these designated spots could be for either cars only or a car and tandem. They are just three spots.

Christie Wilkens asked the board to get input from all the state agencies and town police and fire and safety officials. Kathy Scott stated that several of the state agencies will not comment. DOT will comment on the road and will weigh in when he can on the town’s parking proposal. The town oversees access to the lake.

George Colony asked if parking from Seaver Road is now on the north side of Breed Road. Kathy Scott stated it is, for now, subject to input from the Road Agent.

Roy Ayotte spoke to the narrowness of Seaver Road and also the idea of safer parking on the south side of Breed Road by widening the area and grading the bank. Mr. Ayotte had spoken to DOT engineer Bill Lambert about it and believes he agrees.

Barbara Watkins noted the plan has changed several times, that she supports it and applauds the board’s listening to the suggestions and incorporating them into a compromise plan.

Paul Whitney expressed concerned that the designated area for parked cars on the north side of Breed Road will cause erosion; he spoke to Mr. Lambert and he said it’s up to the town.

Ted Braun spoke to his experience as a Lake Host, and familiarity with the ramp and data, which he will share. One thing that wasn’t reported on in data is that in 2019 about 473 came to Silver Lakef rom other lakes and from water bodies infested with aquatic invasive species. The intent of lake hosts is to prevent the introduction of the se problem species. This parking plan can reduce the likelihood of milfoil appearing in Silver Lake.

A comment in chat noted that using safety is unfounded and only serves to prevent access.

Jerry Moschan doesn’t believe the board was straight about how it dealt with this issue and brought it to this point. He believes they’re trying to fix something that isn’t broken.  He also noted that vehicles and drivers are insured, so the belief the town may be liable doesn’t make sense. He believes parking is being cut down and that the board should have spoken to people who have lived right there for many, many years. Barbara Watkins noted they were asked to participate back in 2009 and 2010 but declined.

Pam Wilder stated part of the breakdown is that the townspeople weren’t asked to participate, that this was a few people who worked with board. Ms. Scott and Ms. Hodson reviewed the public hearing process noting this was the opportunity for comment. Kathy Scott encouraged people to petition the state for any desired changes.

Petitions will be sent to town counsel.

Other business
Highway Department – The SB will post job opportunity for Road Crew member for the Highway Department. They approved the expense for $227 to advertise in the Ledger-Transcript.

Recycle Center Committee – Jay Jacobs will get together with Earl Horn, Courtney Cox and Jeff Cady.

The SB signed pay warrants in the amount of $294,546.92.

The Board signed the E-911 Liaison form .