Newton Planning Board
March 28, 2006
1. CALL TO ORDER
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM, declaring a quorum of seven members present. The meeting was posted in four town locations: Newton Post Office, Newton Junction Post Office, Rowe’s Corner Variety and Newton Town Hall. There was no challenge to the legality of the meeting.
The following members were present:
Kim Pettit – Vice-Chairman Kip Kaiser
Rich LeClaire Ann Miles
Frank Lospennato Gary Nelson – BOS ex-officio member
Reuben Hull – Circuit rider/planner
Frank Gibbs – Road Agent
Trisha McCarthy – Conservation Commission
Ms. Pettit stated that the Board had two new members; Frank Lospennato and Kim Vaillant, who was previously an alternate to the Board. The new Board of Selectmen ex-officio member is Gary Nelson.
There was some discussion that the Board had three alternate positions open as of March 31, 2006. Ms. Pettit asked Mr. Kaiser if he would still be interested in serving as an alternate to the Board and he said that he was.
Motion made by Ms. Pettit with a second by Mr. Nelson to appoint Kip Kaiser as an alternate member for one year. The motion passed unanimously.
There was further discussion about the role of Rockingham Planning Commissioners. Ms. Pettit said that the Planning Board recommended candidates and the Selectmen appointed two commissioners based on that recommendation. She added that the qualified candidates did not need to be Planning Board members and suggested that Paul Szot, who was leading the Master Plan committee, might be interested in becoming a commissioner.
Ms. Miles suggested having one former commissioner and one new commissioner seated. Information was exchanged about the days and locations of meetings and the Board will revisit this issue on April 11th.
The Board decided to discuss representatives to the Technical Review Committee later in the meeting.
Ms. Pettit appointed Mr. Kaiser to be seated for Ms. Allen. It was noted that Mr. Lospennato had not been sworn so he would not be voting.
Motion made by Mr. Nelson with a second by Mr. LeClaire to nominate Kim Pettit as Chairman. The motion passed with a vote of 5-0-1, with Ms. Miles abstaining.
Motion made by Mr. Nelson with a second by Mr. LeClaire to nominate Ann Miles as Vice-Chairman. The motion passed with a vote of 5-0-1, with Ms. Miles abstaining.
Ms. Pettit explained the role of the TRC representatives and said that two members were rotated every three months. The TRC began in September with Ms. Pettit and Mr. Doggett and then rotated to be Mr. Doggett and Ms. Miles. Ms. Miles said that she was still interested. Ms. Pettit said that she could also attend. Mr. Kaiser said that he might like to audit a TRC meeting.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Mr. LeClaire to appoint Ms. Pettit and Ms. Miles as the Board’s representatives to the TRC. The motion passed unanimously.
The next meeting of the TRC is scheduled for April 3, 2006 at 3 PM in the Planning Board office.
4. AMENDMENTS TO THE SITE PLAN AND SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS
In accordance with RSA 675-6, and 675-7, The Town of Newton Planning Board will conduct a public hearing at the Planning Board's regularly scheduled meeting of February 28, 2006 beginning at 7:30 PM, at the Newton Town Hall, 2 Town Hall Road in Newton, NH regarding proposed amendments to the Town Subdivision Regulations and Site Review Regulations.
Mr. Hull distributed hand-outs of the proposed changes to 6.2.A, 1, (a). There will be a two-year renewal process for Conditional Use Permits as they pertain to home occupations. Ms. Pettit questioned two years as opposed to one year. Ms. Miles said that this could be used to help with compliance happen. Accessory apartments were discussed.
Christene Lovecchio suggested that this should not have a sunset clause as it was the intent of the ordinance to be per the property not the property owner.
She added that keeping track of renewals would involve too much administratively.
Casey Burns said that it would not be an administrative burden but a burden to the property owner.
Ms. Miles said that she was still pursuing the tax implications for an in-home business because she felt that it was somewhere in-between residential and commercial. Mr. Kaiser asked if there was really a problem in town with this. Mr. Burns said that it was his interpretation that home occupations were limited in size and employees and it was a way for a business owner to try out his business on a smaller scale before leasing a larger building and expanding.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Mr. LeClaire to continue this public hearing until May 9, 2006 to discuss details and fine tuning. The motion passed unanimously.
