APPROVED

 

TOWN OF PELHAM

PLANNING BOARD MEETING

March 17, 2003   

 

The Vice Chairman, Paddy Culbert called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.

 

The Secretary, Mr. Bill Scanzani, called the roll:

 

PRESENT:

Paddy Culbert, Bill Scanzani, Peter McNamara, Henry DeLuca, Gael Ouellette, Alternate Robin Bousa, Alternate Bob Yarmo, Alternate Raymond Brunelle, Selectmen’s Representative Hal Lynde, Planning Director Amy Alexander

 

ABSENT:

 

Victor Danevich

 

Mr. Culbert informed that Ms. Bousa would vote in Mr. Danevich’s absence. 

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Map 12 Lot 91 - Daniel & Sharon Ilg/Webster Avenue - Proposes Lot Line Adjustment for Submission

 

Mr. Scanzani read the list of abutters aloud. There were no persons who did not have their name read, or who had a problem with notification.  The file did not contain any written correspondence from abutters.

 

Mr. Daniel Ilg presented the plan to the Board.  He explained that he purchased land from his neighbor, and in exchange, he was requesting that the lot lines be straightened to create rectangle-shaped lots.  He said that two lot lines would be adjusted. 

 

Mr. Scanzani asked where the location was for the septics and the wells.  Mr. Ilg showed the location the septic and well on his existing property.  He said he was unsure of the exact location of the septic and well for his neighbor’s property, but knew that the well was in the back and the leach field was in the front of the property.  Mr. Scanzani noted that the septic and the well requirements would be met, since they did previously.  Mr. Ilg informed that the center lot was raw land with no buildings.  Mr. Culbert asked if the parcel was flat.  Mr. Ilg said that the center lot was a hill.  Mr. Culbert asked for further clarification regarding the ownership of the lots.  Mr. Ilg reviewed the plan again.  Mr. Lynde helped with the explanation.  It was reiterated that Mr. Ilg purchased a parcel of land from his neighbor, and in exchange would square the lot shapes so that his neighbor would have a rectangle lot. 

 

Mr. Culbert noted that the new (center) lot would have the acreage for a duplex.  He went on to inform if the slope of the land was too high, it would be taken out of the calculation to create an additional duplex.  Mr. Ilg said he had no intention of building on the center lot.  He said the center lot was currently wooded, and he intended on keeping it as such.  The Board calculated the frontage to the new lot and determined that the frontage would be exactly 200ft.  All three lots were in conformance. 

 

There was no public input. 

 

MOTION:

(Scanzani/McNamara) To accept the lot line adjustment for consideration.

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

Mr. Lynde wanted to know if the Board had any concerns with the existing duplex.  Mr. Scanzani said that the lot size was currently conforming, and would be after the lot line was adjusted.  He noted that the existing septic and wells would not be affected. 

 

MOTION:

(Scanzani/Ouellette) To approve the lot line adjustment subject to: 1) bounds for new lot lines to be installed as indicated on the plan; 2) a plan is to be created that contains the proper title block for recording at the Registry of Deeds; 3) well and septic to be identified on the plan for ML 12-91-1.

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE

 

Map 4 Lot 140 - KLN Construction/Old Orchard Estates - Waiver Request regarding the limit on Building Permits to the Subdivision

 

Attorney Linda Connell of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton (Manchester, NH) representing KLN Construction Company (Mr. Don Nicols) met with the Board to discuss the requested waiver.  She said that her client had been informed by the Planning Director that the subdivision regulations (Section 15) would be applied, which would limit the number of building permits to eight, since twelve permits were issued in the year 2002.  She said that the Planning Board had the authorization to waive the regulation pursuant to the authorizing statute.  She noted that RSA 676:36 2(a) empowered the Planning Board to make regulations to prevent scattered and premature development.  She said that the New Hampshire Supreme Court had since interpreted the regulation to clearly instruct that the RSA did not grant the Planning Board the power to generally regulate growth in the Town, by means of the subdivision regulations.  She noted that per RSA 674:22 & 23, the Town would have to adopt growth control through the zoning ordinances.  Attorney Connell suggested that the Planning Board review subdivision regulation Section 13.01 (Action on Applications) in connection with the waiver being requested.  She reiterated that if the Town wanted to limit growth, they should review RSA 674:22 & 23 in order to do so.

