Planning Board Minutes for October 5, 2016

      Minutes of the Meeting of October 5, 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. Laura Merrifield represented the selectmen.   Present for the evening’s hearing were Attorney John Springer and engineer Tom Johnson, representing SBA, the applicant for constructing an electronic communications tower, along with James Price owner of the property chosen as site for the tower.
Also present were members of the public:  Ed Csenge, Stephanie Klein, Roger Sweet, and Eric White.

A motion (Merrifield/Dott Miles) to approve the minutes of the meeting of September 7 passed without dissent after 4 corrections of typographical errors were made by Mrs. Merrifield.

A motion (Merrifield/Peter Miles) to approve the September 20 special meeting to conduct a site visit of the Price property being considered for cell tower construction passed without dissent. 

Public hearing on Site Plan Review of SBA application for approval of plans for construction of the electronic communications tower at the corner of Apple Hill and Old Concord Roads
Chairman Casey reviewed the history of the ZBA conditional approval of a special exception for the tower’s construction and read from the town’s Site Plan Review regulations about the purpose of site plan review:   to assure the health and safety of the people of Sullivan.  She noted that the planning board had reviewed the site plan review check list with Attorney Springer at the September 7 board meeting.   Noted in the September minutes are the questions outstanding given as conditions for approval of the application’s completeness.  Attorney Springer provided several documents to satisfy the planning board’s questions:
1.    Copies of the plans (handed out at the site meeting Sept. 20)
2.    Driveway permit application
3.    Replacement pages for sheets C-1, C-2, C-3 and C-4 to show boundary monument symbols
4.    Information that a crane rather than a helicopter would be used to construct the tower
5.    A declaration that “NH DES will be reviewing all of the storm water and erosion control devices to ensure they meet the required standards during the Alteration of Terrain permit process.”
6.    A redacted (to block the information about payments to the landowner for rental of the property) copy of the lease showing the easement.
7.    A list of the permits “to be met as conditions of approval:
o    Driveway permit
o    Alteration of terrain permit
o    NEPA approval
o    Fulfillment of the ZBA special exception conditions of approval
o    EPA’s NPDES General Construction Permit
8.    Renderings of the proposed tower at the 155 foot height based on the balloon test photos which showed a tower height of 195 feet.

Items 2-7 were provided in the supplemental package dated Sept. 30, 2016 sent to the Board, and item 8 was provided in response to a subsequent request by the Chairman. The cover letters provided in the initial SPR package from Attorney Springer dated Aug. 11, 2016 and the supplemental package are appended to these minutes.

Several questions were asked:
·    Is the culvert size great enough to withstand heavy rains?  Mr. Johnson pointed out that the stream is a seasonal stream with no water at present.  In a torrent, the large box culvert should handle the flow of water.  It there is overflow, all the storm control devices should prevent serious erosion.  
·    Will there be a generator in case of electrical outages?  If needed, there will be a receptacle for attaching a generator.
·    One abutter, acknowledging that federal law prevents consideration of radiation effects on the neighborhood, asked whether the town attorney had been consulted to review approvals of the tower made by town bodies.  Chairman Casey said it would be possible to consult the town attorney, if necessary.
·    Were towns within a 20-mile radius notified of the proposed tower?  As part of the ZBA process, they were.  No one had appeared at any of the hearings.

A question about a performance bond was raised but not discussed.  Attorney Springer assured the planning board that Mr. Johnson would monitor every stage of construction.

The ZBA had required as conditions for granting the Special Exception (letter to Attorney Springer from the ZBA dated July 01, 2016) that options for camouflaging the tower be discussed, and the request for a waiver of the setback from an abutting property (also owned by Mr. Price) be granted by the Planning Board.

Public comments on these issues were heard, the planning board deliberated, and  two motions were made:
    A motion (Sweet./Casey) to have the tower the matte gray of the metal passed without dissent.
    A motion (Casey/Merrifield) to permit a waiver of the requirement for a 20 foot set back from the property line where the driveway approaches to 6 feet from the line passed without dissent.  Abiding by the 20 foot setback at that point would impinge on wetlands. 

The hearing closed at 8:43 p.m.
A motion (Sweet) to continue the hearing until the next planning board meeting to receive the expected permits not yet received died for lack of a second.  Mr. Springer offered the promise that no construction would begin until all permits had been received and all conditions had been met. Further, Mrs. Merrifield pointed out that no building permit would be granted by the town until all conditions for the Special Exception were met.

There was brief discussion of the possible need for plant screening of the buildings located at the tower’s base, and consensus was that there were sufficient trees around the compound to screen the constructions.  

A motion (Casey/Merrifield) to approve the site plan after all conditions (ZBA) and permits have been met passed with 6 yeas and 1 abstention (Mrs. Sweet).

Chairman Casey asked members to review the driveway application for completeness.  She reminded members of the driveway committee of the need to decide on an escrow payment for the driveway apron.  A motion (Casey/Merrifield) to acknowledge the completeness of the driveway permit application passed without dissent.

Given the lateness of the hour a motion (Sweet, Lewandowski) to adjourn passed without dissent at 9:21 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Sweet, Secretary