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BETHLEHEM PLANNING BOARD
January 28, 2015
BETHLEHEM TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
Present:Dave Wiley, Mike Bruno, Chris McGrath, Andrea Bryant, Peter Roy, Sandy Laleme, and Don Lavoie
Absent: Libby Staples, Jeanne Robillard, and Alecia Loveless
Dave Wiley opens the meeting at 6:05pm.
Dave appoints Don Lavoie as full board member for Alecia.
The applicant is not yet present, but it is taken into consideration that their agent is driving from
Portsmouth. The board opts to open the public hearing and continue it if necessary should the applicant’s agent not show.
Dave opens the public hearing at 6:10 and reads the notice.
The board discusses whether or not they can go through the checklist while they wait for the applicant. Dave explains that the board does not have revised plans since the last meeting and therefore going through the checklist is not a viable option. Sandy questions whether or not the board can discuss the application without the applicant’s agent present. Dave again states that the board is looking to see the revisions, and therefore there is no point in a discussion without the applicant.
Dave Eckman of Eckman Engineering arrives at 6:15 and apologizes for his tardiness.
Dave Wiley reads through the checklist. Items discussed include: boundary line and site work, changes requested by the fire chief, drainage calculations, erosion control, wetlands, dumpsters, parking at the store, snow storage, wetland permit for B-34, DOT/crosswalks/speed limit, and a conditional use permit as it relates to the town’s aquifer map if needed.
Chris McGrath consults the aquifer map and notes this property is outside of the aquifer.
Motion by Mike Bruno, seconded by Peter Roy, to accept the application as complete. All members vote in favor, motion carries.
Dave invites David Eckman to present the plans to the board. Mr. Eckman explains that the facility will be comprised of 23 cabins, 4 motel units, a synagogue, and a store. The project will be a full renovation and will include all new utilities. Mr. Eckman then reviewed the parking calculations and informed the board that DOT asked that the parking lot in front of the store be curbed so no one could back out on to Rt 302. He also explained the new store building will only be 4,000 sq ft, and not the 6,000 sq ft of the existing building. The existing pool will also be removed at the site of the store. Mr. Eckman went on to explain that the renovation of each building will be unique as all are in a different state of disrepair, noting that the store will take the longest due to the shoreline protection act.
The board raised concern over the 13 curb cuts for the property. Mr. Eckman will revisit the matter to see if this can be addressed, but also stated that the curb cuts were pre-existing and the state didn’t have a problem with the current design. Dave Wiley reminds the board that the 5 members who were present at the previous board meeting agreed that the pre-existing buildings and curb cuts didn’t need to be addressed.
A number of board members did not feel the location of the 2 crosswalks were not the most efficient for the common areas. Mr. Eckman stated he will address the crosswalks as the town deems necessary. Some discussion took place regarding the use of barriers such as fencing and plantings to prevent people from crossing the road in areas without crosswalks.
Dave Wiley invites public input.
Cheryl Jensen, Chair of the Conservation Commission addresses ownership of the property, Mr. Eckman
explains he does not work for the current owner, J Four Realty. He represents a potential owner. Cheryl
would also like to know if the shoreline protection piece will go to the local conservation board, Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust. She also would like to point out that the current owner did extensive timber cutting in 2011 and the logger was fined for wetlands violation.
Rita Farrell, 52 Agassiz Street, asks again about ownership of the property. Dave Eckman again explains that he has no relationship with the current owner, only with Mr. Rudich, the potential new owner. Rita would like some clarification on the pool. Will they be used for ritual baths? Open to the public? Is Mr. Rudich a religious leader? Is there an established congregation coming in? Chairman Wiley interrupts stating these are not concerns of the Planning Board.
Margaret Gale, 649 Cherry Valley Road, is concerned that the parking area in front of the restaurant/store has been used for public access to the pond for years now and sees it as a “potentially dangerous situation; a real problem.” Peter Roy offers that this is private property and public use will have to be addressed by the property owner. Sandy reminds everyone that the application cannot be denied based on these issues.
The conversation regarding safety continues with talk of underground crosswalks and reduced speed limits, all of which are a matter for the state.
Mike Bruno asks what conditions the board might impose at this point.
The list is comprised of the following: move crosswalks, State DOT approvals, snow storage area, direction of traffic arrows on north side, letter from the BVD approving connection to town water, wetland and state permits impacting any buildings within state and local wetland jurisdictions for this project.
Don inquires about a site visit.
Motion made by Andrea Bryant, seconded by Mike Bruno, to waive a site visit due to familiarity with the property. All in favor, site visit is waived.
Don brings up septic approval and thinks the board should give the chair discretionto accept the septic based on state approval.
Motion made by Don Lavoie, seconded by Andrea Bryant to give the chairman the authority to approve septic changes based on state approval. All in favor, motion carries.
Motion made by Don Lavoie, seconded by Peter Roy, that the Planning Board approve Sit
e Plan Review as presented tonight with the listed conditions; relocate the crosswalks, provide State of NH DOT approvals, show snow storage areas, show direction of traffic arrows on the north side, provide a
letter from the Bethlehem Village District approving connection to town water, and provide any wetland and/or state permits impacting any buildings within state and local wetland jurisdictions for this project; with site visit and bonding waived and authority to the chair to approve septic changes. All members in favor, motion carries.
The board reviews the minutes from 1/14/2015.
Motion made by Chris McGrath, seconded by Andrea Bryant, to approve the minutes as presented. Peter Roy abstains due to absence, remaining member in favor, minutes from1/14/2015 accepted.
Don informs the board that residents on Swazey Lane have received a letter from PSNH informing that they would be cutting along the power lines. Don reminds the board that it is in state law that PSNH come before the board for a public hearing should any cutting be done along a scenic road. Don remembers they were in not long ago and wonders if the allowed time frame has expired and do they have to come before the board again. Dawn will research the matter.
Motion made by Peter Roy, seconded by Andrea Bryant to adjourn at 8:18. All members in favor, meeting adjourned.
Planning and Zoning Clerk