Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 12/10/19

Present: Chair Jeffrey Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Clerk James Aldrich, Jeff White, Jeff Harrington, Jason Perron, Select Board Representative Steve Dalessio. Absent: Alternates Joanna Andros, Jeff Colley.


Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the January 2020 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions. 


Meeting Opened: Mr. Miller called the meeting to order at 7 pm. 


Roll Call: A full Board was present.


Minutes: Mr. Marcom made a motion to accept the minutes as written. Mr. Aldrich seconded the motion and the motion carried.


Voluntary Merger: Jennifer Hanrahan, 8 Deer Run Lane, Tax Map 8, Lots 15-3, 15-4, and 15-9. Ms. Hanrahan wanted to make these lots into one lot. Ms. Hanrahan submitted a notarized application with payment for the application and for registering the merger with the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds in Keene. All of these lots are free of a mortgage or loan. She plans to put the property into current use or conservation easement. Mr. White made a motion to approve the merger. The motion was seconded and it carried.


Site Plan Application: Brendan Honey was at the meeting representing the owner of the property Bruce R. Carruthers. Map 19, Lot 42, 28 Main Street, commercial district. Mr. Honey has already added a third apartment in what was formerly an art gallery. There are two apartments in the main house. He now intends to build a garage. 


Mr. Miller asked Mr. Honey about setbacks. He said they were okay. Mr. Miller reminded Mr. Honey that there must be adequate parking following the minimum standards in the Walpole Zoning Ordinances. In this case, with three apartments and 2-3 bedrooms in each unit, there must be two parking spaces for each unit. Mr. Honey must also have the Walpole Fire Chief sign off on the plans. Mr. Honey said there were two entrances/egresses from the building. 


Mr. Honey asked if he could work on the garage while the application was being processed. Mr. Dalessio said he needed a building permit before he begins building and you can’t get a building permit without an approved site plan.  A motion was made and seconded to have a Public Hearing in January for a site plan application for the garage on the Carruthers property. The motion carried.


Master Plan: Population and Natural Features Sections


Most of Tuesday’s meeting was spent on discussing the Master Plan. Lisa Murphy, Senior Planner with Southwest Region Planning Commission, was the facilitator at the meeting. With her was SWRPC  Planning Technician, James Weatherly. He kept notes on what was decided at the meeting.


Ms. Murphy began by stating that in each section of the Master Plan, the Board was going to focus on the Goals, Objectives and then Actions or Strategies for obtaining the goal. The Actions are a new separate category and they will have an accomplishment date. The description of the Implementation Chapter of the Master Plan states that this chapter “ignites change and helps to continue the work that has gone into the Master Plan update. It is the mechanism that sets the wheels in motion for actions to be taken to implement it..….The strategies include the leadership of different members of the Town staff and Town Boards, Commissions, Committees and organizations. To maximize the success of this plan, it is suggested that there be an annual meeting between all of the parties identified in the leadership column of this matrix…. The time frame used for the “When” column is Short-term (1-3 years), Mid-term (4-6 years), and Long-term (7-10 years.” An Action column is new to the format of the Master Plan, but some of the Objectives were actually Action plans.


The Board went over the existing goals in the Population and Natural Features sections. For example, in the Housing section the Goal is to: “Ensure that adequate, safe, and sanitary housing for all existing and future residents is achievable in Walpole.” Mr. Perron recommended and the Board agreed that the word “all” was unnecessary. Beneath the goal is a list of six objectives. A couple of these objectives were actually deemed as Actions and will be noted as such in the update. A couple of those actions would also require developing new ordinances.


Goal 1 of the Natural Features Section is “to protect and preserve the Town’s critical resource areas in an effort to maintain a balance between the Town’s existing and future development needs and its natural environment.” There are currently eight objectives. The first three were described as Actions. Numbers 4 – 7 were eliminated because they are all part of the checklist for a site plan or in the site plan itself.


There was a lot of discussion and input from the entire Board about these goals and objectives on these two sections. Ms. Murphy and Mr. Weatherly will go back to SWRPC and come back in January 2020 at a workshop meeting to discuss what was said at this meeting and continues the update.


The meeting adjourned after a motion was made by Mr. Aldrich and seconded by Mr. Marcom and the Board approved the motion.


Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

WPB Secretary

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