 

Mr. Scanzani asked that the waiver request be submitted in writing.  Attorney Connell said a written request had been submitted, but provided a copy to Mr. Scanzani.  Mr. Culbert asked how many lots were being requested.  Attorney Connell said her client was requesting the remaining lots within the subdivision.  She did not feel that limiting the number of lots, per the subdivision regulations would be legal.  Mr. Scanzani reviewed the subdivision and confirmed with Mr. Nicols that in the year 2000 there were no permits pulled, but the roads were worked on, in the year 2001 there were no permits pulled, and in the year 2002 twelve (12) permits were pulled.  Mr. Nicols said he was not aware of phasing, or that he would lose the permits if they were not pulled each year.  The Board briefly discussed the current regulations and how they were interpreted.  The subdivision was approved for 36-lots, but the bond was done in phases. 

 

Mr. Lynde confirmed that any growth restrictions would need to be done under RSA 674:23.  Attorney Connell answered yes.  Mr. Lynde asked that the Board address the regulations.  Mr. Culbert said that a lot of work would have to be done if a growth ordinance were to be adopted. 

 

There was no public input.

 

MOTION:

(Scanzani/DeLuca) To grant the waiver request (dated March 11, 2003) to Section 15 (number of building permits per subdivision).

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

APPOINTMENT

 

Mr. John Bobula, Planning Department process and procedure consultant

 

Mr. John Bobula met with the Planning Board, in response to the request of the Board of Selectmen to obtain comments with regard to the Phase II report of Land Use Administration.  He provided a brief history of his work experience.  He said that he was the Planning Director in Gilford for twelve (12) years.  He discussed how he created the composite model for land use administration.  Mr. Bobula went on to provide an overview of the phase II report being reviewed by the Board. 

 

Mr. Culbert asked Mr. Bobula what his qualifications were before he became the Gilford Planning Director.  He wanted to know if composite groups reviewed for the report were communities from throughout the state.  Mr. Bobula said that his original schooling was in architecture (Boston Architectural Center).  He said Gilford hired him as their Building Official, and was subsequently promoted.  He said that most information was gathered from the lakes region (i.e. Alton, Meredith). 

 

Mr. Scanzani said that he found the report to be a good start to understanding the Planning Department, but felt that the broad recommendations were generic in nature.  He said if the Planning Office didn’t have the right structure, or the correct amount of help, it would be difficult to have the proper services.  Mr. Scanzani felt that the Town needed a Planning Director, as well as a Deputy Planning Director.  He discussed what he envisioned the responsibilities of the two positions would be.  The Planning Director’s responsibilities would include working with the Planning Board and Selectmen.  He went on to discuss the Administrative staff and the need/importance that the positions be cross-trained.    Mr. Scanzani continued his review of the proposed plan.  He noted that there was no recommendation for electronic storage of files, which had previously been a point of discussion of the Board.  He asked the status of the codification of the regulations and ordinances.  Mr. Lynde said that there were adjustments that had to be made, and would continue to follow up with at the Selectmen’s meeting.  Mr. Scanzani discussed the need for the Code Officers from the Town and the Fire Department to work closely together.  He felt there was a need for a full-time code enforcement officer in the Town.  He pointed out that Pelham had a different stress on the land than the lakes region communities.  Mr. Bobula felt that the solutions were universal from community to community.  He discussed the types of projects he had handled over the past twelve years.  He highlighted a cross-boundary zoning project that had been done to create an industrial zone between two communities.  Mr. Scanzani noted that the Planning Board had updated and approved the Master Plan in 2002.  He also noted that the CIP (7-year) plan was extremely active and updated annually.  He believed the key was to have the proper staff in the Planning Office so that the follow through with the plans could occur. 

 

Mr. Scanzani said that the Selectmen and the Planning Board needed coordination with additional issues, such as the Route 93 widening project, potential Pennichuck water purchase and  State Legislature actions that may affect the Town (i.e. low income housing).

 

Mr. Lynde said that the Selectmen were seeking specific comments from the Planning Board.  He suggested that the Board review the document, and the staff responsibilities, and note if there is an agreement with its content. 

 

Mr. Culbert didn’t agree with the job descriptions outlined.  He felt that the Planning Development Director (Director of Planning and Building Administration) should be strategic, with a vision of one to five years.  

