Planning Board Minutes for January 6, 2016


Minutes of the Meeting of January 6, 2016


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Leslie Casey.  In addition to the chairman, members Dorothy Miles, Laura Lewandowski, Mark Smith, and Ann Sweet were present. Gary Patnode represented the selectmen.  Absent was Member Peter Miles.  Also present was Steve Hamilton, owner of Woodland Acres Mobile Home Park.


Before a motion to approve the minutes was entertained, Selectman Patnode noted the error in the December minutes.  At that meeting, the motion to approve the minutes was made by him rather than Mark Smith, who was absent.  After noting the correction, a motion (Smith/Patnode) to approve the corrected minutes of December 2, passed without dissent.


Steve Hamilton issues and questions

1. Mr. Hamilton wishes to know what the process is for proposing 10 additional housing units (with individual septic systems but a common well) on his 37 acre property off Centre Street, which currently has an access from Gilsum Road. Selectmen Patnode, who had first heard of the project at the Selectmen’s meeting January 5, pointed out that the current planning board had several very new members.  They, as well as the more senior members, did not have experience with the Cluster Housing Ordinance and its relation to the Subdivision Regulations.  The planning board should review these and other regulations before considering the proposal.  Additionally, Mr. Hamilton was asked to bring to the board at the February meeting a sketch of the lot, the location of the proposed units and their septic systems, the well, the driveway, and existing wetlands.

2. Should the planning board ask John Little, the owner of the Sullivan Country Store, to come before the board to request Site Plan Review for what Mr. Hamilton considers an expansion of his business:  the presence of the Farm Stand?

3. Forrest Auto Body should be cited for violation of the special conditions attached to approval of that business by the ZBA and the planning board on Site Plan Review. Chairman Casey promised to review the relevant documents before considering any action.

4. A shed at 105 South Road, already in violation of the 50’ setback from the road, has recently acquired two “huge” additions.   It was acknowledged that this is an issue for the selectmen.

Chairman Casey declared that all these issues would be reviewed.

After Mr. Hamilton left, there was some discussion by board members, particularly whether this project of adding 10 housing units to his property where 8 rent-paying residents already live, constitutes an expansion of a business and, therefore, must go to the ZBA.

Proposed amendments to the Community Planning Ordinance

Chairman Casey passed out some language for discussion about amending the CPO to conform to the State Building Code, as suggested by last month’s speaker, Mike Jasmin, Code Enforcer for Swanzey, and as recommended in the 2015 Sullivan Master Plan.  Everyone agreed that it was too late to pursue this complicated issue for a town vote at the 2016 March elections.  Selectman Patnode pointed out that there might be unintended consequences of requiring a permit for any construction, alteration, etc. of any accessory building or addition to a building of 200 square feet or more.  For example, in the absence of a building code official, a big burden might be added to the selectmen’s responsibilities.

Review of the goals and objectives of the 2015 Master Plan for possible action

Chairman Casey passed out charts listing Master Plan Goals and Objectives with a box for amending or taking action.  She proposed that over the next few years, the planning board might discuss groups of these goals and objectives with an eye for changes for the next Master Plan as well as for possible actions.

Planning for the 2025 Master Plan

A proposed Capital Reserve Fund for financing professional help with the 2025 Master Plan has been approved by the selectmen and is now in the hands of the budget committee.

Jewett Park

Chairman Casey, after attending a meeting with the conservation commission, has looked for written expression of the original intent of Jewett Park’s creation.  Given its lack of use for many years, it might be worthwhile to send out a survey to determine public interest in the park.  The loss of the school ball field to public use has curtailed recreational possibilities in town.

Emergency Management Plan

A listed meeting of the committee did not take place, but Chairman Casey hopes to learn more about this plan.

Update on the Board of Selectmen activities

Selectman Patnode reported that the board has been busy with budget and administrative needs of the town.

There being no further business, a motion (Patnode/Casey) to adjourn at 9:30 p.m. passed without dissent.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Sweet, Secretary