Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  April 30, 2021  
 Opened:    9:00 am Adjourned: 12:15 pm  

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

Attendees: Jack Rooney, Keene Sentinel; Michael Miller; Cathy Lovas; Barbara Watkins; Tom Chabott; Nancy Chabott; Jeff Cady; Jerry Moschan; Becca Kelly; Christie Wilkens; Paul Whitney; Tonya Wilder; Pam Wilder; Ryan Stone; Colin Kennard; Ann Colony; Pat Colony

Agenda –  Following proposed changes by the board chair, Kathy Scott moved to approve the agenda as amended. Jay Jacobs seconded. All voted in favor.

Building maintenance update – Jeff Cady discussed progress on police department maintenance projects, including replaced ceiling tiles, floor sanding, and reorganization of the extra room. He suggests continued investment in maintenance for improved fuel efficiency. Separately, Mr. Cady thanked Harrisville Designs for the furniture donation and thanked Tom Chabott, who also offered additional furniture items.

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and Hazard Mitigation Plan– Mr. Cady again raised the need to update the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and Hazard Mitigation Plan. Updating the latter is at no cost to town other than staff time. With new emergency services personnel coming on, Mr. Cady suggested this is a good time to update it in order to leverage the institutional knowledge of longtime employees. The town just needs to let FEMA know that it will be filing. Mr. Jacobs reiterated his feeling that ultimately this is not free money and believes the staff are capable of updating the plan without federal or SWRPC assistance. Ms. Hodson believes the timing is right to get input from senior staff. Kathy Scott then moved to support the EMD’s request to sign the town up to engage in updating the Hazard mitigation Plan with SWRPC. Jay Jacobs seconded. All voted in favor.

Regarding the Emergency Action Plan, also due for updating this year, Mr. Cady similarly believes expertise from SWRPC and the Department of Homeland Security would be helpful. The town would be reimbursed for any employee time up to $3,000. Mr. Jacobs asked if the town itself can’t update the plan, as it has every five years, and noted the chain of command ultimately will not change. Mr. Cady emphasized that SWRPC offers to do the paperwork, organize and integrate information into the existing plan, and supply meeting facilitators.  Ms. Hodson spoke in favor subsequently moving to support Mr. Cady’s plan to engage in the process of updating the EAP, tapping into SWRPC as a resource including available money. The vote was 2-1 in favor with Jay Jacobs opposed for the reasons stated.

In person meeting attendance– The board noted the 6 foot social distancing guideline and mask requirement remain in place for in person meeting attendance. The meeting room has been measured and marked for chair placement.

Silver Lake Boat Ramp Parking Plan
Andrea Hodson reviewed that the board still awaits input from the DOT on the proposed parking plan, including the possible widening of the Breed Road shoulder, and plans for pedestrian signage. The town also needs to discuss with the DES Dam Bureau any proposal for parking along Seaver Road in the event of needed dam maintenance work.

The board chair reiterated that 57 registered voters had signed one of the submitted petitions. Town Counsel, upon review, confirmed the board’s authority to regulate parking under RSA 47:17 and RSA 41:11 without a town-wide vote. Regarding the question of liability for injury should the board defer or abandon a new parking plan, under RSA 508:14, the town is not liable for personal injury or personal property damage at its recreation facilities when it does not charge for use.

Returning to the petitions for a warrant article vote at town meeting and for a call for a special meeting, Ms. Hodson explained that the deadline has passed for petitions for this year’s May 22 Town Meeting, but that discussion could take place under the “other business” portion. The state statute requires that petitions calling for a special town meeting include the warrant article language for them to be valid. The submitted petition did not include this language.

With no legal requirement for board action on the submitted petitions, the board raised consideration of whether or not the parties who presented the petitions wished to rewrite and resubmit them, or whether the parking regulation discussion be deferred to 2022. The chair stated that a third option is to defer further decision for now, gather more data, and return to the topic in the fall. With that, Ms. Hodson noted she hoped to hear the outcome of the conversation between interested residents on opposing sides of the issue and opened the floor for discussion.

Barbara Watkins stated that both sides care about the lake and want to maintain access. The citizens group, she noted, includes Pete Thayer, Mike Wilder, Pam Wilder, Julia Pakradooni, George Colony and herself, all of whom love Silver Lake and want to cooperate and work something out. While the plan seems pretty good, Ms. Watkins stated the feeling is strong that the decision should come before the town.  She believes the citizens group believes this summer can be used as a learning experiencem and to collect information and more data, and that any decision should wait for 2022 Town Meeting.

Pam Wilder agreed with Ms. Watkins and credited George Colony for initiating the advisory committee. Ms. Wilder noted all were upset that the close-knit community was so divided by the issue and reiterated the call for a town decision on any plan to change regulations. In the meantime, the committee will work together and with other townspeople to get input, including on the question whether any plan is wanted in the first place. Collaboration is the goal.

Barbara Watkins followed up her comments, noting agreement that certain sections were dangerous – for example, trailer parking along Seaver Road. Another area of agreement is the proposed spaces for tie-down close to the boat landing.  Pam Wilder reiterated her discomfort with the committee making these decisions, feeling all related matters should come before the town.

Resident Paul Whitney stated he doesn’t believe it’s necessary to designate a particular spot at this point. He requested to emphasize just how important sportspeople are to the conservation and to the economy. He shared numerous statistics going back to the 1920s regarding daily and yearly licensing fees for hunting and fishing as well as excise tax contributions to state wildlife conservation programs, noting that hunters and anglers contribute $38 billion annually into the economy. The resources are for everybody and all are responsible for making them suitable.

In discussing how the petitioners would like to proceed, Pam Wilder requested that, at this time, given the petition is not actionable by the board due to lack of required language, the matter be put on hold until the 2022 town meeting.

Andrea Hodson then recognized receipt of the petitions, adding that the board has heard the content. Confirming that they are not actionable, she then proposed a motion that the SB defer further work on a parking plan with the aim of implementing one this season, will hold off on adopting and implementing this season, deferring it to town meeting 2022, further asking the citizens group who launched the dialog to take over with information gathering this summer, with the input of the police chief. During discussion, it was noted that details of the committee structure and engagement of other town officials, committees and boards, will be discussed at a later date. Mr. Jacobs stated he believes the citizens committee should have free rein in how to proceed.

Attempting to clarify the motion, Jay Jacobs then moved that the SB defer action on a Silver Lake Parking Plan with the understanding that a citizens committee,the Stoney Beach Advisory Group, which self-formed this previous week, will present recommendations for a warrant article for 2022 Town Meeting. The committee includesPam Wilder, Mike Wilder, Pete Thayer, Barbara Watkins , George Colony and Julia Pakradooni. Kathy Scott seconded the motion and, in doing so, thanked all participants for their collaborative effort and input to do what’s best for the town She apologized if the process caused any hurt feelings as this was not at all the intent of the board’s effort.  The board voted unanimously in favor. 

The board chair stated the board looks forward to staying in touch with the committee. She requested to clarify that the board will next review the existing ordinances and signage around the boat ramp and parking area, noting the existing ordinance states no swimming off the boat ramp. The board does not intend to restrict swimming at the lake but merely intends to implement clearer signage for the safety of all. Mr. Jacobs stated that the issue of swimming was settled by the SB in 2010, and the ordinance reads no swimming within 50’ of the boat ramp. Mr. Chabott noted that the sign has been missing for many years.

Pam Wilder strongly encourages the board to open any future discussion to include the entire public, whether through a postcard mailing, or Facebook post, as not everyone goes on the town website. The board also noted any plan to discuss the issue will be placed on the meeting agenda ahead of time.

Mayfair Farm application for liquor license
In applying to the state for a retail wine license to serve wine at their events and farm dinners, Mayfair has applied to the state to sell wine at their store.  The board discussed the matter and how Mayfair’s location compares to other event venues in town and to the general store. They noted they have no objection to Mayfair’s continuing to serve at events but, until further zoning review of the farm store, it doesn’t support sale of alcohol from that location. The board will draft the response letter to the state.

Town Meeting
The board discussed with the Town Clerk the logistics for set-up at Town Meeting on May 22 at Wells Memorial, including a sound system and tables and chairs. Mary Ann will ask the Fire Chief about the potential use of the Harrisville Fire Company’s outdoor sound system. Andrea Hodson also will explore options. Separately, Cathy Lovas confirmed two ballot clerks will be needed for check-in.

Recycle Center Committee
Mr. Jacobs reported there is no update at this time. Kathy Scott suggested the Conservation Commission discuss its idea of an ambassador program at its meeting next week. The committee members are Jay Jacobs, Earl Horn, Courtney Cox and Jeff Cady. A representative from the HCC may also serve on a rotating basis.

Highway Department
An ad has been posted on the NHMA website and in the Ledger Transcript for a highway crew member. The chair spoke to the Road Agent, who recommended it be added to the Sentinel, the Monadnock Shopper and  Separately, Jay Jacobs noted the gravel screen has arrived and is in working order.

CCI Fiber Optic Service promotion
Andrea Hodson noted current fiber subscribers are also eligible for promotional rates.

Town Website
The website is being migrated from Cloudway to Green Geek webhosting platform. Gwen Ames has offered to assist with any technical needs, but she will no longer host the site.

Wilderness Trail parcel
Regarding an agreement passed at Town Meeting in 2006 to sell a town-owned .8-acre parcel on Wilderness Trail, the board will revisit matter with town counsel, who will draw up the deed. The potential buyer is required under the terms of the agreement to merge the lot with those he currently owns.

Blood Hill Road
Ryan Stone asked the board if there is an update on Blood Hill Road and the resident’s request regarding the boundary line. The board had planned to draft a letter to residents regarding the Class VI status of the road and road maintenance responsibility.

Board maintenance
The board discussed the process for meeting minutes and for correcting or clarifying.  Mary Ann will check again with NHMA on official requirements for posting and amending.  The board also reviewed the Silver Lake parking plan process and how the board can cooperate more fully.

Citizen of the Year
The board discussed the several nominees and will converse further before deciding.