by Ray Boas
The summer is almost gone it appears, but it is time to share another issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION on-line with you. August can now be read and enjoyed by CLICKING THIS LINK, or the front page below.
Roll Call: Present: Chair Jan Leclerc, Vice-Chair Myra Mansouri, Clerk Tom Murray, Board Member Pauline Barnes. Absent: Board Member Ernie Vose, Alternates Don Sellarole, Judy Trow and Dave Edkins.
Minutes: Recording Marilou Blaine. This meeting was recorded. These minutes are unapproved and will be approved at the August 2021 meeting for correction, additions and/or omissions.
Meeting Opened: Chair Jan Leclerc called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.
Minutes: Ms Barnes had four corrections. At the bottom of page one, last sentence Ms. Barnes said she did not say this and couldn’t remember who did say it. It was changed to “a Board member said.’ The word “breaks” should be changed to “brakes” in two places – page two last paragraph and page 3, third sentence. On page 4, sixth paragraph Ms. Barnes said she was comparing the ordinances in Conway and Walpole concluding that both towns had permissive ordinances, but that wasn’t what was conveyed in the minutes. It was decided to strike the last eight lines from that paragraph.
Mark Stevens, Watkins Hill Road, former home of John and Peggy Stevens, salvaging and/or demolition.
Six months ago it was voted by the ZBA Board that Mr. Stevens could have six more months to get rid of everything in the house, as well as demolish it. The house has been vacant for 10 years and he has built another one on the property. Zoning ordinance allows only one dwelling on a lot. Last week he sent an email to the Board asking for another extension and a spot on the Board’s July meeting agenda.
He wrote “I regret to say that we won’t be able to meet the July 20 deadline for demolition of my parents’ house. An expert friend and I have put in three solid months, at least 35 hours a week apiece, on the job of stripping the surfaces down to the salvageable materials. We wrapped up that work a few days ago (leaving only the roof shingles in place to keep out the rain). Our hope now is to find someone who would disassemble the entire standing structure. People have been coming to look it over for three weeks now, but we haven’t yet gotten an offer, so this week we’ll put an ad up on Craigslist. I hope the board will appreciate that we’ve done our best, though it’s certainly taken longer than anyone anticipated.“
Mr. Stevens said the home was built in 1774. It is a cape-style house and later a barn – either built in 1774 or shortly before – was added to the back of the house to make it larger. Stevens’ grandmother lived there and the John and Peggy Stevens family moved to that location when Mark Stevens was 15 years old. The family had been living in the Peter Kosen home on Alstead Center Road. Mr. Stevens sent three photographs of what he and his friend had accomplished. However, the photos showed an old post and beam house that had a lot of beams and boards that were in very good condition and might be worth something to someone. So now the thought is to try and find someone who would like to purchase the boards and if that’s not possible, the home will be demolished.
Mr. Stevens said he reached out to the person who did the work on removing the barn on North Main
Street but he wasn’t interested. Ms. Barnes suggested he contact NH Preservation Alliance saying that group may know someone who would be interested. He has contacted Chris Parker, who advertises in the Clarion, and that person is going to meet him this weekend. Ms. Mansouri said if that doesn’t work out then maybe he should put something in the classified section of local papers as well as The Hartford Courant.
Mr. Murray asked if he was still paying taxes on the place. Mr. Stevens said he was. Ms. Mansouri suggested he go to the Select Board and explain the situation so the taxes could be lower or removed since the house is now uninhabitable and no has been living there.
Ms. Leclerc asked if a time frame of one year from the meeting for removing the structure was suitable. Mr. Stevens said yes and Mr. Murray made a motion to extend the time frame for total removal of the former John and Peggy Stevens home on Watkins Hill Road for one year. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion passed.
Ms. Mansouri made a motion to go into nonpublic session. Ms. Barnes seconded the motion and the motion passed. The Zoning Board went into nonpublic session at 7:20 pm. Ms. Mansouri voted to come out of nonpublic session at 7:40 pm. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion passed.
Rooms and Meals Tax: Ms. Barnes said at the last meeting she was charged with looking up the status of House Bill No. 15 regarding collecting rooms and meals tax for internet transactions of short-term rentals and car rentals. She equated reading the bill to reading a foreign language so she contacted Lucy Weber, one of four representatives for District 2 in the NH Legislature. Ms. Weber helped her sort it out telling her that the bill has passed both houses of the legislature, but must go through the signing process before becoming law. The Secretary of State’s office is responsible for overseeing this process. It is now on the Speaker of the House’s desk who can sign it or not sign it. There is no time limit. If it’s signed, it then goes to the President of the Senate. That person may sign it or not sign it. If the bill is signed, it then goes to the governor who may sign it or not. If Mr. Chris Sununu doesn’t sign it or doesn’t veto it, the bill automatically becomes law after five days. Ms. Weber doesn’t know the governor’s intention but judging by the voting pattern in the legislature she said she thinks it has an even chance of becoming law.
Mr. Murray explained how renting cars worked, not from companies such as Avis or National, but from local people. He said there are apps for companies doing this and individuals sign up for these apps to rent their cars. It is the app company, not the individual, who is responsible for paying the tax to the state.
Webinar – Natch Greyes and Stephen Buckley
Ms. Barnes attended a Right to Know webinar attached as a webinar. Attendees were reminded that emails are government records. In a recent superior court case personal emails from a former board member were requested during the trial because they could contain board business that is pertinent to the case. The lawyers suggested it might be a good idea for boards to set up a separate email account solely for board business.
Two ordinances to be placed on the warrant:
Last winter when boards were either canceling their meetings or meeting via zoom due to Covid, the Zoning Board voted to approve two ordinances that they want added to the signage section of the Walpole Ordinances document. The first of those ordinances was prompted by the Select Board. The ordinances are:
No. 1 Article lV
Replace final paragraph with the following.
Inflatable sings; wind-activated signs like feather flags; oscillating, rotating, flashing, neon or other tubular gas signs; or signs with blinking, changing or moving illumination are not permitted. These prohibitions do not apply to signs used for safety purposes by a government entity.
No. 2. This is a new ordinance and will be Article No. IV General Provisions, D. Signs, No. 9, and ordinance Special Exceptions will move to No. 10.
A temporary sign is any sign not permanently attached to the ground, a wall or a building that is intended to be displayed for a short to limited amount of time.
Examples of temporary signs include announcement signs; real estate signs; community or civic event signs; political campaign signs pursuant to RSA 66d4; garage or yard signs or signs for other special events that occur for a limited period of time.
All temporary signs shall be removed within ten (10) days following the event or activity being promoted.
Two or three board members will attend the August 10 Planning Board and request a public hearing in September for the two sign ordinances.
Ms. Barnes made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion passed.
Posted: Minutes posted inside Town Hall, on the bulletin board outside the post office, The Walpolean, www.walpolenh.us
cc: ZBA, WPB, Town Offices.
The First Congregational Church will be having their much enjoyed Chicken BBQ on August 8th.
Tickets are $7 for half chicken and $12 for a dinner which includes half chicken, potato salad, bean salad, roll and beverage.
