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125 Main Street, Suite 200
Littleton, NH 03561
Phone: 603.444.3996
Fax: 603.444.1703

May 24, 2017

Three Public Hearing Minutes - May 24, 2017


BOARD OF SELECTMENS
THREE PUBLIC HEARINGS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2017
BEGINNING AT 9:00 AM
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2017
WILL COMMENCE AT THE END OF THE PUBLIC HEARINGS
OPERA HOUSE TOWER ROOM

2 UNION STREET, LITTLETON, NH

Present:  Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Schuyler W. Sweet, Vice Chairman Franco Rossi, Selectman Milton T. Bratz, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings.

Others Present:  Chad Stearns, Bruce Hadlock, Ralph Hodgman, Chad Fillion (Channel 2), Jason Reimers, Greg Eastman, Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Marghie Seymour, Rudy Gelsi, Kim Delutis, Frank Dodge, Shawn Dodge.

Pledge of Allegiance

Sweet called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM and said this meeting is scheduled for three public hearings, the first of which is for the LIDC quit claim deed. 

Public Hearing #1
LIDC Quit Claim Deed & Right of Way
Dorsett said we can proceed and take testimony, but the process according to RSA 41:14a, requires the Planning Board and the Conservation hold their review prior to the first public hearing being held.  Dorsett said this still stands even this is a correction to an earlier sale that transpired in 2014.  The actual public hearing will likely take place next month after the Planning Board and Conservation Commission review.  If there is anyone here who would like to provide any testimony, we can take that into the record.  Sweet stated that if anyone would like to give testimony now in lieu of or in addition to the next upcoming public hearings the testimony will be introduced into the records of those public hearings.  A citizen asked if there were any maps of the area.  Dorsett said there is a plan that is mentioned in the plan.  There is a subdivision plan 14679.  Bruce Hadlock asked why that was here.  This is a hearing for us to be able to look at the way it was proposed.  You should have all that stuff so that people will know what you are talking about.  Hadlock said there are no maps and no one knows what you are talking about.  Dorsett said this is not the official public hearing.  Hadlock said he would like to know the value of the property and what it is assessed for.

Hadlock said from what he understands it is a giveaway.  Sweet said the value is one dollar, if you consider that a giveaway that is up to you.  Hadlock said the select board has a judiciary responsibility to the taxpayers.  Giving something away that belongs to the Town of Littleton then you should be able to answer our questions.  If the property is assessed at $10,000, you have a judiciary responsibility to obtain that money to give to the taxpayers.  Hadlock said he is a stockholder in the LIDC.  He does not know how many there are, but they have corporate shares.  He does not believe in what they are doing here as far as the Town is concerned.  Hadlock said he does not know what they are giving away, there are no maps and no plans, and this was poorly done.  He is going to ostracize you for now having the correct information available.  Hadlock said again he would like to know the valuation.  Sweet said he did not know but would get the information to him.  Hadlock asked when it would be given to him.  Sweet told Hadlock to come into the office after the hearing and they will give it to him. 

