Select board Meeting Minutes – 1/17/19

Selectboard Present:  Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry.

 

CALL TO ORDER:  Mrs. Pschirrer called this Selectboard meeting to order at 6:52 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.

 

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II. Ms. Mayberry seconded the motion and, on a roll call vote with Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved at 6:54PM.

 

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:20 PM.

 

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE:

Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Accounts Payable check register in the amount of $1,152,699.80 for checks issued January 18, 2019.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved. The above amount includes December and January payments to the Fall Mountain Regional School District in the amount of $563,786.00 for each month. 

 

PAYROLL:

Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending January 11, 2019, in the amount of $25,595.30 for checks issued January 11, 2019, and the electronic fund transfer for the 941 Employer Taxes in the amount of $5,106.13. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer, and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

 

SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:

SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES – January 10, 2019: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of January 10, 2019 as submitted.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved.

 

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD MINUTES SESSIONS I and II – January 10, 2019:  Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Non-Public Minutes Sessions I and II of the Selectboard meeting of January 10, 2019 as submitted.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved. The minutes remain sealed.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

The Selectboard received and reviewed Minutes of the following meetings:       

 Library Board of Trustees Meeting – November 13, 2018;
 Library Board of Trustees Meeting – December 11, 2018;
 Library Board of Trustees Meeting – January 9, 2019; 
 North Walpole Village District Commissioners’ Meeting – January 3, 2019;
 North Walpole Village District Commissioners’ Meeting – January 8, 2019.

 

PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT:

MAP and LOT #030-041-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant a Property Tax Abatement for Map and Lot #030-041-000 for the amount of $18.24. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The abatement is a bookkeeping adjustment to clear the accounts.

MAP and LOT #029-030-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant a Property Tax Abatement for Map and Lot #029-030-000 for the amount of $20.50. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The abatement is a bookkeeping adjustment to clear the accounts.

 

MAP and LOT #030-068-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant a Property Tax Abatement for Map and Lot #030-068-000 for the amount of $19.74. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The abatement is a bookkeeping adjustment to clear the accounts.

 

MAP and LOT #028-035-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant a Property Tax Abatement for Map and Lot #028-035-000 for the amount of $11.02. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The abatement is a bookkeeping adjustment to clear the accounts.

 

VETERANS’ TAX CREDIT:

MAP and LOT #012-047-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant a Veterans’ Tax Credit for Map and Lot #012-047-000. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The applicant is applying for the Veterans’ Tax Credit for Total Disability. 

 

NOTICE OF INTENT TO CUT WOOD OR TIMBER:

MAP and LOT #005-057-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant the intent to cut wood for Map and Lot #005-057-000 with property accessed from Watkins Hill Road. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

Letter to North Walpole Village Commissioners: Mrs. Pschirrer asked if all members of the Selectboard had read the letter Mr. Dalessio sent to the North Walpole Village Commissioners requesting a meeting between the North Walpole Commissioners and the Walpole Selectboard. The purpose of the meeting would be to reach an agreement regarding a proposed option to shut off water to a large number of North Walpole property owners who have not paid their sewer bills. Ms. Mayberry asked if Mr. Dalessio had spoken with the Municipal Association; he replied that he had not talked to them but had spoken with the Public Utilities. The Public Utilities advised him that, because Walpole is not a public utility, the town has the option to proceed as it deems best. Mr. Dalessio further advised that the RSA’s for NH villages grant villages authority over water, fire, and zoning which validates the independence of North Walpole village from Walpole in these matters.  Ms. Mayberry pointed out that, because North Walpole does not own the sewer, the Walpole Selectboard would have to provide legal substantiation for turning off the water to property owners who have not paid their sewer bills. Mr. Dalessio agreed saying he would turn the matter over to Mr. Jeremy Hockensmith, Walpole’s attorney. Mr. Dalessio mentioned as an aside that the Town of Walpole does not own Walpole’s water; the Water District, which is separate and distinct from the town of Walpole, owns the water. However, the Town of Walpole does own the sewer. North Walpole, by contrast, has taken on the responsibility of ownership for the village’s water. Ms. Mayberry pointed out that, while it is within the Village’s right to shut off the water, to do so for non-payment of the sewer would be questionable. Everyone understands that the cumulative cost of not pay paying the sewer bill is going to be passed on to the other users of the sewer system.  Furthermore, whether Walpole and North Walpole reach a contractual agreement to shut off the water to those who have not paid their sewer bills or to take those non-payers to lien, the users of the system will bear the burden of the costs associated with either action. It is in everyone’s best interest to find the solution that will induce the non-payers to pay their sewer bills. Ms. Mayberry reported that the North Walpole Commissioners are not opposed to either option but want the legal basis for both options before proceeding per the advice of Margaret Byrnes, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Municipal Association (NHMA). Mrs. Pschirrer said Walpole’s Selectboard would send North Walpole commissioners a copy of Puc. 703.03 that provides guidance on the discontinuance of water service for nonpayment of sewer utility bills. Mr. Dalessio suggested that North Walpole could solicit input from both Ms. Byrne and Atty. Hockensmith’s re: Puc703.03. Mrs. Pschirrer read the Puc 703.03 aloud and then advised that an agreement be reached between Walpole and North Walpole on how to best collect the unpaid sewer bills. 

