Thanks to Elaine Heleen we have the minutes from the last Conservation Commision Meeting. – Lil
For the regular meeting of the
Walpole Conservation Commission
Monday, April 6 2015
Present: Tom Beaudry, John Peska, Alicia Flammia, Lewis Shelley, Gary Speed, Myra Mansouri (alt.), Whit Aldrich (SelectBoard representative)
Not Present: Duncan Watson, Seth Andrews (alt), Peter Palmiotto (alt.)
Mr. Beaudry, chair, called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Since Mr. Peska had not yet been reappointed, Ms. Mansouri was seated.
Mr. Speed moved to approve the minutes of March 2, 2015 meeting, as presented. Mr. Shelley seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.
Mr. Beaudry only had available the report of the Trustees of the Trust Funds. He will follow up with the SelectBoard office on the best way to get the treasury report and a copy of the bank statements. The money from the Robert P. Hubbard Trust has been moved from the Forestry fund to the Conservation fund.
- Monadnock Conservancy newsletter & Annual Report
- A graduate student at Plymouth State University, Jonathon Loos, reached out to NHACC and Conservation Commission to present information on his thesis about effective flood adaptation and stormwater management. It was decided to have a public hearing with Mr. Loos as the speaker. Beaudry will follow up to see if Mr. Loos is available for our May meeting.
- TransCanada has submitted the paperwork for the Pine St Boat Launch Maintenance Dredge Project. It is expected to take place this summer.
- NH Timberland Owners Association sent a renewal notice of dues for $100. The last time dues were paid was 2007. It is felt that they are a lobbying group and that it not something the Walpole Conservation Commission should support. Speed moved to NOT pay these dues for another year. Ms. Mansouri seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.
- Stan has not yet responded with a student wishing to attend the Barry Conservation Camp. Mr. Beaudry will follow up.
- The Source Water Protection Ordinance warrant passed on Town Meeting day. Much appreciation to the SWPO committee members for their hard work and long hours.
- Shelley has been working on the Conservation Land Map. Mr. Beaudry will find out if the Fletcher property is still available. The Hooper property has until June 30 to finalize so should not be added to the database yet.
- Flammia met with 2 KSC students and Professor of Geology Chris Brehme. The seniors are available April & May for the GPS trails project. They will meet with Mr. Shelley to determine the priority of trails to work on. Mr. Shelley suggests that the Mill Pond trail should be first.
- There is no progress on the Class 6 Roads subcommittee. Peska will follow up and report next month.
- Shelley attended the Wilderness Ethics panel at Antioch University New England and a presentation on Invasives at the Keene library. Ms. Flammia reports that there is software to predict liability regarding Emerald Ash Borer and other invasives.
- Shelley will coordinate with Mike Reyns to brush hog the FM Forest. Mr. Speed suggests that it should be done twice a year.
- Shelley spoke with the local bike group. They are willing to continue to work and fix things up. Repairs are needed in spots including adding fill to low lying areas. Mr. Shelley will contact Cold River Materials for the supplies needed.
- Adam Terrell will work on the West side of Mill Pond during the summertime.
- Mansouri moved to nominate Tom Beaudry for another term as Chair of the Conservation Commission. Mr. Speed seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.
- Mansouri moved to nominate Gary Speed for another term as Vice Chair of the Conservation Commission. Mr. Shelley seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.
- Mansouri was confirmed in her reappointment at the last SelectBoard meeting. Mr. Sawyer had written a letter asking to not be reconsidered; therefore there is a vacancy of a 3 year term. Members are requested to bring to the May 4th meeting names of potential Commission members.
Ms. Mansouri moved that the meeting be adjourned at 8:13pm. Mr. Speed seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.
The next meeting will be Monday, May 4, 2015.
Elaine Heleen, Recording Secretary
Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustments
Minutes: April 15, 2015
Present: Board members: Chair Myra Mansouri, Jan Galloway Le Clerc Vice-Chair, Ernie Vose, Clerk, Bob Anderson, Mary Therese Lester. Absent: Judy Trow and Stephanie Stoughton.
Recording: Marilou Blaine Recording Secretary. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the May 20, 2015, meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Call to Order: Chairman Myra Mansouri opened the meeting at 7:28 pm. Since there was a full board, no one was needed to fill in.