Dorsett said part of the confusion is this is a sale that took place in 2014.  This hearing was to include the right of way that wasn’t included in 2014.  Sweet said the sale was approved in 2014 at Town Meeting but not the right of way.  Bratz said the question on the value of the property is a good one and is a situation that happens all over the country.  Bratz said this is how the Industrial Park started to grow.  Hadlock said he was on the boardof directors of the Industrial Park and he knows more about it than Bratz.  Bratz said that his one reaction to those question is that is that is generates tax revenue.  It is an investment into the future.  We are at risk here but in fact we have done this many times in the past.  We attract businesses, they build and we end up deriving tax revenues from it.  Hadlock asked about the land the Water & Light Department wants.  Bratz said he didn’t know about that.  Hadlock said the Water & Light Department has a problem in the fact that they need to have a couple of acres of land.  Hadlock asked if this land is included in this proposal to protect the Town.  Sweet said this is not the subject of this hearing.  Rossi said he is a new selectman here and I have no knowledge of previous discussions.  No one has approached us from Littleton Water & Light as far as he knows.  Rossi asked if he is missing something here.  Chad Stearns said that when the Water & Light Department approached the Town the land was sold to the LICD for a dollar a few years ago.  The Water & Light Department needed some of the land for a sub-station.  After the sub-division was approved there was ample land leftover to be able to house the sub-station.  Marghie Seymour suggested the board hold an informational meeting prior to their next public hearing.  This is all very confusing without a map.  Sweet suggested there would be two hearings, one for the Conservation Commission and the other with the Planning Board.  These meetings will be held prior to the actual Public Hearings.  By then we will have the history better researched along with the maps also being available.  We do not have that here today and we cannot produce that now.  It is our fault, but the fact of the matter is they are not here.  Hadlock again asked about the valuation.  Sweet said there are different kinds of valuation.  You want the assessed valuation.  The other valuation is supply and demand.  Whatever it is assessed for is necessarily its market value.  That is up to huge debate in conversations.  Hadlock said the taxpayers own the property.  To recoup the money as far as the value is concerned, it should not be given to the Industrial Park.  It should be paid back at the time it is sold.  They should have to sign a note and it should be given back to the taxpayers.  You shouldn’t be giving anything away.  Kim Delutis said it should be available for anyone to purchase.  Rossi said not necessarily at the same cost.  The point of selling that property back in 2014 was for the future development. If someone wants to buy it to put a house on it, that doesn’t provide the value to the Town that it would otherwise would.    So you can’t just sell it to anyone at the same price.  We have to weight what the value would be to the Town in the future.  Sweet said he valued everyone’s valid remarks, they are now part of the record.  You will have another opportunity when we reconvene.  You also have the opportunity to go to the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board meetings.  Their testimony will also be part of the record.  At some point in time when all of this is done we will make a decision.  Kim Delutis said this was listed as one of two public meetings.  Sweet said there was a technicality that deems the other meetings had to be held first.  Delutis asked if the other meetings would be held at time when people who work can make it.  She had to take time off from work to be here.  Sweet said they would be after 4:00 PM.  Somebody asked when the normal meetings were held.  Sweet said the meetings are normally held at 5:00 PM at the community center.  That same person asked why this meeting was held during daytime hours.  Sweet and Rossi said it was because of conflicting schedules within the board. 

Ralph Hodgman asked if the documents provided were old documents.  Rossi said the sale initially occurred in 2014.  The actual transfer has not taken place.  Hodgman asked if it was sold for $1.  Hadlock wanted to see if the paperwork that proves it was voted on at Town Meeting in 2014 would be available.  Sweet said yes.  Kim Delutis asked how the lot is zoned and said let’s talk about the elephant in the room now.  Delutis said it is the LIDC’s goal to the get the right of way to get it rezoned.  Greg Eastman said the original goal to acquire this land was we had a company at the time that was very interested in building a new facility.  Hadlock asked why they didn’t.  Eastman said they had numerous reasons.  It was the economy, employee base, labor and other reasons.  Kim Delutis asked Eastman if he was planning on bring up the zoning issue again.  Eastman said they didn’t know at this time.  Kim Delutis said there would be many more angry residents here if the meeting had been held after work hours.  Rossi said this parcel is already zoned industrial.  Delutis said she knows that.  Let’s be honest here about why you are purchasing for a dollar.  Rossi said the board is not being dishonest.  Delutis said she is not saying they are being dishonest.  Why do they want this land for one dollar?  Dorsett said the voters approved the sale in 2014.  The objective of the LIDC is to create jobs which is in the best interest of the community.  Eastman said the development costs for this lot is very expensive.  If you add a high acquisition cost, it is going to make it much more difficult for a company to justify building there compared to building on another lot in or out of Littleton and that’s where those jobs go.  LIDC’s mission is to create jobs and to increase the tax base.  Kim Delutis said that she believes the LIDC has done a fabulous doing that.  Her concern is the lot being rezoned again.  Sweet asked if there was any other input on this matter.  Chad Stearns said he had a copy of the warrant form 2014.  Stearns said it was article 17, sale of town property, the article passed 845 to 141.  There were other properties listed in the warrant. Sweet thanked everyone for coming and apologized for the inconvenience of the 9:00 AM weekday meeting.  Sweet closed the hearing at 9:24 AM. 

