Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Planning held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at town offices and via zoom.

Members present: Ryan Stone, Lisa Anderson, Ned Hulbert, Courtney Cox, Pete Thayer, Andrea Hodson, Carol Ogilvie, Kate Neary
Members absent: Noel Greiner, Jon Miner and Don Scott
Members of the public: Mary Day Mordecai, Earl Horn, Carol Ogilvie

Agenda and voting members
Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Lisa Anderson, Andrea Hodson, Courtney Cox and Ned Hulbert. Subsequently, members voted in favor to approve the agenda.

Minutes of previous meeting 6/8 and 4/14
Andrea Hodson submitted several edits to the Electric Aggregation Committee section of the June 8 minutes. She will share her comments with the co-chairs for dissemination to board members for consideration. The board will wait to approve pending continued discussion next month.

The board then resumed discussion of Lisa Anderson’s suggested edits to the April meeting minutes – in particular, the section related to Silas Little’s presentation on Class VI Roads. Board members commented on the goal of minutes in general and how much detail should be included.  As a consensus could not be reached, Ned Hulbert recommended having a longer conversation about minutes at the August meeting. Thus, the April Minutes were tabled again for another month.

Transportation Committee update
Representatives of the Transportation Committee updated the PB on its execution of the MAST grant. The approximately $10K in funding is going toward two speed radar signs and toward trail signage.  Earl Horn noted that Trail Maps were included with the April/May issue of Common Threads. The last 3 trail signs are nearing completion and will be installed at Zophar Willard Woods, off Hancock Road. Work continues on the trailmarkers/blazes and expects to be done by the end of August. Mary Day Mordecai stated that the speed radar signs will be located along sections of road where speeding has been documented and where pedestrian and bike safety have been of concern – one on Main Street near Harrisville Pond and one on Route 137 near the intersection of Hancock and Sargent Camp roads. She reviewed the history of concern at the intersection of Route 137 and Hancock Road and discussions between the town, the DOT and SWRPC going back years.  After determining the best locations for both signs, and after working through constraints based on engineering costs, the fact that both roads are state roads, the need for adequate sunlight for solar power, and the presence of ledge, the committee approached landowners for approval.  The Transportation Committee will present to the Select Board at its regular meeting tomorrow evening, July 15.

Planning Board members asked if the proposed sign location was too close to the intersection to effectively slow drivers down in time, and suggested putting it ahead of the speed limit sign. Committee members noted they’re required to be on speed limit signs. The committee also noted that the radar can reach as far as 300 yards down the road as cars approach and noted its effectiveness as a data-gathering tool. More follow up with the Police Chief is imminent as is exploration of options to mitigate light with sight shields.  It also was noted that the town is responsible for cutting / mowing there and that the hill at the intersection prevents adequate visibility.

The board commended the committee on its thorough work and attention to detail, and on its coordination with agencies to work through the process and secure the grant. No objections were raised to the committee’s process or results to date. Ms. Mordecai made a final note that members of the TC are currently working with SWRPC on suggested road width on pedestrian heavy roads – e.g., Mason Road, a town project this year.

Electric Aggregation Committee Update
EAC representatives met with the SB to clarify the working relationship between the EAC and SB in the wake of the adoption by the town of the Community Power Plan. Andrea Hodson noted that the EAC will continue to provide research and serve as a point of contact. The SB supports this role.  Amy Roberts and Colin Kennard have rolled off the committee. New members include Katie Hamon, John Knight, and Sherry Sims. One more nominee is in the works.

The EAC would like to work with the PB though nothing substantive will happen until legislation is settled and the rulemaking is completed.  Legislative updates are available on the Community Power page of the town website. Harrisville has joined the Community Power Coalition of NH (CPCNH) to leverage advocacy and expertise.  Ms. Hodson noted that Eversource is the only entity to date that has responded to the town’s announcement that the plan was adopted.

Scenic Roads – Update
Courtney Cox provided an overview of the scenic roads in town, including the definition of a scenic road according to state statute and the rights and obligations of towns, abutters and utilities regarding tree cutting as well as protection of stone walls as boundary markers. (See attachment.) Towns may vote in scenic roads, as has been done in Harrisville in past town meetings. Ms. Cox also referred to the warden law which allows municipalities to acquire a tree for shade or ornamental purposes.  Members had no further questions on the topic. 

Master Plan Re-View Steering Committee – Update
The committee members to date include Kate Neary, Carol Ogilvie, and Lisa Anderson. Rex Baker and resident John Knight also have offered to help with the process of updating and simplifying the Master Plan, and crafting a synopsis. The goal is to facilitate increased engagement by townspeople and provide a better understanding of the document and its purpose. Carol Ogilvie shared the mission statement of the committee (see attached) and an outline, somewhat fluid, on how they intend to proceed, based on discussions at the last PB meeting. PB members requested copies of the public notice in the event they can attend or zoom in, if zoom capability can be provided for.

Following discussion, Andrea Hodsonmoved to accept the steering committee mission statement and approach that has been proposed. Ned Hulbert seconded. All voted in favor.

The committee’s process includes forming a subcommittee and a template for each Master Plan topic, with steering committee oversight. An orientation for the subcommittees will occur, so all clearly understand the immediate and longer term mission, including that the project is for the benefit of the whole town and an important process for the town.  The committee will periodically report back to the PB. The timeline for completion will depend on availability of subcommittee members, but they hope by the end of the year. Dates for future meetings are forthcoming.

7/15 noon – 1pm, webinar – OSI Meeting Mechanics of Land Use Boards
7/20 noon, webinar Clean Energy NH – details of Community Power buying group (no cost)
7/20 noon, webinar, NHMA 2021 Right to Know Law and Public Meetings (no cost)
11/18, virtual conference, NHMA’s 9thAnnual Conference and Exhibition ($65 online)

New business
End of State of Emergency in NH – Ryan Stone shared the Health Officer’s and Emergency Management Director’s recommended guidelines moving forward following the end of the Covid 19 State of Emergency. These are posted on the town website as well, and include the request that masks continue to be worn by those not vaccinated in town facilities and public places.

Solar system approval by the Historic District Commission – Ryan Stone raised concerns about the recent application approved by the HDC. The complete application, drawings and photos will be posted on the website.

Zoning Ordinance Article 4.1.16. – Ryan Stone requested that this provision, as well as ongoing Ordinance Review topics, such as developing provisions for tiny houses, be maintained and addressed for possible amendment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.