5. Casey and Heather Burns
173 South Main Street
Map 14/Block 1/Lot 14
This was a public hearing in which the applicants, Casey and Heather Burns are requesting a Conditional Use Permit for the purpose of establishing a home occupation to manufacture and sell crafts with complimentary antiques and gifts at their residence at 173 South Main Street. Mr. Burns provided the presentation to the Board. Sight distance is adequate and there will not be a new driveway or additional parking added. Everything shown is existing. There will not be new buildings added. The proposed sign has not yet been created but Mr. Burns said that it would probably be located on the building. Mr. Kaiser requested that a plot plan be submitted for the file. The abutter’s list was read.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Ms. Miles to invoke jurisdiction on the Burns plan. The motion passed unanimously.
Motion made by Ms. Pettit with a second by Mr. LeClaire to approve the Burns plan for a conditional use permit for a home occupation. The motion passed unanimously.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Ms. Miles to close the public hearing for Burns. The motion passed unanimously.
6. VOLUNTARY LOT MERGER – PAUL & JULIA FITZGERALD
Two Voluntary Lot Merger forms were received for Paul and Julia Fitzgerald for 37 and 39 Maple Ave. Mr. Hull was asked if the Board need to take any formal action on this and he replied that once the deeds had been verified (done by the Assessor),
only the Planning Board Chairman’s signature was needed and this had been enabled by the legislature to be done this way to streamline the process and was simply an Administrative Action.
Motion made by Ms. Miles with a second by Mr. LeClaire for the Planning Board to approve and have the Chairman sign the Voluntary Lot Merger for Fitzgerald at 37 & 39 Maple Avenue. The motion passed unanimously.
7. APPROVAL OF PAST MEETING MINUTES – FEBRUARY 28, 2006
Ms. Miles stated that comments attributed to Mr. Harding were actually stated by her. The Administrative Assistant said that she had originally done the minutes that way and had received a telephone call from Mr. Harding that he had made those comments.
Motion made by Ms. Miles with a second by Mr. LeClaire to accept the minutes of February 28, 2006 as amended. The motion passed with a vote of 4-0-2, with Mr. Kaiser and Mr. Nelson abstaining.
8. RENEWAL OF CONTRACT WITH ALTUS
A one-year renewal of contract was received by Altus Engineering, Inc. Ms. Miles stated that the contract had been renewed last year and it should have been put out to bid. She said that anytime a contract needs to be renewed, she will ask that it be put out to bid.
Mr. Kaiser said that he thought that the Town should get the best deal possible. Ms. Pettit stated that she had asked Ms. Cockerline to ask around of other towns about their engineering services. Ms. Cockerline had contacted several area towns and their expense for engineering was 35% - 40% higher than the rates Newton currently paid. She also spoke with Glenn Greenwood of RPC about bidding processes and he said that it had been his experience that unless a town was unhappy with the engineering services or there had been a price increase, this type of contract only went to bid every 3-5 years.
Coleman McDonough said that he had issues with Altus including:
o Cost; Inspectors in Massachusetts only charge $30.00 per hour.
o Principles perform inspection and he thought that technicians could be sent instead at a lower rate.
o Sometimes two principles arrive for inspections
o Confusing bills
o Inspections; no one ever showed up for the installation of gravel because they claimed to be too busy
o No prior notification for inspections
o Violating the Davis-Bacon Act
Ned Nichols stated that there was no specific information contained on the bills from Altus.
Frank Gibbs agreed with Mr. Nichols statement and said that this had been a problem two years ago.
Mr. Kaiser stated that some towns, such as Alton had multiple firms because different skills were required for review and for inspections. He added that engineers usually disliked contracts being put out to bid just to be put out to bid and he suggested a two or three year contract because there would be issues with putting the contract out to bid annually.
Ms. Miles said that there were problems with overtime and that the engineer came when he wanted to and did what they wanted to and there was a problem with someone just showing up on private property.
Ms. Pettit said that she was intrigued by the segregating of responsibilities and she felt that the Board needed to be more proactive with managing the subcontractors and the engineer worked for the Board. Ms. Miles added that the engineer did not need to be adversarial.