Minutes: Mr. Vose moved to accept the minutes of the March 2015 meeting as presented. Ms. Lester seconded the motion and the board voted in the affirmative.
Signage for the Burdick’s building on Main Street.
Ms. Kathy Watson represented Burdick’s. She brought photos of the signs that were currently on the building including the Post Office, Burdick’s Restaurant, the Chocolate Shop and Tea Room, Galloway Real Estate and Walpole Grocery. All those signs will remain the same size, but will now all be in the same matching font and style.
Two new smaller signs pointing out the entrances to the restaurant and chocolate shop are new. Since they are within 100 feet of other signs, Ms. Watson was told she would need a special exception.
The sign ordinance, Article 4 No. 9 says signs of six (6) square feet may be placed between twenty (20) and one-hundred feet (100) of another sign by Special Exception from the Board of Adjustment. The two signs will be about 30 to 40 feet apart.
Mr. Anderson said the board can allow a special exception if these signs are within six square feet. Ms. Watson said they are less than six square feet and drop down from the ceiling of the portico.
A Public Hearing is scheduled for next month.
Signage for a new cafe in the Pellegrino building. Mr. Jesse Carr had drawings of a sign that would be a free-standing sign on two eight-foot posts perpendicular to the street and one sign on the building.
Mr. Carr asked about a sign inside the building. Mr. Vose said the Zoning Board was only concerned with signs outside the building.
Carr said he and his business partner Kathy Mazziott were going to focus on pastries but they found out that week that Tom Murray of the former Murray’s restaurant is going to allow his former cook to open up a place and it is going to feature pastries. So this may mean that the cafe in the Pellegrino building may have to focus on savory breakfasts.
But Mr. Carr brought in a drawing of a possible sign, a cupcake, hand-painted on both sides of a plywood base, saying MAZZIOTT’S. With the shape of this, we will have a hard time figuring out exactly the square footage, Mr. Anderson said. But it is larger than the regulations. And it is too large because you have other signs within 100 feet.
Mr. Carr pointed out that many signs in the commercial district in the Village are well over the six square foot limit. “Why can’t my sign be just as big?” he asked.
Because those are the regulations, Chair Mansouri said.
He asked if he got the approval of the abutters to have a larger sign, could he do it then. Ms. Mansouri said no, the approval has to come from the Zoning Board.
It’s in the commercial district so you can have a sign 32 square feet, Vice-Chair Le Clerc said. But still, signs must not be not less than 100 feet from other signs, she continued. Because this is a building with multiple uses, the free-standing sign cannot be more than 32 square feet.
Mr. Carr said, “I was under the impression that you could get a waiver.”
The only thing that can apply is a special exception but the special exception when applied is still six square feet.
However, Ms. Le Clerc, said you could apply for a variance, which is relief from the zoning regulation. However, one of the criteria is that you have to show hardship. Then you can have as large you want .
Mr. Carr said if you look around at the signs next door and around the commercial district, the signs are larger than six square feet. Ms. Mansouri said it is probably that many were there prior to the zoning regulations for signs.
Carr was advised to look over the criteria for a variance and if he could convince the board that there was hardship, and abutters didn’t object, the board could vote in his favor.
If you can show that you can’t promote your business and that the size of the sign is a hardship, then the board would need to consider it, Ms. Lester said.
Wellhead Protection Plan Overlay District – Where should the new regulations go in the Zoning Ordinance Booklet? The board decided to:
Add Amended March 2015 to the title page of the Zoning Ordinances.
Keep the same font that the Zoning Ordinances are in now.
Make the new Wellhead Protection Plan Overlay District a new Article XVIIII.
Parts A and B will now be the Preamble:
Paragraph C will be eliminated.
Changes to the By-laws:
The board voted to make some simple changes to the by-laws. Most of the change were typos or misspellings. The exception was under Article Vii Fees, which eliminated the last phrase in the paragraph.
Other business: Mr. Anderson said that someone had asked about what can be done with the house that was almost totally burned a couple of years ago. Ms. Mansouri said that the person should write a letter to the Selectboard.