Pick up time is 5:00-6:00. Tickets can be purchased at Galloway Real Estate or by calling Betty Prentiss 603-313-4801
Selectboard Present: Cheryl Mayberry (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Peggy Pschirrer
Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Justin Sanctuary (Chief Police Department); Michael Rau (Road Agent/Highway Department); Ben Hoy (Recycling Director); Kraig Harlow (Recreation Director); Jane Malmberg (Library Director); Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Executive Director); Meghan Hansson (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Regina Borden (Recording Secretary)
Excused: Richard Kreissle (Administrator of Finance)
CALL TO ORDER: Ms. Mayberry called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. This meeting was being recorded by the Town.
Walpole Town Library: Mrs. Jane Malmberg, Library Director, presented the following report dated July 2021:
They are continuing to see an uptick in visits to the library and materials checked out. Their first two weeks at the North Walpole Library went well – they were open for 33 hours and had 40 visitors. Circulation of items was 73.
Summer Reading has gotten off to a good start. They have 55 people registered for the reading challenge as of July 13th. They are still seeing the effects of Covid as far as program attendance goes. Their most popular programs have been story times, the weekly Grafton Science Museum visits, Wildlife Adventures and the Teddy Bear Picnic. They have not had a lot of interest in their Thursday and Saturday craft/activities. Their final Adult Take & Make went out last week – they will be transitioning to a monthly in-person craft program starting in September.
They posted their first Facebook history mystery challenge last week, with Tina Galloway correctly guessing the identity/location of the object in the photo. Their second photo will be posted on Thursday.
Lil DeCoste’s knitting group has resumed meeting in the library on Monday afternoons. They will have a new Social Justice Discussion Group meeting on Wednesday evenings, once a month.
North Walpole Library:
They have a new rug for North Walpole. The printer that was in the branch is in pretty rough shape. She was able to get a laser printer that scans and copies from another library who was giving it away. It prints nicely but only in black and white. They are using that printer for staff, and the old printer is currently hooked up to the public PC. She would like to purchase a new color ink jet printer to replace the old one – they do not need another laser jet – and they are not too expensive. She did purchase a new bar code scanner to use in the branch as well. She would also like to purchase a water cooler for patron and staff use.
Brad replaced an old lightbulb outside with a new LED bulb, as it was getting very hot and had melted the plastic cover over it. He was able to replace the plastic cover as well with materials he had on hand. There are two window handles that appear to be stripped and they are not able to open those windows. She has informed NW Commissioners of this.
Their ARPA grant application was approved – notification was sent out at the end of June. They have been awarded $3101 – $2101 for new Launchpads and $1,000 for the Universal Class subscription. She has placed an order for the new Launchpads and will be ordering the Universal Class this week. Once staff has had a chance to become familiar with this new service, (within the next week), she will issue a press release announcing the grant.
Friends of the Library:
The Friends of the Library plan to hold their book sale this fall and will begin taking donations at the chicken coop behind the Hungry Diner in August.
She has revised the Meeting Room Policy and the Disruptive Behavior Policy. The revisions have been distributed to the members of the Board of Trustees for their approval.
Mrs. Downing has a color printer that they will not be using. The Selectboard felt it would be a good idea to donate it to the Library.
Monthly Library Statistics for June 2020 and June 2021 were attached.
Ms. Mayberry asked if there was a children’s section in North Walpole. Mrs. Malmberg replied “yes” and they are adding more books. Ms. Mayberry questioned if residents can use the Universal Class only at the Library. Mrs. Malmberg said it will be accessible through the internet in homes as long as they are a Library card holder.
Walpole Recreation Department: Mr. Kraig Harlow, Recreation Director, had submitted the following report dated July 14, 2021:
Pool Maintenance & Repairs:
Relative to the pool cover, Mrs. Pschirrer said another quote came in for less than $4,000. To replace it would be about $8,000. It was estimated that the cover is about five years old. Ms. Mayberry suggested Mr. Harlow check with Mr. Cassarino to see when he bought it and where so they can look it up. Mr. Rau explained that the cover is extremely heavy. The bucket loader is used to move it to the shop for storage. It should be stored on-site. There is space between Route 12 and the pool. Ms. Mayberry suggested talking to the Recreation Committee about this. Mr. Dalessio felt they should talk to the pool company to find out if they could store the cover and, if so, what is the cost.
Walpole Highway Department: Mr. Mike Rau, Road Agent/Highway Department, had submitted the following report dated July 2021.
With the large amount of rain, they have been getting and will continue to receive, the Highway Crew has been kept busy with water issues which has caused us to be off schedule with summer projects. They were able to resurface about 95% of the gravel roads in town. Chlorine is not put down on all the gravel roads. On an average they put down 2-inches of gravel on the roads each year. In between rain storms they were able to pave in the cuts of the culverts that have been replaced. They did the one on North Road where they did the drainage project. Rain has been a big factor on doing the Elm Street project. He explained some of the work that still needs to be done at the sound end of the Common. One more service to a house needs to be done. Mr. Dalessio asked Mr. Rau to send this detailed update on Elm Street to Laura at E.E. Houghton as people call there looking for information.
Hooper Institute: Mrs. Helen Dalbeck, Executive Director, submitted the following report dated July 15, 2021.
The work that they do at the Hooper Institute and in their schools and community is informed and inspired by their mission to provide educational and scholarship programs to the youth and citizens of Walpole in the following focus areas: agriculture, forestry, botany, soils and environmental science.
School Programs and School Gardens: Gardens are all water logged and growing like crazy. Lots of leaves, not much fruit, yet. They need some sunshine.
High School Work Program: 10 students accepted, 10 working, a total of 1005 hours has been awarded. The average award is 110 hours. Five of the students worked as camp counselor/leaders for the Hooper Camp first then went off to the job sites by July 5. Work sites are Abenaki Springs Farm, Malnati Farm, Walpole Recycling Center, Walpole Veterinary Clinic and Alysons Orchard.
CAMP Hooper Summer Camp for grades 1-2 and 3-4, 26 kids attended. Adventure Camp grades 5-8 Week 1 and 2, 15 students attended. Camps ran between June 21 and July 1. Woodworking Camp, with 9 kids registered, begins July 19 and will be taught by Steve Dalessio, Helen assists.
She would like to thank the community members that agreed to host or be part of the 2021 Adventure Camps; Matt Cole and Shawn Keniston of Great River Hydro, Michael Nerrie of Distant Hills, Aumands Furniture for parking, Bellows Falls Chamber of Commerce for the tour and Becky Sethi, for being an awesome sub and leading the Kingsbury Hill day.
Outreach and Marketing: June and July Clarion plus many, many Facebook posts, camp flyers and garden presentation posters.
Facility and Land: Extra landscaping and mowing happening around community garden for tick control.
Administration: FOHI members are meeting and planning a Fall Festival at the Hooper Institute, now on September 25. On a July 7, a newly formed Development Committee met to focus on an accelerated plan to fundraise for the future of the Hooper Institute education and scholarship programs, above and beyond school, public and community programs. JULY 28 will be a presentation night for board members, parents, students, staff and friends to attend. Scholarship recipients plus all high school work program students are invited to present. They will meet at 7pm, Walpole Town Hall. Refreshments provided.
Walpole Community Garden: The WCG (with FOHI) is hosting four garden talks/presentations this year. Next one is July 31 on “Pollinators” presented by her, 10 am, in the community garden.
Walpole Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Office: Mrs. Meghan Hansson, Walpole Town Clerk/Tax Collector, had submitted the following report dated July 15, 2021.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, submitted the following report dated July 15, 2021.
Brownfields Clean-up of the former Central Plating Site stakeholders had a pre-construction and a public meeting within the first two weeks of July. More people showed up for the public meeting than she expected; it was a hybrid meeting. Jodi Daigle continues to support the Community Power Committee. The office also handles extra deposits in the summer due to pool monies collected. Being the summer, which is a popular time for vacations, the office staff are covering for each other to complete essential duties such as payroll, etc.
Due to the rainy weather of the last few weeks. Contracted work is yet again delayed. Roof and chimney repairs and the replacement of the Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Office rear door should occur this year.
A reminder to department managers in regards to time cards that “New Hampshire law requires employers to pay employees for a minimum of two (2) hours of work at their regular rate of pay if they report or show up to work at the employer’s request, regardless of how few hours they work. An employer is not required to pay an employee show up pay if it has made good faith, but unsuccessful, efforts to inform employees they do not need to report for a scheduled shift.”
All regular part and full-time employees have received large red or blue water bottles with suggested daily water intake along with an informational flyer. The funding for these bottles was from a HealthTrust stipend. Once the new drinking fountain is installed in the Town Hall hallway, staff and visitors will be able to fill their bottles at this water station.
Police Department: Police Chief Justin Sanctuary submitted a graph with Police Stats from June 16, 2021 through July 14, 2021. Total Calls: 327. These were broken down as follows: Criminal Investigations 65; Public Safety 167; Motor Vehicles 95.
Chief Sanctuary reported they hope to have a new officer by September 1st. Hopefully, the new cruiser will also be here about that same time. They completed some annual training and getting a lot of requirements done but are still working on some of them. The speed sign has been by the Unitarian Church. They were getting complaints about Main Street.
Walpole Recycling Center: Mr. Ben Hoy, Recycling Director, distributed copies of their July report.
Mr. Merklein will need at least a week before it will be shown. This video will be available for viewing on the Recycling Center website and Mr. Merklein thought possibly on YouTube.
Finance Office: Mr. Richard Kreissle, Administrator of Finance, was not able to attend this meeting but had submitted the following July 15, 2021, report.
Quiet times here in the old bean-counting office hence, he has taken a week off. If you’re reading this then that probably means you’re not on vacation (but I’m sure your time will come…
The highlights are few but here they are:
Payroll processing has increased significantly due to the summer help at the pool and Hooper.
The new printers/copiers have been ordered and will (hopefully) arrive/be installed during the week of 6/19 – 6/23.
The NH GOFERR application for the town’s portion of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) completed and submitted.
2022 Preliminary Budgets:
Ms. Mayberry reported that 2022 Preliminary Budgets are due on September 3rd, 2021. The Selectboard plan on having their initial meeting on September 10th, 2021. She requested that all Department Managers try to level fund. Mr. Dalessio would like to have a list for Capital Items. They will have time to get actual quotes together.
Next Staff Meeting: The next Staff Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 19, 2021, at 5:00 pm in the Town Hall.
Ms. Mayberry thanked everyone for attending. She adjourned this Staff Meeting at 5:52 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary
Selectboard Present: Cheryl Mayberry (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Peggy Pschirrer
CALL TO ORDER: Ms. Mayberry, Chair of the Selectboard, called this meeting to order at 6:31 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. This meeting was being recorded. There were two members of the public in attendance: Mr. Tom Goins, Town Treasurer, and Mr. Dominic Perkins, Savings Bank of Walpole. Also present was Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, and Mrs. Regina Borden, Recording Secretary.
COLLATERALIZATION OF THE GENERAL FUND: Tom Goins, Town Treasurer, and Dominic Perkins of the Savings Bank of Walpole were present to discuss a change in the collateralization policy of the Town’s General Fund. Several years ago when Mr. Goins became the Town Treasurer one of the things that had not been done was collateralization of the General Fund for a balance in excess of the FDIC insured limit of $250,000. It has become progressively harder for the SBW to continue to set aside the collateralized amount of $500,000 when the funds could be made available to the community. Mr. Perkins wanted to make the town aware of a new program that will free up the funds but still provide the needed collateralization for the Town. For several years now the Town has been very active in the Public Deposit Investment Pool (PDIP). Mr. Perkins noted that PDIP was a great solution as the bank did not have to move money between PDIP and the SBW too often. With collateralization, the SBW sets aside funds with the Federal Bank of Boston and five years ago the interest rates were relatively good. Over the years SBW has been using Insured Cash Sweep (ICS). It creates a pool with 3,000 other banks to ensure all the funds are available and fully insured. FDIC likes and recommends the ICS process. He explained how the bank currently uses the ICS process daily and that the Town would still be fully FDIC insured. The benefit to the Town is the protection is unlimited. The Town would get two statements each month: one from the SBW plus an ICS statement. Mr. Goins felt Mr. Kreissle and the Town Auditors would approve this program. Mrs. Pschirrer asked what needs to be done to make this change. Mr. Perkins replied they would need the agreement, identify the other banks and set up a target threshold. SBW creates the ICS accounts and operations checks daily balances, etc. Mr. Perkins would recommend keeping PDIP in place as their interest rates are currently higher making them a better investment option.
Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the ICS proposal from the Savings Bank of Walpole after a discussion with Mr. Rich Kreissle and getting his approval. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $5,630.18 for checks issued July 16, 2021. This includes three (3) refund checks that were approved last week. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending July 10, 2021, in the amount of $31,715.19 for checks dated July 16, 2021, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $6,019.64. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MINUTES – July 8, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of July 8, 2021, as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were approved.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION MINUTES – July 8, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 8, 2021, as submitted. These Minutes will remain sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were approved.
The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the following Committee reports:
Letters to Spencer’s Place and Burdick and Burns LLC: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve and sign the letters to Spencer’s Place and Burdick and Burns LLC. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Brownfields Cleanup of Former Central Plating Site Update: Mrs. Pschirrer reported there was a pre-construction meeting. Mr. Dalessio, Ransom Consulting, Green Site Services, the Environmental Protection Association (EPA) and NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) attended. They discussed the final details of the project and the Public Meeting that was to be held that following week. They had many more in-person people attending than anticipated. Ms. Mayberry felt the set-up worked well but the audio could have been better. Ms. Shelley Tamis, Project Manager from Green Site Services, spoke clearly and very well about the scope of the project and what they should expect. Mr. Buck Adams is the sub-contractor. He is local and well-known. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that everyone got the information they were looking for as questions were answered. They have now met a term of the grant.
Streetlight LED Conversion Project: Mr. Dalessio spoke with Mr. Steve Grenier about the Streetlight LED Conversion Project. Liberty Utilities will install low wattage lights but there will be some high intensity lights where required. Some people will not have an option. They will have to meet State requirements on Route 123, Route 12 and Prospect Hill. They are waiting for another shipment of low wattage lights. Elm Street will be done tonight. Mr. Dalessio encourages people to be patient. The lights will be changed over. It all takes time.
Pending Further Actions:
Mill Pond Dam Inspection, Vilas Bridge, Houghton Brook Bridge, Generators, Three Phase Power for Industrial Avenue and Bensonwood: There were no updates at this meeting.
Complete Streets: Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned Mr. J.B. Mack had sent them material about this quite some time ago. It is due September 24th and SWRPC would be happy to help us in any way they can. Is there anything they want to apply for? Lisa at SWRPC just finished some work on the Walpole Master Plan; Transportation and Housing. They feel we need sidewalks to the school. If we did basic work, it is something we could apply for. Ms. Mayberry mentioned they had talked about Safe Routes to School in the past. Mr. Dalessio does not think it is viable to consider a sidewalk from Shaw’s to the Elementary School. Mrs. Pschirrer questioned if they could get enough money to do all the sidewalks in Town because so many of them are falling apart all over the Town. We have not had much in the budget for at least three years. Before that they had been putting in $10,000/year for sidewalks. Colonial Drive up to South Street and the sidewalk in front of this building are all in bad shape. They are not great anywhere. Mr. Dalessio noted they would not need any engineering. He will ask Mr. Rau to get an estimate on all the sidewalks plus maybe two additional miles. Mrs. Pschirrer pointed out that there are many elderly residents who walk plus walkers of all ages. Many have to walk in the street. Ms. Mayberry will talk to Mr. Mack about this to see what he thinks. Mr. Dalessio attended the Community Economic Development Strategy meeting.
Southwest Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Dalessio gave back the contract for SWRPC to continue doing the Master Plan updates. Mr. Jeff Miller is to stop by SB Office to sign the document.
Deputy Forest Fire Appointment Forms: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Deputy Forest Fire Appointment of Jason Colburn. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
US Flag/Bunting for US Holidays Citizen Comment: Ms. Mayberry reported there was a complaint from a resident who is concerned about the lack of US flags/buntings for US Holidays. Every other town had their flags out. Walpole itself did not have anything. Mrs. Downing spoke to Mr. Whit Aldrich about this. He is going to check into this comment and will respond.
Mr. Dalessio asked Mrs. Downing why they would fill out a Comment Form for this complaint yet they did not fill out Comment Forms for the LED lights. It is a question of process. Ms. Mayberry stated they want to be consistent. Mrs. Downing mentioned the first two gentlemen who complained about the LED lights came into a meeting rather than going to the office.
Cheshire County Shooting Sports Education Fund Request to Use the Town Hall: The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of a memo of the Cheshire County Shooting Sports Education Foundation to use the Walpole Town Hall on September 18, 2021, for a fundraiser as they are building an indoor shooting range in Keene. Following a discussion, Ms. Mayberry stated the answer is “no” as their policy is to only allow free use of the Town Hall for non-profit groups located in the Town of Walpole.
RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to recess this Selectboard meeting. The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 7:41 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:45 PM.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:
Mr. Dalessio moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel and (c) Reputations. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 7:46 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:15 PM.
Mr. Dalessio moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 15, 2021, will be sealed. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the meeting adjourned at 8:16 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary
Starting at 6:30 PM in the Town Hall
ACCOUNTS PAYABLE• Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $777,483.66 for checks issued 7/23/21
PAYROLL• Payroll Register totaling $32,484.99 dated 7/23/21 and the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer of $6,215.91
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES• Selectboard Minutes – July 15, 2021• Non-Public Selectboard Session Minutes – July 15, 2021• Staff Meeting Minutes – July 15, 2021
COMMITTEE REPORTS• Conservation Committee Meeting – July 12, 2021• Planning Board Meeting – July 13, 2021
LAND USE CHANGE TAX• Map and Lot# 021-025 and 026-000
DEMOLITION PERMITS• 2021-29 for Map and Lot# 019-068-000• 2021-30 for Map and Lot# 020-063-000
OLD BUSINESS• Recreation Rev. Fund Request• Community Power Coalition• Brownfields Cleanup of former Central Plating Site Update• Rescheduling Arborclimb Meeting on Common• Rescheduling E.C. Warmington Visit
Pending Further Actions• Mill Pond Dam Inspection, Vilas Bridge, Houghton Brook Bridge, Generators, Three Phase Power for Industrial Avenue and Bensonwood, US Flag/Bunting for US Holidays Citizen Comment
NEW BUSINESS• 5 Town Joint Meeting re: FMRSD• Purchase Order for One-Ton Truck for Highway Dept.• Notice of Appointments for Conservation Commission• Granite Park Bench Donation Request
NON-PUBLIC BUSINESS: RSA 91-A:3 II
**Any recording, audio or visual, and/or other devices must be declared at the beginning of the meeting**
No offense, Lucy but I really didn’t want to hear from you again on this topic. – Lil
COVID by the Numbers-July 20 Edition
Today, New Hampshire reached the milestone we knew was coming. As of today, there have been more than 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID in the state—100.025 to be exact—since the first case at the start of the pandemic. It has also been just a month since the last time I wrote. Then, the news was all good. Now, although the numbers are still relatively low here in NH, there are some disturbing trends.
Here in Walpole, we had just gotten down to 0 confirmed case a month ago. We kept that up until yesterday, but we now have 1 reporteded active case in town.
In Cheshire County, we were at “Low Risk” a month ago, with a seven day average of confirmed cases at 0.8 cases a day. We were down to a low of 0.4 cases a day from July 3 to July 6th, but today we are back up to 2.4 average cases per day. Any number higher than 1.0 puts us back in the “Moderate Risk” category. A month ago, there were only 4 currently active cases in the county. Today we are up to 11 active cases—still a low number, but not going in the right direction.
Statewide, the seven day average of confirmed cases got to a low of 1.1 on July 6th. As of today, it is back up to 2.1. That number will go up tomorrow, when the 61 new cases reported today are factored into the average. The number of currently active cases statewide was 196 a month ago. It was down to 169 on July 1, but as of today, there are 270 currently active cases instate. The number of hospitalizations statewide got down to 12 on July 7, but that number is back up to 24 as of today. We have lost 6 more citizens of the state since the 1st of July.
The more virulent Delta variant has been relatively slow to arrive in NH, but it is here now. Even vaccination does not guarantee that you will not get the virus, but it does make it less likely you will contract the virus, and more likely that if you do get it, it will be a relatively mild case. Still, please continue to be careful, especially in crowded indoor spaces.
Take good care, stay well, and keep dry.
~Rep. Lucy McVitty Weber
217 Old Keene Road
Walpole NH 03608
Vice Chairperson Sarah Vogel opened the meeting at 6:07. Present: Craig Vickers, Joe Levesque, Shelly Andrus, Rebecca Sethi, Mary Henry
Guests: Jamie Teague, Billy Stahl, Jeremy Wood, Bill Rescsanski
Approval of Minutes-(Levesque/Vickers) to approve meeting minutes from 6.14.2021.
Joe Levesque notes a change in the discussion of Right to Freedom from Discrimination Act from “option” to opinion.
Roll Call Vote- Mary Henry abstains, Vickers, Levesque, Andrus, Sethi approve
Reports of Administrators
End of year celebrations went well. Shares names of various award recipients. Special award to all school nurses
Lori met with Jim to get up to speed on immediate needs. Feels able to handle things well. Currently at a Superintendents conference.
Discussion about the summer schedule for workshops and book reads. Email availability to Misty. Goal is to have most people, most of the time. July 1 session is cancelled.
Discussion- Michael is thanked for his years of service.
Unanimous approval of motion.
Sarah distributes a proposal for the process to replace the At Large Board vacancy as well as relevant district policies.
“Replacement of Vacant School Board Position
The position that is open is an At Large Position. Therefore, it is proposed that a notice be sent out to all of the towns of the district asking for letters of interest from people who would be interested in filling the position. The letters should come to the Superintendent and/or the Board Chair.
Letters of interest will be accepted for 3 weeks, at which time the School Board will meet to review the interested people. The Board will vote on who will fill the position based on a majority vote as per Policy BBE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER – UNEXPIRED TERM FULFILLMENT.
This position will be filled until the next Annual Meeting as per RSA 197:26. At that time the position will be voted on for the remainder of the term (2 years).”
Motion(Henry/Sethi) to accept the proposed process.
Craig asks if the timeline lines up with an existing meeting- yes. Sethi states a preference to replace with someone from Charlestown but understands that is inappropriate in a motion and can be reflected in members voting when the time comes. It is clarified that there is precedence for having appointed members from different towns and that at-large seats have not always been balanced. Further, it is inappropriate to limit the at-large seats to any single town.
Shelly states that she believes the Board needs to be mindful of the recent withdrawal process. Craig endorses the discussion but believes it would be better to have these conversations when we have applicants for the seat.
Becky Sethi states that she had the notification of the resignation posted on the Walpolean.
Reporter, via Zoom, asks for clarification on who has resigned and who is currently Board chair.
Sarah states she is vice chair and that the next agenda item is discussion of the chair position.
Mary suggests that no one make statements about what town they are supporting candidates from. As Board members we are all representing the district, not individual towns.
Board discusses the merits of two weeks vs three weeks. Motion is amended to three weeks.
Notifications to the public will go through Selectboards and online postings.
Sarah Vogel distributes Fall Mountain’s policy- the seat gets filled at our discretion. NHSBA policy recommendation is that the Vice Chair becomes Chair.
Mary suggests that the Board wait until a new member is appointed so that we don’t have a 3/3 split vote.
Motion(Henry/Sethi) to allow Sarah Vogel to continue as Acting Chair, provided no contracts are signed with the Superintendent, until a new member is appointed.
Craig notes that it is very challenging for a new member to vote on a Board chair.
Motion passes unanimously.
Motion(Sethi/Vickers) to move into non public at 7:05. Passed unanimously.
91-A:3, II(c): Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of this board, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to include any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.
91-A:3,II (l): Consideration of legal advice provided by legal counsel, either in writing or orally, to one or more members of the public body, even where legal counsel is not present.
Board returned from non public at 7:43.
Motion: (Anders/Levesque) to adjourn at 7:44. Unanimous pass.
Submitted by Rebecca Sethi,Board Secretary
Roll Call: Present: Board members Chair Jeff Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Clerk Jason Perron, Jeff Harrington, Joanna Andros, Select Board Representative Steve Dalessio, Alternate Trevor MacLachlan. Board member Bill Carmody was absent so alternate Trevor MacLachlan was asked to fill in for him and he agreed.
Recording: Secretary Marilou Blaine. This meeting is being recorded. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the August 2021 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Call for meeting to come to order: Mr. Miller called the meeting to order at 7 pm.
Minutes: Corrections. Page 1, paragraph 4. Correct Mr. Harrison to Mr. Harrington. Page 4, paragraph 4 omits Mr. Dalessio’s request of Mr. Hill to provide references to what he was saying about the 30 percent open space. It was not reflected in the minutes, Mr. Dalessio said. Page 2 under new business, Ms. Andros thought it should say Stormalong owners and on the same page she referred to spelling of the Massachusetts town at the bottom of the page should be Natick. Page 2, paragraph 8, Mr. Marcom said he thought Mr. Edgar said he “might” pave the road instead of “would” pave the road. Page 5, paragraph 4, Mr. Perron said Mr. Clifford said they wanted to build the whole thing at one time. Mr. Marcom made a motion to accept the amended minutes, Mr. Perron seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Public Hearing: Site Plan. Installation of 1 mega watt solar array on about 6 acres, Tax Map 12, Lot 55, Commercial District. Presenting: Jim Clifford of applicant NGP Management of North Reading, MA; Jason Hill agent with TF Moran presenting information on the stormwater management plan and screening of the solar array; Ned Raynolds and Steve Dzubak of Revision Energy, builder of the solar installation; Peterborough Attorney Michael Atkins representing NGP.
The format of the meeting was that the presenters would explain their part of the project and when they were finished the public would make comments and ask questions. All seats in the Town Hall were taken with about six or seven people having to stand throughout the meeting.
Mr. Clifford said the reason he postponed the retail portion of this project was because he was unable to get all the information from NHDOT regarding what he thought the Board might want to hear about traffic. He hopes to have that information for next month’s meeting. Tonight Mr. Clifford wanted to address some of the concerns that residents seemed to have that he’s gleaned from letters, comments at the last meeting and from the Clarion. These regard landscaping, how a solar project work, real estate taxes and zoning questions.
He also said he has looked into two side projects that the public might find beneficial and make the project more positive to a solar array. He’s been trying to contact the superintendent of schools regarding a school program that provides information to teachers on how to teach students about solar power, information on weather, etc. Also, he said solar power arrays can be fantastic for growing wild flowers so he got in touch with the NH Beekeepers Association and is thinking that potentially a small portion of land could be set aside for beehives on the site. We’re looking at programs like that that might be a nice benefit for the town.
Next up was Jason Hill who addressed some of the comments made at the previous meeting and wanted to update the public on information on the solar project. His topics were the stormwater management plan as well as the hydraulics and runoff water plan. These must be submitted to the state and the town has copies of the plan. He said a solar array works much as an umbrella works – it protects what’s underneath it. In this project the solar panels are driven directly into the ground, which will be vegetated with grass, which absorbs a lot of water, into the ground. Any runoff is directed to the two points on this property where it naturally flows that’s where two infiltration ponds or basins will be. One is at the top of the map on the northern perimeter on the east side of Upper Walpole Road. There’s another basin on the western boundary along Route 12 just south of the Savings Bank of Walpole. Both are shown on the Grading & Drainage Plan. The basins are a couple feet deep and look like swales and these basins mitigate the flow of water. Mr. Hill is waiting to receive an Alteration of Terrain permit from the NH Department of Environmental Services.
Mr. Hill said that the town said it also requires 30 percent open space. Mr. Hill disagreed and said this actually doesn’t apply to commercial projects but to multi-family developments. But even with the solar panels, this solar array project meets the 30 percent criteria. Mr. Hill referenced Section 6, VI B 8b of the commercial permitting process.
Mr. Dalessio asked Mr. Hill what he calculated as the percent of green space. Mr. Hill said more than 30 percent. Mr. Dalessio asked for an exact number. Mr. Hill said it didn’t matter because the 30 percent rule only applies to multi-family development. Mr. Dalessio said he didn’t thing that was true.
Regarding screening, the project previously had a combination of vegetation including forsythia, which was criticized as inappropriate because it lost its leaves in the winter. The project now will be all arbor vitae that will be planted entirely along Route 12 and intermittently on Upper Walpole Road. There will also be some spruce along Upper Walpole Road that will provide a secondary level of screening and grass where the previous ball field parking lot was. Plants four or five feet high will mature at about 10 feet or more. Arbor vitae is a dense, drought resistant shrub that requires low maintenance, he said. There will be 160 of them planted six feet on center. He showed on the large screen 3D projections of the how the proposed array would look like from different angles of the solar array. He also showed several photos of different New Hampshire locations that use arbor vitae as screening.