Sweet opened up the second hearing at 9:25 AM
Public Hearing #2
Traffic Ordinance: Repeal Addendum and Replace No Through Traffic
Dorsett said by virtue of the authority vested to the Board of Selectmen by NH RSA 41:11, 47:17 VII and VIII, and any other applicable stature under New Hampshire law, we, the members of the Select Board for the Town of Littleton, enact the following regulation. 

Purpose:  To provide safety of residents, vehicles, and pedestrians on Town roads; to maintain useful life of roadways; and to direct commercial traffic to appropriate roadways. 

Dorsett said the new amendment will repeal the current traffic ordinance addendum which covers no parking zones, no through traffic and also has a section that talks about the erection of signs.  It is going to create a new section, Section 9 for No Through Trucks and it will relocate the language for no parking zones to section 6.9 which is already in existence.  It will also change the erection of signs language.  The language is redundant, and is already covered in section 3.6.  A truck is defined as in RSA 259:11-b, (“every motor vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.”)  “Light Trucks” are exempt as defined by RSA 259:50 (“any motor truck having no more than 2 axles.”) Dorsett gave a description of the No through Truck area as follows:

Herbert Lane , Grove Street, South Street, Mount Eustis Road (Section from intersection of Industrial Drive to Cottage Street), Ammonoosuc Street, Hidden Brook Road, Riverside Drive and Saranac Street. 

Exemptions:  Municipal vehicles or contractors working for the Town, emergency vehicles, school and public transportation vehicles, public utility vehicles in performance of official duties, vehicles making local deliveries within excluded portions of roads, vehicles of private contractors engaged to perform work on behalf of the Town, public utilities, or owners of property abutting or otherwise having access from the excluded portion of said roads or any other road accessible only via the excluded section of road, vehicles owned by a property owner performing work on their own behalf on property that abuts or otherwise is accessed from the excluded roadway. The penalty for failure to adhere to this ordinance shall be a violation and subject to a fine of $100.00 for the first violation; and $250.00 for each subsequent offense in a calendar year.   Marghie Seymour wondered if this ordinance is going to be really hard to enforce.  Chief Paul Smith said it is just like any other ordinance.  If we observe anyone violating an ordinance we will act on it.  It would be like a tractor trailer truck in the middle of Mount Eustis Road, then we would inquire further and take the appropriate action.  Smith said they can’t be everywhere at once.  Smith said when they enacted No Through Trucking on Herbert Lane, it tremendously the residents on that street.  It’s not perfect, you can’t be there all of the time and there will be people that slip through.  Smith said there is a lot of wear and tear on Mount Eustis Road.  Smith said he is not the highway manager but one concern is maintenance and the other concern is safety.  Smith said google maps send the truckers over the shortest route rather than the Industrial Park Road.  Rudy Gelsi asked when this would become effective.  Sweet said that if it is approved it will not be now it will be at the next meeting.  Gelsi asked how it would be posted so that everybody knows about it.  Will you post it in the newspaper?  Where is all this regulation going to be posted?  Dorsett said the roads would be posted according to the form of uniform traffic.  Smith said the public works director will put up a no through truck sign.  Smith said the ordinances are posted on the website. Bruce Hadlock said he had an interest because he had a housing development and house lots etc.  Can a concrete truck go there?  Can excavation go there?  Rossi said the ordinance states that if it in service of a property that it accessed by the road.  Hadlock said his next questions is what are you going to do with the traffic after this goes into effect.  Sweet said they don’t direct that.  Hadlock said they did.  Hadlock asked if the traffic would go on Main Street or another route.  Franco Rossi said the traffic has to get where it has to go.  If it can’t go there it is going to go on another road.  Rossi said that as Chief Smith explained the Industrial Park is designed for that kind of traffic.  Bratz said he had encountered a tractor trailer coming down Mount Eustis Road about a year ago.  Bratz went on to say that the assumption is that the traffic will redirect itself as it did prior to Mount Eustis Road being put on GPA.  Hadlock said that if you are going to be redirecting the traffic onto the Main Street, or another side street that should be taken into consideration.  Rossi asked Hadlock what street he was concerned about.  Hadlock said that Main Street would be blocked.  Hadlock said we used to have terrible parking.  It was angled.  We also have a tremendous amount of logging trucks that go through here.  If you are putting more traffic through the Main Street, you would have to figure out a way around it.  A concerned citizen said his business address is 1063 Mount Eustis Road. He asked if they would be exempt.  Bratz said he did think it was exempt.  The citizen said the only time it is a problem is in the winter time because the trucks get stuck.  Couldn’t we just post it from November 1st through May 1st?  The citizen asked if that would help instead of shutting it down.  Dorsett said that is the problem they are trying address.  It is a question of constant and unsafe traffic.  Dorsett said he did not think seasonal regulations would solve the problem. 

Marghie Seymour wondered if the primary concern is about the people who know the shortcuts through town.  Sweet said one of the problems that the chief alluded to is the google group.  Seymour asked if once the roads are posted would that show up on google.  Franco said it should but he does not know the cycle of the updating.  Seymour said she knows that sometimes if you get wrong directions you contact google and tell them it is wrong.  She wondered if you could just contact them.  Rossi said google is constantly updating but he does not know the timing.  Seymour asked if it was possible to specify in the ordinance a particular property as being exempt.  Sweet said he didn’t know why not.  Seymour said then you could just exempt the Dodge property then that would take care of Frank and Shawn’s concerns.  Rossi said it appears they would already qualify for the exemption.  Seymour said the question is where they are on the map.  Frank Dodge said he would like to know how many complaints the Town has received on that road.  Sweet said he did not know the answer to that.  Bratz said that road is not wide and the culverts have been cleaned out.  Bratz said it is a safety and a volume issue given the kinds of vehicles that are using the road more.  Frank Dodge said it has only been two or three times that the really large trucks have used it.  Dodge said to now draft ordinances to prevent everybody from using it. Dodge said he was on the planning board from 1985 for nine years.  Main Street is a horror show.  And now you are taking South Street away.  Sweet said they are aware of the complaints.  That is why they have the public hearings to listen to both sides of the story.  Another citizen said the way he understands it, is that no tractor trailers can go on that road.  Chief Smith the intent of the safety committee was not to address or to stifle your businesses.  It was to reduce the commercial traffic from the industrial park.  Specifically Fed-ex use heavy vehicles.  The increased traffic has created a safety issue because the road is narrow.  It is unsafe for pedestrians and on at least two occasions trucks have hit the overpass.  It is not just the tractor trailers, it is the delivery trucks too.  We are not trying to restrict the local contractor who has a business on the roadway.  Smith said they could change the language and noted that no one has complained about the local contractors.  Smith said Mount Eustis was not designed to divert traffic from the Industrial Park.  Smith said that as far as worrying about additional traffic on Main Street, these vehicles were supposed to be on Main Street anyhow.  The vehicles were never intended to be diverted up over Mount Eustis Road.  The interstate has signage on the ramp 42 that says for truck traffic to go in that direction.  Smith said there is no concern about Union Street and the elementary school because they would be going through Union Street anyway to get to the industrial park.  He does not believe there will be a traffic concern on Main Street.  Another citizen asked if the FedEx vehicles could still use the road.  Smith said yes. But only for deliveries.  A woman said she walks every morning and the FedEx Trucks come up through about a quarter of eight in the morning, they just buzz right through.  They don’t stop anywhere.  She has been from one end of the Mount Eustis Road to the other, and they just drive right through.  Rossi asked her if she was talking about the box trucks.  She said yes.  Dorsett said they are not exempt.  They have to have a bill of sale for a delivery and if they do not then they are in violation of the ordinance.  Dorsett said he gets quite a lot of complaints about this road, which is why the safety committee looked into it. We have been working on this issue for over a year.  We started out by trying to figure out ways to improve visibility.  Dorsett said if you notice trends when you are walking, you can contact law enforcement to establish a patrol.  Hadlock had a question on the Lisbon side.  How many of them are actually coming up from Lisbon?  Dorsett said they would have to do a traffic study.  Hadlock asked if they could talk directly to Lisbon.  Hadlock said he is sure there are weight limits at certain times of the year.  He thinks the board should be working with the Town of Lisbon to see if they could incorporate that.  Rossi asked if that section of the road is where we want them to drive.  If they are going to the industrial park, that is where we want them to be.  Dorsett read out the description of a truck per the RSA stated at the beginning of this hearing.  Dorsett said they would be encouraged to use the interstate or the intersection the industrial park intersection, which is designed for that type of traffic.  It can someone to Main Street which is a state highway road.  An individual said that Dorsett said something about two axels.  Dorsett said he was referring to the light truck RSA.  Seymour said FedEx box trucks have two axels, regardless if they are all exempt under this definition.  Sweet said no.  Ralph Hodgman read the RSA regarding the description of trucks.  Sweet asked if there were any further comments.  There being none he closed the public hearing at 9:55 AM.

