Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Aug 21, 2018

Approved Planning Board Meeting - August 21, 2018


LITTLETON PLANNING BOARD
COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM
120 MAIN STREET
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2018
6:00 PM
APPROVED

 

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

ABSENT:  Colin Trahan

EXCUSED:  Jim Daly

OTHERS:  Alex Belensz (North Country Council Planner) and Justin Roshak (Littleton Currier)

Chair MacNeil called the meeting to order at 6:00 and designated Milton as a voting member.

Review of minutes from August 7 and August 8, 2018.  Franco requested the following to be added to the August 7 minutes:

  • Franco asked if all the data will be owned by the Town.  Steve replied yes.

Milton made a motion to approve both sets of minutes with the requested addition.  Vice Chair Ilacqua seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.

Alex Belensz presented the Littleton Pedestrian & Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Plan.  This is a draft document that was started in July 2017.  Alex joined North Country Council in October. 

The plan shows an inventory of existing conditions in the downtown area, identifies strategies for improving bike and pedestrian safety, and connectivity in Town.  This plan is meant to be advisory only and to identify resources to the Town for implementation.

This plan was developed by NH Dept. of Transportation and funded entirely by NHDOT along with member dues. This is being done in towns all over the region.  There have been many meetings and now the plan is ready for Planning Board review and comments.  There has been a lot of positive feedback from the public. The plan will be owned by the Town to do what they want.

Alex explained that public input identified concerns regarding the poor condition of sidewalks, frequent usage of sidewalks by bicyclists, high vehicle speeds on residential roads, the parking and delivery traffic on Mill and Saranac Streets, lack of access for lower-skilled bicyclists, and the intersection of Main, Cottage, and Union Streets.

Opportunities for improvement were identified in a few areas including the River District, unused rail corridor, and improving wayfinding signage.

Priority areas were also identified as the Lakeway Elementary School, Meadow Street commercial area, Remich Park access, Cottage Street near the riverfront, and the riverfront areas.  Maps were presented to show the current level of traffic stress and the conditions post-implementation.

Key recommendations and strategies listed in the plan included potential bike lanes, advisory shoulders or shared lane markings, narrowing travel lanes, traffic calming measures, and separated facilities such as sidewalks, bike paths, and side paths.

Chair MacNeil asked where the traffic volumes from page 12 of the draft came from.  Alex replied it depended on the type of road.  Some of the figures came from NHDOT counts and some came from NCC themselves.  Local roads were estimated from adjacent roads. Vice Chair Ilacqua asked if anyone actually biked on the roads while developing this plan.  Alex replied that staff visited each street but some data was from aerial maps.  Milton asked for the definition of vehicle.  Alex replied that it was anything motorized.

Various bike route recommendations and strategies were discussed.  The areas included Eustis Hill – Industrial Park bike route, Hill neighborhood bike route, and Riverside – Apthorp bike route.

Alex explained that the plan would be adopted by the Planning Board at a public hearing.  Adopting the plan does not mean the Town would be spending money.  Having the plan might help when applying for various grants.  The plan can be revised based on comments from the Planning Board or Town Manager.  Minor edits are easy, but bigger revisions would need NHDOT review.

Franco asked if any research had been done regarding bike accidents.  Alex replied that he would look into that.  Franco asked if NHDOT would have to sign off on the plan if there were substantive changes.  Alex replied that NHDOT would look at those changes for safety reasons.  They will not own the plan, the Town will. 

Milton explained why he asked for the definition of vehicle.  Mount Eustis is a dangerous road with complaints from residents due to the Industrial Park traffic. Adding a bike route on it would be expensive.  Vice Chair Ilacqua stated the Police Department is working on slowing down traffic.  Alex replied that dangerous roads could have safety measures designed or removed from the plan. 

 

Vice Chair Ilacqua noted that there are steep hills in the plan. Bruce added that there are three types of bikers.  There are those that bike to work, some that want to cruise on a path, and others that want a challenging route.  Vice Chair Ilacqua asked if there was any idea on how many would use the paths.  Alex replied that there are no bike counts. 

Alex stated that some areas can be looked into again.  Chair MacNeil stated that Mount Eustis to the Industrial Park might not be a good area. Alex replied that areas with recommendations will be reviewed and perhaps find strategies for any safety improvements. The bike route from Riverside to Apthorp area appears to be appropriate.

Bruce inquired about how many kids ride their bike to school.  Alex replied that the Safe Routes to School committee might have that data.  Vice Chair Ilacqua added that it would be good to see what the count is now and then after routes are implemented.  Alex agreed that it would be good to track improvements.

The Board thanked Alex for the presentation.  The Board will review the drafts and make a decision at the next meeting on how to move forward.

At 6:30, citing RSA 91-A:3, II(c), Vice Chair Ilacqua made a motion to enter into non-pubic session.  Bruce seconded the motion.  The motion passed. 

At 6:50, Milton made a motion to return to public session. Vice Chair Ilacqua second the motion. The motion passed by all. The minutes were not sealed.

Chair MacNeil invited Justin back into the public meeting.  Due to Val not being at the interview with Tara Bamford, he abstained from voting.  All other Board members voted for Resilience Planning & Design to assist the Planning Board with updating the Littleton Master Plan. Chair MacNeil stated that both proposals had positive points, but the Board decided that Resilience would be best suited for Littleton.

The next meeting is scheduled for September 4th.  Vice Chair Ilacqua and Bruce will not be available.  The Board will be meeting with a property owner regarding concerns with the condition of Gannon Road and how it could be affected by a possible future subdivision.

At 7:15, Franco made a motion to adjourn. Mary seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray