The Harrisville Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at the town office building located on Chesham Road.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Lisa Anderson Co-Chair,Ned Hulbert, Noel Greiner, Don Scott Alternate, Peter Thayer, Andrea Hodson Selectboard Representative
Members absent: Courtney Cox
Members of the public: Anne Howe, Winston Sims, Andrew Maneval, Carol Ogilvie
Attendance and voting members
Ryan Stone noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Lisa Anderson, Ned Hulbert, Pete Thayer and Andrea Hodson.
Ned Hulbert noted that the Transportation Committee would report in July. Subsequently, Andrea Hodson moved to approve the updated agenda. All voted in favor.
Minutes of previous meeting 5/8
Members voted unanimously in favor to approve the PB minutes of May 8.
Carol Ogilvie shared draft materials prepared by the broadband committee for review by the PB. The proposed application, checklist and flow chart are needed in light of the adoption of the new Article XIX Personal Wireless Facilities ordinance and the anticipation of new applicants seeking clarification on the process. The new ordinance provisions offer a parallel process for Site Plan Review and a Conditional Use Permit and the forms streamline this, as well as offer a checklist and flow chart. PB members will review for approval at next month’s meeting. Ned Hulbert added that the 1994 Site Plan Review regulations and appendices/forms also may need updating in the coming year but that this was not urgent.
Andrew Maneval recommended that Ms. Ogilivie’s draft materials be approved. He then updated the PB on the committee’s continued pursuit of the best avenue to improved broadband access and cell service for town residents and businesses. The technologies require different infrastructures. Mr. Maneval described the recent vote by Chesterfield residents to support a $1.8 million bond, payable over 20 years, for Consolidated Communications to provide high-speed internet access via fiber optic cable to every home and business throughout their town. To achieve this, Chesterfield prepared a Request for Information (RFI) followed by a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit interested bids from service providers. A contract was ultimately signed with Consolidated, and Mr. Maneval noted the agreement could possible serve as a model.
Mr. Maneval recently approached the Harrisville Select Board to request its input on such a proposal, with the hope of gaining backing of the Town from whom any RFI and RFP would be issued. He explained the various ways a proposal could be structured, and how the Chesterfield deal is structured. He added that it doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to fiber, but that the consensus among the telecommunications community is that this is the technology of choice for now and the near future. Insurance and liability would be part of any contract. In addition to the Harrisville broadband committee, there is a local towns broadband group and a Monadnock region group. Mr. Maneval noted that the Chesterfield effort has sparked several towns’ interest but all are at various stages of embarkment. He hopes Harrisville can act quickly and noted the committee had been approached by Matrix Communications. Input from the SB as well as residents is sought, with the possibility of a community conversation in early fall. The goal is to have a proposal prepared for vote at Town Meeting. The committee is looking for help and anyone interested in working on the initiative should contact the PB or broadband committee directly. The PB thanked the committee and voted unanimously in favor for the broadband committee to move forward.
Ordinance Review Committee
Carol Ogilvie summarized for members that the following priority areas are being considered by the ORC this year:
- Solar use — The existing ordinance does not address this, but Ms. Ogilvie has a model ordinance that could serve as starting point, Ned Hulbert added that residents have been approached by solar companies;
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – Ms. Ogilive proposes removing the word “existing” from the language in order to allow for ADUs on new construction, not just existing homes;
- Storm water runoff from residential properties – Acknowledging that this could be an issue for property owners, the committee is considering language to address runoff damage to roads and adjacent properties;
- Agriculture – Ms. Ogilvie proposes adding language that would allow agriculture in districts other than residential/agricultural as is allowed currently. She noted that the state’s statutory definition of agriculture is broader than the town’s;
- Wetland setbacks – Noting that this also could be controversial, the committee has raised the issue that setbacks in wetlands currently are limited to septic systems and thus would like to consider adding setbacks for structures, parking areas and roads.
- Definitions – The committee will continue to modify as needed.
Ms. Ogilvie added that to be tabled for now are issues that either aren’t terribly problematic or aren’t used often, including the provision addressing lots that lie in two districts, overall review of lot sizes, setbacks and road frontage requirements, and the Conservation Subdivision Ordinance. The ORC will, however, address the impervious cover amendment which was proposed and voted on at Town Meeting but, because of a procedural flaw, must revert to the previously existing ordinance. Given the adoption of the new Article XIX on Personal Wireless Facilities, the committee will propose removing the special exception requirement under Article XX, rendered moot by the March 2019 vote.
Andrew Maneval suggested the ORC might review the sign ordinance as well, in order to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court decision and mandate. Mr. Maneval’s draft proposal on ordinance revisions contains a suggested revision that could provide a starting point.
PB members agreed that the corrections are a must and supported the committee’s continued effort on its priority areas. The co-chairs thanked Winston Sims for his attention and diligence to the procedural flaw on the impervious cover amendment. The next ORC meeting is June 26th at 4:00 pm.
Next Lisa Anderson reviewed the SWRPC’s initiative to support area Planning Boards in four areas – housing, transportation, social engagement, economic opportunities — most recently through a community discussion in Jaffrey. The SWRPC prepared a survey of the subject areas for 33 towns and will analyze the data and provide feedback to the region’s PBs. Harrisville was offered an opportunity for a similar event but, after considering the matter and discussing various options, all agreed that the most effective means of gaining feedback may be through focus groups of interested residents. Lisa Anderson will email the Community Conversation email list with the hope of identifying the best date and time for participation. A link to the survey also will be available on the website. Members are encouraged to reach out to people they know. The goal is to hear from younger families as SWRPC noted its difficulty in getting feedback from those under 55.
Ryan Stone explained why further review of material is needed before proposing amendments to the Master Plan. He suggested members start with the Vision statement and the Land Use section before addressing other sections. To solicit additional helpful feedback from current residents, members agreed to try to reach out to up to ten people and ask them to read these sections and offer their reactions and comments. The board will revisit this feedback and next steps at the June meeting.
Planning Board Documents / Website Materials
The group reviewed the list of existing documents and forms on the website and noted the Voluntary Merger application/process, currently being revised, should be added. Lisa Anderson will circulate the draft forms for comment. She also will incorporate her suggested edits into the Rules of Procedure and circulate this for discussion at the next meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.