Another event for your Saturday calendar – 10/25/14

 

 

 

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The headline assumes that you already have the 5K race at 9:00 AM, The Freinds of the Library Book Sale from 10:00-2:00.  Spooktacula for Kids from 11:00-3:00 as well as for adults at 8:00 PM. – Lil

Did You Know – 10/20/14

From Tom Ronning, Pricipal FMRHS – Lil

 

1) The New Hampshire grade level summary report has been released for the science NECAP test taken in May 2014. Our results:

Level 4 Proficient with Distinction FMRHS 1%; NH 1%

Level 3 Proficient FMRHS 33%; NH 28%

Level 2 Partially Proficient FMRHS 41%; NH 47%

Level 1 Substantially below Proficient FMRHS 25%; NH 24%

 

Last year the average SAT scores for FM students increased.

Reading: from 497 to 516

Math: from 488 to 498

Writing: from 484 to 502

 

2) FMRHS recently had two guests to speak at staff meetings:

  • Mark Kostin shared information about Global Best Practices in education on October 6
  • Rose Colby shared information on competency based learning for our students on October 9

3) The FMRHS teachers used Monday, October 13 for professional development in:

  • The Vision, Mission, and Action Plan for Personalized Learning
  • Personalization and Relevance
  • Competency Based Education
  • Assessment Practices
  • Writing across the curriculum
  • Math across the curriculum

Zoning Board of Adjustment Meeting Minutes – 10/15/14

Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustment

Minutes: October 15,  2014

 

Present: Board Members: Chair Myra Mansouri, Vice-Chair Peggy Pschirrer, Clerk Ernie Vose, Jan Galloway Le Clerc, Mary Therese Lester.

Alternates: Stephanie Stoughton, Bob Anderson, Judy Trow.

Recording: Marilou Blaine.

These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the November 19, 2014 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

Roll Call: Ms. Mansouri called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Three Alternates were needed to hear Public Hearing No. 1 because Ms. Pschirrrer and Mr. Vose recused themselves and one board member was a couple of minutes late.

Minutes: Ms. Mansouri said she would take discussion of the minutes after the Public Hearing.

Old business:

Public Hearing No. 1. (cont’d) Expansion of a Non-conforming Use. Conversion of the former American Legion building at 73 Main Street into a business for Costume Ladies. Tax Map No. 20, Lot No. 52 in the Commercial Zoning District. The building is owned by Mr. Ray Boas, Ms. Barbara Kasper and Ms. Lynne Rollins-Kinnier. The business is owned by Ms. Kasper. The application was approved as complete.

Mr. Boas said that there was a Site Plan Review by the Walpole Planning Board the previous evening. The owners’ new plan was approved and the main concern of neighbors – the display window –  had changed. There were no abutters at this Public Hearing.

The main points Mr. Boas made were:

There are no changes to the site. The topography and driveway are the same,

The existing lighting of the parking lot, which one neighbor complained was too bright, was reduced by two-thirds.

The porch and steps in the front of the building  will be removed making the set back from the highway five (5) more feet. The area will be grass.

The porch and steps take up 72 square feet. The new drawings show that this display area will now be 59 square feet or 14 square feet less. The windows are now roughly knee height to head height.

The lighting in that porch or display area will be on a timer and probably of less intensity than most living rooms in the area and turned off when most people turn off their lights.

The flagpole will be illuminated in accordance with requirements for an illuminated flag.

Ms. Mansouri said she didn’t understand about the time lights would go off.  The business closes around 6 or 7 p.m. Is that when the lights will go off? she asked.

Ms. Kaspser said the lights would be on longer, probably to about 9 p.m. – to catch the people traveling by on their way home from work.  We want people to know where we are now, she said. The lights will be interior lights and shouldn’t bother people nearby.

Ms. Stoughton questioned the footprint of the building, asking what the size of the display area would be. Mr. Boas repeated that the area had 14 square feet less. He added the display area would be 13¼  feet by 4 feet.

Ms. Stoughton made a motion to accept the proposal for the change to the Non-conforming Use and the new plan as presented. Ms. Trow seconded the motion and the board approved the changes.

Minutes: Mr. Vose pointed out that Judy Trow is an Alternate and was listed as a Board Member. The minutes were approved with that correction.

Gravel Pit Inspection Reports: Everyone turned in the Gravel Pit Inspection Report to which they were assigned. Letters will be sent to the owners.

Comments: Fred Houghton of Chesterfield is in charge of the Cold River pit and gave the commissioners a nice tour, Mr. Vose said.

Ms. Pschirrer and Mr. Anderson noticed a minor concern at the Industrial Park Pit owned by Hodgkins & Sons. Mr. Anderson the embankment was too steep and Roger Hodgkins agreed to fix it.

In Drewsville, Ms. Pschirrer reported, there was no excavation going on there. It was being used for storage of some sand and gravel and there was no standing water.

Ms. Le Clerc said everything was in order at the Graves pit.

Mr. Vose said Mr. Fred Aldrich was in now charge of Whipple Hill. There was very little gravel taken out of this pit.

There was not a problem at Joe Sawyer’s pit, Ms. Lester said.

Water Protection Proposal

Ms. Mansouri said she appreciated Jennifer Palmiotto, executive director of Granite State Water Association, coming to the meeting and even though the Planning Board is actually responsible for putting the amendment on the ballot, the Zoning Board also helps in writing them.

The Planning Board will meet to discuss the revisions on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at 7 p.m. at their regular workshop meeting and there is a Public Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, November 11, 2014. Ms. Mansouri asked the board members to go over the revisions and then attend the workshop session on Oct. 28.

Mr. Vose said the rule is that the Planning Board has a Public Hearing and if there are no changes, the revised ordinance is accepted as final and put on the ballot to be voted on in March. If there are some changes, the Planning Board has to hold another Public Hearing.

Board members received copies of: the current ordinances, a summary of the changes, and a combination of the current ordinances and the proposed revisions dated 10-14.

Ms. Palmiotto started with a little history. In 2002, the selectmen decided that the public water system should be studied every three years. The first  group to study the public water supply was composed of a variety of people – businessmen, the agricultural community, residents from different parts of town. The final product was a plan on how Walpole could proactively protect the water supply. It included land conservation, purchase of some land around the wellheads and education in the school system and at Hooper Institute. The plan was adopted in March 2004 by a healthy majority and a minor amendment to the Ordinance passed in 2008. The document does not provide any legal teeth, it is just to advise.

The village of Walpole has two public wells: one is directly west from Shaw’s Market near the Connecticut River and the other one is on Watkins Hill Road. The one by the Connecticut River is very prolific – pumping 250 gallons per minutes. The Watkins Hill well pumps 25 gallons per minute. There are other public water supplies within Walpole – Hooper Golf Course, Bensonwwod, Drewsville Head Start and North Walpole. These drinking water sites can serve 25 or more people for six months of the year. Once a well is determined “public” it falls into a category that requires a certain amount of testing, filing with the EPA and having a certified operator. These are not community wells. They are called transient systems.

Ms. Palmiotto had maps showing where the wells were. There was a red line on the map go around each well. She said there is a protocol for uses of the land within the red line. Doug Heath, a retired EPA employee living in Walpole, did the delineations for these wells and recently did a refinement of the Watkins Hill well. Ms. Palmiotto was not sure if his refinement had been recently adopted.

In May 2013, the committee began work on this new public water supply document. The group met monthly. The committee names are listed in the introduction of the revisions.

The group, Ms. Palmiotto said, compared our ideas to a N.H. Department of Environmental Services model and invited a DES specialist to one of our meetings. He gave the group material to peruse. The group also examined ordinances use by other towns, most specifically the town of Berlin. The group then submitted a draft to Southwest Regional Planning Commission at no cost for the town for members. They gave us some feedback. The group incorporated what Southwest Region Planning had to say and at its final meeting on Oct. 1, the committee voted to support the revised draft.

Ms. Palmiotto suggested reading the two documents to see the differences. Then Ms. Palmiotto discussed some of the revisions, many of which revolved around wording issues. For example, an aquifer, to be clear, can go on for miles. The committee limited the scope to the wellhead surface area. Here is a broad look at the revisions:

Definitions were moved from Section 8 to Section III and unnecessary terms were removed (e.g. stratified drift, stratified drift aquifers). In addition, definitions were added for some terms such as “impervious surface” and “junkyards”.

Section IV improves the Overlay District description. Specific references are made to maps, which have been officially adopted on a certain date. The Wellhead Protection area around Watkins Hill was re-delineated and sent to EPA and DES. Ms. Palmiotto wasn’t sure where the change was in the process of acceptance but the NH Municipal Association might know how to find that out.

In Section V Determination and Adjustment of the Boundaries of the district are better defined.

In Section VII specific performance standards are outlined for all uses in the Wellhead Protection overlay District (unless the use is exempt. See Section XIII).

Section VIII adds a “Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan” for conditional uses that use regulated substances within the district (wellhead protection areas). This comes directly from the state.