Coleman McDonough added that the current engineering firm had no professionalism and was sneaky. He said that the man who performed inspections was ignorant and flew off the handle. He said that he did not understand why he had to pay his own engineer, RPC and the town’s engineer. He added that he has one building out of fifty built and that took 2.5 years. He suggested hiring a town engineer for $40,000.00.
Mr. Nichols said that the rates were not bad and the engineer was helpful with the development process but he disliked the billing.
Ms. Pettit suggested that the Board further discuss this issue at the April 25th work session.
9. FITZGERALD CONDITIONAL APPROVAL AMENDMENT
Ms. Pettit said that following the Board’s issuance of the conditional approval for Fitzgerald, Town Counsel had realized that the paragraph for the Offsite Improvements similar to those done for Storey and Nichols had been omitted. The fourth condition will read as follows:
The Planning Board has determined that, without implementation of off site improvements for the intersection of Smith Corner Road and Peaslee Crossing, approval of the application would constitute a premature and scattered development because it would involve danger or injury to the public due to lack of adequate transportation and because it may require the excessive expenditure of public funds to supply such service. The Planning Board has made a similar determination with regard to the previously approved applications for Second Storey Homes and Sargent Woods. Accordingly, the Planning Board has identified the off site improvements required and has determined that the proportional share of such improvements which are attributable to Fitzgerald Estates is 25.9% of the total off site improvements, and the cost of such
improvements shall not exceed $195,000; further the amount owed by applicant may be adjusted downwards once the bid is awarded. The applicant shall post a bond or other security acceptable to the Town and such bond or other security shall be posted on or before the Town awards the bid for the above referenced off site improvements; however, in no event shall such bond or other security be posted later than April 24, 2006.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Ms. Miles to include this wording in the Conditional Approval for Dennis Fitzgerald. The motion passed with a vote of 5-0-1, with Mr. Nelson abstaining.
10. UPDATE: NED NICHOLS
Ms. Pettit said that town counsel was under the impression that financing for Sargent Woods had been obtained. Mr. Nichols said that financing had not been established yet and it was taking longer than he had expected. He said that he was selling a property and would be closing on May 2. Ms. Pettit asked if his portion of the offsite improvement bond would be paid at that time and Mr. Nichols replied that it would not be. He said that the three developers had met and it had been decided that because David Storey had posted the entire amount, the offsite improvements would be covered until the other two had kicked in their share and the bank was on board. He suggested that his mylar could be signed in exchange for his portion of the bond and his lawyer could hold onto the mylar. Ms. Pettit will follow up on
this suggestion with Ms. Somers.
A letter was received from NHDOT, Division VI for a driveway permit on Pond Street for property legally addressed at 38 North Main Street, 10/3-4-1. This property has not been subdivided and the application is for a driveway to a new single family home.
Motion made by Ms. Miles with a second by Mr. Nelson to inform the State DOT that there is not subdivision or lot with that number. The motion passed unanimously.
11. BOND REDUCTION FOR ANN MILES BUILDERS
Ms. Miles recused herself from this portion of the meeting. A letter and accompanying paperwork from Altus was received from Ann Miles, Builder, Inc. requesting the release of the remaining engineering bond funds for Jacob’s Village in the amount of $5,682.51.
There was discussion about charges against the bond not yet posted and what the actual remaining amount would be. Ms. Vaillant suggested that the amount requested be released and if bills were found to be posted against it, Ms. Miles would honor them.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Ms. Vaillant that the construction bond for Ann Miles for Jacob’s Village should be released based on the information received and invoices paid to date. It is the Board’s intention to leave a balance of $1,200.00 for remaining construction inspections per the information received by Altus. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Miles said that it would be helpful for each developer to provide a spreadsheet as she had to the Board. She said that the Board should appreciate that the estimate was higher than it should have been and she would like to see more accuracy and for estimates to be done more carefully.
Ms. Pettit stated that there would be a meeting for a NPREA update on Thursday, March 30th at 6 PM.
12. BOARD BUSINESS – COMMUNICATIONS
A letter was received from Laurinda Miller with regards to her proposed pet grooming salon to be located at 2 West Main Street. The proposed space is 420 square feet and six dogs or cats would be seen daily. Hours of operation are proposed to be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8-5 and Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9-5. Ms. Miller will be the sole employee. The Board discussed that a site plan had been approved for the building and Ms. Cockerline stated that she had spoken with the Health Officer with regards to the septic. The septic had been updated and was for 650 gpd. The Board said that they would like to receive a more specific letter from Ms. Miller and would like to review the site plan file for 2 West Main Street at the next work session.
There was further discussion about multi-tenant commercial buildings. Ms. Cockerline at Ms. Pettit’s direction had investigated how other towns dealt with this issue and a Business Registration form for this purpose had been received from the Building Inspector. The CO would expire with each change of tenant and was renewable annually.
13. BOARD BUSINESS – MANIFEST
The manifest, dated March 28, 2006 was presented for approval as follows:
4/1/06 Spring Planning Seminar – Kim Pettit $ 30.00
Consulting Fees – Legal - DTC
Sargent Woods – Applicant Review $ 75.00
Fitzgerald Estates – Applicant Review $ 345.00
125 Realty Trust: Lot 27-3 $ 60.00
Legal Review Subtotal $ 420.00
Consulting Fees – Engineering
Puzzle Estates – 125 Realty Trust, Lot 27-3 (P3839) $ 886.85
S&R Construction Review (P3821) $ 820.44
Smith Corner & Peaslee Crossing (Offsite Improvements Bond) $10556.18
Peaslee Estates Construction Inspection (P3811) $ 395.30
Fitzgerald Estates (P3790) $ 1325.00
Lightizer Subdivision (P3926) $ 752.65
Engineering Review Subtotal $15,413.78
Total Expenses – NPREA $ 15,833.78
There was some discussion about charges that exceeded the amount received and deposited to NPREA. The applicant’s will need to be contacted to pay the difference and Ms. Pettit said that she would discuss this issue with Mr. Weinreib of Altus Engineering. It was suggested that the actual amount be paid with the balance owed to be shown.
Motion made by Mr. Kaiser with a second by Mr. LeClaire to approve the manifest as amended. The motion passed unanimously.
14. FITZGERALD – EXCAVATION ON POND STREET
Ms. Pettit recused herself from this issue as she is an abutter to the site.
An inspection report was received from Department of Revenue and it was read aloud, in part. It was estimated that 8-10 thousand cubic feet had been excavated and the site did not match the approved plan. Mr. Kaiser said that this was a large disturbance and suggested that Mr. Fitzgerald could continue and then submit an “as-built” to the Board. Ms. Miles asked what could be done. Ms. Pettit said that the Board had been told that there would be no off-site trucking so bonding had not been required.
Trisha McCarthy, Chairman of the Conservation Commission stated that she had received numerous complaints and then the silt fence had been added. She said that Mr. Weinreib was requesting an amended site plan to be submitted. Mr. Kaiser suggested contacting the Building Inspector and advising him not to issue COs. Ms. Miles said that there was either a process or there wasn’t. She said that this was not funny and the Board could not just say “Oh, it’s just Dennis”. Mr. Gibbs said that he had told Mr. Fitzgerald to leave the town-owned portion of the road frontage alone. Mr. Nelson said that there was also a Timber Tax issue.
Ms. Pettit, speaking as an abutter said that she was as mad as hell because her property stood to flood due to the run-off. She said that the Board must be consistent.
Ms. Miles said that this should be referred to counsel. Ms. Vaillant said that one of the houses had not been built to plan. Mr. Hull said that to do fines or penalties, the process begins upon conviction of on the date of the first mailing to the applicant. Ms. Vaillant said that Mr. Harding had visited the site. She questioned if the Board shot itself in the foot as a result of this and if the Board did not act upon this and had standing would be setting a poor precedent.
Ms. Miles asked what the fines would be and could the Board impose the maximum.
Motion made by Ms. Miles with a second by Mr. Kaiser for a letter be sent to Mr. Fitzgerald demanding that he come before the Board with a new two-lot plan with new drainage calculations, accurate on-site conditions and that a Cease and Desist be placed on the houses currently being built until the applicant was compliant. No rubber stamping. Recommend to the Board of Selectmen to institute a Cease and Desist until a new application was received. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Gibbs said that there was enough material on-site to do it according to the plan but the Board would not like the results.
