Thursday, July 13, 2023
Select Board: Andrew Maneval, Kathy Scott, Andrea Hodson
Attendees: Donna Stone, Rick Stone, Ranae O’Neil, David O’Neil, Eric Swope, Scott Oliver, Police Chief Steve LaMears, Town Clerk Cathy Lovas, Welfare Director Rosemary Cifrino, Peter Thayer, Les LaMois, Steve Tarbox, Ted Braun, Jeff Miller, and Brian Davis
Agenda, Minutes – With two additions, the board voted in favor to approve the agenda.
On the minutes of June 15, Kathy Scott believed the language about the solar project proposals was insufficient on the action items requested including issues of snow load, comparisons of Net Metering 1 and Net Metering 2 agreements and environmental review for different locations of arrays. For the June 22 minutes, Kathy Scott requested notation of the PUC Rules, particularly PUC 903.02 (y), (3) and (4) https://www.puc.nh.gov/Regulatory/Rules/PUC900.pdf). These outline statutory or other requirements related to interconnect agreements and expansion of certain non-residential solar facilities. With these amendments, the board voted to approve minutes for June 15, 22, 29 and July 6.
Town Beach – Attendees shared a range of perspectives on whether and how to enforce parking and use of the town beach on Harrisville Pond. The board considered whether the town should act on rules that have always existed but not necessarily been enforced in recent years. Attendees expressed frustration about times that townspeople can’t get a parking spot or the beach is overcrowded because of use by out of town visitors. All agreed signage, which does outline ordinances, needs to be replaced and made clearer.
Following discussion, most agreed parking by property owners and their guests, through the use of beach stickers/transfer station permits, should be enforced first, prior to addressing use of beach by non-townspeople/guests via pedestrian access, and that enforcement should be rolled out gradually, with public awareness and warnings to precede issuance of tickets.
Kathy Scott added that Town Beach ordinances were addressed at Town Meeting in the 1970s and 1990s, and that ordinance language is a result of those meetings. She believes that the Gilman family’s gift of the beach land to the town included the stipulation that it be for the benefit of town residents. The board agreed it should review the deed.
Subsequently, Andrew Maneval moved for the SB to commit to enforcing rules that are in place for the use of town beaches, with a plan to be created to implement this enforcement. Andrea Hodson seconded. In discussion, Kathy Scott noted the SB needs to ascertain what the deed states. The SB further noted the ordinances will be enforced at Chesham and Sunset Beaches and that, at the next SB meeting or meeting thereafter, it will review a checklist to be drafted by Andrea Hodson for implementation. All voted in favor.
Fireworks – The board confirmed that Town Fireworks will be Friday, July 28, with a rain date of Sunday, July 30.
Police Department – The SB approved the chief’s request for additional part-time coverage and the budget request to purchase new posts for parking signs used during Old Home Days.
Eastside Road, drainage and grading – The board heard from Eastside Road property owner Steve Tarbox and others on concerns about faulty drainage and grading, resulting in storm damage to driveways. Property owners believe the solution is to regrade the road with a mono-pitch to the east and to improve the swale on the east side of the road to direct water to the catch basins. They also expressed concern about road sediment entering Silver Lake. The SB will consult with the Road Agent to discuss potential solutions and timeframes and will ask the Conservation Commission to make a recommendation, including any state requirements that would be involved in any road re-engineering.
Recycle Center, glass recycling – The town has an opportunity to have its glass hauled and recycled by a Canadian company; however the town would have to pay for the hauling. The Recycle Center Committee will get more information for the SB to discuss.
Resident request – Brian Davis requested the SB contact Consolidated to prevent the company and its partners and contractors from driving on and damaging his lawn when servicing the pole on Davis Lane. The Police Chief will reach out to his contact at Consolidated and get back to Mr. Davis. Separately Mr. Davis requested enforcement of speeding on Main Street in the middle of the night.
Non-public session – At 8:42 pm, pursuant to RSA 91-A:3II(c) the SB moved and voted unanimously to enter non-public session to discuss a request for welfare assistance. Following discussion with the Welfare Director and Town Clerk, and pursuant to RSA 165:3, the board moved and voted in favor to allocate $1100 to cover the cost of a cremation. The Welfare Director will follow up with Cheshire Medical Center.
Road Work Committee – The committee believes two easements from property owners will be required for infrastructure work along Church alley as part of the village road project. The Road committee recommends a 1-rod width. The board noted the “No Thru Trucks” has been posted.
Energy & Electric Aggregation Committee – Andrea Hodson presented a description and mission statement, for review by the SB, of the EEAC, something she recommends all subcommittees craft. The board discussed the value of citizen volunteers who share their expertise and make recommendations to the SB.
Kathy Scott expressed concerns related to co-mingling/ conflict of interest, including: 1) concern of CPCNH integration into the EEAC; 2) concern about Andrea Hodson’s sitting on 3 CPCNH committees, one of which, the Governance Committee, Andrew Maneval also sits on.
Ms. Scott expressed discomfort with centralization of control, membership makeup and the decisionmaking process related to the town’s solar project, believing it should have been more public and involved more diverse viewpoints. She recommended that the EEAC include members of the Planning Board and Conservation Commission and have more separation from the SB.
Ms. Hodson and Mr. Maneval disagreed that process and control are centralized within CPCNH or the EEAC, and reviewed that the bringing forth of the town’s Community Power Plan and the RFP and bid review for the solar project were very public, transparent processes. They also supported as logical involvement of participation from other town boards. Andrea Hodson agreed to consider her involvement on the CPCNH committees. Mr. Maneval doesn’t see any conflict with his serving on both the SB and the CPCNH Governance Committee, as his role is just to help them with their process.
Kathy Scott noted frustration with lack of answers from the EEAC to her questions since January about PUC net metering rules related to expansion of an existing solar array, believing expansion of the town’s existing array at town offices was not given sufficient consideration and that the EEAC didn’t contact the PUC, and offered misleading information. She noted her own discussion with a PUC analyst and the quick response she received. She reiterated her concern that the solar project decision was made without sufficient information and involved a personnel conflict. Her colleagues disagreed.
Agenda for 7/20 – The board agreed to add to its next agenda the topics of: 1) SB decisionmaking and whether it can be improved; and 2) perceived conflict of interest and how/if to address this regarding structure and membership of committees. Additional July 20 agenda items will include Eastside Road, the Town Beach, an update from the Assessor on the townwide property re-valuation, and the EEAC assessment of a federal grant opportunity through an alliance with Peterborough.
Finance – The board signed the payroll warrant in the amount of $24,220.15 and separately noted the pending arrival this week of the new Highway Dump truck, approved at town meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.