 

Cheney Hill LLC Settlement Agreement for Bureau of Tax and Land Appeals: Mrs. Pschirrer announced that the Northcotts had reached an agreement with Avitar. The Selectboard now needed to endorse the agreement. Once the Selectboard accepts the Settlement Agreement, Avitar will send the agreement to the taxpayer for their signature. After both parties have accepted the agreement, an abatement on the decreased value will proceed. Mrs. Downing explained that this agreement applies to the 2017 tax bill but also applies to the 2018 tax bill because the taxpayers had appealed their 2017 tax bill and paid their 2018 tax bill. Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Settlement Agreement for Cheney Hill LLC and to have Mrs. Pschirrer sign the agreement as Chair of the Selectboard. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.

 

Walpole, NH Hazard Mitigation Plan Update: Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Selectboard that it needed to sign the Hazard Mitigation Plan which has been adopted. Before doing so, a Public Hearing will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 6:30 PM. The Plan was sent out last year for people to review. 

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Avitar Letter re: Mailings for Data Verification: Mrs. Pschirrer read aloud a letter from Avitar that claimed property owners were not granting the tax assessors access to their properties. Property owners claim they have not received prior notification of Avitar’s visit. In addition, one Avitar employee had had an altercation with law enforcement and was told the visit to the property without prior notification was construed as civil trespass. As a result, Avitar is going to send out letters to all taxpayers notifying them of upcoming visits by Avitar’s field agents. The letters will raise costs for the town since all mailings are the responsibility of the town pursuant to the contract between Walpole and Avitar. Mrs. Downing asked if publication of the legal notice pertaining to Avitar’s data verified cycled inspections qualified as “prior authorization”. Mrs. Pschirrer suggested that Mrs. Downing ask Loren Michaels of Avitar Associates. The letter from Avitar also said they would be starting the mailings over the next few weeks. Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry mentioned that, in the past, Avitar had placed hangers on property owners’ doors but those hangers contained no identification about Avitar or that they had been hired by the town to conduct these inspections. Mrs. Pschirrer read aloud from Avitar’s letter that letters would be sent to individual taxpayers and, if the town does not hear from the taxpayer, the lack of response would be perceived as consent to continue with the process. Mrs. Pschirrer will review the town’s contract with Avitar to see what agreement was made regarding such notices. Avitar also said that a log of those opting out of the on-site assessments should be kept in the Town Hall offices and that field agents would consult with these logs before starting the inspection process. 

 

Correspondence: Mrs. Pschirrer acknowledged receipt of a thank you note from Fall Mountain Food Shelf.

RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:

Mr. Dalessio moved to recess this Selectboard meeting.  The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees.  Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 7:52.

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:13 PM.

 

OTHER BUSINESS:

Draft Application for U.S. EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant: Ms. Mayberry had reviewed the draft application and suggested that the word “stripe” on page 4 under Section 2.a.i. be changed to type. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that application would be going to the NJ Institute of Technology next, for their review. Ms. Mayberry also suggested that the average age of Walpole residents (i.e. 59.6) be added to the first sentence in section 2.1.ii. on page 4 instead of the Cheshire County median age of 52.7 since the CheshireCounty median age was irrelevant to the paragraph’s content re: Walpole’s need for funding.  

 

ADJOURNMENT:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 8:23 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Beth Colley, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore        

Public Hearing – 1/17/19

REGARDING PROPOSED BROWNFIELDS CLEANUP GRANT

For the Former Central Plating Site

Located at 12 Westminster St., Walpole, NH

January 17, 2019

 

Selectboard Present:  Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry

 

Public Present: Frederick Ernst, Karen Crowley, Tom Goins, Ellen Adams, David Adams, Raynie Laware, Alicia Flammia and Steven Rickerich

 

CALL TO ORDER: Mrs. Pschirrer called this Special Public Hearing to order at 6:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall to review the Proposed Brownfields Cleanup Grant. She advised the public that this Public Hearing was being recorded and asked anyone wishing to speak to identify themselves for the record by stating their name, where they lived in town, and what their interest was in the project. She advised the public that the EPA required this Public Hearing along with a sign-in sheet and minutes, both of which would be attached to the Grant application. Mrs. Pschirrer thanked the public for attending.

 

The following documents were available: 1) Draft Application for U.S. EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant; 2) Draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives – Preliminary Evaluation Central Plating Site, 12 Westminster Street, Walpole, New Hampshire, NH DES Site #199806071. 

 

Mrs. Pschirrer began this Public Hearing with a brief history of the project that started two years ago with a Public Hearing for RSA 41:14(a) which gives towns in NH the permission to buy, acquire or sell property. At that time, the Town had entered into negotiations with the Southwest Regional Planning Commission and Peter Adams, executor of the Westberg Estate. The Westberg property is the landlocked parcels designated as Map # 020-065 and 066 which are highly-contaminated. The Westberg family had wanted to give the property to the town. Instead, the Town bought the properties for $1.00 on January 3, 2019 having signed the Purchase & Sale Agreement on January 1, 2019. The Town proceeded promptly because the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted by Ransom Consulting, Inc., located in Portsmouth, NH, is time-limited. The report was completed in October 2018. If the town had not bought the property by January 3, 2019 and had waited until later in the month, portions of the report might have to be re-done. Rather than do that, the Town decided to buy the land on January 1st. The Town had been negotiating a Purchase & Sale Agreement with the Westberg family which included a $175,000 donation from the Westbergs that had been put into escrow and would be applied toward the cleanup and future environmental obligations associated with the property. Mrs. Pschirrer encouraged the public to read the above-referenced documents because comments by the public may be received by the Selectboard up to January 24, 2019 and included with the grant application.

 

After that, comments could not be included with the application because the grant is due January 31, 2019.   [Note that comments received after January 24th will also be responded to.]

 

After providing a brief history of the project, Mrs. Pschirrer asked for comments.

 

Mr. Steven Rickerich from Ransom Consulting, Inc. introduced some additional background into the record stating that the Town was applying for a US EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant. Because the potential value of the property and its re-sale is compromised due to the presence of contaminants; because the town is an eligible entity as a municipality; and because the people who live nearby are potentially affected by the property, the site is a good and deserving candidate for EPA Brownfields funding. That funding would cover most of the remediation costs. At the completion of the remediation, the site would then be better-positioned for re-development. Part of the grant requirements is that the Town sign an agreement with the US EPA stating that the Town agrees to adhere strictly to the rules and requirements of the grant. Some of the rules require that a certain percentage of the grant be spent on, or that diligent efforts be made on, procuring women-owned business enterprises or minority-owned businesses services, which the Federal government encourages. Mr. Rickerich went on to explain that the Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) which Ransom Consulting prepared is required by both the EPA and the NH DES and evaluates potential remedial options that could be used to bring the property back into compliance with State and Federal laws. He noted that the draft ABCA is available for the public’s review as well as the more detailed final report called the Remedial Action Plan which had been completed through the SWRPC Brownfields Assessment Grant program. Mr. Rickerich further advised that should the Town procure funding, a finalization process would be initiated in which a similar meeting would be held. 

