Abutters - FAQ

How often will an abutter get a certified mail notification of a Public Planning Board Meeting?
Abutters are notified once in accordance with RSA 675:7 ten (10) days prior to the first public hearing.  If a hearing requires a second, third, or subsequent public hearings, an abutter must check the official town postings at (1) Town Hall, (2) The Pelham Library, (3) The Town Hall Annex or (4) The Pelham Post Office to find out when the next public hearing will occur.  If a plan undergoes a significant design change during the planning process, the Planning Board may deem it necessary to re-notify the list of abutters by certified mail.

Will a subdivision plan get approved or denied at the first public hearing?
A typical subdivision will be reviewed over the course of 2 to 3 public meetings.  This permits the Planning Board and Conservation Commission ample time review the plans, conduct a site walk, involve the towns engineering firm to review for zoning and ordinance compliance and hear abutter and general public concerns before taking a final vote.  For administrative or simple boundary line changes, the entire process may occur during a single public hearing.

What can I do as an abutter to stop a development from going in?
Every landowner has a constitutional right allowing them to develop the land that they own.  The Planning Department must work within the specific Federal, State and Town regulations that address growth controls and act accordingly within that law.  An abutter has several opportunities during the Public Hearing process to voice concerns about a given subdivision that may alter the final design or decision. 

What resources do I have to become more informed on the town, state and federal regulations?
There is a wealth of information available on the Internet via the WWW state and federal agencies.  Start with the Pelham Planning Department Home page at http://www.pelhamweb.com/planning  and review the content there.  Use the Planning Related Links page to link you to other important state and federal sites.  Free Internet access is available at the Pelham Public Library.  

When does the public get to voice their position on a subdivision plan?
Public input occurs during Public Hearings for all land use boards including the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Conservations Commission, and during the site walks as noted above.   Each respective land use board may review the proposed plan over the course of several Public Hearings.  If you are unable to attend a Public Hearing, consider writing a letter to the Planning Director prior to the meeting.  The respective board chairman will read your letter aloud into the record.

As an abutter, what kind of information is the Planning Board interested in hearing about?
As an abutter, the Planning Board is interested in hearing your favorable or opposing views, alternative plan options, and questions on issues with respect to the property under development.  Often the best alternative plans come from abutters who understand the area, and what will and won’t work in a given area. 

What process does the Planning Board use during the hearing?
Review Article II of the Pelham Site Plan Regulations (available online) for complete detailed proceedings.  The applicant must first develop a set of plans in accordance with Town, State and Federal laws. Upon completion of a COMPLETE set of plans, the applicant files an application to be placed on the Planning Board agenda.  The steps described herein are intended to summarize the general process flow, and should not be construed as a complete lists of steps required to have an application approved.

Are there any recommendations you could provide me on how to effectively present my position?
Some of the most effective things an abutter can do are described

Regarding the possibility of blasting during construction, what warranties or guarantees does the Town of Pelham provide?
The Town of Pelham does not provide any warranties or guarantees between a developer and a residential homeowner.  A developer must comply with all Federal, State and Local laws, be fully insured, and must use a state licensed explosives (blasting) firm.  The explosives firm will conduct an inventory of effected properties within the blasting zone, and if deemed necessary, work with individual property owners to document all conditions prior to blasting.   Typically, house foundations, well quality, well quantity, window conditions, pools, or other similar structures are photographed, documented and/or tested.   If you are an abutter to an approved development where blasting will occur, of if you live near enough that you have a concern, you should contact the developer directly and request that your property be included in the list of structures to be documented prior to blasting.  Should any damage occur, the burden of proof is on the homeowner to show that the damage occurred as a direct result of the development blasting.   With today’s blasting technologies, any post blast structural damage to existing buildings is very rare.