Ned Raynolds of Revision Energy was up next and his company will be building the solar array. There was a photo showing how the legs of the frame holding the solar panels would go directly into the surface of the ground, which will be planted with grass and a pollinator mix, as required in New Hampshire. Revision Energy is an employee-owned company. Its headquarters are in Portland, ME and the company has offices in Brentwood and Enfield NH. All together in New Hampshire there are about 90 employees or owners. The company is 18 years old, started in 2003, and it has completed more than 10,000 different clean energy projects, both residential and commercial. Chamberlain Machine in Walpole has a solar array built by Revision Energy, as does Badger in Gilsum, McDowell Colony in Peterborough and lots of projects at Dartmouth College and in Hanover. The company is mission-driven and its purpose is to decrease this country’s reliance on fossil fuel and make its environment and quality of life better for our children. Mr. Raynolds said climate change is certainly here and has real effects on our everyday life. The prediction in New England is that if climate change goes unchecked that by mid-century our climate will be like that of Virginia and by the end of the century, it will be like that of North Carolina. That prediction and study was conducted 14 years ago.
The solar project planned is low-impact, he said. The panels are 11 feet high. Walpole’s zoning ordinance allows buildings up to 35 feet high. There is no asphalt, no lighting and is low-impact on the land, no impervious surface. About 10 percent of the power generated will go towards the retail buildings and 90 percent will go along the wires to the next place where there is a need or demand.
The credits will go to the owner of the property. It is clean energy. The cost of the installation is 2.3 million dollars.
There is concern that this electric power will be sent out of town. That’s isn’t so, Raynolds said. It is contrary to the laws of physics and how electricity works. A solar power array collects power during the day and it is sent into a meter at Dunkin’. Ninety percent is exported to the grid and it follows the path of least resistance and goes to the next place where there is electricity demand. That would most likely be a commercial business nearby. Liberty Utilities will pay NGP for the electricity and sell it to customers locally. The numbers of this array are that it will produce 1.8 million kilowatt hours per year, with 10 percent goes to Dunkin’. That leaves 1.65 000 kilowatt hours sent to the grid. An average household uses 7500 kilowatt hours a year and this project has enough to power 212 households. There are 1,677 household in Walpole and that’s theoretically 12 percent of households powered by clean energy.
Michael Atkins, an attorney from Peterborough, was at the meeting representing NGP Management and its solar application for this site plan. A site plan is required to ensure that the project meets an authorized use and that it is appropriately designed and used, he said. He commended the town for its foresight contained in its ordinances and regulations. A lot of thought was put into these documents and frankly, he said, the town is ahead of its time compared to the state and other regions. One of the town’s site plan regulations states the purpose of the project requires sound utilization of property and should avoid propositions that negatively affect the environmental impact the town. Site preparation should be conducted with minimal disturbance to existing vegetation and a landscaping plan that will enhance the property is required. In order to control pollution, the Board considers noise, smoke, soot and odors at the site as well as what is discharged into ground water. The proposed site is an authorized use in a commercially zoned district. This project will have minimal impact to the ground and visually. He has walked the site and he feels the solar array will make the site better. The goals of the Master Plan were developed after surveying townspeople. It supports home-based occupations as well as a diversity of companies. The town wants to make sure the land better utilizes its natural resources. According to the survey, your effort is to promote development in careful ways that are in harmony with the natural environment.
Mr. Raynolds stepped in and said he forgot to address two things – glare and noise. He referenced a graph on the large screen illustrating glare from different objects in nature. He said this array would cause the least amount of glare. Solar panels absorb about 98 percent of sunlight. The highest object on the glare scale was fresh snow. Next was flat water and forests. One picture showed the Denver Airport. In the background you could see the tent-like structure that the terminal and represents the Rocky Mountains and in the foreground were two solar arrays. One was a 2 mega watt installation and the other a 1.6 mega watt installation. The glare from these installations at the airport was insignificant, he said. Regarding noise, solar array transformers do hum but the noise is inaudible at 50 to 150 feet from its boundary.
With the presentations concluded, the meeting was opened up to comments and questions. Tim Lester said he’s lived in town 26 years. Regarding the talk about bee colonies, he’s been a beekeeper and doesn’t see anything positive about that location. Secondly, a lot of the talk about this project is that all the excess energy will be sold back to the grid and he hasn’t seen anything that will benefit Walpole. He’s driven in rural areas and seen solar. He’s not against solar, but he said it has its place. He doesn’t think people want to see these solar panels while going up to the plaza everyday or traveling through town.
Walpole does not need a solar array, said Frank Sibley. To take seven acres of our very limited commercial property is not a good idea. He’d much rather have a dozen Dunkin’s. He asked how much more commercial land does Walpole have left? Someone else wanted to know more about taxes on the property. Can you fill me in? he asked.
Mr. Miller said the town still has commercial property left along Route 12. He added that there is another potential area away from the village that fits the profile for commercial property that the town is looking into. Mr. Dalessio added that the Select Board has submitted the issue of taxes to our town attorney in order to get clarification of a warrant article that passed a couple of years ago. He also said Avitar, the company that does our evaluation of property and taxes, says that the array is taxable with the exception of the energy that is used on the property. “Stay tuned. It’s still with our attorney for review.”
Eric Merklein thanked the group for their presentation. He said that after sitting on the Planning Board for about nine years, you’re the first company who has listened when someone from the public has made a comment and listened when someone from the town said we don’t want to see a building in that space. This company could put up a Taco Bell or another Family Dollar store. That would mean more traffic, more pavement, more noise. When you see this project when it’s completed, all you’re going to see are trees. The owners can build whatever they want on this property. This project means no more lights and far less traffic.
Diane Nichols asked the Board to reject the proposal for this project. She said that from what she learned at the last meeting, the project doesn’t have the required 30 percent green space. She wanted to make sure NGP was not considering what is under the panels as green space. She fully supports the concept of solar energy, however she finds this situation quite different. This project is not for Walpole. She also thinks the company is deceptive because this energy would not go to our homes. It would go toward energy credits for the property owner. Across from the proposed site is Hubbard Park. It is much more than a beautiful park, it is a real credit to our town. The proposed solar array presents a stark contrast. It cannot be called beautiful or even attractive. It will be surrounded by a chain link fence and it’s hard to imagine the array before many years have passed. “Walpole, you can make better choices than this.”
A person living on Wentworth Road asked, “Are you guys in the donut business or in energy generation.” Mr. Clifford answered, “We are in both businesses.” The company’s primary business is Dunkin’ Donuts but in doing that and in a lot of towns in New Hampshire, the company does additional development as well. Certain projects have excess land and the company tries to find the best uses for it. That’s how this proposal came about.
Leo Carrigan identified himself. His question was if the Board approves this project, would this open up the possibility of all the other businesses along that stretch of road if they wanted to put solar on their rooftops, would that be possible. He mentioned as an example, all the businesses in Shaw’s Plaza. Mr. Miller said that those businesses have the right to do that now. All residents have a right to do use solar energy and get tax credits for it. If the town has a valuation of 35 million dollars, take a million off that for solar panels. Everyone that doesn’t have solar panels is paying for that.
Sue Fillion, who lives on Bookseller Road, made a couple of points and had a couple of questions. She was curious why this project was divided into two parts or separate issues – solar array and retail space – when it’s on one piece of property. It seemed to her that it should be one project.
Then she asked why a solar array of this scale is not actually categorized as a utility and if it were, it would be considered industrial and need a Special Exception?
