Present: Chair Jeff Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Clerk Jason Perron, Board Member Joanna Andros, Select Board Representative Steve Dalessio. Facilitator was Southwest Regional Planning Commission senior planner Lisa Murphy.
The purpose of the workshop was to continue updating the Master Plan and the topic of the night was the section titled Land Use Analysis and Plan. The process was to find things in the current document that were no longer applicable and add new items that were. Also, Ms Murphy highlighted some sections she wanted to discuss at the meeting.
Ms. Murphy brought along with her three colored maps and the text of the Land Use Analysis and Plan section of the Walpole Master Plan. It was a draft of what the 2022 section may look like when voted on by the Planning Board next year. The three maps were created using assessor’s information.
The maps were titled Development Constraints Map, Land Use Map and Zoning Map. These maps are new to this section of the Master Plan and will be sprinkled through the text where applicable. The Development Constraints included places where building would not be allowed or be hard to build on. This map included areas of one percent chance of flooding, conservation land, national wetland inventory, stratified drift aquifer, etc. The Land Use Map included various types of residential areas from one-family residential to four-family residential units, and also Exempt (Municipal), Exempt (State), Farm Land, Current Use, etc. The farm land examples showed land that was cultivated for growing crops, but did not include dairy farms or farms that raised other types of animals besides cows so it was asked that those types of farms be included on the map.
On page 1 there was a section that Ms. Murphy suggested be deleted. It was a general statement about implementing and administering land use regulations because, she wrote, it was discussed in the population and housing section of the Master Plan.
On page 3 was a new map illustrating land features: open water, open space, deciduous forests and evergreen forests, pasture/hay fields, cultivated land, etc. Attending board members liked the addition of the maps and also liked the graphs that showed comparisons between decade-plus years of 2010 and 2022. Mr. Perron suggested putting a date on the maps so future changes would be more noticeable when they happened.
Ms. Murphy said that commission has already received census information on population and housing and expect further information to be released in spring 2022.
Land Use Determinants include soils, rivers, transportation systems and topography. Mr. Perron asked about the sentence that Walpole has “some of the best agricultural soils, perhaps in the entire country.” Is that true? Mr. Perron asked. Ms. Andros said she was talking to John Yanizan, owner of Pete’s Stand, and he said the soil is almost black in farmland along the river and has a mixture of good soil and a high water table. You never have to irrigate it, Ms. Andros said.
Mr. Marcom asked about methodology of determining the accuracy of the facts in the document. In the previous document the methodology says “This information was developed by calculating acreages according to the following guidelines: residential uses are allocated one acre for each single family home and one-half acre for each multi-family structure, except in the Village area and in North Walpole, where a single-family home represents only half an acre, due to the density of development and the prevalence of smaller lot sizes; for home occupations, one acre is allotted for the residence (except, again, in the Village or North Walpole) and one-half acre for business; and in other cases, primarily the commercial and industrial uses estimates were developed as to how much of a parcel in question was devoted to certain uses. The acreage accounted for by roads is calculated using the mileage of the roads and the right-of-way width allocated to each class of road, based upon standards of the NH Department of Transportation.” Ms. Murphy said it was the same as methodology that was used in the previous document and that’s kind of a standard usage.
In the chart on page 9, someone suggested using the word valuation in the last box of the graph instead of total taxable areas.
Ms. Murphy liked the inclusion of broadband in the document and Mr. Dalessio commented that the town had already addressed and completed that project. She also liked the comments on home-based businesses, which are becoming more popular and necessary in this time of Covid.
A couple of suggestions were to:
Make sure North Walpole is mentioned in the Industrial Development section.
Delete the statement that a commercial indoor batting cage existed.
Add a pickleball court to the list of recreation sports items at the recreation park.
Ms. Murphy suggested that the section on Goals and Objectives be added to the new Implementation Plan section. Mr. Miller agreed and said he would bring it up to the board at its regular November meeting.
Mr. Miller and Ms. Murphy agreed on January 25, 2022 for another workshop meeting. Ms. Murphy will have incorporated the changes and deletions talked about at the meeting and have a new draft. The Planning Board will have incorporated the goals and objectives to the Implementation Plan. These were only a few of the things the participants discussed. Everyone participated and it was a very productive meeting.
cc: WPB, ZBA, Town Offices, The Walpolean.
Posted: Inside Town Offices, on the bulletin board outside the Post Office, www.walpolenh.us