 

Mr. Fred Ernst asked Mr. Rickerich about the timetable for the project. Mr. Rickerich explained that the timetable is a 3year grant period: the application is submitted on January 31, 2019; the awards are announced in late May/June 2019; and the money is then typically available in October. If the town is awarded the moneys, it would then need to initiate public outreach efforts that would inform the public of next steps to be taken, one of which would be to selection of a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) through a fair, open, and competitive process. The town is also planning to select a group of citizens who would constitute a Cleanup Task Force which would help guide the Town throughout the cleanup process. That Task Force could include members of the Town, such as those in attendance at this Public Hearing, as well as a representative from the SWRPC, the DES, and the EPA. Once a QEP is hired, the remedial action/ABCA plan would be finalized and a site specification plan would be developed which would guide the cleanup contractor in accordance with the specifications outlined in the ABCA. The process for selecting the future contractor would require the Town to initiate Requests For Proposals (RFP’s) and obtain statements of qualifications from potential cleanup contractors. All this would put the timetable at some time the summer 2020. Once the contractor is selected, the cleanup process should proceed fairly quickly. Based on prior experience, Mr. Rickerich estimated the total project should take approximately 24 months from the date of application to completion, leaving an additional twelve months as a contingency in the event of unforeseen circumstances.  The process and timeframe allows for the EPA and DES to review and comment on various materials, such as the site specifications, and each review cycle can take 30 days. Additional time also allows the public opportunity to give as much constructive input into the process as possible. 

 

Mrs. Pschirrer provided a summary of the Draft ABCA noting that Ms. Alicia Flammia of the Walpole Conservation Commission had reviewed it as well. The draft ABCA proposes that the building currently on-site be removed; in addition, the soils would be removed to a depth of up to 17 feet below grade from the site where the Plating business was located. All this would be done in accordance with OSHA requirements. Because the area is land-locked and located in the middle of the town’s businesses and residences, police would be on-hand to direct traffic and pedestrians. Once the contaminated soil was removed, clean soil would then be brought in. During the soil removal, the soil would continue to be tested because of its high contamination levels. 

 

Mr. Rickerich explained that chromium was the primary contaminant left by the Plating works, and that hexavalent chrome is a recognized carcinogen. In addition, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are present at the property in site groundwater and soils.  PFAS were used by the Plating company to reduce workers’ exposure to chromium fumes that emanated from the chrome plating bath. Fume suppression was required by the EPA to human reduce exposure risk and airborne emissions. 

 

Mrs. Pschirrer explained that the Town was applying for the maximum allowable amount available through the EPA Grant which is $500,000. The Town has also applied to the DES which has communicated that, should the town be approved for the $500,000 EPA grant, it would award the town $100,000. The total cost for the cleanup project will be $730,000.  A portion of the cost will be covered by some of the Westberg Estate’s donation that is being held in escrow by the Town’s attorney. In addition, the Town is writing a petition to the EPA asking the agency to waive a $100,000 required match. Ms. Alicia Flammia asked if the DES money could be used to meet that required match. Mrs. Pschirrer said it could not. Mr. Rickerich explained that the EPA looks favorably upon applications that secure other funds like the $100,000 DES grant, and the $175,000 in escrow as leveraged funds for the remediation and redevelopment project. He also said that services provided by the Town such as the Police and Town Administrator could be used to meet the matching fund requirement. However, Mrs. Pschirrer believes the EPA should waive that requirement because Walpole is 1) the oldest town (age of residents) in Cheshire County with many residents living on fixed retirement incomes and 2) is facing two potentially expensive infrastructure challenges (i.e. the Dam that was part of the recent Hazard Remediation Plan and is currently under re-construction and the aging sewer system that runs under the Vilas Bridge and will need to be re-piped and re-routed).

 

Mr. Dalessio asked if the EPA would assign a Project Officer who could object to efforts proposed for the re-development phase. Ms. Alicia Flammia answered that the grant’s primary focus is remediating the contaminants. Mr. Rickerich agreed adding that, while the re-development phase is an important part ofthe grant application, removing the contaminants and reducing exposure risk is the EPA’s primary concern, which makes the redevelopment, afterwards, possible.

