Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 11/10/15

Walpole Planning Board

Walpole Town Hall

November 10, 2015 Minutes


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

Recording: These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the December 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: One board member was absent so Mr. Potter was asked to represent her place on the Board.

Minutes: October 2015 minutes and October 2015 Workshop minutes: Mr.. Perron made a motion to accept both minutes as written. The motion was seconded by Mr. Aldrich and approved by the entire board.

Old Business:

Continuation of a Public Hearing for Ruggiero Processing Facility LLC was postponed at the request of the applicant, said Mr. J. Miller. The hearing will continue at the Planning Board’s next regular meeting. A motion was made, seconded and approved by the Board to continue the Public Hearing on December 8, 2015.

Bensonwood Site Plan Review – Town map 12, Lot 4 , Zoning District Rural/Agricultural and Commercial. Bensonwood Woodworking Co. Inc. of 6 Blackjack Crossing want to use the site for a light manufacturing facility. A Public Hearing was held in September and Bensonwood received a Special Exception from the Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustment at its October meeting to have an industrial facility in an Rural/Agricultural/Commercial District. The Exception was approved pending Planning Board approval of the Site Review Plan.

Mr. Dennis Marcom recused himself from voting as he is an employee of Bensonwood. Mr. White took his place on the seven-person board.

Since then, DES has asked Bensonwood for more information concerning the Alteration of Terrain Permit. Mr. Randall Walter said that the company is working closely with DES and assured the Board that a permit would be forthcoming. Bensonwood cannot begin site work until they receive approval from DES.

Mr. J. Miller asked if the plans were the same as presented. Mr. Walter said yes. He then asked the Board if they had any questions. The Board did not.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the Bensonwood Site Plan contingent on the approval from DES. The Board voted unanimously in the affirmative. Mr. Walter will get back to the Chair and Vice-chair so they can sign the plat when the situation with DES is sorted out.

Gay Subdivision: Ms. Joanne Gay of 30 Cray Road asked for a subdivision of property she owns at 1072 Main Street in North Walpole. Map No. 28 Lots 124-1 and 124. Mr Bill Lawrence spoke for Ms. Gay and explained where the property was – near the elementary school in North Walpole. The property at 124 has a house on it and it is where Ms. Gay’s  parents lived before they died. She has a buyer for the house and a portion of the lot so she would like to divide the lot so a portion goes with her parents’ former house and a portion goes with her house and land at 124-1. Mr. Miller asked if there were any questions. There weren’t so Mr. Miller closed the Public Hearing.

New business: Mr. Chip O’Brien was representing Hubbard Farms and requested a Public Hearing for next month for a Subdivision at the Hubbard Farms office property at 195 Main Street. There would be three divisions of property: the office building, which will go on the market to be sold, the barbecue pit, which will be donated to the town, and two buildings that back up to Route 12. There two buildings are used for storage and maintenance. There’s emergency vehicle access to both those buildings.

Mr. R. Miller made a motion to hold a Public Hearing next month, Mr. Aldrich seconded the motion and the Board voted in the affirmative.

Vote on Ms. Gay Subdivision: Mr. Miller asked if there was any discussion. Mr. Dalessio asked if Ms. Gay owned both pieces of property. Mr. Lawrence said she did. Mr. R. Miller made a motion to accept the request as proposed, the motion was seconded and approved unanimously by the Board.

Potato Barn on Potato Barn Lane: Representing the property owner, Mr. Steven Rudek, were Matt Blanc of Blanc & Bailey Construction, Inc. and Barry Bellows of Bellows Construction. They were replacing the former construction companies that were doing the work.

The purpose of coming to the Planning Board meeting was to amend the original site plan. Mr. Blanc wants to remove a 24-foot section of the connector from the Potato Barn so that the connector could be used while the Barn is still under reconstruction and updating. Mr. Blanc said some things had been accomplished, some things remain to be done and he wanted to talk about a few tweaks and changes. Mr. Blanc wanted to know if the Board wanted to have him come back for a full review or if the original site plan could be amended.

Mr. Blanc gave a list of what has been completed so far:

Town water and sewer in place

Fire Hydrant installed (2)

Road is complete with drainage

One bathroom has been installed

New siding and roof will be completed in 2015

Bridge work completed which includes structural reinforcing and road widening

New electrical service – 200 AMP Service

Outside light completed in 2015

The benefits of separating the connector from the barn are:

Fire separation

Since there is a water problem, drainage may be made through the new space between the barn and connector and use it as a swale

The ability to rent the connector space prior to the barn being completed.