Marilou Blaine, Recording Secretary
Real “food for thought” in these minutes! Good luck to the Planning Board and all involved. – Lil
Walpole Planning Board
April 14, 2015 Minutes
Walpole Town Hall 7 p.m.
Presiding Members: Jeffrey Miller (Chair), Robert Miller (Vice-Chair), James Aldrich, (Secretary), Dennis Marcom, Steve Dalessio (Selectboard Representative), Jason Perron, Kelley Hicks. Alternates: Edward Potter and Jeff White.
Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the May 9, 2015, meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Meeting Opened: Mr. J. Miller called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
Roll Call: All board members were present so no Alternates were called to fill in.
Minutes: Mr. R. Miller made a motion to accept the minutes as written. The motion was seconded and approved by the board.
Election of officers: Mr. Aldrich made a motion to appoint Jeffrey Miller as Chair, Robert Miller as Vice-Chair, and James Aldrich as Secretary. Ms. Hicks seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved by the board.
Lot Line Adjustment. Ms. Rita Simonds’ property, 34 Sawmill Road off of Cheshire Turnpike in Drewsville, Map 13, Lot 34, rural/agricultural district.
Mr. Joe DiBernardo was before the board to get information for client Ms. Rita Simonds. Ms. Simonds owns three contiguous tracts of land: 94.8 acres, 5.3 acres and 11-plus acres each. She wants to sell the house and the area where a mill was and reconfigure that lot. She may also have to reconfigure the other smaller lot because the largest lot has no road frontage. Mr. Miller called it a non-conforming lot.
Mr. Miller asked when the house was built. If it was built before 1960, it may be grandfathered, Miller said. Mr. DiBernardo didn’t know but he was sure it wasn’t a historic house – one over 100 years old.
According to the tax map, the three different tracks are considered one lot, but they are under three deeds at the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds. Mr. DiBernardo will return with a proposal after he has spoken with his client.
Petition for a public hearing for a subdivision and right of way by Ken Burns, Tax Map 10 Lot 39 and Map 8 Lot 76-2. It is zoned Residential A and B.
Mr. Burns owns Lot 76-2 on Map 8, which totals 20.5 acres. He also owns 6.9 acres on adjacent Lot 39 Map 10 on North Road. Mr. Burns would like to subdivide the latter 6.9 acres into three parcels; one lot on the west side would be 1.3 acres, a middle lot that would be 4.25 acres and a third lot on the easterly portion of the property would be 2.91 acres. The westerly and easterly lots would be annexed to Lot 76-2 Map 8 increasing that lot by 4.2 acres.
The middle lot has a frontage of 200.57 feet and a 50-foot right-of-way crossing the easterly lot is needed to serve as the driveway to the middle lot from North Road. Ms. Nancy Hamblet of 303 North Road asked where exactly the right of way would be. Mr. Bernardo said it was just south of the barn on the easterly lot.
A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to hold a Public Hearing in May.
Plans for Bensonwood property on Main Street Route 12, Map 12 Lot 3 on Edwards Lane, listed under Huntington Realty of Walpole. It is approximately 25 acres and zoned industrial/commercial.
Architect Mr. Randall Walter, representing Bensonwood, showed a plan that Bensonwood had proposed a couple of years ago for its property off Main Street Route 12. Mr. Walker wanted information on approval of a layout that the company had previously submitted for buildings for storage and manufacturing but its approval time has lapsed.
The property is one large parcel that has multiple uses – it also includes a barn owned by Hubbard Farms and Carol’s Scoop Shop.
Mr. Walter asked if each use had to be on its own site. Can different businesses be on a single property?
Does Bensonwood have to start from scratch in creating its business plan for buildings for storage and manufacturing on that property or can the previous approval still stand?
Mr. Walter said there are two changes. One is the large hickory tree indicated on the map has died and been removed. The other is that some land may be put in current use.
Mr. Miller said the proposal would need a new Public Hearing for a Site Plan Review. Mr. Dalessio reminded Mr. Walter that two important changes have been made to the zoning regulations since the prior approval – one regards Hazardous Waste and the other is the new Wellhead Protection Plan Overlay voted in in March. He suggested Mr. Walters familiarize himself with the contents of these ordinances.
Mr. Walter said the company uses less toxic chemicals than can be found in a normal person’s garage. He said the company isn’t ready to do anything immediately but he was before the board Tuesday night mainly for information.
Terri Patterson of Connecticut plans to build a group of upscale rental cabins, 400-800 square feet, which are all self-sustaining on a 110-acre piece of property off Merriam Road in the southeast corner of Walpole. It is in the timberland district.
Ms. Patterson explained that the plan is kind of like a B&B but instead of individual rooms there are going to be individual cabins. It is rental property. She would be living on the property. The cabins would be built in the Tiny Homes concept with cabins 400 to 800 square feet. “A lot of people are moving in that direction for efficiency, finances and simplicity and it’s a big movement across the country,” Ms. Patterson said. “I want to take that concept and in put it into a vacation getaway scenario.”
The other unique part of this property is that it would be completely off the grid – waste management, water, heating and electricity. There would be no ties to local utilities and all would be on the property.
Ms. Patterson said one purpose is educational – to show people you can live in a small, comfortable space without roughing it.
There are few “hiccups” with the property. The gentleman who owns it has a lien on the property and there are some issues with the town of Surry. There are three different tracts for sale. This is the one in the middle.
Before she hires a real estate attorney and goes ahead in other ways, she wanted to know if the Walpole Planning Board would embrace this kind of idea.
One board members asked if the property was in Walpole. She said the property was completely in Walpole.
Mr. J. Miller asked if it had frontage or do you have to get to build on a Class 6 Road. Ms. Patterson said, you enter from Joslin Road in Surry and it bring you to Merriam Road. Mr. Aldrich said that was a Class 6.
Lewis Shelley, a Walpole Conservation Commissioner , said he was aware that there is a stream that had to be crossed.
Ms. Patterson said Joslin Road is in Surry and that Surry is requiring the gentleman who owns the property to build a bridge across the stream. That would have to be all cleared up, which is why I’m looking to hire a real estate attorney.
Mr. Shelley said there was damage to the stream and road work done without permission but it was all resolved and the Department of Environmental Services checked it out.
Mr. Miller said he was trying to see how it conforms to what we already have in the town. There are separate rentals, usually contiguous rather than scattered like this. Mr. Dalessio said the Caserta Farm has several scattered rentals. Mr. Miller said they have been there for many years.
Another board member asked if the the cabins would be built off site and then trucked in. Ms. Patterson replied that they would be prefab and assembled on site. Initially, a cabin welcome center, where Ms. Patterson would live, and four additional cabins are planned.
“I want people to have a secluded and tranquil experience,” Ms. Patterson said. “There’s no Wi-Fi. People can have their phones but the the idea is to disconnect from all technology.”
Mr. Shelley said he liked the idea. He then asked if the power is solar, wind or something else?
Ms. Patterson said she had hired an alternative energy consultant to come with a solution based on the concept and the property. There will be backup, propane and generators if needed.
Mr. Dalessio asked if there was going to be one central well and one central septic. Ms. Patterson replied yes, as well as one energy system.
You might want to look into the Public Works regulations if there is one system, Mr. Miller advised. There might be certain restrictions.
Mr. Aldrich asked if there was going to be major road construction, a town-maintained road. Ms. Patterson replied “no.” Ms. Patterson replied that the gentleman who owns the property now, owns the two adjacent properties and they maintain the road now and will continue to maintain it.
There’s a cleared area at the bottom of the property, Ms. Patterson said, that will serve as a parking lot. There would be no automobiles or trucks on that road. People will park in the central parking lot and carts would take people to their cabins. There will not be a lot of change to the structure of the property. Ms. Patterson would start with four cabins and eventually build 12 to 15 with some in more secluded areas.
Mr. Miller said it’s a Class 6 road, but in the past we’ve approved of buildings with special exceptions. However, that goes with stipulations that’s it’s not town maintained and, if for some reason, a fire truck can’t get to a fire, then the fire department can’t be sued.
Mr. Perron asked about length of rental. Ms. Patterson said it would be short term – a weekend, a week.
He then asked if we have anything like this. Mr. Miller said we have B&B and multiple rentals. It’s just now they are in one building.
Access to the property is the question, Mr. Miller said. It’s an interesting concept. There will need to be some special exceptions. This is a unique setup. It brings up a lot of question though, how it can fit in the town. We suggest you keep the lines of communication open.