She did not consider the arbor vitae hedge as very attractive. There is more attractive screening available. If the solar array is approved, why not celebrate the solar array? Why does it need a chain link fence around it?
Her last comment was about the snowmobile trail that crosses that property. A lot of people use the trail in the winter to go to restaurants or to get gas along that stretch of road. Has anyone given any thought to that or about rerouting the trail?
Mr. Miller said the company wanted to do this as a two-phase project and it was submitted as two separate applications. The Board considered a Special Exception, but it really doesn’t meet the criteria of an industrial project. The definition of manufacturing is changing one compound into another form and this doesn’t do that. The Board also doesn’t have to consider pollution problems with things like noise and odor. Regarding the snowmobile trail, he had forgotten about that, but it will be discussed.
A gentleman asked if 10 percent of the power generated is used on the property, does that have to be taxed and the other 90 percent will not be taxed. Is that the case?
Mr. Clifford said when the company decided on this project it was actually not clear that it would be tax exempt and it’s not clear to us now whether or not that will be so. The project is ongoing regardless.
Tim Lester spoke again asking if anybody had tried to exit the Plaza lately? If you tried you might have to spend five minutes trying to get back on the road. The reason for that is because Route 12 is a state highway and the state has, despite Walpole’s request to have a light there, the state will not put a light there. Now you’re adding another commercial development. The town will now have two routes out to Route 12 that are a hassle. Mr. Lester thanked Sue Fillion for mentioning the snowmobile trail. He said he didn’t even think about that. His main question is what is the benefit to this town for this project?
Another resident said he knows that there will be a group that will loosing its baseball field and he would prefer that the area would remain green space. But he was thinking long term and if something is going to go there, he would prefer that it be something that he could tolerate like solar. There are enough other stores and things on the flats and the town doesn’t need any more. In a few years we won’t even know the solar array exists.
Mr. Merklein said he spoke with DOT and to the man who is in charge of Walpole and he said NHDOT would absolutely put in a stop light whenever they think it is needed. So this thing about not having any traffic lights is fairy tale stuff. Having the solar array is going to have the least impact on traffic.
Some else pointed out that there are going to be other businesses going in there besides the Dunkin’ business. Mr. Merklein repeated what he said before about the solar array – no cars, no noise, no more pavement.
Joanne Summers has lived here for seven years and she and her family are from Long Island. They often came to Walpole. She said the future does change. She said her family cannot drive on eastern Long Island because there are solar panels and there are taco bells and more and more stores. They, meaning communities, change the regulations to accommodate more growth, she said. So this is the future that we have to think about. What is allowed? This does happen. The Summers left a beautiful farming community and look what happened. “We thought we had control.” They have seen this happen. There must be something that will prevent it. Otherwise it will keep snowballing. There’s no need for it.
Another person reminded the people that there would be more retail businesses in that spot. I want to know what they are. What’s going there, she asked. Mr. Clifford said there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts and about 7,000 or 8,000 thousand square feet of other retail space. We do not know what the businesses are yet. Mr. Miller said what goes in there is not something the Board cannot dictate.
Ben Daviss reminded the people gathered at the meeting that the hearing is about the solar array, not Dunkin’ Donuts.
Marilyn Wilson was concerned about the financial impact of the solar array and wanted an answer to the question as to how a major investor could use town land to make money. Her question was are there any examples where a corporate entity has installed a large solar array in the middle of town. Does all the money go to private owner of that property? “I resent the fact that a large corporation is going to make money on our land in this location,” she said. If they want this array on some forested area where no one could see it, that’s different. But she resented the fact that they are making money off of our land, she repeated. She said she knows the planning board has rules and regulation but she thinks our planning board has all the rights to say no. This a commercially zoned piece of land and the way the town would benefit financially would be through property taxes.
Mr. Raynolds said this is property that was privately owned piece of commercial land and it’s been for sale for some time. The way the town would benefit is though property taxes. My understanding is that NGP purchased the property and wanted to use a portion for a commercial use, but that commercial use only took up a small portion of the property. So they also wanted something on the rest of the property that was low impact, and a solar array is about the lowest impact you can think of. No impervious land, no light pollution, no traffic.
Bill Allen lives on Prospect Hill and he has solar panels on his property and he’s proud of that. That makes me responsible for taking care of it, he said. He receives electricity and sells a little back to the grid. If that land is available, somebody is going to buy it. The reality is that this could look like West Leb. These people, I congratulate them. This is very clever. But the town has to make sure it regulates that property properly. The town is not going to make one penny on that enterprise and that’s free enterprise. The town regulates it and if they do it right, it’s got to be it’s neat and clean and it will look good.
Steve Varone said I’m not against the solar array as long as they pay property tax like the rest of us.
Mr. Lester wanted to revisit the traffic issues. Mr. Miller reminded the audience that this hearing is about the solar array, not about the retail business and traffic is not an issue. The state regulates all curb cuts on Route 12 and all traffic lights.
Sheila Lennon said she understands that the property is in the commercial zone and Dunkin’ is a commercial entity. But, she said, solar is an industrial use and it should be in the industrial district.
Another person mentioned the aesthetics of a chain line fence and wondered why they even needed to surround a solar array with one. They are ugly, he said. And, he asked, are the panels so dangerous they have to be protected by a chain link fence?
Mr. Dzubak said that there is group in this country that set electrical standards called the National Electric Code. The state of New Hampshire has adopted these standards. So the state requires us to put up a fence there. There is nothing dangerous there, but there could be some vandalism. If someone were to punch a rock through a panel, then that panel would become dangerous.
Are these recyclable? someone else asked. Mr. Dzubak said it is up to the owner of the property to dispose of all the parts of a solar array. The lifetime of solar is such that we have some from the ‘70s that are still producing today. That’s 50 years. He said everything in a solar array is recyclable and there are industries across the globe that use all the solar array parts – the glass, aluminum, cables, silica.
When the public had no more questions, Mr. Miller said the Board needs to get some more information so the planning board will continue this hearing next month.
Mr. Dalessio asked Mr. Hill if there are drip edges along the bottom of the panels that channel the water. Mr. Hill said no that is just a standard aluminum panel. Mr. Dalessio asked where the water line was. Mr. Hill said it goes through the Dunkin site. He also said that the town needed to look at the snowmobile trail and he suggested that Mr. Hill get in touch with the Hooper Hill Hoppers who take care of the snowmobile trail in town.
Mr. Miller asked Mr. Raynolds about developing solar array on property other than on commercial property, which he called “premium property.” He suggested two sites in Walpole favorable for solar arrays – the former land fill and Connecticut River Gravel. Mr. Raynolds said it’s more expensive to put solar on a land fill because it has a covering and you don’t have land to put the legs of the panels in. You have to create a cover of cement to anchor the panels. Mr. Raynolds said he already working with the town of Exeter on a 1.7 mega watt array to build one on their land fill and also one in Derry.
Mr. Miller asked Mr. Raynolds how many land-based solar arrays has he built on commercial land. Mr. Raynolds said he would have to research that and would get back to him at the next meeting.
Mr. Raynolds said there’s also the question of legislation. The NH legislature has been trying to allow the size of installations to go from one to five mega watts. A bill allowing increase mega watts passed last year, but was vetoed by the governor. If this passes it will be a compromise where net metering is allowed up to five mega watts but the beneficiary must be a municipality or a sewer or water district.