 

Mr. David Adams, an abutter to the project site, stated he and his wife had written many letters to the EPA in the past re: chemical fumes emanating from the Plating company. As a result of those experiences with chemical fumes, he wondered if there would be any airborne hazards emanating from the project site once the soils are disturbed? Mr. Rickerich answered that, as part of the remediation, the contractor will be required to conduct real-time air sampling and perimeter monitoring as well as adhere to all OSHA requirements for his employees. The contaminants that are currently on-site are not volatile. Mr. Adams concern has to do with airborne dust. During excavation, the contractor will be required to place dust-control measures in place to reduce exposure to the metals that cling to dust particles and become airborne. Mr. Rickerich explained that there are acute exposures and chronic exposures and that the exposure standards used during the work consider a workers’ exposure over the course of 8 hours/day for 50 weeks/year over many years. The standards set at the perimeters of the project, as opposed to the center of the project, are even more stringent than the standards used for workers exposed over considerable periods of time; and by contrast, the abutters’ potential exposure may occur for a 2week period. Ms. Flammia added that the contractor would need to ensure that the chemicals or metals withinthe dust stay on-site by using dust-suppression measures. Mr. Rickerich stated they had advanced borings on the site and that the soil is not particularly fine-grained; it is a silty-sand but not the kind that disperses in a quick blast of air. If the soil were to sit in dry air for a prolonged period, the contractor might need to mist it or apply a chloride salt to keep dust on-site. In addition, as part of any Health & Safety Plan required of a cleanup contractor, exclusion zones would be established where there are the most stringent requirements as to who would be allowed to enter and what safety measures were required; beyond this zone would be a contaminant-reduction zone where workers might be exposed to lower concentrations of contaminants and with less stringent safety requirements. Mr. Fred Ernst asked how far these zones would extend beyond the site’s boundaries? Mr. Rickerich responded saying both zones would be right on the remediation site so that potential exposure risk at the property boundary was mitigated to acceptable levels and there would be little to no exposure. The contractor will need to control not only dust, but also stormwater runoff from the site as well.

 

Mr. Fred Ernst asked who would be responsible for monitoring these risk exposures. Mr. Rickerich said the engineer/Qualified Environmental Professional will be overseeing the contractor’s work to ensure that all safety measures are followed. 

 

Mr. Adams asked that, as a property abutter, was there anything they needed to do to prepare for the project? Mr. Rickerich said he did not think so. Mrs. Pschirrer, however, asked Mr. and Mrs. Adams to sit on the Cleanup Task Force so that they could be kept apprised of all ongoing efforts at the project site. Mr. Rickerich encouraged all citizens to become engaged with the project and to be vocal with any and all concerns especially if anything looked amiss. Mrs. Pschirrer added that, in addition to Mr. and Mrs. Adams, other neighbors of the site would be asked to serve on the Task Force as well as Ms. Raynie Laware as a representative of the Walpole Foundation. 

 

Ms. Raynie Laware and Ms. Karen Crowley, both of whom work for the Walpole Foundation, distributed a statement they had prepared in support of the project. In the statement, they maintained that the Walpole Foundation had nine properties in the Village, three of which border the project site. Eleven residential units were located in those properties with twelve people living in them. The Foundation wants the site cleaned up for the health and safety of those tenants. Ms. Raynie Laware also submitted for the record a copy of a 2001 Eagle Times article that described the contamination from Central Plating that was clogging up the wastewater treatment plant in Bellows Falls. She stated that the article lent further validation of the Foundation’s concern for its tenants’ health. In addition to the health risks posed by the property, Ms. Laware stated that the Foundation endorsed the proposal outlined in the re-development phase to build more parking for the Town on the remediated site. 

 

Mr. Tom Goins, managing partner of Burdick’s Restaurant, the Walpole Grocery Store, and the building these businesses are located in, expressed his support for the project, particularly the proposal made in the re-development phase to build a new parking lot at the remediated site. Mr. Goins explained that he has 35-45 employees who work at the restaurant and grocery store. Finding safe parking for many of them has been a challenge. In addition, the building has four residential tenants which he provides parking for plus commercial tenants on the second floor who need parking. Currently, Mr. Goins parks in the lot beside the Mascoma Bank which the town leases, but an additional forty parking spaces located at the project site would be a great value to him and the safety of his employees. Furthermore, reducing the parking pressures currently exerted on Westminster and Main Streets would vastly improve the safety of residents, employees, and visitors. 

 

Mr. Fred Ernst, neighbor to the project site and President of the Library, also voiced support for the redevelopment phase of the project stating that the parking spaces that would be built on the remediated site would be a benefit to the Library since it currently has no parking for its patrons or employees. In addition, Mr. Ernst said that, as a neighbor of the project site, he is particularly interested in monitoring how well the contractors, workers, and consultants manage the project. 

