Harrisville Planning Board
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Planning Board held a regularly scheduled meeting and public hearing on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at town offices, 705 Chesham Road, and via zoom.

Members present: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Courtney Cox Co-Chair, Andrea Hodson Select Board Representative, Jon Miner, Lisa Anderson, Peter Thayer, Kate Neary, Don Scott, and Ned Hulbert (via zoom)

Members of the public: Howard Clark, Jr., Rex Baker, Earl Horn, Russ Huntley of Huntley Survey & Design, Sherry Sims, Winston Sims, Jon Buschbaum Surveyor

The meeting opened at 7:02 pm.

Agenda and voting members –  Andrea Hodson moved to approve the agenda. Pete Thayer seconded. All voted in favor. Ryan Stone noted the voting members for the evening were Courtney Cox, Andrea Hodson, Pete Thayer, Jon Miner and Ryan Stone.

Minutes of previous meeting, 12/14/22 – Courtney Cox moved to approve the December minutes. Jon Miner seconded. All voted in favor.

Application continued: Harold Grant, Major, 4-lot Subdivision, Wood Road (Map 20 – Lot 8-5) The Chair reviewed that the application was continued from the December meeting in light of the following: 1) The PB’s request for wetlands and slope calculations for each of the proposed lots; and 2) The applicant’s offer to reconfigure lots 3 and 4 to address the board’s determination that, under the proposed conditions, the 4th lot would not be buildable under the town’s wetlands ordinance.

Surveyor Russ Huntley addressed the board to note that the revised submitted plans exhibit slope grades near the building envelopes, as well as upland vs. wetland calculations and, if applicable, any portion of wetland used to meet the lot size requirement for the district.  For the 4th lot, Mr. Huntley explained, the adjusted configuration allows for a 30’ x 60’ dwelling, with numerous configurations of approximately the same dimensions possible, while also allowing room for a detached garage.  Following Mr. Huntley’s remarks, Ryan Stone re-opened the public hearing.

PB members reviewed the updated information and plans, noting the wetlands calculations added by the surveyor as requested. Members referred to provisions in the wetlands ordinance and examined the delineations and slope grades on the plans. Members and abutters indicated their belief that the concerns regarding the wetlands on the proposed 4th lot were addressed under the revised plan and that all the lots were buildable. As there were no additional comments or questions from the public, Co-Chair Ryan Stone closed the public hearing for board deliberation.

Following members’ agreement that the surveyor had addressed the board’s concerns of the previous month, Jon Miner moved to approve the proposed 4-lot subdivision application for the Wood Road parcel owned by Hal Grant. Andrea Hodson. In a roll call vote, members voted unanimously in favor, 5-0.

The Co-Chair noted that a Notice of Decision would be forthcoming, with a request for the Registry filing fees. Mr. Huntley noted he would submit the mylars for signing by the board at its February meeting, after which the PB secretary would take the signed documents for recording at the Registry.

Conceptual Consultation – Sherry and Winston Sims, 14 Sunfish Lane (Map 20 – Lot 10-1) – Sherry Sims requested application guidance for merging unimproved, landlocked acreage that abuts her dwelling lot, acreage which she has an agreement to purchase from her abutting neighbor.

Ms. Sims and surveyor Jon Buschbaum reviewed the history of the vacant 17.3 acres, which, at one point and for a very brief period, constituted a separate lot as part of a technical subdivision approved by the planning board prior being merged with her abutting neighbor’s current parcel.

The board discussed its different application processes, and whether Ms. Sims’s proposal falls more appropriately under an application for a lot line adjustment or for a subdivision. The board also discussed whether a voluntary merger would apply.  Mr. Buschbaum asked about plat and survey information the board would require.

Given that the subject acreage to be purchased is not a separate lot, but instead exists as vacant land that is part of the adjoining single dwelling lot, and that the 17.3 acres would simply remain vacant land as part of Ms. Sims’s already improved lot, the board agreed that the proposal involves a lot-line adjustment or technical subdivision only; no separate lot exists and no new lots would be created from the conveyance.  The board reviewed the “Lot Line Adjustment or Annexation” application form and associated plat submission requirements with Ms. Sims and Mr. Buschbaum, who noted they would complete and submit the paperwork and plan to submit it at the February Planning Board meeting.  The survey will show the original boundaries as well as the new lines, and will show the existing driveway with the existing right of way.

Committee updates
EEAC / Community Power – Ned Hulbert noted the committee will meet with the Select Board later this month to discuss the committee’s recommendation for an energy supplier. The committee has spent the last few months analyzing key documents that will accompany the recommendation, including a cost-sharing agreement if the town purchases power from this entity.  The EEAC is aiming for an April launch of Community Power.

Mr. Hulbert reminded the PB that the PUC has until February 7 to accept the town’s plan. He added that the committee is moving toward a vendor who will purchase power, as well as handle back end registration work. If and when an acceptable price is agreed upon, the vendor would issue a 30-day notice to ratepayers explaining their energy plan options and scenarios under which ratepayers would be able to opt out or opt in to the Community Power plan.

Under Community Power, all administrative costs (e.g. newsletters/notices) would come through ratepayers. Energy rates will be set on 6-month basis to match existing utility schedule. Details will be explained and questions answered at a public hearing closer to launch. See the Community Power page on the town website for more details.  The committee welcomed new member Ari Levine, who has been very helpful in the document review process.

Master Plan review committee / Steering committee – Lisa Anderson offered to email a sample graphic for subcommittees to refer to. The PB then reviewed the status sheet for the various subcommittee sections of the MP. Members confirmed their participation, noted additional volunteers joining them and where they are in the process. The Steering Committee reiterated its offer of support on any of the topics.

Should the Master Plan Committee seek support of a local graphic artist, Ryan Stone recommended first identifying the level of work needed to assess any budget impact. The Steering Committee noted its hope to have a preliminary sample of work to share at Town Meeting.

PB Review of Application Forms /Voluntary Merger Application – Members did not have a chance to review the current version of the voluntary merger application. They suggested different approaches to review this, and other board forms. They agreed that next month they will spend 30 minutes discussing members’ suggested revisions for the voluntary merger application, and revisit this approach if needed.

New business:
Hazard Mitigation Plan – Jeff Cady invited the co-chairs and any interested PB members to attend the first meeting to update the town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. SWRPC is working with member towns on this process. The first meeting is Tuesday, January 17, at 1:00 pm at town offices.

Zoom attendance– The PB discussed current regulations surrounding attendance via zoom for public meetings, now that the Covid emergency order has been lifted, and how the board wants to operate and best operates. Members noted when attendance in person is not possible, members on zoom must state why it’s not reasonably practical to attend in person. Members are urged to read the language in the RSA. They also suggested addressing zoom protocol in the board’s Rules of Procedure.  The board will continue the discussion.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 pm.