HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The Historic District Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at the Town Offices. Chair Doug Walker opened the meeting at 7:05 pm.
Members present: Doug Walker, Noel Greiner, Rex Baker, Kathy Scott, Scott Oliver, Anne Howe
Members of the public: Nick Colony, Nancy Nickerson, Erin Hammerstedt
Members moved, seconded, and voted unanimously in favor to approve the agenda as distributed.
Meeting minutes of 5/25
Members moved, seconded, and voted unanimously in favor to approve the minutes of May 25.
HDC 2021-1 Harrisville Designs/Historic Harrisville, 69 Main Street (Map 32 – Lot 42) application to install solar panels on Mill Building #6
Nick Colony presented Harrisville Designs’ proposal to install 190 solar panels on the roof of Historic Harrisville’s Mill Building #6, where Harrisville Designs is a tenant. The purpose is to offset energy demand that bringing their operations into the building will place on the existing electrical system. Installing solar, a renewable energy, also has been a longtime desire of both Harrisville Designs and Historic Harrisville. Longer term, Harrisville Designs hopes to expand on this initial 3-phase system to create a local power source on premise that can serve all Historic Harrisville tenants.
The applicants believe this is a positive test case for appropriately installing solar in a historic district. The proposed system is low profile with minimal visual impact, and will be buffered by the building’s parapet walls, which range in height from 14-24”. Attendees viewed photos taken from multiple public locations in the vicinity of the mill, including Kadakit Street, Main Street and the front of the General Store, and all agreed the panels would blend in as part of the mill building roof. Even where the system will be slightly visible, Mr. Colony and Ms. Hammerstedt stated it won’t be from a public location and they don’t believe it will have an impact.
Mr. Colony further emphasized that the proposed system will be easily removable, and not a permanent structure. The solar tiles will be black, slightly tilted to maximize the sun’s energy and ballasted. Members asked about the electrical work involved, which Mr. Colony and Ms. Hammerstedt explained will be mostly internal except for a small box with inverter / transformer located on the exterior, as well as an emergency shutoff switch. The goal is to keep all wiring underground.
Citing Article XX of the drafted Historic District Regulations, Chair Doug Walker stated he believes the proposal adheres to the guidelines from the Department of the Interior for renewable energy systems in historic districts. With no further questions from the board, Noel Greiner moved to approve the application as presented. Kathy Scott seconded. All voted in favor. Mr. Walker will draft the Notice of Decision.
HDC Rules of Procedure
Anne Howe has completed the recommended edits as requested. She emphasized that this is a living, breathing document that can be modified at any time by the board. All agreed that a copy of application form should be added to the document for reference.
Ms. Howe is still updating text and asked for more input and review of the definitions.
HDC New Member Manual
Scott Oliver reviewed the contents of the new member manual and shared his comments with Anne Howe. Kathy Scott suggested adding information on RSA 91-A. Others will share feedback with Anne.
HDC Photo Inventory Project
Anne Howe and Nancy Nickerson noted that, thanks to Doug Walker, they now have close to 400 new photos, which are being organized by historic district property number. Anne will get back with Historic Harrisville to coordinate completion of property information. Members also discussed the best format for sharing the information among board members as well as for allowing property owner access. Both digital and hard copies will be created.
Members moved to adjourn at 7:45 pm. The next meeting of the HDC is July 27, 2021.