Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 at town offices and via zoom.

Members present: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Lisa Anderson Co-Chair, Ned Hulbert, Peter Thayer, Jon Miner, Andrea Hodson, Kate Neary, Courtney Cox, Don Scott
Members absent: Noel Greiner
Attendees: Mary Day Mordecai, Scott Stone, Howard Clark, Jr.

Agenda and Meeting Minutes – By roll call vote, members voted unanimously in favor to approve the agenda and the minutes of the February meeting.

2022 Town Meeting – Members discussed the results and highlights of the previous evening’s Town Meeting.

Transportation Committee Update – Mary Day Mordecai recapped the TC’s input to the SB on the Mason Road paving project based on meetings with residents, highway dept, the traffic volume study, and research on road widths, including town and state standards. She noted the residents wanted 20’ width. The TC then recommended this to the SB but requested that the road shoulders be maintained as well as possible for walkers. The SB accepted recommendation and the Town went on to approve at Town Meeting.

Secondly, she noted that the malfunctioning radar sign on Route 137 will be replaced or repaired by the vendor and returned to its location. It was noted that the Pettises requested that the second location, slightly north of the original and further from their home, be considered; otherwise, all work on the first MAST grant was completed by the end of 2021. This year the TC is responsible for education and evaluation of MAST grant-funded projects. The TC plans to hold a discussion at the Town Library and event venues, as well as set up a booth at Old Home Days/the 150th weekend.

Finally a second MAST grant for school safety zone radar signs is in progress. The signs are expected to be installed by late spring. Given the rising costs of equipment, the TC is working to balance them within the current budget. If there is an overrun, they will go to the SB for approval.

Ryan Stone asked about meeting minutes of the committee and Ms. Mordecai noted she has them archived. Andrea Hodson will research the requirements on minutes for all committees.

Brooks Living Trust – Ryan Stone noted the mylars for this approved subdivision on South Road were delivered.  Peter Thayer added that one more check may be needed for the LCHiP recording fee, as the Registry asks for two separate checks. The Co-Chair will sign this evening.

Randall Carmel, 132 Silver Road (Map 51 – Lot 28), application for Conditional Use Permit for a detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU). This application was heard at the PB’s February meeting; however, due to insufficient public noticing, the hearing was invalid and thus being reheard.

Don Scott , representing the property owner, presented detailed floor plans of both the cottage and proposed ADU. He noted that the only change to the existing cottage will be an upgrade to the front entry on the same footprint. The new structure, replacing the garage, will include a seasonal porch, an open porch, a bathroom, a mudroom, kitchen, living room , office and a bedroom. The ceilings for the 4-season ADU will be 8’.

Mr. Scott also shared the basement layout of both the ADU and main cottage. The ADU basement is for storage only and will have 8’ ceilings and crawlspace with a 4’ ceiling. The existing cottage basement is used for storage, and has a mechanical room and shop space, all with 6’ ceilings.  PB members reviewed the definition of gross living area to ensure the proposal and the property’s septic were in compliance.  The board confirmed that the building plans reflect the board’s requests for specifications, including detailed labeling, and ceiling heights for all floors and that the basement for the proposed ADU could not be used as living space. The applicant confirmed that the basement will remain storage and utility space only.

Mr. Scott also confirmed that the distance to the water from the building is 75’, as required by zoning. He described the proposed driveway, approximately 20’ x 20’, which will accommodate two spaces. He also showed the site plan denoting the location of the structures within the required setbacks from the water, and the 15’ setback from road and the side property lines.  The owner’s approved Shoreland Permit from DES is on file.

Asked about drainage, Mr. Scott described the contours and how rainwater would be captured. He noted there are no erosion issues on this parcel and that a low swale near the lake captures much of the runoff and sediment. He does anticipate more runoff onto the expanded driveway but much of this will migrate through vegetation.

Co-Chair Lisa Anderson then reviewed the conditions in Article XXIX, under which the PB may grant a conditional use permit. She read aloud, as follows: The specific site is an appropriate location for such use. The use as developed will not adversely affect the adjacent area. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians. Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper                                  operation of the proposed use. The proposed use shall comply with all the frontage, setbacks, minimum                        land area, sanitary protection, signs, and parking requirements for itself or its most similar use, except where specifically waived by the board, the reasons for such waiver to be set forth in writing by the board. The proposed use shall maintain the visual and functional character, as                          well as aesthetic continuity, with the neighborhood.