Section IX describes the review and approval process for all applications withing the District.

Section X spells out 14 prohibited uses. Commercial animal feed lots was removed from current ordinance. Four uses were added: K. concrete, asphalt and tar manufacturing; L. Fueling and maintenance of large earth moving equipment; M. Sewerage/wastewater treatment system; N. Hazardous waste facility.

Section XI provides additional clarification on conditional uses.

Section XII adds a section on existing nonconforming uses.

Section XIII highlights exemptions (e.g. private residences, temporary storage of construction materials, sale transport and use of pesticides etc.)

Section XV describes the process for maintenance and inspection of performance standards. The revised draft includes a table highlighting prohibited uses and conditional uses.

Ms. Palmiotto recommended using Geographic Information System or GIS technology and said it could be very useful to a zoning board and Southwest Regional Planning could help the town establish one.

Ms. Palmiotto suggested if anyone is interested there is “The Model Groundwater Protection Ordinance” online and it can be downloaded from the NH DES site. Go to the Groundwater and Drinking Water Bureau. It is one of the references used by the committee.

Correspondence: Ms. Mansouri noted that the selectmen addressed the problem on Main Street across from the Bellows Walpole Inn regarding the number of unregistered vehicles on this site. The selectmen had received a letter from the Chair of the Zoning Board about this matter. The area seems to have been cleaned up.

There were two letters from the NH Division of Historical Resources about possible archaeological materials on the Abenaki Springs Development land on Route 12. The state archeologist is looking into the matter.

Sign Ordinance: Nathan Lynch submitted a color photograph of the sign he wants to put at his business on South Street. The sign is set back 10 feet from the road and 14 feet from the drive way. The sign post is 8 feet 4 inches, the cross post is 4 feet, 3 inches and the actual sign is 3 feet by 2 feet. Since all these dimensions and distances conform to the Walpole sign code, a motion was made and seconded, to approve the sign and the rest of the board agreed.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

Lights on Afterschool! -10/23/14

Meeting Waters YMCA will join over 10,000 other organizations nationwide in hosting Lights on Afterschool! celebrations on Thursday, October 23rd. Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.

Meeting Waters YMCA will host celebrations at each of its seven Y-ASPIRE sites—Brattleboro’s Green Street School, Oak Grove School and Academy School; Dummerston School, Putney Central School, Rockingham Central School and Walpole Primary School. All seven Lights On Afterschool! events will take place between 4:30 and 5:30 on the 23rd. They are free and open to the public.

During the events, Y-ASPIRE participants will lead an activity and showcase recent projects that they’ve done in the program.

The Lights On AfterSchool! events will also provide education, community and business leaders a chance to hear about the critical role the regional Y’s Y-ASPIRE, Snow Day, and Y Day Camp programs are playing to provide hundreds of children with enriching out-of-school activities while, at the same time, supporting working parents and the companies that employ them.

As Meeting Waters YMCA Executive Director Steve Fortier stresses, “High-quality, well-designed out-of-school programs not only have a positive impact on the kids they serve, they also support families and strengthen local economies. Through our programs, more than 500 parents can contribute to their workplace knowing that their kids are safe, having fun, and developing important skills in the “out-of-school” time. Lights On AfterSchool! is our chance to showcase these contributions to the community.”

The Lights On Afterschool! advocacy events nationwide are coordinated by the Afterschool Alliance, a coalition of private, public and nonprofit organizations, including YMCAs.

Information about Lights On Afterschool!, Y-ASPIRE and other Meeting Waters YMCA programs is available at http://www.meetingwatersymca.org, on their facebook page, by calling the office nearest you (Bellows Falls: 463-4769; Brattleboro: 246-1036; or Springfield: 885-8131) or by emailing info@meetingwatersymca.org.

Meeting Waters YMCA is a charitable, non-profit, social service organization founded in 1895. Its services positively impact children, teens, families and communities throughout the Fall Mountain, Springfield, Bellows Falls and Brattleboro regions.

Last Minute Notice

Virginia Carter wanted me to let you know that there is a story about their September harvest airing tonight 10/17/14 on Chronicle – 7:00 PM on channel 9:00!  Catch it if you can.

Candlelight Dinners – 10/16/14

While a candlelit dinner was not a unique things in Walpole on Thursday, I bet not many others shared that romantic setting with approximately 70 other people.  The Thank You Dinner for Volunteers, hosted by the Library Staff andTrustees became memorable when the lights went off just after guests sat down to eat.  Cellphones came out of pockets and offered light until candles could be found so we hardly missed a beat, or a mouthful.  (I learned that there’s even an app for a flashlight.)

