Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

May 15, 2018

Approved Planning Board Minutes - May 15, 2018


LITTLETON PLANNING BOARD
COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM
120 MAIN STREET
TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018
6:30 PM
APPROVED

PRESENT:  Chair Linda MacNeil, Vice Chair Tony J. Ilacqua, Val Poulsen, Mary Menzies, Ex-Officio Franco Rossi, Bruce Ralston, Milton Bratz (alternate), and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)  

 

EXCUSED: Jim Daly

 

ABSENT:  Colin Trahan (alternate)
Vice Chair MacNeil called the meeting to order.  Milton was designated a voting member for this meeting.

 

Election of Officers:

Bruce nominated Tony for the position of Vice Chair.  Milton seconded the nomination.  All voted in favor.

Tony nominated Linda for the position of Chair.  Val seconded the nomination.  All voted in favor.

Chair MacNeil appointed Joanna Ray as recording secretary.

 

Chris Wilkins, Littleton Parks & Recreation Director, introduced himself to the Board.  Chris is also Vice Chair of the Dog Park Committee.  The Committee is still looking for suitable land that is approximately two acres, preferably within walking distance to downtown and very visible. Restrooms would also be good.  Various properties have been hiked, but terrain and potential flooding were issues. The next option is to look at privately owned property.  Any suggestions from the Planning Board would be appreciated.  The Littleton capped landfill was suggested, but there are signs every 50’ warning about the potential gases. The land behind the Coin Company was also suggested, but Andrew stated that there will be development going on there. Another suggested parcel was at the top of Pine Hill Road.  Val stated there are hiking trails there.  Chair MacNeil added that an open area would need to be created.  Vice Chair Ilacqua suggested a triangle shaped parcel in the Industrial Park. 

 

Chris was asked how many members were in the Committee.  Chris replied that there were 13 members with 8 attending the meetings regularly.  The students at Lakeway Elementary School raised $6000 selling dog biscuits.  They are also turning artwork into postcards for another fundraiser.  Additional donors are being requested.

 

Vice Chair Ilacqua asked about the request for facilities onsite.  Chris replied that he would like to have bathrooms if the park is out of Town.  Mary added that a fence is needed. Chris said it would be ideal to have different areas for different sized dogs. Milton suggested an area for dogs to be on leashes and another area for dogs to run loose.  Someone could be there to monitor it.  Chair MacNeil stated park rules could be posted. Vice Chair Ilacqua suggested they look into insurance.  Chris offered the idea of memberships to the park and agility obstacles.  Vice Chair Ilacqua stated there is property on Mount Eustis with the water tower could be considered.  Franco asked why the Committee would like the park to be walkable to in-town residents.  There are plenty of dogs outside of the downtown area.  Those people will have to drive to the park. Chris stated the Committee wants to connect to other areas in Town.  Franco suggested using Cartographics GIS to search for a suitable parcel.  Andrew stated the Murro property near the river might also be an option.

 

Andrew and the Board reviewed some updates regarding the Capital Improvement Program.  Andrew stated that some items, such as vehicles, might not be candidates for the CIP.  These are short term items.  An equipment replacement plan would be better suited for those.  A template from another town was distributed to the Board.   Vice Chair Ilacqua stated that vehicles were added to the CIP in 2006 or 2007.  The equipment replacement plan could be used as another planning tool. 

 

Andrew stated that he would be meeting with the library.  A grant writer will be helping them.  Amos Bell does maintenance on many Town owned buildings and will be helping out with the Library.  There was discussion regarding who is actually responsible for maintenance.  Val mentioned being a former Library Committee member when the lift was installed.  The Town takes care of the warrant article for repairs.  Milton stated he was aware of a document from the early 1990’s that said the Town accepted the building as a gift.  Val added that the Committee would go to the Budget Committee and pitch their repairs for a warrant article.

 

Andrew moved on to the Town Office item list.  Some of the items actually belong on the Public Works or Treatment Plan list.  Chair MacNeil asked about the retaining wall item.  Andrew replied that he feels a steep slope ordinance is needed in order to address who is responsible for the various retaining walls in Town.  It is in the Town’s best interest to have it clearly explained that if the retaining wall holds up the road then it is the Town responsibility.  Other retaining wall repairs are the responsibility of the property owner. 

