Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 10/11/22

Present: Chair Jeff Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Clerk Jason Miller, Jeff Harrington, Joanna Andros, Selectboard Representative Steve Dalessio, Alternate Trevor MacLachlan. Absent: Board member Bill Carmody and alternate Travis Adams. Mr. MacLachlan was asked and agreed to sit in for Mr. Carmody. Also at the meeting was Ray Boas, editor of The Walpole Clarion.

Recording: Secretary Marilou Blaine. This meeting was recorded. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the November 2022 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

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

Minutes:  Mr. Marcom moved to approve the minutes of the September 2022 meeting as written. Mr. Perron seconded the motion and the motion carried with an abstention from Mr. Dalessio because he was not at the September meeting.

New Business:

Fieldstone Land Consultants will present a conceptual plan for a Dunkin next to General Dollar. Chuck Ritchie will be here to explain their plans.

Civil Engineer Nate Chamberlain of Fieldstone Land Consultants was at the meeting to explain the plans for a 2,000 square-foot Dunkin Donut, which would be located on the lot south of General Dollar on Route 12. Mr. Chamberlain pointed out the locations of Red Barn Lane and Dollar General and what he called condominium lots to the east. Mr. Miller said those aren’t condominium lots and he wasn’t sure how the lot got that title. It’s just a separate lot, he said.

Mr. Chamberlain continued that the proposal is to put a Dunkin Donuts on this lot and customers would come in from Route 12, drive around a parking lot and the building to the drive-thru, which is on the north side of the building. The driveway around the building and parking lot is three lanes wide and there is plenty of queue space around the building for cars, which would also exit on Route 12, he said. He pointed out the drain for storm water. 

Regarding the pumping station next to the pond, Mr. Chamberlain said engineers are reworking the area around the easement for the pumping station.

Mr. Miller asked if there were any questions. 

Where is the proposed boundary line for the lot? Mr. Dalessio asked. Is it just at the end of the pond?  

Mr. Chamberlain said yes it is at the edge of the pond. Mr. Dalessio then asked how much green space is left on that lot? Mr. Chamberlain estimated it to be about 30 percent. Mr. Dalessio there needs to be 30 percent of the property in green space. Mr. Chamberlain said he thinks there definitely is that amount. Does that have to be noted on the final plan? he asked. Mr. Dalessio said yes. He also asked if there would garden plants there and Mr. Chamberlain said yes.

Mr. Chamberlain pointed out where the dumpster would be saying a front loader dumpster would come in and pick it up. Can the front loader get around the cars and things in the driveway? a board member asked. Mr. Chamberlain said yes but the dumpster probably would not be picked up during peak times of traffic.

Mr Chamberlain said traffic for Dunkin would enter and exit from Route 12 as well as from Red Barn Lane. Mr. Miller asked why can’t all the traffic be from Red Barn Lane instead of having another cut from Route 12. You run into the same problem as the board had before at the other place. You have good cut now, why not simplify it and use that?  Mr. Chamberlain said he will take that information back to the developer. Mr. Miller continued that if you have people coming in and out of Red Barn Lane and then there’s Pete’s Stand, which is seasonal but still brings in a good amount of traffic, it’s going to be a nightmare. It’s the same thing the state approved before but with cars going into Shaw’s and across the street to Walgreens, it created a safety situation. 

You mentioned a previous location, Mr. Chamberlain said. Where was it? Mr. Miller responded it was up by Shaw’s. 

Mr. Chamberlain said the drawback with only using Red Barn Lane is that you are not going to have two lanes. Mr. Dalessio said he would agree with Mr. Miller that the distance between the two cuts (Red Barn Lane and Dunkin) is not very large. It’s also the highest accident area in the space below the top of the hill. Mr. Miller said the cars are coming down the hill and then right across the street someone pulls out, referring to someone pulling out from Pete’s Farm Stand. It’s seasonal, but it gets a lot of traffic, a lot of people use it, he said. You have to simplify it.

Mr. Marcom said the other place was turned down because of the safety issues of people coming out onto Route 12. Mr. Dalessio said the preferred exit for the previous proposal was from North Meadow Plaza. And then everyone on the board began talking about the problems they had before with the previous Dunkin proposal.

Ms. Andros went up to Chamberlain’s display and wanted to know where the up road went. He explained that was the road out to Red Barn Lane. The land abutting this land to the east is where they are currently building storage units.

Mr. Miller asked whether the Dunkin franchise in Jiffy Mart is owned by the same developer. Mr. Chamberlain didn’t know but said he would have to check on that. Mr. Miller thought it was the previous management as did Mr. Boas. It’s the same situation as last time only the last problem was at the top of the hill and now it’s at the bottom, Mr. Boas said. The state regulates that highway and NHDOT gave an approval for that cut and also recommended multiple lanes, which the developer was willing to do, Mr. Harrington said. The problem, Mr. Miller said, is that the state regulates the highway and takes into consideration certain criteria and safety concerns but doesn’t take into consideration how local people experience driving here. 

Mr. Miller asked about a time frame. Are you ready for a public hearing next month? Mr. Chamberlain didn’t think so. So it was decided that at the November meeting, which will be on the second floor because of the election, Fieldstone Land Consultants will present the final site plan application and ask for a public hearing in December. Mr. Chamberlain agreed to that. 

Mr. MacLachlan said at that time he’d also like to see elevations of the building as well. Mr. Chamberlain said okay.

October workshop

Mr. Miller proposed having a workshop meeting this month to talk about size of lots. He referred to a letter by an abutter of land on County Road that was being subdivided in June. The letter said, “While zoning for the town’s “outlier” areas remains “rural/agricultural”, future development will be residential most certainly. Statistically, farms and farm land are dwindling and residential development of these lands is cause for concern and will require carefully thought and planning. Nobody wishes to thwart the development of these lands, but to avoid the kind of gerrymandering of lots that was on display last evening, I would urge you and Board to implement simple, common sense residential zoning for areas currently zoned “rural/agricultural.”

So on Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Planning Board will have a workshop meeting in the basement conference room starting at 7 pm.

Fees for abutters increase? The cost of sending certified letters has recently jumped to $7.85. Currently the rate to send abutter letters is $8. Should the Planning Board raise its rates?  

After a short discussion it was decided that the fee for abutter certified/return receipt letters will be the exact cost of what USPS specifies at time a letter is sent. The fees of all land-use applications will be displayed on the town website and soon placed in the hallway of the Town Hall soon.

Mr. Marcom made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Perron seconded the motion and the motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

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