Roll Call: Present: Board Members: Chair Jan Leclerc, Vice-Chair Myra Mansouri, Clerk Tom Murray, Ernie Vose. Alternates: Don Sellarole, Judy Trow. Absent: Pauline Barnes, Bob Anderson, David Edkins.
Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the April 2020 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Meeting Opened: Ms. Leclerc called the meeting to order at 7 pm. There being one Board member absent, Ms. Trow was asked to sit in for Ms. Barnes.
Minutes: Ms. Trow made a motion to approved the July 2020 minutes as written. Mr. Vose seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.
Public Hearing No. 1.
Expansion of a Non-conforming Use: First Congregational Church of Walpole handicap ramp at the parsonage. Mr. Dale Woodward presenting. Tax map 20, Lot 76, Residential B. Ramp must be 65 feet from the center of the road. Article V, D-2.
Mr. Woodward introduced himself as representing the church trustees. He was at the public hearing for a non-conforming use for a handicap ramp at the parsonage on the Middle Street side of the building. It is closer to the middle of the road than the required 65 feet as is the house and the whole neighborhood, he said. The end of the ramp is 40 feet from the center of the road and 17 feet from the sidewalk. The porch is 60 feet from the center of the road.
The ramp is needed because the new minister has a study in the parsonage and people want privacy when consulting with him. Our church has an aging population and some are cane and wheelchair users, Mr. Woodard said. The congregation fixed up the parsonage this spring and made it wheelchair accessible throughout the building. Mr. Woodward didn’t realize that a permit was needed to build the ramp.
Ms. Mansouri asked about access. Mr. Woodward said access is off of the driveway. The ramp slope is built to code.
There being no more questions, the public hearing was closed. Mr. Vose made a motion to approve the expansion of a non-conforming use as presented. Ms. Trow seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Woodward was told that since the handicap ramp on Middle Street is more than 100 square feet, he must also go to the Town Office and apply for a building permit.
Signage: Walpole Foundation – Replace two signs where Walpole Village Market signs already are – same sizes and same places. The gas station and market are at the corner of Main and Westminster Streets. Raynie Laware of the Walpole Foundation presented.
Ms. Laware did not show up until 7:30 pm. She said she went to the town web site and the web site said ZBA meetings starts at 7:30 pm. Personnel at the Town Offices will be notified of the time change.*
Ms. Laware passed out pictures of two signs, one showing a smaller vertical sign saying “Jake’s Walpole Market,” which is already there. The two replacement signs will be in the same places and look like the larger sign in the picture. One sign will face Main Street and the other sign will face Westminster Street. One sign will be 71/2 inches by 14 inches high and the other is 8 feet long by 14 inches high.
Seeing as both signs are conforming and replacement signs, Ms. Trow made a motion to approve them as presented. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Signage: Auto parts store in North Meadow Plaza. No one came to the meeting and the secretary hadn’t had any emails from Gene Niska as of noon on meeting day, her contact with the sign maker in Springfield, MA.
Nonpublic Session: Ms. Mansouri made a motion to go into nonpublic session at 7:30 pm. Mr. Murray seconded the motion. The rest of the Board approved the vote. The Board came out of nonpublic session at 7:50 pm. Ms. Trow made a motion that the Board come out of nonpublic session and keep the minutes nonpublic. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Discussion of signs that would be exempt from ZBA approval.
The Board received a copy of some signage in Charlestown. The list categorizes these signs into three types of signs: signs not requiring board approval, temporary signs and prohibited signs. Board members thought some of the items on the list should go into Walpole’s sign ordinance. However, some were redundant, some could be combined because they were of a similar nature and some didn’t fit Walpole’s ordinances. Ms. Trow will pull together a list of ordinances from the night’s discussion of the Charlestown list and it will be ready for discussion at next month’s meeting.
An example is letters items “a” and “k” can be combined. Those ordinances are “Signs bearing only property numbers, postal numbers, and other non-commercial identification” could be combined with “house names and historical markers.” This sign would be under the not requiring board approval category.
Adjournment: Mr. Vose made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Posted: Inside Town Offices, on the bulletin board outside the Post Office.
cc: ZBA, WPB, Town Offices, Walpolean.
*Correction of minutes: The Walpole web site www.walpole.nh.us has the correct time for the start of ZBA meetings. Sarah Downing explained it in an email. She said that Raynie Googled the name of the board and that took her to a hidden/draft web page that hasn’t been published. She fixed the time on that page, checked off the box that the webpage be eliminated from search engines and made a note in the text that it’s a draft page. The correct time was posted on a different published page.