Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 1/14/20



Presiding Members: Chair Jeffrey Miller, Clerk James Aldrich, Jason Perron, Jeff Harrington, Jeff White, Steve Dalessio (Selectboard Representative). Alternates: Joanna Andros, Jeff Colley. Absent: Vice-chair, Dennis Marcom.


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


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


Roll Call: In Mr. Marcom’s absence, Mr. Colley was asked and agreed to fill in.


Minutes: A motion was made to approve the December minutes as written. The motion was seconded by Mr. Aldrich and the motion carried.


Public Hearing No. 1

Site Plan: Greg Gay office building. Mr. Gay proposes a 30-by-70-foot office building at 8 Len-Tex Lane, North Walpole, Map 27, Lot 8-1, Industrial District. The building will have six offices, a bathroom and a room for inventory.


Mr. Gay explained that he planned to build a one-story, 30-by-70-foot office building. The building will have six offices, a bathroom and a parts room. The building would have a cellar. Mr. Miller asked if there were any questions.


Mr. Perron said that Don Lennon, president of neighbor Len-Tex Corporation, was concerned that Mr. Gay was going to build a residence there, Mr. Perron asked, “Are you going to build a residence?”


In regard to this question, readers should know that before the meeting, Board members received a letter from Mr. Donald K. Lennon who expressed a concern that Mr. Gay’ s proposed new building is actually intended to be a residence for Mr. Gay as he originally planned when he applied for approval of a building to build race car chassis several years ago. Mr. Lennon says in his letter, “We believe that the value to Walpole/No. Walpole of the current zoning of the Industrial District is jobs and tax revenue.


We believe that compromising the zoning by allowing a residence to be built will compromise the value of the existing industrial real estate and likely the tax assessment.


We believe that placement of a residence in the area zoned Industrial will result in potential conflict over industrial noise, truck traffic, employee commuting and more.


We request, as a major tax payer and a major provider of good paying jobs in Walpole/No. Walpole, that this project be denied by the Walpole Planning Board and that no variance be issued by North Walpole Commissioners.”


In response to Mr. Perron’s question, Mr. Gay said, “It’s sorta like saying, ‘Are you going to beat your wife.’ ” I can say no, but I’m not going to say I’m never going to have a residence there.” Mr. Perron asked about the building in question for a site plan. Mr. Gay said at this time this is not going to be a residence. 


Mr. Miller pointed out that the Board had received letters from both the North Walpole Commissioners and the North Walpole Fire Chief permitting the use of the property for an office building. He continued that the Planning Board was considering the site plan for an office building and any change of use of the building had to be determined by the North Walpole Commissioners.


Ms. Andros asked about the district the building is in. Mr. Miller said it is zoned Industrial and this a commercial enterprise that would fit in an Industrial District. It’s part of North Walpole’s precinct zoning and has been permitted by the Commissioners and the Fire Chief. The Walpole Planning Board’s task is to look at the site plan of the building for approval.


Is it a permitted use to build houses in an Industrial District? Ms. Andros asked. Mr. Gay said the argument about zoning is really not to protect industrial projects from residents, it to protect residents from industrial projects. Residential zoning is the least intrusive zoning and industrial is the most intrusive. 


Mr. Colley asked if in the future Mr. Gay wants the building to be a residence, what authority does the Walpole Planning Board have over that? Mr. Miller said it is up to the North Walpole Commissioners to decide. So the Walpole Board would have no way to weigh in on their decision? Mr. Colley asked. Mr. Miller said it would be tough to override their decision.


Mr. Dalessio said there is a lot of material missing from the site plan – lighting plan, landscaping plan, setbacks, all the has to be on the plans for a site plan review. So at this point it’s an incomplete application. Mr. Gay said the plan had the holding pond on the map and the checklist might have some of the other information. Lighting he said would be by the door and the big door by the parts door.


What about parking? Mr. Dalessio asked? It should be clearly on the plans. Three parking with one of them handicap accessible should be on the plans with a handicap symbol. Where is it? Mr. Dalessio asked. Architect, Mr. Michael Marquise, said it shows five-foot access. Mr. Dalessio said who knows what that means? Mr. White said all this should be printed on the plan. The Board has had to this is with gas stations and other site plans. It show all the grids for lighting. The Board has to do this thing right or it could be in trouble. It’s a procedural thing and this piece of paper, pointing to the paper Mr. Gay distributed to the Board, is all we have. What if the Board went to court? he asked.


Mr. Miller said we have to have a list of what the applicant has to come in with. Mr. Dalessio said check the lighting plan. What kind of lights are you going to have?  Are the lights certified for dark sky? What about a Knox box? Landscaping and setback dimensions should be on the plan. Elevations. What does the building looks like – it’s doors, windows, siding, roof line? 


Plat submission is in VII B in the site plan spells out physical features, Mr. Perron said. All items under section VIII of the site plan need to be completed, Mr. Dalessio said. Anything that pertains to landscaping should be on a separate sheet as to what’s going on for landscaping, such as the rain garden. It was on the original and has to be submitted attached to this plan. “What I hear are the words ‘I assume,’ ‘probably’ and ‘might be.’ You are treating this very lightly. This is not a private building, Mr. Dalessio said. It is a commercial building and needs to follow all the guidelines for a commercial building. 


Mr. Dalessio said you have to define parking, lighting, dimensions, setbacks, landscaping, rain garden, elevations. What’s does a rain garden look like? 


Mr. Perron asked Mr. Gay to show him what were the new features on the plan. Mr. Gay said the building, driveway and parking and the rain garden. 


Mr. Dalessio made a motion to move the hearing until next month. Mr. Perron seconded the motion and the Board approved it. 


Public Hearing No. 2

Site Plan: Garage. Bruce R. Catheters plans to build a garage for a third apartment at 28 Main Street, Tax Map 19, Lot 42, Commercial District.


Mr. Brendan Honey represented Mr. Carruthers. He explained his plans were to build a new garage on the site near the third apartment. He cannot get a building permit for the garage until the site plans are approved and he can’t complete the site plans until he has an alarm system installed for the apartment and an Occupancy Letter from the Fire Department is sent to the Town Offices. Mr. Honey has been trying to get the alarm system sent to him but the has had a difficult time getting the approved company to provide him with alarm.


He had a couple of drawings of the garage. The garage is a one-car garage, 13 feet wide, 22 feet long, and 12 feet high. Th setbacks are 21 feet on the Union Street side, 21 feet to the Carruthers’ property to the west and 70 feet to the Historical Society building to the north. 


A motion was made to approve the site plan on the condition that Mr. Honey install the alarm system to the satisfaction of the Walpole Fire Department and the Town Offices receives an Occupancy Letter from the Department. The motion was seconded and approved by the Board.


Workshop Reminder: There is a workshop on the fourth Tuesday of the month in the basement conference room to continue working with Lisa Murphy on the Master Plan. The Board will continue working on Population and Housing and Land Features.


Mr. Aldrich made a motion of adjourn the meeting. Mr. Perron seconded the motion and the motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

WPB Secretary

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