He felt the position should be split between two people, both of which to hold Masters degrees, with three to five years experience.  He would like the candidates to ‘boldly march into the future’.  He didn’t feel that Nashua Regional Planning Commission (‘NRPC’) had Pelham as a priority, which created the need for the Director to seek out opportunities for the Town.

 

Mr. McNamara noted that the Planning Department had been under funded and under-manned for many years; furthermore, the Planning Department was every bit important for public safety.  He noted some of the difficulties of not having adequate staff, such as situations that occur once a plan is approved and signed off.  He said the Board was usually not aware of such situations because the staff was overwhelmed.  Mr. McNamara believed that money should be put into planning so that the Town could be pro-active with projects affecting the Town.  Mr. Lynde said that the Selectmen were aware that the Planning Department was understaffed.  He requested that the document be revised and continue as a ‘working document’.   Mr. McNamara believed one of the problems was that the Board was unaware of the daily occurrences in the Planning Department, because the Board only viewed the result, whether good, or bad. 

 

Mr. Culbert believed that the Planning Department should be defined, for the future of the Town.  He understood that the document contained an expanded definition for the Director, but was put off by the fact that the Director’s work was performed under the general direction of the Town Administrator.  He didn’t feel that the Town Administrator would ‘march boldly into the future’. 

 

Mr. Culbert went through the document and requested that the mission statement be expanded to ‘march boldly into the future’.  He noted in Section 2, that ‘recruitment and recommendation by town administrator’ had failed the Town in the past and believed that it would fail in the future.  He said there was a need for heavy Planning Board involvement since normally a town administrator did not understand the needs of a planning department.  Mr. Culbert felt the Town would be placed in a dangerous situation if the Town’s planning was linked with one person, specifically, the town administrator.  He did not want the town administrator to tell the planning director their job was.  He believed the minimal qualifications should be a Masters Degree, with one to three years experience.  He felt that the planning director should be the strategic, one to five year planner for the Town.  Mr. Scanzani reiterated that the Town also needed a Deputy Planning Director to work with the Planning Board.  Mr. Culbert asked that the Planning Board be added to areas in the document that state Town Administrator. 

 

Ms. Bousa agreed with the sentiments being discussed by Mr. Culbert and Mr. Scanzani.  She felt that the strategic planner should have more than one to three years experience.  Mr. Culbert said that the strategic person should have one to five years experience, and the deputy planner should have one to three years experience.  Mr. Culbert went on to review the document and discussed the additional changes he was requesting.  Mr. Bobula took note of the specifics.  Ms. Ouellette also agreed that the current situation of the Town was failing the Planning Board, which she felt was due to the ‘price tag’.  Mr. Culbert reiterated his concerns regarding projects that would be affecting the Town.  He felt the report lacked in-depth detail that was important when reorganizing the Planning Department. 

 

Mr. Yarmo noted that the report didn’t contain information regarding the Conservation Commission, or what their role should be. 

 

There was a general consensus of the Board that the Planning Department should be made up of a Planning Director to handle strategic planning, as well as a Deputy Planner to handle the day-to-day tasks (i.e. plan submissions, engineering).

 

Mr. Bobula said that he would integrate the Planning Board’s suggestions and submit the revised report to the Selectmen.  Mr. Culbert asked that the revised document also be submitted to the Planning Board. 

 

Mr. Lynde believed the first priority was to structure the department, and then review the coordination of planning for the Town.  He said that the departmental needs should also be articulated to the Budget Committee.  Mr. Culbert and Mr. Scanzani believed that the positions could be funded through the Planning Department.  Mr. Scanzani said that based upon state RSA, if a structure was created (between the Planning Board and the Selectmen), including the level of pay needed for the positions, then the fees charged (for building permits, site review, subdivision applications etc...) could self-fund the department.  Mr. Lynde agreed that down the road, the fee structure could be increased to support the cost of the Planning Department, but noted that it would have to be budgeted for.  Mr. Scanzani believed that the structure could be put in place for next year’s budget review.  Mr. Culbert expressed his discontent that there wasn’t a code enforcement officer dedicated to the Planning Department. 

 

Ms. Bousa believed that one of the Planning Director’s responsibilities should be the review of available grants. 

