Planning Board Minutes for March 2, 2016

Minutes of the Meeting of March 2,2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:01 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. Joe Lewandowski represented the selectmen.

A motion (Smith/Laura Lewandowski) to approve the minutes of February 3, 2016, passed without dissent.

Chairman Casey reviewed several items from past meetings:

1.    Hazard Mitigation Plan.  The process for adoption of the plan is for the selectmen to review the plan and then to hold a public hearing on it.  Selectman Lewandowski reported that the plan had not yet come to the selectmen.  Chairman Casey will contact Al Henry, chair of the report.

2.    Country store expansion (an issue raised by Steve Hamilton at the Jan. 6

PB meeting).  The board discussed the need for Site Plan Review.  The consensus was that the wheeled produce cart open for business two days a week during the growing season was not enough of a change to the store’s business to warrant Site Plan Review, particularly in light of the pending reconstruction of the area for the proposed bridge replacement.  Selectman Lewandowski raised a question about the need for tractor- trailer deliveries to the country store in the re-design of Route 9 near the bridge.

3.    Outdoor Public Space Planning Survey.  Copies of the survey will be available in the town hall entry for voters the day of the town election to fill out.  Chairman Casey pointed out that this is a response to the Master Plan’s noting the loss of recreation opportunities in town:  an effort to find out whether citizens of the town feel a need for more public recreation space.

4.    Observatory.  Considering town cultural offerings, PB members pointed out that no mention was made of the observatory in the Master Plan, an omission that should be corrected.  Mark Smith pointed out how lucky we are to be able to see the stars at night in Sullivan, whereas lighting in more urban areas, especially with the proliferation of brilliant LED lighting, makes star gazing almost impossible. The Sullivan observatory  is the home of the Keene Astronomy Club (which has a website at

5.    Code enforcement.  At the February PB meeting, the need to abide by the recommendation of the Master Plan to “ensure that proposed buildings will meet the Town’s land use and building codes…” was discussed.  Selectman Patnode suggested that requiring all construction over 200 square feet might overwhelm the selectmen with enforcement demands.  Chairman Casey will review inventories and/or the cards for each household to determine whether additions/constructions are plentiful enough  each year to burden the selectmen.  Peter Miles suggested that requiring a permit for all construction would be an opportunity to make people aware of construction rules, such as setbacks.  Chairman Casey proposed that we as a town should comply with the Master Plan recommendations or change them.

6.    The town’s new ice and snow removal policy was circulated but not read.

7.    Excavation and Cluster Housing Ordinances.  Former planning board chairman Steve Hamilton had suggested that these ordinances be reviewed.  Chairman Casey has found a way to scan the old documents so they can be distributed electronically.  They will be reviewed, after some alteration by the secretary and the chairman, and forwarded to the PB members for review, discussion, and possible amendment at the April or May meeting.

8.    Finding members to fill town boards.  Chairman Casey spoke with three town clerks in nearby towns to find out how they find new board members.  All said individual boards do their own recruiting.  Chairman Casey hopes to make use of our Town Clerk’s contacts with all the town clerks for consulting on pertinent issues.  Perhaps there might be conference calls on particular questions.

9.    The Planning Board budget has support from the Selectmen and Budget committee and should pass at Town Meeting.

10.  Natural Resources Inventory.  Chairman Casey passed the illustrated compendium around and suggested it become an appendix, rather than just incorporated by reference into the Master Plan.  She said the library should have a copy and asked whether it could be put on the town website.

11. How to find out about grants.  Chairman Casey suggested that Sullivan might benefit from federal and other grants if we knew about them.  SWRPC and the Cheshire County Conservation District were suggested as possible sources  of information about grants.

The SWRPC Winter Meeting

Dott Miles and Peter attended, and Dott reported on the Complete Streets programs, the Greater Keene air quality concerns (17% of Cheshire County homes are heated with wood, the largest percentage in the state), and pending legislation to allow farm owners  to rent out their properties for weddings, a possible change to accessory building regulations requiring owner occupancy, et al. They felt they learned a lot.

A cell tower proposed off Apple Hill Road

A public hearing on a proposed 195 foot cell tower is tentatively scheduled for April 7.

There being no further business, a motion (Lewandowski/Smith) to adjourn passed without dissent at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Sweet, Secretary