Ms. Vaillant suggested a site walk.
Ms. Miles suggested following up with another letter regarding the conditions found on March 13, 2006 because this was not in accordance with the approved plan.
15. CONTINUATION OF BOARD BUSINESS
Ms. Pettit asked the Board to review the hand-outs from Mr. Hull regarding Accessory Apartments and a list from her regarding proposed zoning changes.
Mr. LeClaire asked if the Planning Board could allocate $500.00 to the Master Plan Committee. Ms. Lovecchio is researching town events when Master Plan information could be combined or distributed. There will be Master Plan meetings at the town hall on April 5, 2006 at 7 PM and on April 19, 2006 at 7 PM.
Complaints had been received from the S&R abutters regarding the lack of a buffer. A site walk was suggested. It was decided that Mr. Hull and Mr. Weinreib should meet and view this.
16. COLEMAN MCDONOUGH – REVISED PLAN
Mr. McDonough asked to submit a revised plan for lot 27-3. He requested that the Cease and Desist be lifted from the site as well.
Ms. Pettit instructed him to formally submit the plan to the Planning Board.
17. LOVECCHIO SUBDIVISON – DRIVEWAY ISSUE
A letter had been received on March 1, 2006 from Joseph and Christene Lovecchio in response to the Board’s letter that an amended subdivision plan needed to be submitted because of changes regarding the driveway. Ms. Vaillant said that it had been her understanding that the State had received recommendations from the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission to allow separate driveways instead of a shared driveway. Ms. McCarthy said that the Conservation Commission’s file for Lovecchio had turned up missing but it had been her understanding that both boards had recommended a shared driveway and she related the history of the driveway issue as she knew it adding that the Commission had never received a copy of the Dredge and Fill from NHDES. Ms. Vaillant requested documentation for the approval.
Ms. Lovecchio said that she was attending the meeting at the request of the former chairman. She said that as private landowners, they chose to change the curb-cut from what had been approved for safety issues and that this was not uncommon. She added that a copy of the Dredge and Fill had been received by the Conservation Commission. Ms. Vaillant stated that procedure was procedure.
Ms. Pettit said that the minutes of the Lovecchio’s public hearing supported a shared driveway and there were a lot of abutter complaints. Ms. Lovecchio reiterated that she was a private land owner and just merely moved the curb-cut. Mr. Hull said that this was an approved lot of record with a shared driveway and that a different set of plans had been sent to the DES. He said that the Planning Board had done the correct action and how a separate action was State approved was unknown. Ms. Pettit said that there was a letter in the file dated January 4, 2005 from the Conservation Commission to the NHDES; it was read aloud. Ms. McCarthy said that not much could be done now. Ms. Pettit asked if Town Counsel had been asked about this issue at the previous meeting. Ms. Cockerline said that Ms. Somers had
asked if what had been built matched what had been approved and supported the submittal of an amended plan. Mr. Ned Nichols said that Ms. Somers had said that this was an enforcement issue.
Ms. Lovecchio said that the Planning Board had discussed the Dredge and Fill. This discussion, from the December 14, 2004 meeting was read from the minutes as follows:
Dredge & Fill Permit Application – Lo Vecchio informed the Board that she has applied for a Dredge & Fill permit to the State to install a culvert for the Meadowview storm drain and allow a driveway to her new lot. She stated that it is being proposed where there is the least amount of impact possible to any poorly drained soils, and is where there is the best line of sight.
Mr. Hull said that the wetland reviewer had minimal information and an assumption was made to change the driveway location and what had been built had not been approved. He asked what the Board wanted; the easement could be removed by deed but an amended plan would be the cleanest way to correct this.
Motion made by Ms. Pettit with a second from Mr. LeClaire to rescind the previous motion of the Board requiring the Lovecchio’s to submit an amended subdivision plan. The motion unanimously failed.
Ms. Pettit announced that the previous decision of the Board to require an amended subdivision plan stood.
The Chairman assumed a Motion to adjourn at 11:30 PM. The motion passed unanimously.
Sally E. Cockerline
Newton Planning Board