 

The Planning Board agreed with Mr. Scanzani’s written comments.  He then provided a copy of the comments to Mr. Bobula.  Mr. Culbert asked when the next draft would be available for review.  Mr. Bobula said that he would do his best to have a draft prepared in the next two weeks.  Any additional comments should be forwarded to Mr. Bobula via e-mail.   

 

Ms. Alexander abruptly departed the meeting.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Interim Moratorium of Building Permits

Mr. Lynde handed out a spread sheet he created that outlined the number of building, electrical and plumbing permits that had been issued in the year 2002 compared to previous years.  He asked that the Planning Board review the statistics to see if a moratorium could be declared per RSA 674:23 (growth limitation).  Mr. Culbert said that there was certain criteria which would need to be met, one of which was inadequate schooling.  Mr. Lynde suggested an interim moratorium.  Ms. Bousa said that a Town could enter a no-growth period while the Town reviews studies, which she believed could be a one-year period.

 

Mr. Lynde reviewed his spread sheet, which outlined the estimated number of inspections that each permit pulled would require.  He asked the Planning Board to investigate the numbers and see if there was sufficient fact to proceed forward with a moratorium of building permits being issued.  Mr. Scanzani pointed out that the Town had a good Master Plan and CIP.  He pointed out that if a town was charging impact fees, a growth management ordinance could not be implemented. 

 

The Board discussed the growth rate of the Town over the past years.  Mr. Culbert said that the Board would review the growth and the suggestion made by Mr. Lynde regarding the moratorium. 

 

Conservation Plan

Mr. Yarmo said if the Town was serious about conserving land, steps would need to be taken to complete the conservation plan.  He said part of the analysis needed was the build out information from NRPC, which would cost $4000.  He said that the Conservation Commission was prepared to pay $2000 and asked if the Planning Board would pay the remaining $2000.  There was a brief discussion regarding the need for the completion of the proposed plan and which parcels would be identified and included in the analysis.  No decision was made regarding the additional $2000 needed for the study.

 

Mr. Yarmo provided the Board with a worksheet for comparing the cost of development versus the cost of conservation.

 

WORK SESSION

 

Engineering Firm Request For Qualifications (RFQ) development discussion Bond Process and Procedures

 

Ms. Bousa provided the Board with information for review.  She said that general information/standard formatting still needed to be added.  She asked for feedback regarding additional issues that should be added.  Mr. Scanzani asked that an economic impact (infrastructure impact) be added.  Ms. Bousa said she would add an economic impact study.  She asked that any comments be provided.  Mr. Culbert noted that NRPC provides information on GIS format, which could not be accessed, since the Town did not have the capability to read it. 

 

MINUTES

 

January 6, 2003

MOTION:

(Scanzani/Ouellette) To approve the January 6, 2003 meeting minutes as amended.  

 

VOTE:

 

(6 - 0 - 1) The motion carries.  Mr. Yarmo abstained.

 

January 20, 2003

MOTION:

(Scanzani/Ouellette) To approve the January 20, 2003 meeting minutes as amended.

 

VOTE:

 

(6 - 0 - 1) The motion carries.  Mr. Culbert abstained.

 

February 6, 2003

MOTION:

(Ouellette/Bousa) To approve the February 6, 2003 meeting minutes as amended.

 

VOTE:

 

(5 - 0 - 2) The motion carries.  Mr. McNamara and Mr. DeLuca abstained. 

 

March 3, 2003

MOTION:

(Scanzani/Ouellette) To approve the March 3, 2003 meeting minutes as amended.

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Scanzani noted that there was a Senate Bill (S176) which would change how plats are recorded at the Registry of Deeds.  He noted that site development plans would not be recorded if the bill passed.  He said that currently every page in a plan was signed, but only the top few would be recorded.  He suggested that the notes on a plan be drafted into a contract, or show a performance bond to be signed by the applicant as part of legal documentation.  Ms. Bousa said that some towns had a developer’s agreement (legal document) binding between the town and the developer.  Mr. Scanzani said that he had started to work on the back notes on the plan, which could now somehow include additional language for performance bonding.  No one disagreed with Mr. Scanzani drafting additional language for review. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION:

(McNamara/Yarmo) To adjourn the meeting. 

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:15 pm.

 

                                                                                          Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                          Charity A. L. Willis

                                                                                          Recording Secretary