Selectboard Present:Cheryl Mayberry (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Peggy Pschirrer
CALL TO ORDER: Ms. Mayberry, Chair of the Walpole Selectboard, called this meeting via Zoom to order at 6:30 PM. The Selectboard members are in three separate locations. Also attending this meeting is Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, in the Walpole Town Hall and Mrs. Regina Borden, Recording Secretary, by telephone at a separate location. This meeting is being recorded by the Town.
Ms. Mayberry called for a voice roll call of the Selectboard present: Steven Dalessio was present; Peggy Pschirrer was present and Ms. Mayberry was present. This meeting will be in accordance with Virtual Meetings, Emergency Order #12, which has been effective since March 2020.
ELM STREET WATER/SEWER and REPAVING PROJECT: Ms. Mayberry reported when the Selectboard met last week, they briefly discussed the Elm Street Water/Sewer and Repaving Project and some ideas were brought forward. At the end of this discussion it was agreed they would work on a comprehensive plan and then do a public presentation. They made no decisions regarding Elm Street. They are thinking about making Elm Street a one-way street so it would meet the standard width of the road. At this time they are not prepared to discuss the trees or removal of the dying trees. They will bring in a tree expert to do an assessment of the trees on and around the Common to make a determination as to their overall health. Mr. Ray Boas had requested time to read his letter therefore Ms. Mayberry turned the meeting over to him.
Mr. Boas advised he had a letter to read into tonight’s minutes. He desired the full text to be included in the body of the minutes, and not as an attachment to the minutes. This evening’s minutes will not be approved until the meeting on April 1st. After approval, it has often taken up to five days to get the approved minutes out to the public. Thus, he will probably be posting his comments on-line sooner.
Mr. Ray Boas read his Statement to Walpole, NH Selectboard, dated 25 March 2021.
Ms. Mayberry asked if anyone had anything to add that was not covered in Mr. Boas’ letter.
Alejandra Pallais thanked Ray for bringing this to their attention. Widening streets creates more traffic and more traffic speed. People use the Common for walking, biking and visiting. It is a question of safety; safety hazards.
Peter Johnson lives at Boggy Meadow Farm on River Road. His wife, Susan, is a member of the Hubbard Family. They are interested and concerned about what happens in the Village. They fully support Ray and would not like to see the widening of that street. Also, is the granite curbing being billed to the landowners?
The Zoom meeting became very chaotic as it was being hacked.
Mr. Dalessio moved that the Selectboard meeting be recessed for fifteen (15) minutes. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 6:58 PM.
Ms. Mayberry called the recessed regular Selectboard meeting to order at 7:25 PM.
Joanna Andros walked around the Common today and was thinking about taking a portion off one side and how that would affect the symmetry of it. If you widen that road it will change the symmetry. She thinks it would not be a good idea. She thinks our Common which is such a wonderful part of our Town would be diminished. She supports the idea of finding other ways to accommodate the vehicles.
Craig Vickers asked if somebody could do a short re-coup and the reasoning behind the need for this as he came in late. It seems like we are solving a problem that does not exist. There have to be other solutions. It has been fine since he was a kid playing on the Common. He does not think it can be under-stated how detrimental this would be. How many residents around the Common were polled? Ms. Mayberry explained the discussion about Elm Street came up last week at the Selectboard Meeting and they made no decisions at that time. They were going to have a planning meeting with further discussions and then have a meeting with the public, especially the residents around the Common, about the plan. The Selectboard has not made any decisions about the trees or widening the road. Mr. Boas wrote the letter. People are weighing in on what may or may not happen.
Lil DeCoste commented that first of all there needs to be a better way than expanding their road as she feels that is unnecessary. She assumes the Road Agent had a reason for recommending this. She is disappointed that he is not present to explain his position. Mr. Dalessio had a conversation with Mr. Rau this morning. As stated at the last meeting, his rationale is that he believes the road is a two-lane but it does not meet the standards. He wanted to widen the road so two lanes could safely go back-and-forth on Elm Street. At the last Selectboard meeting, Mr. Rau presented this as a concept. The road would be easier to plow. There was no other discussion. The Selectboard had no previous notice of this. They said they would have a pre-planning meeting and then they would meet with the abutters and residents out on the Common on the final plan. It was just a concept. This worked well when they re-built Pleasant Street. Mrs. Pschirrer said they are overlooking that they were planning the Water and Sewer upgrade for several years as it is essential on that street. The budgeting was done for this year. The only decision made is that beginning in May they will tear-up the street and repair all the water and sewer lines, repair the drainage which now floods the Common and then repave the roads. Those were the only plans that were made. The other things that came up were “let’s do this and that”. Mrs. DeCoste pointed out that rather than hear one side, it is important to hear their side as well. Ms. Mayberry said the overall decision lies with the Selectboard and they can share their opinions with Mr. Rau as well.
Mr. David DeCoste does not believe there are more than four cars going north on that road in any one day. Mr. Dalessio noted it is a technical point with Mr. Rau. Mrs. DeCoste noted that they are not hearing from Mr. Rau as he is not present at this meeting and that is important.
Sue Fillion can urge them as they go through their planning, with all due respect to the Road Agent, that there is a lot of movement in cities and villages for people to take back the streets and have easy access. If you widen the street, cars will go faster. She is a planner. She does not know of any place where they are widening their roads. Instead, they are trying to shrink them to make them safer. They should figure out what they can do without widening that road.
Lucy Weber wanted to second the many comments people have made. She thought about making a circle. She does not see why it could not be a one-way traffic road and the Town would remain walkable. The width would remain the same. Her plea is do not change the character of the Common or the sidewalks or the green spaces around us. That is the “heart” of the Village for all of them. It would be nice if they do not change it.
Jennifer Palmiotto echos that already there is a lot of traffic on Elm Street. Sometimes large tractor trailers go 35 MPH. Her house shakes. The roads around them are not made to have traffic going so fast. The widening would take away from the wonderful human element they have. A lot has been written about how people are comfortable with spaces that are not that wide. She understands why the Road Agent would want to widen the road. But, for those in the neighborhood, it would be uncomfortable. They would be losing a valuable, irreplaceable resource in Walpole.
David Chioffi noted there are a lot of folks involved in this meeting. He wanted to give the Selectboard a sense of what people attending this meeting are concerned with. He askef for those that are opposed to the widening of Elm Street to raise their hands. He asked the Selectboard to scan down and look at the pictures. It did not appear that any hands were not raised. Ms. Mayberry said thank you. Mr. Dalessio asked who is in favor? It appeared one person was. Mr. Dalessio said thank you.
Liz Collingsworth lives on Elm Street and never noticed any signage that stopped Elm Street from being a one-way street. Codify it and make it one-way. It seems like an easy solution.
Felicia Phillips lives on Main Street. Safety has to be considered first and foremost. The one-way street is the excellent way to go.
Leroy Watson commented about the water and sewer work. He said to predict where they will have problems with the trees. We could end up damaging those trees and they might have to be taken down. Before a decision is made, it would be good to have a study done of potential damage from the water and sewero work.
Stefan Stefanko has lived on Elm Street for thirteen years and loves it there. Cars can move over. He used to live in Philadelphia. We do not want to destroy this lovely part of our Town.
Jim Maclean loves working in this Town and he has been for about half of his life. Mr. Rau has also worked in this Town for about half of his life and he wants the best for everybody. It take a little width to make sure vehicles get by each other safely. People used to pull over years ago; that does not happen today. He understands where some people are coming from, but it is not there anymore. We have this beautiful downtown that will not be changed except this little bit of width. Years ago on the north side of the Common, it was one-way traffic on Sunday. If they want a traffic count, the Town can get them some numbers. Let us listen to all the options.
Rick Reynolds lives at 67 Elm Street. He asked to make the street one-way. Some people assume it is one-way. Elm Street is one-way where he lives. There would be no need to change the Common or the trees. He would recommend one-way; it is the preferred way of moving forward.
Ms. Mayberry thanked everybody for attending this meeting and making comments for them to think about. The Selectboard will now continue with their regular meeting.
Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $55,985.45 for checks issued March 26, 2021. This includes a payment in the amount of $43,310.15 to the HealthTrust. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrerand Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending March 20, 2021, in the amount of $27,685.11 for checks dated March 26, 2021, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $5,249.67. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MINUTES – March 18, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of March 18, 2021, as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were approved.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION MINUTES – March 18, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of March 18, 2021, as submitted. These Minutes will remain sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were approved.
The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the following Committee report:• Zoning Board of Adjustment Meeting – March 17, 2021.
MAP and LOT #021-018-000: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to grant the Property Tax Refund in the amount of $5.27 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #021-018-000. This is due to an overpayment. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
OLD BUSINESS (Continued):
North Walpole Library Lease: Ms. Mayberry reported thecorrections in the lease were corrected. Mrs. Pschirrer requested that Mrs. Downing send this lease to the North Walpole Village District Board of Commissioners and to the President of the Library Board tomorrow.
Vilas Bridge Joint Meeting: A request was received from the Rockingham Selectboard, Development Office and Southwest Region Planning Commission to schedule a Joint Meeting to discuss the Vilas Bridge. Neither the New Hampshire Governor nor the Vermont Governor responded to their last letter. There was a consensus of the Walpole Selectboard to invite them to attend a Joint Meeting on Thursday, April 8th at 6:30 PM. Mr. Shane O’Keefe would like to volunteer if they form a committee.