Multiple tenants

Additional ventilation or light to areas of the main barn

Potential for access into full basement of main barn and connector.

There are no tenants at this point but there are prospects for both the connector and for the barn. The connector is pretty close to being ready for occupancy. The barn will take longer and the plan is not to go too far along until a tenant is known. So the intent right now is to get the barn beautified.

What Mr. Blanc was proposing was to separate the connector to get square footage down, have tenants occupy the connector. This would mean that they could go ahead without putting a sprinkler in. If the connector was not separated, then the square footage of the entire building would mean a sprinkler had to be put in. If the sprinkler in the barn was installed, it would have to be refitted once a client is found, Mr. Blanc said, it would be very expensive to retrofit.

Another challenge is that there is a lot of water coming off the hillside and the parking lot is a wet area. The plan is to correct that by using the land between the connector and the barn as a swale. That work would be done once access is approved for Route 12.

The state has approved access once, then rejected it. Mr. Rudek will be going back to the state. A couple of tenants need that access before signing a contract.

Also, Mr. Blanc said Mr. Hurlburt was not happy about having tenants in the connector while attached to the barn without it having a sprinkler. It it’s separated, it is under the code for requiring a sprinkler, Mr. Blanc said.. The time line for the connector is to be ready by spring.

Mr. Miller asked if everything else will remain except for the connector and access to Route 12. Mr. Blanc said yes. He continued that the barn is a separate piece. Whenever there is an occupant, they would come back to the Board.

Ms. Mansouri asked about the size of the connector. As it is now it’s 88 feet by about 20 to 24 feet.

Mr. Dalessio reminded them that they will need to renew their building permit. He also asked if the end design is what we see now. Mr Blanc said that depends on the occupants. There may be a change to the windows and doors.

Mr. R. Miller recused himself from voting on the proposal as he works for Blanc and Bailey.

Mr. Potter made a motion to approve the amended proposal to separate the barn and connector with three conditions:

That the Fire Department approves of the separation.

That a schematic that updates what has been done be submitted.

That access to Route 12 is approved.

Mr. Aldrich seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved by the Board.

Other: The Board Members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment wrote a letter to the Planning Board about its Workshop Minutes dated September 22, 2015. The Zoning Board thinks there were  “misconceptions reflected in those minutes” specifically about the Special Exception process. According to the letter, RSA 674.33, paragraph E subset a – states that “the Planning Board has to approve the Site Plan for the area in question, and give a recommendation to the ZBA, prior to the ZBA issuing a Special Exception.”

There were two attachments to the letter: one was a copy of Chapter 674 Local Land Use Planning and Regulatory Powers and one was the Special Exception Ordinance in the Walpole Zoning Ordinance booklet.

Also, Mr. Randall Walter complained about the time the process took to get Site Plan approval when a Special Exception is needed. Mr. Randall said he first came to the Planning Board in April for an informational meeting. He came back on August 11, 2015. He said he requested to be on the agenda for the next month. There was no vote but he doesn’t know “what that was about.” He came back on Sept 8 and presented his case to the Public. He was told he had to go to the Zoning Board first for a Special Exception. Although Bensonwood was on the agenda for the October meeting, he did not attend the meeting. On October 14, he attended a Zoning Board meeting for a Special Exception and the ZBA said the opposite –  that they had to have permission of the Planning Board. And so finally Nov. 10, the Planning Board voted on the Site Plan Review.

“So my question as an applicant is where is the road map?” Mr. Walter asked. “Where is the road map to who goes first, which Board is contingent on which Board. I think this was poorly handled.” Mr. Walter said he was a former member of the Keene Zoning Board and it was always Planning first. Conditional approval is very messy. And it requires people to come in and use extra time.

In theory you should be able to go to your town and say I want to be on the agenda. And  you should be able to go through the checklist and go right to a hearing, So a lot of time has been added. “I don’t think that’s the goal of the New Hampshire Statutes.

Mr. Miller said the first time Mr. Walter appeared the Board was a little confused on whether or not he wanted a hearing. The secretary said a hearing was not asked for and there was no vote to have a Public Hearing. From his remarks it seemed he was going to come back to explain the major changes in this plan from the former plan in 2008 and then request a hearing.

Mr. J. Miller said the process will be discussed.

Monthly Workshop: Mr. J. Miller said since the workshop would have to be held during Thanksgiving week, that there would not be a workshop this month.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

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