Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 9/8/15

Walpole Planning Board

Walpole Town Hall

September 8, 2015 Minutes


Presiding Members: Jeff Miller (Chair), Robert Miller (Vice-Chair), James Aldrich (Secretary), Kelley Hicks, Steve Dalessio (Selectboard Representative), Jason Perron, Dennis Marcom. Alternate: Ed Potter.

Absent: Alternate Jeff White.

Recording: These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the October 2015 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

Meeting Opened: Mr. J. Miller called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Roll Call: A full board was present so an alternate was not needed to fill in.

Minutes of the previous meeting as well as site walk: Mr. R. Miller asked for a clarification of a sentence in the site walk in which lawyer Mr. Tom Hanna referred to a special exception as a permitted use. Mr. R. Miller disagreed with his explanation of a special exception. Mr. J. Miller said that a special exception has to meet certain criteria which the town has. It does not automatically mean it is a permitted use. Mr. Marcom then made a motion to accept the minutes as written. The motion was seconded by Mr. R. Miller and approved by the entire board.

Public Hearing No. 1: Site Plan Review by Old Dominion Freight Line, Thomasville, NC Map 1, Lot 3-5, Industrial Zoning District – The company would like to add new office space, loading docks, lighting and pave a  good portion of the grounds.. Mr. Dan Nash of Advanced GeoMatics, a design contractor in Lebanon, explained the changes. Mr. Marc Messier, represented the builder D. F. Chase Inc. and also spoke about the new lighting. And Mr. Ken Musgrave, the local manager at the facility in the Industrial Park, was also there to answer questions about the local operation.

Mr. Nash said the existing building is 13,000 square feet; the new addition is 3,500 square feet. The current building has 18 doors, more will be added. There will be concrete aprons outside the new doors on the addition. They also plan to part of pave the property and the driveway. The lighting to be installed will be downlit LED lighting.

Ms. Hicks asked how many doors there would be after the additon. The answer was 30.

Currently there is 183,000 square feet of area of which 121,000 square feet would be paved including 85,000 square feet of the total 101,000 area in gravel. Mr. Nash said the reasoning behind this was that it would keep down dust and be easier to plow in the winter with less transfer of sediment.

Mr. Dalessio wanted to know the percentage difference of the lot that was paved compared to the area that would be unpaved.  After some calculation, Mr. Nash came up with a figure of 34 percent, which meets the town’s ratio of open space to paved space.

Mr. J. Miller asked about the increase in the number of trucks. Mr. Musgrove said there would be no increase, no change. The need was for increased holding space and to make the operation more efficient.

Mr. Dick Hurlburt, Walpole Fire Chief, said he would like to see a few things addressed:

the building should have a fully monitored fire alarm system,

the fire department should have full access year round around the building for fire trucks,

and there should be two Knox Boxes, one for the building and one for the gate.

Mr. J. Miller asked if the parties present had any concerns about the fire department’s requests. They answered no and agreed to the stipulations by Mr. Hurlburt.

Mr. R. Miller asked if there were any abutters present that were not businesses at the Industrial Park but homeowners. Abutters notified who met that category were Mr. Arthur Chickering of River Road and Mr. Frank Anderson of Seward Road. Neither were at the meeting.

According to the checklist, the landscaping is the same as in the existing plan but the need for need for new landscaping was waived.

The Public Hearing was closed.

The Ruggiero Site Plan meeting was recessed until Oct. 13.

Public Hearing No. 2. Bensonwood Homes Site Plan Review – Town Map 12, Lot 4, Zoning District Rural/Agricultural. Huntington Realty of Walpole LLC, Bensonwood Woordworking Co. Inc. of 6 Blackjack Crossing, wants to use the site for a light manufacturing facility to produce and assemble wall, floor, roof and mechanical systems for constructing homes. The new shop space will be 52,450 square feet.

Mr. Marcom recused himself because he is an employee of Bensonwood Homes. Mr. Potter replaced him as a board member for this hearing.

Randall Walter, lead architect for Bensonwood, began by explaining that the frontage of the property on Route 12 was on Huntington and Edward Lanes. It’s a 25-plus acre site. The proposal is to build a 56,000 square-foot building all at once, not be phased in. Since the last hearing in 2008, there has been a Lot Line Adjustment and the lower portion of the property has been placed in current use. The site has town water and town sewer. The electricity is served by Tree Case Power, an industrial grade electric service.

