Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, September 8, 202I
The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 8, 202I at town offices, 705 Chesham Road, and via zoom.
Members present: Lisa Anderson Co-Chair, Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Kate Neary, Jon Miner, Pete Thayer, Don Scott, Andrea Hodson, Ned Hulbert
Absent: Courtney Cox, Noel Greiner
Members of the public: Carol Ogilvie Consultant
Attendance, Roles and Voting Members
Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Lisa Anderson, Ned Hulbert, Andrea Hodson and Pete Thayer.
Approval of Agenda
Given a schedule conflict, John Cucchi’s request for a preliminary development consultation is postponed to the October meeting. Members moved and voted in favor to approve the agenda as amended.
Minutes of previous meeting 8/II/202I
Members moved and voted in favor to approve the meeting minutes of August II.
Review of Solar Project – Harrisville Designs / Historic Harrisville
Nick Colony described the rooftop solar project that the Historic District Commission recently approved for Mill building #6. Incorporating solar power has been a long-time goal of both Harrisville Designs and Historic Harrisville, and lower-profile designs and lower costs have now made it possible.
Mr. Colony described the methods HD and HHI used to exhibit the visual impact of the rooftop panels, focusing on what would be visible from the public right of ways. He noted there will be a slight view from a couple of private locations, from properties owned by Historic Harrisville, but not from public locations, and that the design was within the parameters of the Historic District Commission regulations. Three-phase power will be trenched down Mill Alley.
Andrea Hodson spoke to the tie-in to the Community Power initiative and the future potential to replace panels with newer technology. Ryan Stone asked about any surplus power, how it might be transferred to other Mill buildings/HHI tenants, and whether this then becomes a commercial operation. Mr. Colony noted that the rest of the building is on a separate meter so Harrisville Designs can’t provide solar power to other tenants, and that HD is not looking to sell power to other tenants. The installation is intended to offset the new energy costs arising from the relocation of HD’s spinning operations back into the mill building; the usage will be the same as it was in the Skatutakee Road location. He also noted that the turbine creates significantly more power than solar will create; and that it’s helpful to have both sources to build in resilience against future power outages and storm events. Harrisville Designs hopes to finish the solar install by year-end.
Members then discussed the difference between a commercial solar system and a business using solar for its own needs but not selling power. Members agreed with the distinction that this is not a commercial solar installation though the mill buildings lie in the commercial district. They also further discussed potential tie-in to any community power grid to reduce energy rates overall. At this point, HD has no plans for expanding solar but suggested that the Planning Board talk to Historic Harrisville about tying in to turbine/hydro power if this is of interest at some point down the road.
Ryan Stone wondered if the zoning ordinances, particularly the table of permitted uses in the solar energy systems section, needs to be fleshed out further to address more complex situations, such as for commercial and historic district structures.
Master Plan Review Steering Committee – Update
Carol Ogilvie shared the updated Steering Committee Mission Statement and Master Plan review subcommittee job description. The first subcommittee orientation meeting was held today and the Steering Committee is hopeful that the two initial subcommittees will lay the groundwork for subsequent subcommittees. The pilot committees are Historic Preservation, with Rex Baker and Anne Howe, and Recreation, with Barbara Watkins, Andrea Hodson, and Earl Horn. The Steering Committee anticipates Town Meeting time to possibly present the revised document to the public. They hope to have initial drafts for PB review by mid-November and anticipate between 3 and 6 meetings will be required for each pilot subcommittee. In addition to synthesizing their individual topic sections of the Master Plan, another goal of the subcommittees is to assess the town’s progress on each area since 20I4.
Lisa Anderson noted that, at some point, the PB could offer ideas for public outreach.
Delving deeper into the Master Plan Review process, the PB looked at a flow chart prepared by Carol Ogilvie, which outlines the oversight by the Steering Committee. The committee will incorporate the individual reports of the subcommittees into one document. As a new Master Plan is not being generated, only a synopsis of the current Master Plan, no public hearing is required, though the PB would approve the final report.
Members distinguished between the goal of this process versus the eventual process of updating the entire Master Plan. The goal here is to synthesize the existing Master Plan, prioritizing chapters/issues, and making the document more accessible and user-friendly. This process should facilitate the next update and will result in a separate, shorter document that simplifies a complex piece.
Discussion: RSA 674:39-aa Restoration of Involuntarily Merged Lots
Lisa Anderson shared statute information provided by the town’s Assessor on involuntarily merged lots. These are parcels that, for administrative or tax purposes, are treated as one lot. Property owners whose lots were involuntarily merged for such reasons may request that the Select Board restore their individual parcels to pre-merger status. This is possible as long as no owner in the chain of title has voluntarily merged the lots. In the past, the statute contained a deadline of year end for such requests; however a NH house bill signed into law has eliminated this deadline.
9/9/202I – NH OSI / Smart Growth, Online, I:00 pm – 2:30 pm, Parks as Community Infrastructure During and Beyond the Pandemic – Building Trust to Advance Equity;
9/I8/202I – NH OSI, Virtual, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, 202I Municipal Land Use Law Conference ($70)
9/22-23/202I – Radically Rural Summit in Keene. radicallyrural.org for more information
9/22/202I – NHMA, Virtual, 9:00 – I2:30 pm, Hard Road to Travel Workshop ($55)
I0/8/202I – Local Energy Solutions Conference, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Grappone Center, Concord ($50-$60)
II/I7-I9/202I NHMA’s 79th Annual Conference and Exhibition, Virtual ($65/$75)
Ryan Stone noted that the Class VI Road Maintenance Application for Blood Hill / Cobb Hill area was approved by the SB. Mr. Stone recommends that the PB review the application form and amend it for future Class VI Road Maintenance requests.
Mr. Stone also noted the HDC approved the solar installation application for 3 Main Street.
Ned Hulbert reported that the Telecommunications Communications has been reestablished from the Broadband Committee. It now includes the town’s Emergency Management Director and Police Chief. Talks have begun with the county to assess opportunities to collaborate regionally on improving emergency communications, as well as cell service for the general population. The committee is applying the results from the engineering study conducted several years ago, is reaching out, and is hoping to apply American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Andrea Hodson added that ARPA’s distribution to Harrisville totals close to $I00,000 and that the Police, Fire and EMD officials have submitted a proposal to the Select Board for allocation of ARPA funds to upgrade communications in town.
Ms. Hodson updated PB members about discussions with DES regarding the Skatutakee Road spring. She explained DES’s request that the town post different signage given the spring is not a municipal water source.
Alexa Thayer will be on next month’s agenda for a consultation on her property on Morse Road.
The meeting adjourned at 9:I5 pm.