Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 2/9/21

Roll Call: All Planning Board members and other participants are in separate locations. This meeting is being recorded. Present: Chair Jeff Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Clerk Jason Perron, Zoom Host Jeff Harrington, Jeff Colley, Joanna Andros and Select Board Representative Steve Dalessio.

Also present at the meeting were Bill Carmody, who is running in the March election for the open two-year Planning Board seat; Robert Kasper, owner of Walpole Creamery; Jim Clifford, representing NGP Management Dunkin’ . 

Recording: Secretary Marilou Blaine. This meeting is being recorded. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the March 2021 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

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

Minutes: Correct spelling: One owner of Watkins Tavern and Inn on Prospect Hill is Steven Lederman. His name was misspelled in the minutes. Mr. Marcom asked that his last name in the Roll Call be corrected from Miller. On page 3, paragraph 5, Mr. Marcom changed he’s to he’d. Mr. Marcom made a motion to accept the minutes as amended. Mr. Harrington seconded the motion and the motion passed. 

Old Business:

Public Hearing:

Walpole Creamery Site Plan: Owner Rob Kasper, 532 Main St., Map 12, Lot 14, commercial district. Remove north side building and four containers. Replace demolish building with same size 16-foot-by-16-foot storage area. Build a 20-by-13-foot enclosed milk trailer bay and extend the east-side roof 6 feet, 30 feet along the east side of the building to cover the existing equipment. The net effect will be to greatly reduce the current northern setback non-conformance created by the containers and vastly improve the exterior appearance of the building. Also, the noise level of the current exterior freezer will be removed and replaced by modern roof-mounted compressors that are more energy efficient. 

Mr. Kasper explained the site plan. He will be removing three 40-foot trailers and one other trailer and demolish the little building to which the trailers are attached. He is replacing the building and will also build a covered milk bay, which is less area than all the trailers combined. This will eliminate some of the non-conforming setback issue and eliminate the huge noise level from the freezers. The noise and blast are towards the apartments in the back of the building, he said. The new freezer will go inside the building and the new compressor is roof-mounted. It is quieter and more energy efficient. A loading dock that moves up and down to load the trucks will be built on the back wall. There will be a 6-foot extension of the east roof creating an overhang. Also in the back of the building, the chicken coop and the building that houses the water tank will be removed and replaced with a concrete pad. This will clean up the look at the back of the building, Mr. Kasper said.

Mr. Dalessio said he liked what Mr. Kasper was doing but he thought Mr. Kasper might need a variance because he was out of compliance with the north setback.

Kasper said the project will be less out of compliance than before because he was removing the trailers. Mr. Dalessio asked if the old building had ever had a variance. Mr. Kasper said he had no idea and that it was before his time. Mr. Perron asked if the new building creates a new setback. Mr. Kasper said that the new plan is on the same footprint. We are rebuilding the building, not expanding the building. Mr. Perron stated that he was staying on the same foundation. Mr. Kasper agreed. 

Mr. Marcom asked about his neighbor JJ Automotive. Do they know what’s going and are they aware of what’s actually happening? he asked. Mr. Kasper said they did and are actually happy about the removal of the trailers because of the noise. All the abutters have been notified. The site plan is actually staying with the frame that exists. With removal of the trailers, especially the one that sticks out,  improves the setback issue slightly. The foundation of the building is the same. Mr. Kasper is owner of the building. It’s the aesthetics that are such an improvement. 

Other visual presentations were elevations of the building from all directions, the parking lot and an aerial view. Scully Architects did the drawings.

Mr. Miller asked if there were any other questions. There being none, he closed the hearing. 

He asked for a motion to discussion. Mr. Marcom said given the discussion on the setback issue and given that the abutter does not have an objection, his concerns were allayed. Both Mr. Miller and Mr. Dalessio said that at some future point Mr. Kasper might want to clean up the setback issue. Mr. Perron made a motion to approve the site plan as presented. Mr. Marcom seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. Mr. Dalessio reminded Mr. Kasper he needed to get a building permit.

Public Hearing  (Postponed until March on request of the surveyor.)

Subdivision: Jay Landry two lots into four lots, Map 17, Lots 5 and 5-1, land between Old Keene Rd. and Wentworth Rd. All lots have required 200 feet road frontage and 40,000 square feet, Residential A district. 

The new lots would be:

​ Lot 5.1 – 2.19 acres with 200 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road; 

​ Lot 5-2 – 1.67 acres with 200 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road; 

​ Lot 5-3 – 1.15 acres with 200 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road;

​ and 5-4 – 6.22 acres with 203.61 feet road frontage on Old Keene Road and Wentworth Road.​ ​48.5 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road.

Mr. Miller had a conversation with Walpole’s road agent Mike Rau and Mr. Rau said he is well aware of the subdivision and saw no dramatic impact on the current situation. Also, future owners of the lots in the subdivision have to get a driveway permit from him. Mr. Miller also talked to Surveyor Joe DiBernardo who said that Mr. Landry has hired a hydrologist to address abutters’ concerns. In addition, Cushing & Sons have been contacted about water flow issues and checked on gallons per minute at neighboring sites.

Regarding extending the water and sewer up the hill, Mr. Miller said capacity is not the problem. The cost of putting in a pumping station to get water and sewer to that area is cost prohibitive. Mr. Dalessio added, “it’s not a matter of water capacity or system capacity, it’s just the cost of doing it would be astronomical.” It’s also user-based Mr. Dalessio said. You would need a hundred houses up there to make it cost effective. 

But, Mr. Miller said, the positive thing is that Jay Landry and Joe DiBernardo recognize the concern of abutters  and they are doing everything they can to give the Planning Board and abutters any information regarding the impact on others of the subdivision. 

Mr. Marcom said he also followed up on Mr. Gohl’s remarks with Mark Houghton, who is in charge of the water and sewer departments. Walpole is not out of water, Mr. Marcom said. The problem is elevation – the elevation of the reservoir is the same and is across from the elevation of the subdivision. So gravity won’t do the job. 

Ms. Andros asked if the Planning Board had to consider how much space is taken up with driveway, buildings, paved area impact, when considering runoff.

It was decided that all these types of question should be held until next month at the public hearing.

Request for letter to DES

Jack Franks of Avanru Development requested that the Planning Board send a letter to the NH Department of Environmental Service so his company could have an extension on the Alteration of Terrain permit on the Abenaki Springs project instead of having to apply for a new one. Mr. Franks said regarding Phase 3 of Abenaki Springs about 80 percent of the site work had already been completed. That includes water, sewer and drainage. A letter to DES would mean that Mr. Franks did not have to reapply for a new Alteration of Terrain permit as the extension period for his current permit will be up fairly soon. 

Mr. Miller agreed to write the letter.  Mr. Frank will send Mr. Miller the specifics of the language that is needed. Mr. Dalessio was also fine with Mr. Miller writing the letter.

Request for information: There has been a request for about 10 years of minutes from an individual. Often there is a person in the same room with the individual reading the requested minutes. But with 10 years of minutes, this could be a lengthy time and during Covid, how and where can this be done?. It was decided that the person could read the minutes in a space directly outside of the Town Offices one binder at a time. The minutes were not be removed from the building. The person was to make an appointment with Town Office personnel.

New Dunkin’ : Mr. Jim Clifford of NGP Management said his company operates the Dunkin’ in the Jiffy Mart on Route 12. Mr. Clifford said it was doing well enough to move the business out of that building and have a free-standing building of its own. The company, headquartered in North Reading, MA,  is also in the process of buying the 9-acre parcel of land adjacent to and south of Shaw’s and the Savings Bank of Walpole buildings. The plan is to build a 5,000 square-foot free-standing Dunkin’ at the corner of Route 12 and Upper Walpole in the southern corner. The company is also planning a few smaller retail spaces.

That leaves a lot of space left. How should it be used? One consideration the company is exploring is a solar farm, however Mr. Clifford said the company is not wedded to this idea if the town is dead set against it. At this time, development of Phase 2, development of the entire parcel, is only in the consideration phase.

Mr. Clifford has already approached NHDOT about a curb cut from Route 12 and he said they suggested one as far away from the light, or entrance to North Meadow Plaza, as possible. 

Mr. Marcom asked about how the building might look and suggested Mr. Clifford look at the entire site plan, especially appendix B, when thinking about architectural approaches to the new building. He also mentioned the Savings Bank of Walpole as an exemplar example of what a building should look like. Mr. Clifford said he is aware that communities want a say on local design. In New England there are 125 Dunkin’ and all had a different requirement. We are involved in doing it right and want it to look nice and don’t have a generic box design. New England Dunkins’ have as many varieties of architecture as there are buildings. Dunkin’ doesn’t have one design that it puts in every community. He said he was open to what the town wanted.

Mr. Miller suggested that if there is more building on that parcel of land he may want to connect it with the North Meadow Plaza parking lot. Mr. Clifford said he is planning on getting in touch with the owner.

Mr. Dalessio suggested he also have a conversation with Mark Houghton about water and sewer. The waste water might have some quirks, he said. 

Mr. Clifford said he’d love to hear some feedback on what residents would like to see in that space and how it could be used.

Mr. Dalessio said a gym but Mr. Clifford said a gym is not a red hot business right now. 

Mr. Perron said he should get in touch with the Clarion and maybe through the monthly newsletter he would get some input on what the townspeople wanted.

Workshop: Regarding a workshop, Mr. Miller said the next workshop should be on the Master Plan, but he has to check with facilitator, Southwest Region Planing Commission planner,  Lisa Murphy

Ms. Andros made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Marcom second the motion and the motion carried.

Next meeting March 9, 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine 

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