Presiding Members: Chair Jeffrey Miller, Jason Perron, Jeff Harrington, Jeff White, Selectboard Representative Steve Dalessio. Alternate: Jeff Colley. Absent: Vice-chair Dennis Marcom, Secretary James Aldrich, Alternate Joanna Andros.
Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the August 2019 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Meeting Opened: Mr. Miller called the meeting to order at 7 pm.
Roll Call: Mr. Miller asked Alternate Jeff Colley to fill in for Board member Mr. Marcom so there would be a quorum.
Minutes: June meeting minutes: Mr. Colley made one correction. On page 2 under Public Hearing No. 2, NH Municipal Association was corrected to NH Sustainable Standard Association. Mr. Perron made a motion to approve the corrected minutes. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harrington and approved by the Board.
Thomas Galloway: Demerger of lots in Christian Hollow, Carpenter Hill area.
Mr. Galloway said he wanted to unmerge some lots that were previously merged so that tax bills on several adjacent properties were lumped together. There are 18 lots that were put together into two large parcels. He wanted to demerge the lots back to the same way as they were before.
Mr. Galloway has been a resident of Walpole his entire life. The 18 parcels are owned by him, his father and a brother. He wants the two large lots changed back to the original lots so each parcel gets it own tax bill. He said it was done in the 1960s to make preparing tax bills easier because it was all done by hand. Today, Mr. Galloway said, it is a lot easier to create a tax bill with the push of a button. Mr. Galloway was at the meeting to return the lots to their original size.
Mr. Miller said that you are creating new lots. Mr. Galloway said no – these lots already exist and are recorded at the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds but were lumped together for tax purposes. If all the lots already exist, Mr. Dalessio said, and are recorded individually at the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds, then all that needs to be done is to update the lots into our tax program. The county records and our tax maps have to be the same. Mr. Perron referenced the RSA about restoring involuntarily demerged lots. There’s nothing to demerge, Mr. Dalessio said.
Mr. Dalessio suggested Mr. Galloway meet with Sarah Downing, the Manager of Administration for the Town, and straighten it out with her. Mr. Dalessio said in this case the lots were never actually demerged. Mr. Perron asked Mr. Galloway if there was ever a time when he was approached by the county or state about merging the lots. Mr. Galloway said no. So it was decided that Mr. Galloway would get together with Ms. Downing and they would place each lot in the town’s system for taxing the individual properties.
Trading properties: Mr. Galloway said he has a neighbor that purchased a lot on my side of the road. Just a few feet up on the other side of the road is some property Mr. Galloway owns that if added to his neighbor’s property would give him enough land to put it into current use. In return, his neighbor would give Mr. Galloway a piece of property to make one of his lots a better configuration. How does he go about doing this? Mr. Galloway asked.
Mr. Miller said Mr. Galloway needed a minor subdivision. He suggested Mr. Galloway go to surveyor Joe DiBernardo in Bellows Falls and he would create the map and figure it all out for Mr. Galloway.
Jack Franks, Avanru Development, 504 Main Street.
Mr. Franks said he sold the one-plus-acre lot at the corner of Red Barn Lane and Main Street to Mr. Gary Eucalitto who plans to build a Dollar General store. The site plan for the property was approved last year. Mr. Miller said it was verbally agreed last year when the site plan was approved that Mr. Franks would come to the Planning Board with the new owner and the Board would be assured that there weren’t any changes to the site plan. Mr. Dalessio said the Board also talked about having a peak put on the building so it looked more like other buildings in the area. Mr. Franks said he doesn’t own the land any more but he was sure the Board could approach the new owner about the peak and any other matters.
Mr. Dalessio said his concern was about not knowing who the new owner was and the building was already under construction. If something goes wrong and there’s a change in plans, Mr. Dalessio said he wanted to know who to go to. Mr. Dalessio said the way he found out who was going to build there was when the sign company for Dollar General requested a sign application from the Zoning Board of Adjustment and it was in the Zoning Board’s minutes.
Mr. Miller said he was disappointed in the way Mr. Franks handled the situation. He said that Mr. Franks made a verbal agreement. Mr. Miller chastised him for already starting building before the Planning Board or Town officials even knew what was going to be built in that location. “That’s not the way we do business in this Town,” Mr. Miller said. Mr. Franks said the new owner couldn’t make it to the meeting that night. He continued that he had a nondisclosure agreement with Dollar General and the land just sold within the last 30 days. This was the first meeting since it’s been sold, Mr. Franks said.
Mr. Ray Boas said he agreed with the Board. It’s the public perception of how this was handled, Mr. Boas said. He suggested that there should be a new Public Hearing for the site plan. Mr. Miller responded that the Board couldn’t do that as the site plan has already been approved.
Mr. Eric Merklein said that things the town would like the new owner to do, such as the peak, the new owner is not required to do those things. Mr. Dalessio agreed. Mr. Merklein asked about landscaping and Mr. Miller said it’s in the approved site plan.
Mr. Dalessio made a motion that a letter be sent to Mr. Eucalitto and request that he come to the next Planning Board meeting so they can talk about the project and make sure the building will be the same as the one that the Board approved, without any changes.
Avanru Development LLC: New office building at Abenaki Springs: Architect Timothy Sampson was at the meeting with Mr. Franks. He presented plans to build a 26-foot-by-44-foot square-foot building that would be half garage and storage and half office space. The office space would include three offices, a lobby and an ADA bathroom. It would eliminate six or seven current parking spaces. The remaining parking spaces would be reconfigured from 10 feet wide to 9 feet wide. The building would be a wood frame building with clapboard siding and painted white or tan.
There will be a couple of signs on the building and a sign added at the entrance to Abenaki Springs. It will be heated by propane gas and may or may not have its own tank. There may be a couple of lights on the building similar to the ones already on the property.
Mr. Miller said Mr. Franks has to amend the original site plan. Mr. Perron made a motion to hold a Public Hearing next month for the amendment to the original site plan. The motion was seconded and the Board approved the motion.
Mr. Dalessio then asked if Mr. Franks had talked to Liberty Utilities about a street light at the corner of Red Barn Lane. Mr. Franks said he would do it this week.
Master Plan: Lisa Murphy, senior planner at Southwest Regional Planning Commission, was at the meeting to begin work on updating the Master Plan.
At the end of last year, the Board decided it was time to update the Master Plan because it had been almost 10 years since the last update. At Town Meeting, a sum of $7,500 was approved to get help from SWRPC. Ms. Murphy was asked to help update the Master Plan as she did several years ago. She brought some changes to the Population and Housing sections of the Master Plan. She used information from the 2010 census and projections were calculated by the NH Office of Strategic Initiatives.
The numbers compare Walpole to previous years and also other towns in the region. They include information on population trends, births, deaths and natural increases for Walpole, population density, the town’s age structure, income levels, age of homes, types of homes, costs of housing, ownership of homes, home values, annual income of residents and projected housing needs.
There are still some section of the Population and Housing section that still need to be updated and charts with current numbers to fill. Meanwhile, the Board will read the changes made, compare it to the previous Master Plan and make suggestions in September for changes or other updates. Although this is not the final approved copy of the Population and Housing section of the Master Plan, a copy of this document is available for public viewing at the Town Offices.