Mr. Perron asked about a time line. Ms. Patterson said she’ll have a better idea once the land and investors are secured. She has a builder, David Howard of Walpole.
The technology is definitely there, it’s just putting in the right combinations of systems for a four-season environment.
Mr. R . Miller asked about the future, if these units would be sold. Ms. Patterson said these are going to be more of a model and offering to clients who can stay there to see if they’d like to purchase one to build.
If you get into selling them, then you get into a subdivision nightmare, Mr. Miller said.
Ms. Patterson said her long-term vision is to create this model and bring it to other parts of the country. She plans to use local resources and support the local economy.
Mr. Miller said this is a good opportunity for a workshop – to look at the zoning ordinances regarding this project. So he scheduled a workshop meeting for Tuesday, April 28, in the downstairs conference room at 7 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at about 8 p.m.
Meeting Waters YMCA’s Board of Directors recently launched their 2015 “Reach Out to Youth” fundraising drive to secure community support for its scholarship fund for Y-ASPIRE, Y Day Camp and other youth development programs.
This year’s theme is “Hop the Gap”—a reference to helping hundreds of area youth successfully navigate five challenges common during the summer break: hunger; decreased health due to inactivity; learning loss; risks around water; and unsafe environments. As Executive Director Steve Fortier points out, “Our Y Day Camp addresses all five of these challenges which is good not only for these young people, but also for their families and communities. Every day, a child can hop on one of our camp busses in their community and, at camp, get a free healthy lunch, keep active, stimulate their mind and learn new skills, and develop water safety skills, all in a safe environment surrounded by caring young adult leaders. It a one-stop shop for experiences young people need in the summer months!”
During the rest of the year, Y-ASPIRE helps area youth learn, grow and thrive after-school, during school vacations, and on holidays, teacher in-services, and parent-teach conference days. Y-ASPIRE takes place at all three Brattleboro elementary schools, Dummerston School, Putney Central School , Rockingham Central School (also serving children from Westminster and Saxtons River) and Walpole Primary School (also serving North Walpole School and Walpole Elementary School).
Meeting Waters YMCA Board Chair, Dr. Vernon Temple, stresses the need for strong community support. “Every day, we serve many of our region’s children regardless of their family’s income. ‘Reach Out to Youth’ helps ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive through Meeting Waters YMCA programs. We are reaching out to business and civic leaders as well as community members to ensure access to our programs. Access leads to success for area youth and teens.”
According to Fortier, over the past year, 58% of the regional Y’s youth program participants required some form of financial assistance. The total level of need exceeded $300,000—more than half of the organization’s budget. “We work hard to secure state and federal contracts as well as grants to cover much of what our neighbors need,” Fortier stated. “But, all three of these sources have been cut back over the past several years. In order to keep serving the most-vulnerable children, we need help from the communities that benefit from our impacts.”
Founded 120 years ago, Meeting Waters YMCA is a charitable, non-profit, social service organization governed by local volunteers. All contributions to its Reach Out to Youth fundraising campaign are tax-deductible. For more information about Meeting Waters YMCA services or to make a donation, visit meetingwatersymca.org or call their phone number local to your town—Brattleboro area: 246-1036; Bellows Falls and Fall Mountain areas: (802) 463-4769; or Springfield area: 885-8131.
Everyone who cares about Walpole and keeping it as picturesque and clean as it can be will be meeting for the Third Annual Walpole Clean Up Day on Saturday, April 25th to rid the roads of the piles of garbage that have collected over the long, cold winter months.
Come as a family, a group or just yourself. Start the morning at 8:00 at the Town Hall, where you’ll pick up free blue bags, have some free coffee and donuts for energy and sign in for a route. Then spend the next three hours collecting as much trash as you can along the road of your choice. Bring the bags, tires, bottles and other garbage to the Town Common, where we will be handing out prizes for most collected, most unusual item, etc.
For the first time this year, yard waste will be counted toward our totals of material collected, but we ask that you take the yard waste directly to the Transfer Station.
Be sure to wear mud-proof shoes and gloves. The clean up will happen rain or shine! It’s fun, and you feel great afterwards.
So, in honor of Earth Day, let’s do this! See you all Saturday the 25th.