The dinner was beautifully catered by Jamie Teague – even though she was forced to do her preparation in the dark.  The lights had gone out briefly shortly before guests arrived and power didn’t return to the kitchen.  While dinner was slightly delayed, the biggest problem noted by this guest was that the coffee pot didn’t make the coffee that would have kept us all awake, anyway.

The power came back (even in the kitchen) in time for dessert to be served and clean up to get done.  It was definitely an evening that will be remembered for years to come.  Thank you, Library Staff and Trustees, Jamie Teague and Liberty Utilities! – Lil

Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 10/14/14

Walpole Planning Board

Walpole Town Hall

October 14, 2014

Minutes

 

Presiding: Jeffrey Miller (Chair), Robert Miller (Vice-Chair), James Aldrich, (Secretary), Dennis Marcom, Jason Perron, Kelley Hicks, Chas Street (Selectboard Representative).

Alternate: Ed Potter, Alternate.

Absent: Jeff White, Alternate

Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the November 11, 2014 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

Meeting Opened: Mr. J. Miller, Chair, called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.

Roll Call: All board members were in attendance so no alternates were needed to fill in.

Minutes: Mr. Aldrich made a motion to accept the minutes as written. Mr. R. Miller seconded the motion and the board approved the motion.

Old Business: 

Public Hearing No. 2 – Subdivision of one lot into two lots. Steven W. Brode, 15 Macri Lane,     Town Tax Map No. 7, Lot No. 22, Rural Agricultural Zoning District. The application was approved as       complete.

Ms. Cindy Westover represented Mr. Brode. She said that the lot is 2.95 acres and will be divided into a 1-acre lot and a 1.95 acre lot. The 1.95 acre lot has a house on it. Test pits have been done and Ted Fellows said everything looked fine. The state has yet to sign an official letter but they are expected to do so, Ms. Westover said. Mr. Street asked about a driveway. Ms. Westover responded that it would abut Mr. Bruce Potter’s driveway. The public hearing was closed.

Public Hearing No. 2: Site Plan Review. Conversion of the former American Legion building at 73 Main Street into a business for Costume Ladies. Tax Map No. 20, Lot No. 52, in the Commercial Zoning District. The building is owned by Mr. Ray Boas, Ms. Barbara Kasper and Ms. Lynne Rollins-Kinnier. The business is owned by Ms. Kasper. The application was approved as complete.

Mr. Boas said that renovations to the building have changed from what was originally planned and brought the public up to date on what has already happened. He said they have spent about $30,000 on safety upgrades and renovations.

- To date the lighting in the parking lot has been reduced two-thirds.

- The topography and driveway will remain unchanged.

- The plan is to demolish the dilapidated porch and steps and plant grass where the steps were, thus adding five (5) feet to the set back from the road.

- The porch and steps were 59 square feet but the display area will now be 14 square feet less. It will include an emergency exit and possibly a couple of steps facing west, if needed.

- The windows will be knee high to shoulder height.

- The lighting on the inside will not be more than an ordinary living room and will go off when most living rooms in the village go off.

- The roof over the display area will be a gray standing metal seam roof to match the slate roof.

- The hours of operation during October will be 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays 10 a.m – 5 p.m.

- For the rest of the year, the shop is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 10-6, and Saturday from 10-2. It is closed (except for the odd appointment) on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Abutter, Mr. James Brunelle had a concern about the light on the top of the flag. He said the light shined into their living room so the American Legion discontinued using the light. Mr. Boas said the light at the top will be removed and the flag will be lighted from the bottom and will not spill upward beyond the flag. Mr. Brunelle seemed satisfied.

Ms. Carol Fabis of 15 Elm St. asked if it was customary to take a flag down on rainy days. Mr. Boas said that  if a flag was lighted then taking down the flag during rain was not necessary. 

Ms. Fabis acknowledged that she was not an architect but considered Walpole a quintessential New England village. She said that the display window is more in keeping with a mall where there is pedestrian traffic for window shoppers. The only pedestrians here are joggers and dog walkers, Ms. Fabis said.

Ms. Fabis said she would prefer for the display windows to be two over two mullion windows in keeping with the look of the neighborhood. She did, however, wish the owners of Costume Ladies well.

Abutter, Ms. Felicia Phillips said that the owners have made adjustments to their original plan and worked with the people who will be their neighbors. She applauded them for doing so. The Public Hearing was closed.

Public Hearing Results:

Public hearing No. 2: Subdivision: Mr. Aldrich made a motion to accept the subdivision as presented. Mr. Street seconded the motion and the board approved it, pending state approval of the test pits.

