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11/20/2018 ZBA Minutes



Tuesday November 20, 2018



6:00 pm

Present:  Chair Mike Culver, Vice Chair Patrick Doughty, Amy Delventhal, Kim Johnson, and Andrea Bryant

Mike Culver opened the meeting at 6:00.  He proceeded with housekeeping for the ZBA of past minutes and board business.

Minutes from July 10, 2018  Mike Culver motion to approve Andrea Bryant second 3-1 motion carried.  Patrick Doughty abstained

The board discussed the minutes from July 31, 2018. Andrea Bryant has some additions that she felt needed to be included.  Andrea Bryant motion to accept the minutes with modifications Patrick Doughty seconded 5-0 motion passes

Andrea Bryant would like the board to consider streamlining the Criteria for Special Exception. Several points in the 5 Criteria are redundant.  The board discussed a possible warrant article to propose to the Planning Board for the election in March.  Deb Bayley will distribute the timeline involved in a warrant article making it to the March election.

Closed board business

Mike Culver opened the hearing for the AHEAD SPECIAL EXCEPTION (extension) at 6:30. The public notice was read. Patrick Doughty made a motion to approve an extension for AHEAD Lloyd’s Hill workforce housing, pending no work is started until AHEAD received an approved driveway permit from DOT.   He would like to listen to the public, noting that nothing has changed with the project.  It is the same Special Exception that was approved in September of 2016.  Amy Delventhal seconded.  The motion was to listen to the public input.  Then the extension can move forward.

The attorney for AHEAD explained why the project was not started before the original Special Exception 2-year approval has expired. She explained that the monies were not in place in the allotted time.  It is an 8.2-million-dollar project, the monies are now in place.

Public input. Chris McGrath supports the project and reminded all that it is in the Master Plan and the Business Retention plan to support work force housing in Bethlehem.  Mary Lou Krambeer also supports the project.  The AHEAD project did a quite impressive and remarkable project with Friendship House.  Michael Bruno was against the project, he explained that in 2016 the proposed project had cabins and single-family housing and he voted it down for interim seed money. Not redoing the Special Exception is not for the benefit of the town.  Amy Delventhal remembered that plan, but the plan before them is not that plan.  She approved the existing plan.  Kim Johnson hand delivered a letter from an abutter to Deb Bayley.  Mike Culver read the letter from new owners (abutters) to the project.  The Deapo family was not aware of the AHEAD project before they bought their house.  They would not have purchased the home had they know.  The board agreed it was not up to the town to let perspective buyers of projects the going’s on in town.  The owners and or the real estate agent should have mentioned the project. Amy Delventhal said that this project is not new it has gone through the process.  Nothing has changed, 31 of the 44 acres are going into conservation.    Patrick Doughty explained that currently planning board conditions a DOT driveway permit on the checklist.  He urges the boards not to condition driveway permits.  A driveway permit should be in place before approving an application.

Patrick Doughty motion to extend AHEAD Special Exception for a 1-year period pending an approved DOT driveway permit. Jeannie Robillard would like to know why not 2 years?  Patrick Doughty would like 1 year.  Mary Lou Krambeer would like to know why it is so difficult to acquire a driveway permit for this location.  The answer was drainage answered the attorney for AHEAD, the state of NH is very thorough.

Patrick Doughty motion to extend AHEAD Lloyd Hills WORKFORCE HOUSING for 1 year pending DOT Driveway approval Amy Delventhal second 5-0 motion passes.


Mike Culver close public hearing for Ahead Special Exception 5-0

Open RUDARPA INC. Special Exception application

Patrick Doughty read the public notice for RUDARPA GAS PROCESSING FACILITY SPECIAL EXCEPTION

The board went over the checklist for the project. This project was approved earlier in the year for a 2-acre parcel, that is being leased from NCES.  This Special Exception is asking for a newly subdivided 5.49-acre parcel.  Fire provision was not located on the plans.  Mr. Darling assured the board that this will be part of the Planning Board Site Plan.  He spoke with the fire chief and the project will be NFPA standard.  The building will be 30 feet tall.

Patrick Doughty motion to accept the checklist as complete Kim Johnson second 5-0 motion passes

The applicant explained that nothing has changed from the original Special Exception. The leased land from NCES was recently subdivided making the RUDARPA parcel 5.49 acres.  Map and lot 209-207-002

Open to the public. No public comment

Amy Delventhal read the 5 Criteria


Criteria #1 The specific site is an appropriate location for the proposed use, structure, or change to a structure, in relation to surrounding properties:

RUDARPA Response:

The proposed site is adjacent to the North Country landfill which will provide landfill gas for processing into Renewable Natural Gas.   This site is the least intrusive and disruptive to the community as a whole due to its due to its proximity to the landfill and access to Trudeau Road.  The proposed site is in District 2 which requires special exception but would not diminish surrounding property values and will provide positive impact on the economy and the environment.

Patrick Doughty motion to approve Criteria #1 Mike Culver second 4-1 motion passes

Andrea Bryant opposed

Criteria #2 The proposed use, structure, or change to a structure, will be compatible with adjoining land uses and with the character of the surrounding neighborhood:

RUDARPA Response:

As previously discussed, the site is adjacent to the North Country Landfill. The RUDARPA facility will enhance business prospects for the Town of Bethlehem and potentially increase land value.  Granting the special exception would not be contrary to public interest and in fact would be beneficial.

Patrick Doughty motion to approve Criteria #1 Mike Culver second 5-0 motion passes

Criteria #3 The proposed use, structure, or change to a structure, will not generate substantial amounts of noise, odor, or create substantial increase in traffic:

RUDARPA Response:

The Rudarpa facility will be designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding area. The gas processing facility will be enclosed to contain any noise from the processing equipment.  The gas processing facility will actually decrease odors from the existing landfill through the gas clean – up process.  All truck traffic will use existing approved routes that service the North Country Landfill, specifically Trudeau Road to Route 3 and return.

Patrick Doughty motion to approve Criteria #3 Mike Culver second 5-0 motion passes

Criteria #4 The proposed use, structure, or change to a structure, will not create any other nuisance or hazard:

RUDARPA Response:

RUDARPA will do everything reasonable to be a good neighbor and member of the community. We will minimize the effect of light generated from the facility to that required for a safe working environment for our employees.  All lighting will be shielded downward facing, unless required by regulation or law.  Plant operation will be 7/24/365.  The trucking operation will be scheduled to terminate at 10pm to provide quiet hours from 10pm to 7am.  Granting this special exception would provide substantial economic and environmental justice for the community.

Patrick Doughty motion to approve Criteria #4 Amy Delventhal second 5-0 motion passes 

Criteria #5 The proposed use, structure, or change to a structure, will be in harmony with surrounding properties and consistent with the spirit and intent of this ordinance:

RUDARPA Response:

RUDARPA intends to provide good paying jobs for local residents and improve environmental conditions by reducing odor and greenhouse gas emissions. We feel that granting this special exception enhances the surrounding properties and supports the spirit and intent of the ordinance.  Denial of the special exception would result in unnecessary hardship to the applicant.

Amy Delventhal motion to approve Criteria #5 Patrick Doughty second 5-0 motion passes

Mike Culver motion to grant a Special Exception as all Criteria is approved for RUDARPA INC. map and lot 209-207-002 5.49 leased parcel.  Patrick Doughty second 3-2 motion passes Amy Delventhal abstained and Andrea Bryant opposed

Mike Culver motion to close public hearing All in favor 5-0

Mike Culver motion to adjourn: All in favor 5-0

Hearing adjourned 8pm


Respectfully submitted

Debbie Bayley

Planning/Zoning Clerk