 

Mr. David Adams asked, as a Fire Commissioner, if there would be any involvement of the Fire Department in the cleanup. Mrs. Pschirrer replied that the Fire Department’s involvement had not been discussed as yet. Mr. Rickerich added that none of the contaminants were flammable; however, the Fire Department’s experience coordinating response efforts in the case of emergencies could, in the unlikely event of an emergency, be helpful. Mrs. Pschirrer asserted that if the town is awarded the grant, a system of communications between various town departments, project workers and town residents would be established. 

 

Mr. Fred Ernst then asked if the Town would re-apply for the grant next year if it were not awarded this year. Mrs. Pschirrer affirmed that the town would apply for the grant again next year. The EPA, however, has already invested money in the site through the existing Brownfields program. Mrs. Pschirrer said that an additional $150,000 had already been spent from other sources: $70,000 had been provided by the Walpole Foundation, which covered the funding for the first round of soil tests, and $78,000 was from the Southwest Regional Planning Commission. In addition, the DES paid for the last round of testing that had measured PFAS’ levels on the site.

 

Ms. Alicia Flammia asked if the costs associated with groundwater monitoring had been included in the total cleanup costs of the ABCA application. Mr. Rickerich replied that, since the ABCA was written from the perspective of cleanup costs. The $730,000 did not include long-term monitoring costs. However, a 15% margin had been added to the soil volume calculation and a buffer had been added to the total dollars to cover “worst reasonable cases” which, arguably, could cover some of the future groundwater monitoring costs if more favorable outcomes were realized – although neither the DES nor EPA grant monies (nor the required match) could be used for long-term groundwater quality monitoring. Mr. Dalessio added that a provision in the Purchase & Sales Agreement had earmarked any remaining moneys from the Westberg donation as funds for long-term monitoring. Ms. Flammia asked Mr. Dalessio if he thought there would be any funds remaining and, if not, how the town would fund long-term monitoring, for what period of time, and whether monitoring and analysis would be viable for PFAS. Mr. Rickerich answered that there was currently no PFAS remediation slated for the area where the teflon tank had been located, other than surface soils, because the State currently had no standard for PFAS in soils. The “worst reasonable case” scenario did include an allotment of another 100 tons of soil for PFAS disposal and an additional $50,000 for delineating the soil impact area before it was removed. In addition to those sums, Mrs. Pschirrer noted that, in the waiver of matching funds petition, she had designated any funds remaining from the Westberg escrow for long-term monitoring. Mr. Rickerich added that, in answer to Ms. Alicia Flammia’s question about length of time needed to conduct long-term monitoring, the way to determine this was to first implement the remedial measures and then gather data on how quickly the groundwater contamination attenuated because, once the source of contamination was removed, the contaminant attenuation rates should increase, and the time to reach groundwater standards should decrease. After this data had been collected for a period of years, a trend would emerge which would permit the town to project the length of time needed to monitor contaminants. 

 

Mr. Adams asked if the Federal government’s shutdown would put a delay on the project. Mrs. Pschirrer said that was unknown. Ms. Flammia said her company was assuming that all grant deadlines were on track and that the submittal dates remained in effect. However, the EPA shut-down has caused all active work projects to come to a halt and EPA reviews of all other documents, like site specification plans, had been suspended.

 

Mrs. Ellen Adams asked if the groundwater flow from the site would carry contaminants onto their property. Mr. Rickerich stated that, because the groundwater flow on the site was toward the Connecticut River, it was unlikely that contaminants would enter their property from groundwater flow. Furthermore, a number of monitoring wells had been placed by Jake’s gas station and a number of other wells had been placed off-site. He then explained how groundwater flow was calculated and that, based on those calculations, and the distribution of dissolved contaminants Ransom Consulting had inferred the likely extent of downgradient impacts. 

 

Mrs. Pschirrer stated that if there were no further questions, the meeting would be adjourned. She encouraged all members of the public to submit any written comments about the cleanup project to the Selectboard by January 24, 2019. The Selectboard would answer all written questions and concerns. Ms. Alicia Flammia said she had reviewed the ABCA application and that she would send her comments to Mrs. Pschirrer and to Mr. Rickerich. Mrs. Pschirrer thanked all the people for their time and interest. 

Seven members of the public and two town employees were in attendance.

ADJOURNMENT: Mrs. Pschirrer adjourned this Special Public Hearing at 6:52 PM. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Beth Colley, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore

 

Planning Board Workshop Meeting – 1/22/19

Present: Planning Board members: Vice-Chair Robert Miller, Selectboard Representative Steve Dalessio, Jason Perron, James Aldrich, Joanna Andros, Jeff Colley, Jeff White. Zoning Board members: Jan Galloway Leclerc and Pauline Barnes.

 

Mr. Dalessio started the meeting by saying he came away from the last solar workshop meeting understanding that guidelines for residential installations would be addressed by adding them to the building permit and the commercial installation guidelines would be included in a new section on solar installations in the Site Review Plan.

 

He thought it was the best way to handle the situation since writing an ordinance could take a year or possible two and wouldn’t be ready until 2020 or 2021. It would also have to be vetted by town counsel. Mr. Dalessio also thought the best way to handle size of residential installations was to tie them into the square footage of the home. He later added it could also be proof of the yearly use of electricity. This process would also mean it would be reviewed by the Planning Board and need not be a warrant article at this time.

 

Solar installations for residences in the village would be a little more difficult because of the size of the non-conforming lots and the closeness of buildings. 

 

Not everybody agreed that the November workshop meeting set a definitive path for solar installation guidelines. 

 

Ms. Andros said she came away from meeting feeling that we had a lot to more to discuss and a lot of possible concerns were raised at that meeting – for example, what to do in the village with historic home. She said it’s imperative we have a solar ordinance because solar installations are becoming more and more popular. There are now also so many ways it is being used, for example community solar.

 

She mentioned that she had recently read in The Sentinel that the city of Keene is doing a one-year study to have the city run on renewable energy by 2030.

 

Mr. Perron said several times throughout the meeting that the NHSEA Model Solar Zoning Ordinance, prepared by the NH Municipal Association, covered everything that an ordinance needed to have in it. Some of the information in the document did not fit the town of Walpole, but that could simply be removed. For example, in the chart on page 12, which matches zoning district with types of solar installations, industrial solar refers to a use of land that consists of one or more free-standing, groundmounted solar collections systems regardless of nameplate capacity that is between 25 and 50 acres in solar land coverage. That is virtually impossible in Walpole.

 

Ms. Barnes said there are so many things to consider for regulations. For example, one topic for discussion could be about glare and refraction. Then there are buffers and screening. What kind of buffers are best for protecting a neighbor from looking straight into a solar panel from a living room window? Then, of course, you have to have setbacks. And maybe a solar easement. One thing she had never considered before was if a homeowner had solar panels in his/her yard and a neighbor constructed a building that blocked the sun from falling on his neighbor’s solar panels. What do you do then?

 

Mr. Colley asked about incorporating the new guidelines around the Master Plan. Mr. Dalessio didn’t think that was a good idea. He said it would be better to modify the site plan, he said.

Ms. Andros suggested that a solar ordinance could be written by looking at each zoning district. Several people were in favor of that approach. 

 

But what would you do if there were an apartment building in a residential zone and the owner wanted to put solar panels on the property. Is it a commercial building in the Residential zone? Does it follow residential building guidelines or does it need to go before the Planning Board for a Site Plan Review.

 

Mr. Perron came back to the NH Solar Model and reiterated that we could model our ordinance by taking guidelines from that document. And he said that since it came from the NH Municipal Association, it would probably have been already vetted.

 

After an hour of back and forth this is what was decided.

 

Right now Mr. Dalessio would write guidelines into the building permit for residential installations. It may be in the form of a checklist. The criteria for number of panels would either be the square footage of the home or the total yearly electric bill. 

 

Mr. Colley and Ms. Andros would tackle the commercial guidelines by adding a section to the Site Plan Review that would only be for commercial solar installations. 

 

At the next workshop in February, people attending the workshop would look over the drafts of each document and make comments, changes, adding things and coming up with two final documents, both of which would be reviewed by the Planning Board.

