Minutes of November 2, 2005

In the absence of the chairman, the secretary called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. Present were Michelle Degree, Joe Fitzpatrick, Geoff Gardner, Ann Sweet, and Bob Switzer. Rick Hotchkiss represented the selectmen. Absent were Steve Hamilton, Chairman, and Dave Jakway.

A motion to have Bob Switzer act as chairman pro tem passed without dissent.

Minutes of the meeting of October 5 were approved as distributed.

Sewage sludge
Should it be prohibited by local ordinance? Mr. Gardner passed around copies of information about the hazards of spreading municipal sludge, which may contain heavy metals and other contaminants, within several hundred feet of rivers. The Ashuelot River Local Advisory Committee, to which Mr. Gardner is Sullivan's representative, is asking towns along the river to adopt local ordinances restricting the spread of sewage sludge to counteract relaxing of such prohibitions at the state level. After some discussion, including a recognition that Sullivan has only 1500 feet (and that steep in slope) along the Ashuelot, it was decided that members would consider the issue and return to the discussion at the December meeting. A question was raised about whether there should be prohibitions against sludge being spread elsewhere in town.

FEMA and federal reimbursement for repairs to flood-damaged town roads and bridges 
Selectman Hotchkiss reported that the town expects to pay up to $150,000 for repairs in the next two years, 75-80% of which will be reimbursed by FEMA.

Land conservation video
Mr. Hotchkiss recommended that the town buy a copy of Preserving Open Space with Conservation Subdivision for circulating among town board membership.

Growth management
Mrs. Sweet reviewed the comments of staff at Southwest Region Planning Commission, who pointed out that to be successful a town must provide a set of "facts" showing that the town is growing at a faster rate than it has historically done, faster than neighboring towns, and faster than the county average. Otherwise, a developer can challenge the ordinance in court and probably win. Peterborough passed an interim growth management ordinance and, advised that their "facts" would not hold up in court, did not pass a new ordinance when the year's term ended. It was agreed that the option should be kept in mind, however, should significant increases in housing starts occur. Other options that might be considered to preclude development that might overwhelm services are a steep slopes ordinance, zoning for cluster development, and purchasing land important to the town's character to prevent its development (e.g., the land around Chapman Pond).

Master Plan recommendations
The board reviewed the recommendations made at the end of the 2005 Master Plan and decided that drawing greater setbacks from water bodies should considered. It was suggested that the Conservation Commission be asked to make a recommendation. The board also suggested that the selectmen identify houses that don't meet building standards so that an effort might be made to enroll their owners in a HUD rehabilitation program.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Sweet, Secretary