 

The Opera House build out was discussed.  This is on the Cottage Street level.  Options are being considered for the best use of the space.  One option is to move the Town Offices there and another option is for the Arts Commission. 

 

Grants were discussed to cover various projects such as Main Street Phase 2, sewer project sub 2, and the reconnect project.  Some grants overlap other projects.   Working with NHDOT is vital to complete these projects.  The Planning Board was encouraged to express any concerns they might have regarding the location of traffic lights. Andrew stated that Littleton is still growing and the location of lights might need to change.  Chair MacNeil stated that the lights near Home Depot and Lowe’s are not needed in the early morning hours and should be sequenced properly at other times.

 

The phone system at the Town Office is antiquated and needs to be replaced.   A $30,000 grant was approved for a CIP item at the Treatment Plant. 

 

The Fire Department has a lot of vehicles listed on their CIP.  These could be added to the equipment replacement plan.  The Police Department puts new vehicles as budget items.  Chair MacNeil asked about the shooting range requested by the PD.  An indoor range would be safer.  Some Transfer Station items could also be added to the budget instead of being considered a CIP item.

 

Sewer and wastewater collection projects were reviewed.  A schedule and timeline was discussed.  Chair MacNeil asked for a copy to be emailed to the Board.

 

Andrew gave an update on a variety of projects.

 

The planning phase and public hearings for the Transportation Alternatives Project will be coming up.

 

A Parking Committee was created.  The Board of Selectmen are taking a broad approach to the issue and want to look ahead 25 years. Andrew met with North Country Council and they have $5000 to put towards a study.  NCC will help develop the framework for the Committee meetings and draft the formal document.  Things to look at are a parking garage and creating one-way streets.  Franco added that he is not sure why all of the in-town street are not one-way in opposite directions.  Mary stated that, from what she was told, they used to be.  Franco stated that parking spots can be created just by using some paint.  Milton asked if there was any money for a consultant to work with the Commission.  People are on both sides of this issue. 

 

Andrew stated that there is no parking on School Street in the winter because of snow plowing.  Perhaps there is an option to explore this being a one-way street with parking on one side.  The Committee needs members.  Andrew suggested members include a couple business owners, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a TAP advisory member and someone from the Planning Board.  The Committee could meet every other week and then work down to once a month.  Vice Chair Ilacqua volunteered to be on the Committee depending on their meeting schedule.  Mary stated she would think about volunteering.  Andrew added that the scope of the Committee is not ready yet.  Franco stated this is an important issue.  He offered his input through the Planning Board, but he did not have time to be on the Committee.  

 

Andrew and the Board discussed Meadow Street development and the need for sidewalks.  Another TAP grant application might be needed in the future to pursue pedestrian ways.  Mary stated that parking regulations and site plan review are two major items and that perhaps now is the time to discuss them again.  Bruce suggested a safety review process for entrances and flow of on-site traffic.  Chair MacNeil suggested approaching those that are against site-plan review, or have had undesirable outcomes, and ask how the Planning Board can create a safer environment for cars and pedestrians.

 

Andrew mentioned tax incremental financing districts.  They would require a vote of the Town.  TIF districts help pay for things such as sidewalks.

 

Other business:

Sean Dodge and Dodge Contracting have filed for an Alteration of Terrain application on tax maps 99-19 & 23.  The brief description states the project includes a contractor’s yard with buildings, farming with pastures and farm buildings and residential house construction.  The total disturbance is 415,000 sq. ft.  The additional work proposed is to add stormwater quality and quantity control per NH DES AoT.

 

Chair MacNeil brought up the topic of Planning Board members speaking at public meetings as a private citizen and not a Board member.  Some people were upset regarding comments made at a public meeting.  Planning Board members need to be mindful in a public setting.

 

Milton asked about the conditions that were set regarding the Cumberland Farms project on Meadow Street.  Milton was the Planning Board liaison for the cemetery group.  Val stated that Paul Harvey takes care of the neighboring cemetery.  Cumberland Farms told Paul not to worry and that they would do what is needed.  Val also spoke with the foreman and all is on track.   

 

The Board will meet again on June 5, 2018. 

 

At 8:00, Vice Chair Ilacqua made a motion to adjourn.  Val second the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray