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TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
Wednesday January 25, 2017
BETHLEHEM TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
Attendance: Present: Chairman Mike Bruno, Vice Chair Dave Wiley, Chris McGrath, Sandy Laleme, Marie Stevenson and Johnathan Stevenson
Mr. Bruno opened the public hearing at 6:00pm and read the public notice on two proposed warrant articles to amend the Bethlehem Zoning Ordinance. He explained they need to vote to either recommend the articles or not to recommend.
Sandy Laleme explained that she had misspoke at the January 11, 2017 hearing by saying the HCA (Host Community Agreement) would not be on the ballot. She said she was wrong about that and said it would be on the ballot.
Mr. Bruno read a letter that he wrote about the warrant articles.
Chris McGrath said he went to the landfill site to get more information and had a tour of the landfill. He also said he found out that the town isn’t obligated to keep the land for the industrial park and can sell it.
Mr. Bruno opened the hearing up for public input at 6:15pm.
Dan Crosby wanted to know if the board will go by the criteria from the Master Plan to make their decision and was told yes that would be part of it.
Andrea Bryant told the board that the number of acres for the expansion is different on the website than on the mailing.
Julie Seely asked where the plot points came from. Chris McGrath told her that they came from the deed and tax maps. Cheryl Jenson wants to know if the board has looked at all the points to determine if they are correct. Sandy Laleme told her that it was provided by the legal firm and said she doesn’t feel the need to double check it.
Mr. Bruno explained it is not up to the Planning Board to plot the points and asked if the Conservation Commission had checked the points. Cheryl Jenson said if it came to her and her integrity was on the line she would have done it.
Mr. Bruno said he would like everyone to know that the board is here to vote to recommend or not recommend these two articles.
Martin Glavac said he would like to know what the Planning Board is considering and said the points have been checked and double checked. Mark Chain asked if the board have to vote to recommend or not recommend. Sandy Laleme read the RSA for petitioned warrant articles that explains the warrant articles have to be recommended or not recommended.
Tim Vaughn said there are three ways for this to happen (zoning amendment changes on the warrant); the Planning Board brings it forward, petitioned by the public, or the governing body by the Select Board.
Steve Dignazio asked if the Board will be basing decision on the Master Plan and public comment. Chris McGrath said the master plan survey showed most people who responded were against the dump.
Dave Wiley said his decision is from the Master Plan and the public and said he has talked with a lot of people and not just people who came to the meeting. Mr. Bruno said his decision is based on social media, newspaper, and the general public. Andrea Bryant added that the MP survey produced 122 people wanted the dump closed, 54 thought it to be good and 52 thought it to be a necessary evil. High on the list was the high taxes. It was said there was only a 14% return with only 331 surveys returned. Chris McGrath told the public that there were 20 meeting’s on the MP. Martin Glavac said the high taxes were a concern and should be looked at due to tax issues. Mr. McGrath told him the Board can’t look at the tax issue as a determining factor. Mr. Glavac said it is in the Master Plan.
Jackie Katzman asked if the board had taken into consideration the 100 business’s in town that may have a conflict with the landfill and explained she is on the BR&E committee that will be surveying businesses.
Gail Robertson is new to the town and wants to know why the board is not more informed and asked why this has been rushed. Mr. Bruno explained how the board received the zoning changes and said this was not our warrant article that it came from the Select Board who is asking for our stamp of approval.
Chris Jensen asked it the board could continue this hearing until after the deadline for the March vote and said Casella is not going away. Sandy Laleme said that it may still go on the ballot without a vote.
Heidi Cook said there are enough resources out there to draw from and asked what has the board done to inform themselves? Mr. Bruno said he has spoken with the public, other board members, made an appt. and talked with a Select Board member and also with someone from the Littleton industrial area.
Martin Glavac spoke of the financial benefit and the local access to the highway away from the major throughway. Dave Wiley said he talked to friends and neighbors. John Stevenson said we can’t look at financials and said he has been speaking to family, friends and businesses. He also said he is familiar with the property and said a lot of the questions being asked should be at SPR (Site Plan Review).
Marie Stevenson said she has talked with people and heard both sides and said she knows how she is going to vote. Julie Seely said the industrial land may have arsenic and carcinogens and asked if the Planning Board studied the parcel to determine if the land is contaminated. She said there showed Arsenic in the ground water from a DES report.
Cheryl Jensen asked Sandy Laleme to recuse herself from the vote and also asked if any board member had received any reimbursement from Casella. Marie Stevenson said she caters for NCES and said she will recuse herself. Sandy Laleme told the public that she has never received anything from Casella or Kevin Roy and that she has no financial interest and has no intent to recuse herself. She also said she believes the true value of democracy is the vote and that it is the fairest way.
Teresa Wood said as a former PB member nothing of this magnitude had ever come before the board when she was on it. She said there is plenty of time to get more information and told the Board to take their time because the agreement is in place for the next 5 years.
Jane Storella said this is going in the wrong direction and said people looks at the recommendations when they vote and said she wants the Planning Board to not recommend the articles.
Cheryl Jenson said she will look into the high levels of arsenic that Julie Seely was talking about.
Martin Glavic would like to know questions that would help you recommend. Mr. Bruno said the PB was handed a bucket from the Select Board with not enough information in it with the expectation of the Planning Board to vote on it.
Mr. Crosby went over the benefits of the agreement including free trash pick-up and the financial aspects.
Cheryl Jensen asked who is paying for the legal costs. Sandy Laleme said Casella will reimburse the town for all legal fees.
Mike Bruno motioned to not recommend article #1.
The Selectboard of the Town of Bethlehem has negotiated a host community agreement with North Country Environmental Services, Inc. The agreement is conditioned upon adoption of a zoning amendment to expand zoning District V to include approximately an additional 100 acres as shown on a plan that will be available at the public hearing on the matter, and in the Planning Board’s Office at the Town Hall. Landfilling would be a permitted use within the additional acreage if the amendment passes. The Selectboard, therefore, pursuant to RSA 675:3, proposes the amendment set out below for a vote at the 2017 town meeting.
Chris McGrath seconds. Motion carries 4-1 with 1 recusal Marie Stevenson and 1 opposed Sandy Laleme
Mike Bruno motioned to recommend Article #2
Are you in favor of the adoption of Amendment No. 2 as proposed by the Bethlehem Board of Selectmen, to amend Article V Zoning Districts and Uses, District III of the Town Zoning Ordinances to rezone Tax Map 207, Lot 27 to the District III zone by adding the Map and Lot # as set out below [additional language being proposed is highlighted in bold type]:
This District shall include all of the area of said Town of Bethlehem, lying within the boundaries of Map 405, Lot #54; Map 406 Lots #1, #2, #16, #17, #18, #20.1 through #20.4, #21.1 through #21.6, #22.1 through 22.18, #23, #24, #25, #34: Map 416, Lot #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #7 as delineated on the Bethlehem Tax Maps as of April 01, 1998, and including Map 209, Lot 27 as delineated on the Bethlehem Tax Maps as of April 1, 2016.
Dave Wiley seconded. Motion carries 3-2, 1 abstained Marie Stevenson. John Stevenson and Chris McGrath opposed.
The public hearing was closed at 8:30.
Minutes from January 11, 2017 – Marie Stevenson made a motion to approve. Dave Wiley seconded. 5-1 motion carries with 1 abstained Mike Bruno
Minutes from January 18, 2017 – Dave Wiley made a motion to approve. Chris McGrath seconded. Motion carries with 1 abstained Marie Stevenson
Don Lavoie asked Dave Wiley about the water running down Lewis Hill. Brett Jackson is taking care of it.
Chris McGrath made a motion to adjourn. Marie Stevenson seconded. 5-0 motion carries.