Recycling Center Retail Sales: Mrs. Pschirrer had asked for more information on this and Ms. Mayberry provided that to her. Mrs. Pschirrer has several concerns. One is the Recycling Center will become a retail sales outlet. They would like to think the environmental soaps and other products will sell but she does not want to be in the retail sales business or compete with other businesses selling the same type products. She is also concerned with handling more cash. Therefore, would prefer going to a “no cash” operation as it would be safer with less problems. Our attendants are moving around the facility constantly. Mr. Dalessio agrees with moving toward a “no cash” system. It is not a good practice to have several people handling the cash. The reason they do not sell bags at the Recycling Center is to avoid conflicting with the stores that are selling for us. He would not promote it for long-term but perhaps they can give it a try. Ms. Mayberry agrees. This may not be successful. Mr. Hoy is willing to return the product if the Selectboard does not want to give it a try. Mr. Dalessio does not want to stifle Mr. Hoy’s creativity. Ms. Mayberry stated that recycling eventually leads people to environmentally safe products. It is not for personal gain. The benefit is to the Town. Mr. Dalessio suggested they give it a three-month trial but if it does not work, then everything should be shipped back.
Pending Further Actions:
Tax Deeded Property Sale: This will remain on the agenda list as a Pending Further Action item.
Houghton Brook Bridge: Mr. Dalessio reported that they will have the estimate next week for the next phase which is the design and permitting. Fuss & O’Neill feels it will fall within the $500,000 budget.
Mill Pond Dam Inspection: The Department of Environmental Services (DES) expects to inspect the dam in 2021. Mr. Dalessio feels they will have to do the same type of study they did on the Reservoir Dam. They will get a Letter of Deficiency and then begin to address a plan.
Reservoir Dam: Mr. Dalessio advised that the Department of Environmental Services (DES) has the package from Fuss & O’Neill. All indications are that it is being considered a High Hazard Dam. It will require a significant amount of work. Fuss & O’Neill will have to look at all the options. That should happen in the next three-to-four weeks. DES requested they move the dam inspection up from 2022 to 2021. A significant amount of work has already been done at this dam. They expect to receive a smaller letter of deficiencies.
Brownfields Project: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that they are now out for bid for the Brownfields clean-up project. It is expected that on April 12th the interested contractors will walk the site. The old maple tree at the edge of the clean-up area is in bad shape. It is leaning toward two abutters’ houses. They had it evaluated this week. There is fungus and mold and has holes where animals are living. It will be removed within two weeks so that it will not hinder the project.
MS-232: Mr. Dalessio moved to approve and sign the MS-232, Report of Appropriations Actually Voted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, motion was approved.
Walpole Water Department Emergency Plan Guide: There was a consensus of the Selectboard to go into the office to sign the Walpole Water Department Emergency Plan Guide.
Executive Councilor Invite to Meet: Cinde Warmington, District 2 Executive Councilor, would like to take a walk in the Town with the Selectboard and see local sites of interest. Mr. Dalessio suggested scheduling the walk in May or June. We should also advise that our Broadband project is almost complete. Mrs. Downing will respond to the request.
Citizen’s Report Form re: Old Town Garage Property: Ms. Mayberry reported that a citizen requested a sign for dog owners to pick up after their dogs by the Old Town Garage. Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Walpole Foundation put up the signs on the Common and provide all the bags. They are used a great deal. Mr. Dalessio mentioned they get a lot of requests for signs. If they put one by the Old Town Garage, there are also other locations such as the Drewsville Common. He is not opposed to the signs but it should apply to North Walpole and Drewsville as well. It would set a precedent. Ms. Mayberry asked Mrs. Downing to reply, provide some history on these signs and the Foundation’s donation of the signs and bags at the Common.
Fall Mountain Regional School District: Mrs. Pschirrer had a request from Mr. Kraig Harlow, Recreation Director, who had a request from the FMRSD to use the Whitcomb Park for a prom on May 15th. They would like to put up a tent from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. They want access to the bathrooms in the pool house and use the electricity. About 200 people are expected. Mr. Kraig Harlow would like to give them an answer. He asked why they are not using some of the fields around the FM High School. They did not have a response for him. Ms. Mayberry said the Superintendent was also not aware of why they do not want to use the High School fields. Mrs. Pschirrer would want it to be well chaperoned. They would have to set-up and clean-up. Mr. Dalessio mentioned the Planning Board is asking the Selectboard about having an in-person meeting rather than a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 13th as they expect a large turn-out. Do they open up the Town Hall again for meetings? There was discussion about wearing masks and keeping appropriate distances. Mrs. Pschirrer recommended they do some research on what is happening state-wide and make a decision next week. Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry agreed.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:
Mr. Dalessio moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard session pursuant to RSA91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel and (c) Reputations. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 8:35 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 9:05 PM.
Mr. Dalessio moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of March 25, 2021, will be sealed. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
Mr. Dalessio moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion. There was none. On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the meeting adjourned at 9:08 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary