Walpole Planning Board
December 12, 2017
Present: Chair Jeff Miller, James Aldrich secretary, Jason Perron, Dennis Marcom, Cheryl Mayberry, Selectboard Representative. Alternate: Joanna Andros. Absent: co-chair Robert Miller, Jeff White, alternate Ed Potter.
Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the January 2018 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Roll Call: Mr. J. Miller called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. There were four board members present so alternate Joanna Miller was asked to fill in for Jeff White.
Minutes: Mr. Marcom made a motion to accept the minutes of the regular November meeting as written. Mr. Aldrich seconded the motion and it was and approved by the Board.
Public Hearing: No 1. Liberty Utilities. Cutting on scenic road, Farnum Road. Jeff Carney spokesperson. Because of the snow storm and because Mr. Carney had a long way to travel, he could not make the meeting. A motion was made, seconded and approved by the Board to continue the Public Hearing until the January 2018 meeting.
Public Hearing No. 2. Emicor LLC/Bensonwood Woodworking Co., Inc. – Site plan for a 389 square-foot shed to be added to the timber-frame building and also amend the site plan. Mr. Tom Olsen represented Bensonwood. Mr. Marcom recused himself from voting because he is an employee of Bensonwood.
The 389-square-foot shed would go onto the southeast corner of the timber-frame building and will house a new joinery machine for heavy timber components. It is similar to a heavy milling machine the company has had in place. The new machine is called Robot.
Because of the way the buildings are splayed, because the shed is low (about 12 feet off the ground) and because of the landscaping, the new shed is minimally visible from Blackjack Crossing, Mr. Olsen said. The shed is 389 square feet and the timber-frame shop, which includes most the building, and is about 15,000 square feet. So the shed is 2.6 percent of the larger building.
Mr. Olsen asked if there were any questions. Mr. Miller did the same. Being none, the hearing was closed. Mr. Aldrich made a motion to accept the site plan as presented. Ms. Mayberry seconded the motion and the board voted in the affirmative.
An article regarding minor changes to zoning ordinance was discussed. Mr. Miller said that the Selectboard had a discussion about street names. The topic came up because the Zoning Board wants to be able to change street names that are in the zoning ordinance to the reflect the designated names given during the 911 update. Mr. Miller said he felt it was an administrative function and the Selectboard could already do that. The selectmen already have the responsibility for naming new streets and the names must conform to the 911 system.
So Selectman Steve Dalessio emailed the New Hampshire Municipal Association and Mr. Stephen M. Buckley, Legal Services Counsel for the NHMA, emailed back his thoughts. Mr. Buckley said in a November 29, 2017 email to Mr. Dalessio “ Going strictly by the language of the statute governing the adoption and amendment of a zoning ordinance, RS 675.3 any amendment must get full zoning amendment treatment with a planning board hearing and placement on the official ballot for adoption by the town meeting. That being said, what you might want to do is adopt a provision that permits the planning board to make non-substantive changes, such as changing section or paragraph numbers or substituting street name changes.” Mr. Bucklely added that the recommendation is to take this opportunity to pass a provision that is similar to one that Merrimack did. This following is the Merrimack article.
So the recommendation is:
“13.02 – Authority to assign section numbers
“The Planning Board has the authority to assign such section numbers to the Zoning ordiance and Building Code as it my deem appropriate provided that no substantive change to the ordinance shall occur as a result of this renumbering.”
Mr. Miller said the Town doesn’t have a Building Code so the ordinance would eliminate those two words. The Walpole ordinance would be:
“Proposed Zoning Amendment:
“Article IV General Provisions
“Add section N
“Authority to assign section numbers: The Planning Board has the authority to assign such section numbers to the Zoning Ordinance as it my deem appropriate provided that no substantive change to the ordinance shall occur as a result of this numbering.”
Basically, this means that the Planning Board can make corrections without going to the Town for a vote each time it needs to make a correction to the ordinance.
Ms. Mayberry said this came about because a road was referenced to be changed in the Zoning ordinance because it was changed due to 911.
Mr. Miller said, “If you had a road that was referenced in the zoning ordinance that was named something else, I would think the Selectboard could do this.”
According to Chair of the Zoning Board, Myra Mansouri, the purpose of the article was to change small things and not change the intent of the ordinance. For example, Ms. Mansouri referenced the name Hitchcock Road in Drewsville, which was changed to Alstead Center Road when road names were changed and tied into 911. Hitchcock Road is still the name in the zoning ordinances and she would like to see it corrected.
Ms. Mansouri proposed another possible ordinance. “To see if the Town of Walpole will authorize the Zoning Board of Adjustments to revise the Walpole Town Ordinances to reflect the 911 list of streets and roads as needed.
“The purpose of this article is to allow the Zoning Board to correct curent ordinances to acurately eflect street names when E911 went into effect without coming to the voters to approve small corrections when there is no change to the intent of the ordinance.”
Mr. Aldrich said Alstead Center Road starts at the Drewsville Common and goes to the Alstead town line. Ms. Mansouri said that is correct. But in our ordinance it says the road name is Hitchcock Road. Mr. Aldrich said, “Just scratch that name off there and put in Alstead Center Road.”
“That’s what I want to do,” Ms Mansouri said, “but I can’t because any changes have to be approved by the Town.”
“But this isn’t a change,” Aldrich said, “it’s a correction.”
Ms. Mansouri said, “That’s what I wanted to do, but I was told I couldn’t do it.”
Mr. Aldrich said, “I don’t think we need to bring it to the voters of the Town.” Mr. Aldrich didn’t think that the zoning amendment that Ms. Mansouri presented was necessary but Ms. Mansouri said that’s what was needed a few years ago when there was a change from a portion of Prospect Hill to Watkins Hill Road.
Mr. Miller read an email from Mr. Dalessio to Mr. Buckley. “It was discovered in a review of our Zoning Ordinance that several street names were never updated as a result of the 911 upgrade made several years ago. We would like to update the document with the correct information. This is just an administrative change and no change to zones or requirements. Do we need to place this on the March ballot following standard RSA’s for zoning changes or can we treat this as a minor correction and just update the zoning ordinance the same way as a misspelled word?”
Selectboard chair Peggy Pschirrer wrote back to Mr. Dalessio that “the DRA (Department of Revenue Adminstration) tells us that we have to have a special meeting to adopt a provision allowing the SB (Selectboard) to use CRF (Capital Reserve Fund) emergencies. They have no record at DRA that (the) Town every voted (the) Selectboard that authority when CRF were established and so far we haven’t found it in past minutes either.”
Mr. Buckley’s point was, Mr. Miller said, that in order for the zoning board to do these administrative changes in the zoning ordinance, there has to be a provision in the zoning ordinance to allow this to happen.
Mr. Perron wanted to know what the section numbers had to do with street names or anything else.
Mr. Miller said that the ordinance would go under General Provisions and there are already items under that heading from A to M. The N would just be the next or new item under General Provisions. So if we have to change a street name, under this item we could just do it and make a copy and not have to go to the Town to ask for the change.
The whole point of this, Mr. Marcom said, is to get in sync with 911.
Also, it means if there are any non-substantive changes, we can do that, Mr. Miller said. He also said we have to have a Public Hearing.
He asked the Board if they were in favor of a Public Hearing. A board member said so moved, that was seconded and all those present said “aye.”
Complete Streets grant. SWRPC has received an anonymous $100,000 to support one or more Complete Streets projects in communities that have adopted a Complete Streets policy. Walpole did just that at a Public hearing in November. The Planning Board spent a good deal of workshop time this year discussing Complete Streets and came up with several recommendations.
Mr. Miller suggested if selectmen are considering applying for a grant Mr. Miller said he would be glad to act as a liaison if they want our advice.
A few Board members began talking about the sidewalk around Jake’s as a project. Mr. Aldrich mentioned there was an accident there recently with a pedestrian. If there were a sidewalk, it’d be raised a little and maybe make a person more aware.
But Mr. Miller recommended making a safe walking pathway from Maplewood or the fire statton to the school. The shoulder should be widened and repaired. More people would be able to walk down by the Mill Pond, said a Board member. Mr. Perron said it would tie in with Healthy Monadnock.
The crosswalk at the library was menitoned. Mr. Aldrich said that crosswalk starts by Walpole Grocery and goes all the way across to the library. You’ve got that bullhorn or circle there and cars parked, he said. Drivers are coming from Westminster Street and turning right as well as drivers coming from the north on Main Street. And the drivers are going too fast, added Ms. Mansouri.
So it was agreed that recommendation No. 1 to the Selectboard would be to make a safe pathway from the fire station to the school and No. 2 would be paint a yield or figure in the road by the library crosswalk or add more signage near the crosswalk to make it safer.
Then Ms. Mayberry recommended that in order to make the public more aware of the items on Complete Streets that it become part of the site plan. It might go on the checklist or be referred to or attached to the application.
Mr. Aldrich thought that was a good idea. Mr. Miller did as well. He suggested it become the topic of the Board’s first workshop in 2018 of how to make the public more aware of cars, pedestrians, cyclists.
Mr. Aldrich made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Marcom seconded the motion and it was approved by the entire Board.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Next regular meeting Tuesday, January 9, 2017