Planning Board Workshop Minutes – 9/22/15


September 22, 2015

Present: Vice-Chair Robert Miller, Secretary James Aldrich, Jason Perron, Steve Dalessio, Dennis Marcom. Alternates, Ed Potter, Jeff White.

Absent: Jeff Miller, Kelley Hicks.

The meeting opened at 7:15 p.m. Two topics of discussion were: Special Exceptions and Changes to the Site Review Plan document.

Special Exceptions

Mr. R. Miller read the Zoning Ordinances for the Industrial District, Article VII.  His focus was on two things:

“Manufacturing operations are those in which materials are changed physically in form; changed chemically or mixed to provide other compounds…. On recommendation of the Planning board, the Board of Adjustment after considering the facts in light of the welfare and benefit of the community, may allow such industry…”  It was noted many of the businesses currently in the Industrial Park don’t follow the criteria of an Industrial District.

“The purpose for establishing an Industrial District is to provide within the Town area is which manufacturing operations may be carried on without infringing on the health, welfare and quiet of the residents of Town.” And in the same vein the ordinance later says,  “No commercial venture or use shall be permitted which would cause any undue hazard to health, safety or property values or which could be offensive to the public because of noise, vibration, excessive traffic, unsanitary conditions, noxious odors, smoke or similar reason.”

The feeling of some of the board members was that:

The Zoning Board is not enforcing its own rules on Special Exceptions.

The Townspeople agreed to the Zoning Ordinances, but a board of five can change that                          meaning and grant permission to people or businesses outside of the manufacturing                              scope.

Site Plan Review

In July 2014, the Planning Board approved an update to Section VII on page 6 that added an item to require timber/earth plans for each site plan IAW RSA 79 and RSA 155-E. Planning Board members had copies of that amendment.

The following items were discussed because the language was not clear and was could be open to a couple of different meanings..

  1. On page 3 under Activities Not Subject To Site Plan Review. Point 4, Suggest changing the word “Value” with “Value or Replacement Cost” of which does not exceed $10,000.

The purpose of the change is that if someone builds a structure out of used, donated, found materials, using their own labor, the person could say the structure costs “$0” amount. The purpose is to close the ability for a commercial building that is build from “scrap” to be constructed  without site plan approval. Some suggestions for changing the word “value” were  “commercial value” and “assessed value.”

  1.   On page 5 under Submission Requirements add sentence after the first paragraph that reads        “Applicants are urged to submit site plans in electronic PDF formats when practical or possible      on CD or USB key.

It was suggested that there be an effort to start urging people to do that so the maps can be sized so board members can look at them.  Having the site plans in PDF format would allow for board members to have site plan copies that are more manageable and would aid in application storage.

  1.   On page 18 Section XlI in the first sentence change the wording: “An approved and recorded subdivision plot” to “approved site plan where a building permit has not been issued.”  The time frame for this is a year.

The intent when this section was updated in April 2012 was to shorten the length of time an approved site plan would remain approved if no work was being done on the site.

These are all language problems. Before anything can change, there will be more discussions and there has to be a Public Hearing and input from the public before anything can actually be finally changed.

It was the feeling of the Board that Town Officials must be vigilant when making decisions to preserve the rural nature and the character of the Town.  Some National chains have no interest in Walpole as a Town, but do have an interest in making a profit for their businesses.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine


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