Zoning Board Meeting Minutes – 7/21/21

Roll Call: Present: Chair Jan Leclerc, Vice-Chair Myra Mansouri, Clerk Tom Murray, Board Member Pauline Barnes. Absent: Board Member Ernie Vose, Alternates Don Sellarole, Judy Trow and Dave Edkins.

Minutes: Recording Marilou Blaine. This meeting was recorded. These minutes are unapproved and will be approved at the August 2021 meeting for correction, additions and/or omissions.

Meeting Opened:  Chair Jan Leclerc called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.

Minutes: Ms Barnes had four corrections. At the bottom of page one, last sentence Ms. Barnes said she did not say this and couldn’t remember who did say it. It was changed to “a Board member said.’ The word “breaks” should be changed to “brakes” in two places – page two last paragraph and page 3, third sentence. On page 4, sixth paragraph Ms. Barnes said she was comparing the ordinances in Conway and Walpole concluding that both towns had permissive ordinances, but that wasn’t what was conveyed in the minutes. It was decided to strike the last eight lines from that paragraph.

Old Business:

Mark Stevens, Watkins Hill Road, former home of John and Peggy Stevens, salvaging and/or demolition.

Six months ago it was voted by the ZBA Board that Mr. Stevens could have six more months to get rid of everything in the house, as well as demolish it. The house has been vacant for 10 years and he has built another one on the property. Zoning ordinance allows only one dwelling on a lot. Last week he sent an email to the Board asking for another extension and a spot on the Board’s July meeting agenda.

 He wrote “I regret to say that we won’t be able to meet the July 20 deadline for demolition of my parents’ house. An expert friend and I have put in three solid months, at least 35 hours a week apiece, on the job of stripping the surfaces down to the salvageable materials. We wrapped up that work a few days ago (leaving only the roof shingles in place to keep out the rain). Our hope now is to find someone who would disassemble the entire standing structure. People have been coming to look it over for three weeks now, but we haven’t yet gotten an offer, so this week we’ll put an ad up on Craigslist. I hope the board will appreciate that we’ve done our best, though it’s certainly taken longer than anyone anticipated.“

Mr. Stevens said the home was built in 1774. It is a cape-style house and later a barn – either built in 1774 or shortly before – was added to the back of the house to make it larger. Stevens’ grandmother lived there and the John and Peggy Stevens family moved to that location when Mark Stevens was 15 years old. The family had been living in the Peter Kosen home on Alstead Center Road. Mr. Stevens sent three photographs of what he and his friend had accomplished. However, the photos showed an old post and beam house that had a lot of beams and boards that were in very good condition and might be worth something to someone. So now the thought is to try and find someone who would like to purchase the boards and if that’s not possible, the home will be demolished.

Mr. Stevens said he reached out to the person who did the work on removing the barn on North Main

Street but he wasn’t interested. Ms. Barnes suggested he contact NH Preservation Alliance saying that group may know someone who would be interested. He has contacted Chris Parker, who advertises in the Clarion, and that person is going to meet him this weekend. Ms. Mansouri said if that doesn’t work out then maybe he should put something in the classified section of local papers as well as The Hartford Courant.

Mr. Murray asked if he was still paying taxes on the place. Mr. Stevens said he was. Ms. Mansouri suggested he go to the Select Board and explain the situation so the taxes could be lower or removed since the house is now uninhabitable and no has been living there.

Ms. Leclerc asked if a time frame of one year from the meeting for removing the structure was suitable. Mr. Stevens said yes and Mr. Murray made a motion to extend the time frame for total removal of the former John and Peggy Stevens home on Watkins Hill Road for one year. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Ms. Mansouri made a motion to go into nonpublic session. Ms. Barnes seconded the motion and the motion passed. The Zoning Board went into nonpublic session at 7:20 pm. Ms. Mansouri voted to come out of nonpublic session at 7:40 pm. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Rooms and Meals Tax: Ms. Barnes said at the last meeting she was charged with looking up the status of House Bill No. 15 regarding collecting rooms and meals tax for internet transactions of short-term rentals and car rentals. She equated reading the bill to reading a foreign language so she contacted Lucy Weber, one of four representatives for District 2 in the NH Legislature. Ms. Weber helped her sort it out telling her that the bill has passed both houses of the legislature, but must go through the signing process before becoming law. The Secretary of State’s office is responsible for overseeing this process. It is now on the Speaker of the House’s desk who can sign it or not sign it. There is no time limit. If it’s signed, it then goes to the President of the Senate. That person may sign it or not sign it. If the bill is signed, it then goes to the governor who may sign it or not. If Mr. Chris Sununu doesn’t sign it or doesn’t veto it, the bill automatically becomes law after five days. Ms. Weber doesn’t know the governor’s intention but judging by the voting pattern in the legislature she said she thinks it has an even chance of becoming law.

Mr. Murray explained how renting cars worked, not from companies such as Avis or National, but from local people. He said there are apps for companies doing this and individuals sign up for these apps to rent their cars. It is the app company, not the individual, who is responsible for paying the tax to the state.

Webinar – Natch Greyes and Stephen Buckley

Ms. Barnes attended a Right to Know webinar attached as a webinar. Attendees were reminded that emails are government records. In a recent superior court case personal emails from a former board member were requested during the trial because they could contain board business that is pertinent to the case. The lawyers suggested it might be a good idea for boards to set up a separate email account solely for board business. 

Two ordinances to be placed on the warrant:

Last winter when boards were either canceling their meetings or meeting via zoom due to Covid, the Zoning Board voted to approve two ordinances that they want added to the signage section of the Walpole Ordinances document. The first of those ordinances was prompted by the Select Board. The ordinances are:

No. 1   Article lV

            D. Signs.

            3. Limitations

            Replace final paragraph with the following.

            Inflatable sings; wind-activated signs like feather flags; oscillating, rotating, flashing, neon or other tubular gas signs; or signs with blinking, changing or moving illumination are not permitted. These prohibitions do not apply to signs used for safety purposes by a government entity.

            No. 2. This is a new ordinance and will be Article No. IV General Provisions, D. Signs,  No. 9, and ordinance Special Exceptions will move to No. 10.

            Temporary Signs

            A temporary sign is any sign not permanently attached to the ground, a wall or a building that is intended to be displayed for a short to limited amount of time.

            Examples of temporary signs include announcement signs; real estate signs; community or civic event signs; political campaign signs pursuant to RSA 66d4; garage or yard signs or signs for other special events that occur for a limited period of time.

            All temporary signs shall be removed within ten (10) days following the event or activity being promoted.

Two or three board members will attend the August 10 Planning Board and request a public hearing in September for the two sign ordinances.

Ms. Barnes made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

ZBA secretary

Posted: Minutes posted inside Town Hall, on the bulletin board outside the post office, The Walpolean, www.walpolenh.us

cc: ZBA, WPB, Town Offices.

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