Mr. Dalessio said if this gets passed he is encouraging Mr. Clifford to consider group net metering with some benefit to the town to help the town offset its water and sewer costs. He also asked Mr. Hill to have Mark Houghton do a safety review of the solar installation.
Mr. Perron made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Marcom seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Selectboard Present: Cheryl Mayberry (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Peggy Pschirrer
CALL TO ORDER: Ms. Mayberry, Chair of the Walpole Selectboard, called this meeting to order at 6:31 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. This meeting was being recorded. There were no members of the public in attendance.
Ms. Mayberry called for a voice roll call of the Selectboard present: Steven Dalessio was present; Peggy Pschirrer was present and Cheryl Mayberry was present. Also present was Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $646,962.15 for checks issued July 9, 2021. This includes a monthly payment in the amount of $607,559.42 to the Fall Mountain Regional School District. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending July 03, 2021, in the amount of $30,826.53 for checks dated July 9, 2021, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $5,810.47. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MINUTES – July 1, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of July 1, 2021, as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms.Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were approved.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION MINUTES – July 1, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 1, 2021, as submitted. These Minutes will remain sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were approved.
The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the following Committee reports:
PROPERTY TAX REFUNDS:
MAP and LOT #028-039-000: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Property Tax Refund for Map and Lot #028-039-000 a property that deeded to the Town in the amount of $1,500.00. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
MAP and LOT #028-120-000: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Property Tax Refund for Map and Lot #028-120-000 a property that deeded to the Town due to tax liens in the amount of $858.18. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
MAP and LOT #008-099-000: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Property Tax Refund for Map and Lot #008-099-000 in the amount of $3,272.00. This is for a double payment of the spring tax bill. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Permit #2021-28, MAP and LOT #012-044-017: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to grant Building Permit #2021-28 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #012-044-017 to build a “12’ x 12’ Single Story Addition”. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Rescheduling Arborclimb Meeting on the Common: There was a consensus of the Selectboard to reschedule the Arborclimb meeting for the new date of July 22nd at 5:00 pm.
Streetlight Plan: Ms. Mayberry reported this recommendation for a Streetlight Plan was brought forward after the meeting last week. There has been another complaint about the new lights. Mr. Dalessio would like to give Mr. Steve Grenier the following suggestions:
Mr. Dalessio would like Mrs. Downing to send Mr. Grenier an email stating that these are the recommendations of the Selectboard. They understand it will cost the Town more money.
Tax Overpayment Refunds Information: The Town Clerk-Tax Collector’s office had sent a memo and “Property Tax Prepayments” notice to the Selectboard. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned it seems like they had far more extra tax payments this year than in the past. Mr. Dalessio asked Mrs. Gohl to go back and check the details. Mrs. Smith may have processed double payments in a different manner. Mr. Kreissle had processed the checks the Selectboard had previously approved.
Pending Further Actions:
Tax Deeded Property Sale, Mill Pond Dam Inspection, Vilas Bridge, Houghton Brook Bridge, Generators, Three Phase Power for Industrial Avenue and Bensonwood: The Tax Deeded Property Sale and Mill Pond Dam are updated below. The remaining agenda items will remain on the Pending Further Actions list.
Tax Deeded Property Sale: Mrs. Downing had submitted paperwork for the “Invitation to Bid” on two properties:
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to lower the Minimum Bid on Map 9, Lot 24, Off Evans Road, from $15,000 to $10,000. It is for ten (10) acres of land that is not accessible. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Ms. Mayberry advised the Minimum Bid is $15,000 for Map 24, Lot 5 for .52 Acres located at 24 Homestead Avenue. There was a consensus of the Selectboard to leave the bank check bid deposit at $5,000 for each property.
Mill Pond Dam Inspection: Mr. Dalessio reported the Mill Pond Dam Inspection is scheduled for September 23, 2021, at 10:00 AM. There will be a meeting at the Fire Station. The Reservoir Dam Inspection will be on that same day.
Recreation Revolving Fund Request – Kiefer Swimsuits: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the request from the Recreation Department to purchase swimsuits for the lifeguards for a total of $699.89. The swimsuits are for the patrons to easily identify them in case of emergency or to report concerns. This payment will be taken from the Revolving Fund. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Recreation Revolving Fund Request – Movie Projector Speakers: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the request from the Recreation Department to use $900 from their Revolving Fund to purchase two 15” speakers from Guitar Center for $700 and a simple mixer that holds two speakers for $129 plus other accessories. This package is good for hosting events up to 200 people and sound that expands over 100 yards. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Recreation Revolving Fund Request – Basketball Uniforms: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the request from the Recreation Department to purchase basketball uniforms for the summer league programs. The cost of $2,200 will be taken from the Revolving Fund however most of the money will be replenished through their program sponsors. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Recreation Department: Mrs. Pschirrer approved having two hot water heaters replaced tomorrow by E.E. Houghton at the pool. They will be smaller heaters; reduced from 120 gallons to 80 gallons each.
Purchase Order for Town Clerk-Tax Collector’s Office Cabinets: Mr. Dalessio advised the Town Clerk-Tax Collector’s office would like to order cabinets for the amount of $5,194.52. They did get a second bid but it was more than the first one. It takes fourteen (14) weeks to get the cabinetry. Mrs. Pschirrer noted when they first talked about renovations, it did not include cabinetry. Mr. Dalessio said they would be placed under the windows. Their spending is within the budget. Ms. Mayberry feels the cabinets are necessary due to the restructuring of the work flow and efficiency. Functionality is key in that office. It will improve the efficiency.
Mr. Dalessio moved to approve the purchase order for the Town Clerk-Tax Collector’s Office cabinets for the amount of $5,194.52. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
NHDES Inactive Landfill Survey: Ms. Mayberry reported that McKibben Environment will assist the Selectboard Office with filling out the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) Inactive Landfill Survey form.
Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber Membership: The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the statement from the Greater Keene & Peterborough Chamber to renew their membership. The cost is $225 for a 1-Year membership. The Selectboard made a decision to decline renewing this membership.
Legislative Update with Senator Khan: Senator Kahn’s office called to schedule a meeting with the Selectboard for a legislative update. The Selectboard confirmed a tentative date of Thursday, August 19th, at 6:30 PM for approximately a half-hour meeting.
Budget Schedule: The Selectboard set their first date to work on the proposed 2022 Budget as Friday, September 10th here in the Town Hall. Department Managers will be asked to submit their proposed preliminary budgets to Mr. Kreissle by Friday, September 3rd, 2021.
Elm Street: Mr. Dalessio reported that paving on Elm Street is expected to begin during the end of July.
Brownfields Project: Mrs. Pschirrer advised they have a tentative date to begin work on the Brownfields Project as Monday, July 19th, 2021. That will run until November. There will be a Public Meeting on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021, at 1:00 PM in this Town Hall meeting room. It will be accessible by Zoom. This meeting is for abutters. They had a meeting this past Wednesday, July 7th at 1:00 PM with the company hired to do the clean-up. Buck Adams is the sub-contractor. Work will go on five days a week from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. They have a traffic pattern they will follow on Main Street. Toward the end of the week of July 12th, she will ask the Highway Department to take down the fence and to cut the grass. They will not disturb the soil.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry the motion was approved at 7:23 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:55 PM.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 8, 2021, will be sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, meeting adjourned at 7:56 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary
(Transcribed from Recorder)