Public hearing No. 1: Site Plan Review: Mr. Street made a motion to accept the plan as presented. Mr. Aldrich seconded the motion and it was approved by the board.

New business:

Request for Public Hearing by Liberty Utilities on Farnum Road, a scenic road with two entries – County Road and Watkins Hill. Liberty Utilities wants to schedule routine maintenance and hazard tree removal.

Mr. Jeffrey Carney represented Liberty Utilities. He is a licensed forester and vegetation specialist. He has worked for utility companies in the area since 1989 – Granite State and National Grid. He will be working with two graduate student foresters. There are three customers on Farnum Road.

Mr. Carney said there is a lot of vine growth to be trimmed and a dead tree on the County Road side. Mr. Carney said the Watkins Hill end did not require as much work.

Under the current state statutes homeowners can refuse and restrict work done, but there are 300 rules on how and what to trim on trees with a power or distribution line. There are standard clearance rules for cutting distances from the trees to the power line on the sides, underneath and above the line.

Mr. Carney said there will be door hangers placed on each door explaining what Liberty Utilities is going to do. The owner has 45 days to decide or convey preferences to the Utility Company. If the homeowner does not return and/or replace the door hanger with specific instructions, it is considered by law a consent. 

Ms. Kelley Hicks made a motion to schedule a public hearing in November and Mr. Aldrich seconded the motion. The board agreed. 

More New Business:

Mr. Richard Drew, who has filed for a Lot Line Adjustment, was not at the meeting. Ms. Lorraine Pellegrino was on the agenda to find out if she needed a Site Plan Review to Change the Use of her husband’s dental office on Main Street into a two bedroom apartment. Both Mr. J. Miller and Mr. R. Miller said she did need a Site Plan. She was not at the meeting.

Water Protection

Mr. Mark Houghton, Walpole’s Water and Sewer Superintendent, introduced Ms. Jennifer Palmiotto, who went over the revisions to the Public Water System Ordinance in Walpole. Ms. Palmiiotto is executive director of Granite State Rural Water Supply.

Ms. Palmiotto gave a little background on the how the group came to be started. She said that in 2002 the Walpole selectmen suggested a regular study of the public water system. One well is located on Route 12 directly west from Shaw’s near the Connecticut River and the other is beyond Hooper Golf Course on Watkins Hill.  Since 2002, land around the wells has been purchased, a zoning ordinance was adopted and education about public water systems has been taught both in the local schools and at Hooper Institute.

In March 2004, a zoning ordinance was adopted and in 2008 amended. It is updated every three years.

The committee, which first met monthly beginning in May 2013, looked at N.H. Department of Environmental Services regulations and literature and met with DES personnel. They decided to focus on the wellhead area where contamination would be most likely to occur.

Southwest Regional Planning Commission looked at the committee’s final document and made some minor suggestions. The last meeting the committee held was on October 1 and they have finalized their document.

Ms. Palmiotto said the changes were mainly “wording” issues. For example, the word aquifer means that the water source can go on for miles. The term wellhead is much more specific to the area around the well.

Mr. Street asked if the mapping system Avatar sent was accurate enough. Mr. Houghton said it appeared to be.

Mr. J. Miller said that the Planning Board would be meeting to discuss the document at its October work session on October 28, 2014, and asked about maps.

The following is from a handout that Ms. Palmiotto gave to the board about the proposed revisions:

Definitions were moved from Section 8 to Section III and unnecessary terms were removed (e.g. stratified drift, stratified drift aquifer). In addition, definitions were added for some terms such as “impervious surface” and “junkyards”.

Section IV improves The overlay District description. Specific references are made to maps which have been officially adopted on a certain date.

In Section V Determination and Adjustment of the Boundaries of the district is better defined.

Section VIII adds a “Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan) for conditional uses that use regulated substances within the district (wellhead protection areas).

Section IX describes the review and approval process for all applications withing the District.

Section X spells out 14 prohibited uses. Commercial animal feed lots was removed from current ordinance. Four uses were added: K. concrete, asphalt and tar manufacturing; L. Fueling and maintenance of large earth moving equipment; M. Sewerage/wastewater treatment system; N. Hazardous waste facility.

Section XII adds a section on existing nonconforming uses.

Section XIII highlights exemptions (e.g. private residences, temporary storage of construction materials, sale transport and use of pesticides etc.)

Section XV describes the process for maintenance and inspection of performance standards.

The revised draft includes a table highlighting prohibited uses and conditional uses.

 

The meeting adjourned around 8 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

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