Sweet opened the third hearing at 9:56 AM.
Public Hearing #3
Control of Dogs on Public Property Ordinance
Milton Bratz said he had planned to have a handout available.  Bratz said that some dog owners are using the ball fields and not cleaning up the dog feces.  He received a complaint and a concern from the athletic director at the High School.  Bratz said he would touch on three levels of this ordinance.  The first being legal, the second being health concerns and the third the level is of personal commitment we should have as citizens.  Bratz read the ordinance to those present.   Greg Fillion stood to speak and stated he is the one who brought this to Mr. Bratz’s attention.  The dog owners need to get on board and work together with us to create a dog park in Town.  This would be great for people to walk their dogs away from the ball fields.  We have coaches and kids that pick up the field of dog feces and let’s face it they don’t always wash their hands when they leave the fields.  If you use face book you can see the story of one individual that picked up three piles of dog poop before their kids game.  This really started to bother him last week when a gentleman in Town who has three very large dogs that look like Huskies.  He told Fillion that he was using the fields three times a day.  We got to the point that we were locking the fields.  We felt bad about locking the fields so we thought we would outsmart everybody.  We chained them open.  This individual brought three or four pieces of plywood to pry open the gates.  They are not dog kennels, they are ball fields.  They are designed to play ball on and they should be open for the kids to use.  Ryan Glass said that a lot of the concerns in this ordinance we deal with the swimming pool as well.  Humans transport these diseases and carry them.  He does not think it is a major issue that is happening.  The real issue is we need a dog park.  Sweet said he was in the Town office the other day and a lady came in with concerns over this.  She said she was going to put it in writing.  He did not believe she has done that to date.  Sweet said she made a point that needs to be in the record. She is handicapped and she has a dog that is ADA approved service dog.  She is concerned that she can no longer go to the ball field and watch her grandson play soccer.  Bruce Hadlock said she is exempt.  Sweet said not with this ordinance she is not exempt.  Hadlock said she is by federal law.  Sweet said his point being and her point being it would be nice if this ordinance spelled out the exemption.  Chief Smith said they would add a section on the exemptions before the board votes on this.  Bratz provided handouts detailing the diseases transmitted by dog feces.

Dorsett said he has been in discussions with a developer regarding the development of a dog park.  They are offering to pay for a certain portion of a dog park.  It won’t be enough to complete a dog park, but if any dog owners or citizens would like to donate to help us with this effort it would be greatly appreciated.  Dorsett said they would have to do a site selection and fencing.  Sweet asked if there were any other comments.  There being none Sweet closed the public hearing at 10:20 AM.

 Sweet said the agenda shows a regular board meeting, however the one item that was on the agenda has been postponed. 

Town Managers Report:
Dorsett said Safe Routes to School is on schedule and there will be a preconstruction meeting tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.  The project should be underway right after the last day of school.  Andrew said he has a new intern from Plymouth State University who is a Planning Major.  He will probably be shadowing the Planning and Zoning Boards.  You will probably see him around Town. He will also be working on parking solutions and looking at the Mill Street Project.  We are in the process of doing a review of E911.  The Police Department is doing a survey of properties that are out of compliance with the current ordinance.  We will be working with the residents to help them as to where they can put their signage.  We had the recreation center meeting last Thursday.  Dorsett said they had a good turnout of at least fifty people.  There were a lot of good ideas.  One recurring thing as was shown here this morning, was a dog park.  There were a lot of other ideas including one for an indoor pool.  Dorsett said right now the sky is the limit but it will be scaled down to what is actually attainable.  He heard things like zip lines, rock walls, etc. 

Bruce Hadlock said he was at that meeting.  He asked the question is it ok to spend $10,000 there.  Hadlock said that is what they told us at that meeting that it was going to cost $10,000.  That is one third of the total amount of money that is appropriated for the building.  Hadlock asked if he was right that you gave a contract to these people for $10,000.  Sweet said that was approved by warrant.  Hadlock said that does not mean you give it away.  Hadlock said you don’t turn around and spend and waste people’s money.  If you could do something for $3,000 it would be different.  You don’t spend $10,000 because $10,000 was appropriated.  These people did a very poor job out of the thing of it.  They came in with no information, no maps and no logistics to propose to the people.  Hadlock said he didn’t hesitate to get up say this is a sham.  Hadlock said the Town of Littleton is divided up on responsibilities.  The Town owns the land.  It’s like the Water & Light Department, those people have commissioners who run the department.  We have Park Commissioners that run the parks.  I agree with what they are trying to do but it was undermined by the selectmen.  They cut a huge amount of money out of it a few years ago.  It was not done in a good way and the fact that because it was appropriated and it wasn’t done right.  You are the administrators of the money.  Hadlock said he thinks the parks should have been the administrators of the money.  We have a Town Manager form of government.  The Town Manager is emulated by what they can do.  To go out and spend $10,000 just because it was appropriated out of the $30,000.  Some common sense has to prevail on spending money. 

They are trying to build a building at Remich Park to replace the very old building.  They need bathrooms in it, they need to be able to work out of it.  They already have water, electric and sewer.  Some common sense has to prevail.  Sweet asked him if he was done.  Hadlock said he had a right to speak.  Sweet told him he was out of order.  Hadlock told Sweet he was the one out of order.  Sweet advised Hadlock that he was out of order according to the agenda policy.  We have not even reached the section for public comments.  Sweet advised Hadlock if he could be civil he would let him continue. 

Dorsett said we don’t want to spend money just for the sake of spending it.  Dorsett told Hadlock that he might have missed it when he was away for the winter but they engaged in a process that was driven by the parks and recreation department.  They had a building committee that suggested they needed a building replacement.  An RFP was created for the parks and town management.  The RFP was reviewed and approved by the parks and recreation commissioners.  It was sent out to bid.  The bidders were reviewed and interviewed by a committee that the parks and recreation commissioners had appointed.  They then brought their recommendation to the parks and recreation commissioners.  They then made a recommendation to the select board to enter into a contract with the selected bidder.  The meeting last week was phase one of the project.  The project includes the future of the parks and recreation department not just the immediate needs.  They wanted to see what people wanted.  The next step will be to do a community survey based on what came out of the meeting.  They will narrow down the results to see what is feasible and come back to the voters with a plan.  They will also try to find alternate sources of funding. 

Dorsett moved onto the rail abandonment process. They had the contractor do the assessment that is required by the federal government.  They submitted their findings to the DOT and DRED.  There is a meeting tomorrow with the DOT to review the proposal and hopefully we will be one more step closer to abandonment.  Sweet asked if that included the signal.  Dorsett said it does not include the signal that might be able to be addressed with the Transportation Alternative Program.  Right now we are waiting for official notice to proceed from the governor’s council.  Dorsett said they have the easements for the River District drafted and they have met with the property owners.  We should be ready to go out to bid by the end of June.  Construction could start hopefully by the end of August.  Last week we had a major wind shear come through Town.  It was a pretty big event.  The PD, FD and Water & Light and public works went out in the middle of the night and took care of everything as quickly as possible.  Sweet asked for a motion to adjourn.  Bratz made the motion to adjourn.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.  Meeting adjourned at 10:33 AM.