Planning Board Minutes for Feb. 3, 2016


Minutes of the Meeting of February 3, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Leslie Casey.  In addition to the chairman, members Laura Lewandowski, Dorothy Miles, Peter Miles, Mark Smith, and Ann Sweet were present. Gary Patnode represented the selectmen.

 A motion (Patnode/Smith) to approve the minutes of January 6, 2016, passed without dissent.

 Hazard Mitigation report

Chairman Casey had read the report and sent personal comments to the Hazard Mitigation Committee.  She noted the longtime lack of a floodplain map for the area of Sullivan most prone to flooding (the area around Otter Brook).  She will determine whether the report will be considered at Town Meeting.  She also will contact Al Henry, committee chair, about appending the report to the Master Plan, a recommendation in the report.

Peter Miles, having filled out the paperwork, is now a full member of the PB

Chairman Casey has been asked to join the Southwest Region Planning Commission Transportation Advisory Committee.  She accepted.

A webinar from Strong Towns points out that highway congestion is often given as a reason for building more roads.  However, building more roads rarely results in offsetting economic or quality-of-life benefits.

How concerns raised by Steve Hamilton at the January meeting have been addressed:

Excessive number (beyond limit set by Special Exception) of unregistered vehicles at Forrest Auto Body Shop on Centre Street.  Mr. Forrest came to a selectmen’s meeting, and together they worked out a timetable (August) for compliance with special exception conditions.

A letter from the selectmen must still be sent to the resident at 105 South Road about the shed that violates setback regulations.

Mr. Hamilton will go to the ZBA to ask for a special exception to expand his manufactured home business.

Some small towns in Maine and elsewhere are sinking into non-governance because of serious population declines.

Chairman Casey urged us to do all we can to keep Sullivan vital to avoid the fates of some small towns.

Swanzey a “poster child” for the need for Capital Improvement Planning

The town of Swanzey is facing the need for serious expenditures for vital projects and a cramped budget.  Planning ahead to spread expensive projects over years should be done.

 A questionnaire to assess popular recreation “needs”

Chairman Casey passed out a questionnaire which asks people what recreational needs the town might supply and how much people might contribute to the maintenance of recreational facilities.  Probably the questionnaire, which everyone liked, will be given to people in the town hall lobby at Town Meeting, hoping everyone will fill out the paper on the spot.  Chairman Casey pointed out that the role of the planning board is to find out what land use needs are.  There will be time at the next meeting to consider the questionnaire further.

Spring conference to be held by the State Office of Energy and Planning:  April 23 in Concord.

Chairman Casey urged PB members to consider participating.

Town and School Budget meetings will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.

 Southwest Regional Planning commission will hold its winter meeting Feb. 16 at Papagallo’s.

 Review of recommendations made in 2015 Master Plan

Chairman Casey said the one that stands out for her is the recommendation that the town conform to the State building code requiring a building permit for every construction exceeding 200 square feet.  She suggested a subcommittee might be set up to assess the potential burden for selectmen facing multiple building permit requests and the potential need for part-time professional building inspector assistance.  This will be discussed at the March PB meeting.

 The need for good people to volunteer for town offices was reiterated by everyone present, especially in light of the decision by Gary Patnode to step down as selectman after four years on the job.  Members expressed their thanks to him for his wonderful service, his fairness, reasonableness, and dedication.

 There being no further business, a motion (Dott Miles/Mark Smith) to adjourn at 8:40 p.m. passed without dissent.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Sweet, Secretary