Since the launch of Unity homes, the company has grown substantially and that is what this facility will build. It is a double production hall with some outside storage, truck and fire truck access around the building, two support buildings outside. Compared to the last proposal, the buildings have been shifted eastwood and the main reason for that is to keep the less sightly and noise elements at the back of the building, Mr. Walter said. As with the Blackjack Crossing building, when the company takes rural/ag land and brings it into commercial use, the policy is to respect the neighborhood that the company is joining and to treat that with the utmost care.

So taking the cutting hall, dumpsters and propane are at the back, further shielding it from our neighbors in the front of the property, using the building as a buffer. The company builds homes in a controlled environment, not on a building site.

The company will be maintaining the Hubbard Farms chicken coop. There was another smaller coop that has been removed but its parts may be used in two smaller buildings on the site.

The roof facing south may have solar panels. The north-facing window will allow natural light into the building. If you are driving by at the speed limit, you will only see a tiny glimpse of the southeast corner of the building. There will not be an office nor a showroom at this site. Those activities will still be at the Blackjack Crossing site.

Update to drainage has changed slightly because of the configuartion of the building. The company still expects to have water absorbed naturally. Any water that needs to be slowed down before absorbed is done in three areas: one is the southwest, one area to the north and Mr. Walter pointed to another one. Here swales will be created. They are low impact and appear naturally as grassy depressions.

The lighting is for 15-foot stantions in the parking area: 100 percent downlight, fully screened and which allows zero side light and just barely produces lighting for the 30 parking spaces including the entrance to the building in the southeast corner.

Ms. Myra Mansouri asked how much closer to Diamond Pizza the building would be. Mr. Walter responded that they are moving east by half a building or about 150 feet. Currently there are three rows of pine trees on the abutter’s property and some smaller, younger pines on the building site land. They are evergreens so will provide a yearround noise barrier. Mr. Walter said the company is watching the condition of health of all the trees.

Ms. Mansouri then asked about the noise level in the building. Mr. Walter said the new machinery for the building is Scandinavian and  the noise level of these machines is so low that “in that production space we could carry on this conversation while the machinery is running.” All the machines are muffled and all employees wear ear plugs. This machinery and the planer are quieter than a hand-held power saw, Mr. Walter said.

Ms. Hicks asked about the traffic study, the fact that they are using the same one as 2008. Mr. Walter acknowledged there will be an increase but it will not increase from the projections that were given in 2008. There still will be the same amount of truck and car traffic that was proposed at that time.

The NH Department of Transportation just gave the company a new driveway permit, which they would not do if there was a concern, Mr. Walter said. He said the company has approached and is covered by DOT, fire, police and DES.

Mr. Dalessio asked about oil on the property. Mr. Walter said they would be using wood chips and a radiant boiler with a backup of propane for heat. It will be a fully sprinkled building because it will be built out of wood.

The Public Hearing was closed.

Public Hearing No. 1. Approval with these conditions. All lighting will be LED Downlit and the three recommendations from the fire chief will become part of the Site Plan Review. A motion to approve the Site Plan Review with these conditions was made by Ms. Hicks, seconded  by Mr. Marcom and passed by the board.

Public Hearing No. 2. Bensonwood must go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a Special Exception so it would be immature to approve the Site Plan before knowing if the Special Exception is approved, Mr. Miller said. Bensonwood will be back in October for a final decision.

New business:

Hubbard Farms LLC Site Plan Review at 46 Upper Walpole Road. Town Map , Lot  57-3,  Rural/Agricultural District to use what is now used for storage of vehicles. Add 20-foot-by-40-foot office and lab space at the back of the building and a 20-foot-by-40-foot space to store vehicles.

Mr. Chip O’Brien was at the meeting to request a public hearing. He explained what the company wanted to do. (See Above). A motion was made by Mr. R. Miller to hold a public hearing at the next meeting. The motion was seconded and approved by the Board.

Monthly Workshop: It was decided to hold a workshop meeting the fourth Tuesday of the month to look at some changes to the Site Review Plan.

Mr. R. Miller made a motion to send the minutes of the Avanru/Abenaki Springs decisions to the state. The motion was seconded and approved by the Board.

A motion was made to adjourn at about 7:45 p.m. It was second and approved by the Board.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

Recording Secretary

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