Planning Board
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Meeting Minutes

Members present: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Courtney Cox Co-Chair, Andrew Maneval Select Board Representative, Jonathan Miner, Lisa Anderson, and Don Scott by Zoom. Members absent: Peter Thayer
Attendees: Carol Ogilvie, Rex Baker, Erin Hammerstedt, Kathy Scott

Attendance, Roles and Voting Members – With an adjustment to the agenda order, all voted in favor to approve the agenda. Ryan Stone noted the voting members for the meeting included himself, Andrew Maneval, Courtney Cox, Jon Miner and Lisa Anderson.

Minutes of previous meetings(s): 11/8/2023 – Mr. Maneval moved to approve the minutes of Nov 8. Jon Miner second. The PB voted 4-0 in favor. Lisa Anderson abstained due to absence.

Committee Updates

-Master Plan Review Steering Committee – The board discussed the tri-fold drafted by Gwarlingo and reviewed suggested edits, including adding the section on regional cooperation. The PB would like to review the final draft prior to going to print.

Carol Ogilvie explained that, through the process of condensing the Master Plan into a synopsis for easier readability, the Steering Committee realized the difficulty of a volunteer board managing the Master Plan update process.  The options are to update the plan chapter by chapter, or to undertake a complete rewrite with benefits and drawbacks to either option.

Ms. Ogilvie added that, more and more, especially for smaller towns, content of Master Plans is streamlined, with appendices and website links for additional information. She recommends a combination of consultant and volunteers who are /become the steering committee as helpful to the process.  Review of goals and objectives could happen annually through the establishment of a Master Plan Steering Committee.
[Courtney Cox departed at this point due to a work emergency.]

Mr. Maneval shared the experience during the last Master Plan update in 2014, noting it is useful to have a committee, given the need to occasionally update. But, even without a formal Steering Committee, the plan periodically could be reviewed by different people.  The board will look to Lisa Anderson to recommend what having a full-time committee would involve.

2024 Planning Board budget – Members reviewed expenditures to date in 2023. Following discussion of options to reduce budget lines, the board settled on a final proposed budget for 2024 of $6,240, down from $7,740 in 2023.

New business
– Road project for Church and School Streets and Church Alley – SB will recommend throwing up Church Alley as a town road and establishing it as a Class B trail with a public right of way for non-vehicular public access. Reasons include safety and maintenance issues, and the cost of rebuilding Church Alley to needed road specifications.

Don Scott shared proposed drainage and culvert installation plans to remove sheet-flowing water causing water in property owners’ basements and overburdening the existing drainage system and presenting safety issues.  Additional parking spaces are to be created along Church Street, and the existing septic and water lines are to be undisturbed.

The PB strongly encouraged the hiring of a civil engineer to review and comment on the plans. As Select Board Representative, Mr. Maneval noted he would share this feedback with the SB, further noting the complete proposal will be put forward at Town Meeting.

-Historic Harrisville – Erin Hammerstedt informed the PB that HHI submitted a grant application to rehabilitate St. Denis Church, and that the SB had written a letter in support for HHI to include as part of the application, as the project could benefit the town as a whole. HHI may hear as soon as March. If awarded, HHI would have to start construction within 6 months. PB members reiterated the issue of the need for more parking in the village, which HHI acknowledges is an ongoing challenge.

-SWRPC – Following discussion about filling the vacancy of the PB Representative position to the Southwest Region Planning Commission, Mr. Maneval moved to appoint Lisa Anderson as the PB representative to SWRPC.  Members voted unanimously in favor.

-Mayfair Farm ADU application – Ryan Stone noted that Mayfair Farm officially withdrew its ADU application from PB consideration, due to denial by the ZBA of the needed variances.

-Recycle Center – On Tues January 9, the RC Committee would like to hold a Community Conversation at the Granite Mill on the idea of returning to more comprehensive recycling at the facility. Stay tuned for confirmation and details.

-Need for new Old Home Days Committee members – With the resignation of 3 Old Home Days committee resignations, including the co-chairs, effective immediately, the Town will need people to help fill their shoes. Please spread the word.

-Conflicts of Interest Advisory Committee – Mr. Maneval shared that the Advisory Committee on Conflicts of Interest is developing a policy for review by SB, and possibly a warrant article. He will share the draft for input from the PB when it is ready for review, as the policy addresses responsibilities of all town board and committee members. The next meeting of the Advisory Committee is 12/28.

-Ordinance Review Committee – The ORC is meeting 12/14 at 3pm at town hall.

-Subdivision application form review – The PB will wait for Courtney Cox’s presence to discuss possible changes to Subdivision application paperwork.

Following meeting wrap-up, members adjourned at 9:00 pm.