 

At the same time, a small group will be working on a solar ordinance for the town. That group has yet to be determined. The Public is welcome to be part of the group.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

 

An Invitation

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Winter 😊

No need to look here for information. Peek outside you window! – Lil

Soon-to-be Vacancy on the Planning Board

Thank you to Robert Miller for his years of service and thank you in advance for those willing to seek the position. – Lil

After 24 years and 8 terms with the Walpole Planning Board, Vice-Chair Robert Miller will not seek re-election.

Mr. Miller said it had been a pleasure and honor to serve. Anyone interested in being a member of the Planning Board should see Town Clerk Sandy Smith during the filing period from January 23 to February 1.

Zoning Board Meeting Minutes – 1/16/19

Present: Board Members: Chair Myra Mansouri, Vice-chair Jan Galloway Leclerc, Judy Trow, Tom Murray, Pauline Barnes. Alternate: Don Sellarole. Absent: Bob Anderson. 

 

Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the regular February 2019 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

 

Roll Call: Ms. Mansouri called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm. Since a full Board was present, an alternate was not needed to fill in.

 

Minutes: Ms. Trow made a motion to act the minutes as presented. Ms. Leclerc seconded the motion and the motion passed.

 

Old Business: Review of the two forms regarding Special Exceptions in a rural/agricultural area:

 

The Board spent most of the meeting on two new forms for a Special Exception in a Rural/Agricultural zone. One form, the Application For A Special Exception in the Rural/Agricultural Zone that an applicant must fill out for the Zoning Board of Adjustment, was taken from a previous form. The other form, the Application for a Public Hearing to Receive a Recommendation for Special Exception in the Rural/Agricultural zone, is a new form and is an appeal to the Planning Board for a recommendation to the ZBA.

 

The Board worked on clarifying the verbiage in both forms. The Board added:
The criteria an applicant is required to fill out for granting a Special Exception. This is different on each form.

What is expected of an applicant when applying for a Special Exception.

Definition of abutter.

Article number and Section of the Special Exception criteria Zoning Ordinance.

Clarifications on the actual application. Example: Width at building line now says Width of lot at Building Line. Area is now Lot Size.

 

Please download the attachments for the new forms and make any corrections you think necessary. They will be discussed at the February meeting.

 

Master Plan Update: The Board received an update of the proposed sections of the Master Plan that will be worked on if the Town agrees on the budget to work on the Master Plan at Town Meeting. The budgeted amount for the Master Plan will go to Southwest Regional Planning Commission for the work that Planner Lisa Murphy does with the Board or the group working on updating the Master Plan. Ms. Murphy chose three sections to work on.

 

Population and Housing: Ms. Murphy will provide statistics of demographic information that is critical to know for many applications such as grants, and other opportunities. Where possible, Ms. Murphy will show historical trends with the data that is available.  She believes this is an important component of planning that should be kept current. She does not recommend waiting until the 2020 census because the results typically take a few years to be released.

 

Implementation Chapter: This is a look at the goals, objectives and strategies of each chapter.

Transportation Chapter: This chapter would be done at no cost to the Town if the Board does the updating of the other two chapters. This will include traffic counts and turning movement counts at locations selected by the Town at no charge.

Ms. Barnes was curious to know why the Population Chapter was going to be done before the census thinking it would be better to work with current information. 

Also, she thought the Planning Board originally said it wanted to work on the Land Use Analysis section.

New Business:

Joanna Andros, an alternate on the Planning Board, was at the meeting to encourage Zoning Board members to attend the workshop on January 22, at 7 pm to discuss a solar ordinance. She said that the state is encouraging more towns to have solar ordinances. She believes there has been an increase in solar installations in the town.  She is in favor of solar installations because they lessen the reliance on fossil fuels.

 

Andros said that what is important from a residential perspective is that an abutter’s view should be considered. There should also be Planning Board consideration of large solar installations for a commercial enterprises.

 

The secretary mentioned two recent inquiries for solar farms. Ms. Leclerc said the state does not permit solar farms, at least at his time.  When she wanted to install panels at her farm, the state required proof of how much electricity every building on the farm used. “We were only allowed to install the number of panels that would produce that amount, no more,” she said. “It was intended for our residential use. I don’t know if Liberty Utilities allows any commercial solar farms.”

       
Ms. Leclerc made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Barnes seconded the motion and the motion carried.

 

Handouts:

New larger zoning maps

Master Plan Update

Warrant articles pertaining to Zoning Ordinances.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine, Recording Secretary