PB members agreed all conditions were met. Andrea Hodson reminded the board that, though the proposal meets the requirements, the ADU will be slightly larger in dimension than the main cottage. The co-chairs confirmed that all questions from board members had been answered and reiterated the condition that the ADU basement would remain non-living space. Following this, Ryan Stone moved to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the Carmel ADU application with condition that the basement level remain storage and utility space only. Lisa Anderson seconded. In a roll call vote, members voted unanimously in favor.

The board made a note to amend the template application form to add a signature line.

Conceptual Consultation Subdivision – Howard Clark, Jr., Hancock Road/Wilderness Trail – The board continued discussion of the question of the existing access to the Clark’s 73-acre parcel and whether or not it would meet subdivision requirements under local and state statutes.  Board members and Mr. Clark have expressed differing opinions on whether or not the existing access is strictly a right of way or is a private drive and whether or not the frontage requirements could be met under existing local and state regulations. The Clarks would like to propose a 4-lot major subdivision, creating 3 new 2-acre lots from the 73 acres, for a total of 4 parcels. The Select Board also has considered the matter and provided guidance to the PB and also shared it with the property owner.

Questions surround the interpretation of RSA 674:41, guidance from the NH Municipal Association and its publication, A Hard Road to Travel, and the state requirement that the street giving access to the land is a Class V or better road.  Mr. Clark reiterated his question about the town’s and state’s definition of a private road, and raised the 1994 legal decision in Belluscio v. Westmoreland, in which the court ruled that a deeded easement constituted legal access to back land.

Lisa Anderson stated she believes the statute requires that buildable lots have frontage on a Class V or better road. Subsequent caselaw was referred to by both Mr. Clark and the co-chairs. Mr. Clark believes similar subdivisions have been allowed before, that building lots have been approved on private drives, and that Wilderness Trail is a private road and at one point was a town road; however, PB members are unclear on this. Some expressed  frustration that questions that have been posed to the SB and town counsel have not yet been answered . All agreed that ascertaining this is important for the Town’s planning purposes. Co-Chair Ryan Stone as well as Andrea Hodson recommended that Mr. Clark bring forth a formal application so the board had something concrete to proceed with. Mr. Clark is reluctant to do this and to spend $20,000 on a survey until the town can answer the questions about the definition of a private road and confirm that Wilderness Trail meets the definition.

The board and Mr. Clark also briefly touched on previously approved subdivisions in town.  All continued to discuss the difficulty of the absence of a specific state or local definition of private road, the definitions of right of way, the obligations of Planning Boards under state statutes, and the complicated history and ambiguous documentation of public and private roads in town. Mr. Clark also referred again to the previously approved subdivisions on abutting properties on Wilderness Trail and evidence that the town owned land going through his property along the eastern boundary of his property and abutting properties.

Andrea Hodson reviewed that the purpose of the consult is to lay out the process, the state and town guidelines in play, and the application requirements, but it is not the PB’s role to solve the issues in the conceptual consultation phase. The co-chairs agreed.  Mr. Clark will proceed with meeting with his surveyor on Friday. He thanked the board for their time..

Conceptual Consultation Subdivision – Scott Stone, 64 Silver Road (Map 51 – Lot 34) The board reviewed Mr. Stone’s property information, that he owns 17.9 acres on Silver Road, with the lot also fronting Blood Hill Road, a Class VI road. He hopes to create 3 additional lots, each with 250’ frontage on Blood Hill Road. The question arose whether building permits are allowed on Class VI roads. Lisa Anderson reviewed previous meeting discussions in 2016 with Town Counsel who laid out options for the town and property owner within town and state guidelines. Additional meetings in 2018 included confirmation of avenues before the zoning board and/or application for a conservation subdivision,

Mr. Stone shared his proposed site plan, stating he believes subdividing on a Class VI road is allowed by both local and state statutes. He also referred to previously approved subdivisions on Class VI roads in town. He also hopes to ascertain the exact requirements for filing his application to ensure he has all in order prior to formal submission to the board.

Ryan Stone shared the nine items outlined on the application checklist. The board also reviewed the timetable for the application process.  Following formal submitted, the board will determine and issue its findings on completeness of application and notify the applicant within 7 days of its findings. If complete, the board would accept the application as complete and if adequate time is allowed for noticing, the board may proceed with the public hearing at the meeting the month following submission.

Following review with Scott Stone of the checklist on the current Major Subdivision application form, he confirmed with the board the fees that are required. He noted he will submit to the state this week for State Subdivision septic approval.

The meeting adjourned at 9:55 pm.