Minutes of July 2, 2008

Chairman Steve Hamilton called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. Present, in addition to the chairman, were members Michelle Degree, Joe Fitzpatrick, Dave Jakway, Ann Sweet, and Bob Switzer. Absent was Keith Martin. Cheryl Labadie represented the selectmen. Eric White appeared with a request.

Minutes of the meeting of June 4, 2008, were approved as distributed.

Questions about the legality of the Riesenberg subdivision
Eric White, a Sullivan abutter of the property belonging to Jerome Riesenberg, which had been partly in Sullivan but mostly in Nelson, asked the planning board to consider requiring that Mr. Riesenberg come to the Sullivan Planning Board for subdivision. He is concerned about the precedent Mr. Riesenberg’s conclusion that the Sullivan portions of his property became natural lots because of the town line. In other words, he claims that the town line created a legal subdivision. RSA 674:53:(1) may qualify that claim.

When Mr. Riesenberg bought the property, it was a large lot of over 200 acres straddling the Sullivan/Nelson town line in two places. Assuming that the town line created a separate Sullivan lot with road frontage on the Old Concord Road, he turned over that property to his stepson, John Goodine, who has applied to the Sullivan Selectmen for a building permit on that 13.8 acres. Mr. Goodine deeded a right of way through his Sullivan acreage to Mr. Riesenberg, who thus gained access to the large Nelson property adjacent to the Sullivan acreage, which otherwise was inaccessible.

On March 13, the Nelson Planning Board held a hearing on Mr. Riesenberg’s proposal to subdivide the Nelson acreage. Under Nelson regulations, this was possible since Nelson permits subdivision on “private roads” of up to 4 lots , minimum acreage 25 acres each. The plot plan showed the Sullivan road cut, approved (for “two properties”) at a Sullivan Planning Board meeting of May 3, 2006, now developed into a wide driveway constructed deep into the Nelson acreage. A letter from the Sullivan Selectmen’s Assistant to the Nelson Planning Board pointed out that Sullivan should have been notified of this hearing. Bob Switzer and Ann Sweet attended the hearing, but they had not been commissioned to represent the Sullivan Planning Board. They pointed out that state law requires that when properties in two towns are involved in a subdivision, the second town (and the regional planning commission) must be notified as an abutter. The Nelson planning assistant had not been able to find the requisite RSA and so no notification was made. The Nelson Planning Board decided to go ahead with the hearing, and they approved the subdivision.

The Sullivan Planning Board was apprised of the actions of the Nelson Planning Board, which apologized for the omitted notice, but the Sullivan Planning Board took no action.

Mr. White reminded the Sullivan Planning Board of the hassles around the Price Road and suggested it would be important to clarify the legal situation of the subdivision by town line by requiring Mr. Riesenberg to apply for a subdivision in Sullivan. He also pointed out that other acreage of the Riesenberg property is in Sullivan, shown as a “lot” on the Sullivan tax map, 33.8 acres “off Apple Hill Road.” There is a discontinued road through the Lester property which might be claimed as access to this acreage, should it be declared a separate lot by virtue of the town line. Although Sullivan subdivision regulations would prohibit construction of a house on any property without frontage on a Class V road, the State‘s reluctance to have “lots“ that are not accessible is strong. Therefore, the legal status of this Sullivan portion of the acreage is important.

Chairman Hamilton thanked Mr. White for his careful presentation based on extensive homework and said the planning board would take the issue under advisement. He will consult with the Sullivan Selectmen and probably with the town lawyer to untangle the not easily understood stipulations in RSA:53 (sections 1, 2, 4 and 6) and RSA:41 (section 3).

Planning Board letter to the Sullivan Selectmen regarding enforcement issues
A draft of the proposed letter was circulated, and it was agreed that Mr. Hamilton should present it to the selectmen. Selectman Labadie pointed out that action is being taken on at least two of the items listed in the letter. Two properties not in the letter (Alexander and Atwood, both on Centre Street) are being investigated by the selectmen after complaints from town residents.

Driveway permit for Fitzpatrick property on Centre Street
Bob Switzer circulated the application for the driveway permit, including the permit from the State (required because Centre Street is a State road). The sketch created by the State DOT shows a setback of 15 feet from the property line. That was moved to meet Sullivan’s 20 foot setback requirement. A motion (Switzer/Degree) to approve the permit application as submitted passed without dissent.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Sweet, Secretary