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11/15/2017 PB Minutes

TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
Planning Board
November 15, 2017

BETHLEHEM TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
Minutes
6:00 pm

Present:   Mike Bruno, Johnathan Stevenson, David Rodrigues, Dave Wiley, Marie Stevenson, Mary Moritz and Neil Brody
Mike Bruno opened the meeting at 6:00 pm.  He explained that at Cheryl Jensen Co-Chair of the Conservation Committee’s request: She will be recording this hearing.

He then read the public notice for Presidential Mountain Resort Site Plan review.  The Checklist was done prior to the hearing.  Mike Bruno motioned to approve the check list pending clarification on the following additions: tax lot 202-05 needs to be added to the map. Garbage area needs to be added, Location of sign on the map. Pending State permits.  Dave Wiley seconded the motion.  7-0 motion carries

David Eckman from Eckman Engineering was asked to present his Site Plan for the Hilton.

It is a 42 acres parcel of land. That will house an 85-unit Homewood Suites by Hilton.  They are made for extended stays for families on vacation 1 – 2 weeks.    It will have 3000 feet of frontage.  There a few small wetland areas that will require a cut and cover permit. Town water is approved from the Village District. There will be an Enviro Septic system will be installed from Sugar Hill.  The building’s footprint will not be involved in the wetlands. There will be elaborate landscaping all around the building with an outdoor patio and fire pit.  He plans on acquiring all state permits once the Site Plan is approved.  All other amenities involved in the construction is noted in the Site Plan booklet in the planning office. There will be minimal impact.  Mike Bruno asked if there is a side views of the parcel.  It is included in the Site plan map pages.  The hotel site was passed around for all to see.  What will be across the street asked Neil Brody.  Renewed cabins and possibly a recreation building.  Dave Wiley asked about the lighting.  There will be no cast off.  Led lights will dim without movement.  Mounted at 20 feet high.  David Eckman referred to an outparcel on the property and said: That’s now owned by Renewable Properties, which is Eversource. He said he knows there’s a memorandum of understanding in place to move the Transition Station back from Rt. 302. He said that a week ago he was told maybe something was going on and Eversource might not move the tower like they agreed to previously. He said something was going on behind the scenes, which he joked is above his pay grade.

The hearing was open to the public.  The meeting was opened to questions, Cheryl Jensen, co-chair of the Bethlehem Conservation Commission questioned Mr. Eckman about the fact that his earlier statements about Eversource and Northern Pass didn’t seem to clear up the issue of whether the transition station was or was not being moved.

Cheryl Jensen asked about Northern Pass substation.   Mr. Eckman explained that Mr. Rudich wanted him to go forward.  He wrote a letter that shows the tower on the permit.  It helps them for some reasons making the tower shorter going down in the back he was told. This is a Major project for your community, and I am representing the owner.  And he told me go forward with the plan.   We can still build the hotel with the tower in place but obviously it’s not good to have that tower right in front of the hotel. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing.  He knows very little about the change of location for the tower he just found out last week.  Mr. Rudich is angry about the NP situation; he is financially vested.

Mike Bruno expressed concerns about the possibility that this project could be withdrawn because of the uncertainties about the transition station.

Mr. Eckman said that Mr. Rudich could still build the hotel with the tower in place but when he bought the parcel, it was with the understanding that the transition station would be moved. Mr. Eckman said that Mr. Rudich was frustrated.

He supported Northern Pass because they agreed to move the transition station. He actually wrote a letter supporting them because he got this deal and now, he feels a little bit betrayed, deceived, tricked.  He wouldn’t have written that letter if they were going to put it in front of his hotel. In that case Mr. Rudich probably wouldn’t have bought the property. His client has spent a lot of money with the belief they were going to move the transition station and if they change the rules at this point, that’s not good.
He is meeting with them next Tuesday morning. He did ask them to give him a landscaping plan that would screen a 130-foot tower.

This situation is for the powers above to figure it out.  Several members of the public were in attendance and voiced their questions as to size of building and how long the Hilton had to build in a calendar year.  Mr. Eckman said he would like to start the foundation if the site plan is approved.  He does not know about expiration, only that the Hilton has done extensive investigation on the need for 85-unit hotel.  Mr. Rudich is committed to this project.  He is thinking positive that this will all work itself out.  In March of 2016 negotiations were being done and they have been working on the project since 2014.   Andrea Bryant asked the overall height.   75 feet with the Variance.   Margaret asked about the footprint.  19,50 for footprint.
Dave Eckman explained the septic will be in the front by the nitrate setback area (leaching area)

The Trans. station was going 1600 feet back when then walked it with Northern Pass and a conservation officer.
He said that when they met with Eversource, they had proposed a 135-foot tower and after working with them, they talked about moving it. His client, Mr. Rudich wanted it way back, 3,000 feet back but Eversource wasn’t going to do that. They talked about putting it on a knoll behind where the septic system is and kind of out of sight.

Mike Bruno is voting in favor.  It is very positive for this area and community.   Martin Glavac encouraged the board to approve the project.

Mike Bruno summarized Chris McGrath’s letter in support of the project. It will be added to the minutes.

Mike Bruno motioned to accept the Site Plan for Presidential Mountain Resort, LLC (Hilton)with conditions of all necessary permits, add 202-05 to the map, and garbage area. David Rodrigues seconded 7-0 motion passes.

Minutes from October 11, 2017 approved

Minutes from November 8, 2017 approved

Motion to adjourn from Mike Bruno seconded by Marie Stevenson 7-0 adjourned

Respectfully submitted
Debra Bayley
Planning Clerk

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May 14, 2019

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