Planning Board Workshop Minutes – 4/25/17

Walpole Planning BoardWorkshop Minutes

Town Hall

April 25, 2017 Minutes

 

Present: Board members: Jeffrey Miller (Chair), Robert Miller (Vice-Chair), James Aldrich, (Secretary), Cheryl Mayberry (Selectboard Representative), Dennis Marcom, Jeff White, Ed Potter.

Also, Southwest Regional Planning Commission planners Mari Brunner and Liz Kelly.

 

The workshop was to decide whether or not the Complete Streets Policy was a policy the Planning Board wanted to accept. However, Ms. Mayberry brought along a few concerns the Selectboard had concerning implementation of the program. These were discussed first. The lines in quotation marks indicate Selectboard concerns. The concerns were prefaced by the statement that “First, We strongly support the concepts and principals of Complete Streets. It make great sense.”

“As a town policy is it too rigid? Policies need to be something we implement and follow, not place on the shelf and collect dust. Should it be more of a guideline that a policy?”

The Board agreed that practically every statement says the town will do this or will do that, but there is always the follow up “as appropriate” that negates the absolute or must do part of the enforcement of that particular policy. The Board decided to sometimes change the word “will” to “should.”

The Board did not agree that the word policy should be changed to something else, for example guidelines. Ms. Brunner said the word policy means that the town takes this Complete Streets document seriously. Organizations or individuals giving our grant money are more likely to give a town grant money if it has the word “policy” in its mission and not just guidelines.

“Second, is how does this document integrate into Site Plan Review and Zoning. If those ordinances do not connect to the Complete Street document then how will the boards know when and how they apply to what is before them.”

Mr. J. Miller said parts of the document will be integrated into the site plan and also the site plan checklist. He said that the Board will get input from SWRPC staff to help with this.

“Third, we currently do not have a long-term capital or infrastructure plan in place.”

Mr. J. Miller said the town doesn’t have one now but it is a goal mentioned in the Master Plan.

“Fourth, Should we have metrics?”

The Planning Board thought that this was reference to Section IV, Part C Best Practices that would make the town officials and the Road Agent more aware of the objectives of Complete Streets. The Board plans to ask Mr. Mike Rau, the Road Agent, to attend one meeting to discuss this section with him. As it is, he already makes monthly reports on what he does – streets paved, gutters cleaned, adding sidewalks etc. Mr. Rau will have a chance to comment on this section of the document.

“The Master plan is geared towards protecting open space and the rural nature of the town. Are complete Streets and the Master Plan on the same page?” The Board agreed it was.

“We (the Selectboard) will also need to make sure that the design guidelines they call for do not conflict with other state requirements.” The planners from SWRPC assured the Board that the guidelines do not conflict with state requirements.

A Public Hearing will be held on May 9, 2017, at its regular Board meeting to either recommend or not recommend the Complete Streets policy. The Public Hearing needs to be posted and a legal put in The Keene Sentinel.

Complete Streets Workshop – The SWRPC planners told the Board of an upcoming workshop that will discuss and have exercises on community transportation. The daylong workshop is May 19, 2017, at the Jaffrey Civic Center. The first half of the meeting is lecture, then lunch will be served. In the afternoon hands-on work such as scenarios and problem solving will be the focus of the afternoon meetings. Members were encouraged to try to go to some part of the workshop.

Demonstrations Sites – Ms. Kelly named four sites to consider for demonstrations and the Board chose two. One was in front of Burdick’s Restaurant on the street to demonstrate back-in parking. At the same time there will be signage for a shared driving/biking lane.

At the corner, near Walpole’s rotary – the fountain – is Jake’s and there are white lines that go around the corner. The idea is to mark this area so it looks like a sidewalk. There may also be a crosswalk added.

The third option was to make the area on Main Street going down to the school on the left side a bike lane and on the right side, near the shoulder of the road, a hatched road area that would eliminate cars driving space.

A fourth option was on Westminster Street to take some of the parking away and make a bike lane on one side.

The demonstrations will be set up on Old Home Day Weekend. The Board needs permission from someone on the Old Home Day committee and the Selectboard. Ms. Kelly will try and talk to Ms. Cindy Westover of the Old Home Day Committee, Ms. Mayberry will talk with the Selectboard.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

 

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