2020 Chester Planning Board Meetings

Chester Planning Board Signs Off on 2021 Capital Improvement Plan
By Penny Williams  12-10-20

At the Chester Planning Board meeting, on Wednesday evening December 9, the board after an in-depth discussion signed off on the proposed CIP with just one condition - further research on the alarm system for the highway shed, a $21,393 item.

Town Planner Andrew Hadik went over the minor changes that had taken place to Table 10, the CIP summary. The board accepted them but member Michael Weider questioned the wisdom and the rationale behind the decision to give the present Police Department truck to the Maintenance Department and purchase a new truck for the Police Department. He said this $51,000 item was too expensive and the Maintenance Department needs could have been addressed in a more cost efficient manner.

Weider also questioned the $21,393 cost of an alarm system for the highway shed. He indicated that this issue wasn't necessary, noting that the reason for it was a 'recommendation' by Primex, the town's insurance management company. He wanted more information and a statement from Primex as to whether they did recommend this and if so why. Town Administrator Debra Doda said she would contact Primex and try to get the information he requested.

Despite the questions raised the Planning Board voted to approve the CIP as presented and to forward it on to the Budget Committee, subject to the highway shed alarm system item being resolved.

The board voted to approve the request of Rebecca Owens  to operate a Home Occupation for Home School Enrichment Activities, the classes to be held outside at her home at 55 Chester Street. The activities would be outside and there would only be groups of 4 to 6 kids with parents. There is sufficient room for the cars associated with participants to park off Chester Street on her property. Owens said she has been conducting these activities for several months but was cited by the Code Enforcement Officer Myrick Bunker for not having the appropriate permit.

The board also approved the request from Sharon Osborne and Christina Knickerbocker regarding Latitude Learning, held at Nutting Hall, Busche Academy.

The educational enrichment classes are held once a week but there was an indication this might increase but this is driven by the cost of rent.  This is an educational setting although not a school. Students come from many surrounding towns (none from Chester) and the typical day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The educational enrichment classes are a variety of educational experiences that augment the home schooled participants.  Many of the parents teach the individual classes. Students range in age from 6 to 15 although Osborne has her own 3 year old there.

The board discussed where parking took place, where outdoor exercise and activities took place, and asked about whether Pandemic guidelines were being addressed. Satisfactory responses were provided to board questions

Latitude Learning has been in operation since September. The Fire Department has done an inspection and they have the requisite documents from Busche Academy relating to the rental arrangement and property use. request and the board approved the request.

The board responded to a letter sent by Patrick and Daniela Connelly, 522 Haverhill Road, Field to Fork Farm, requesting a continuance of their hearing to the January 13 meeting of the board. The voted to accepted the request and approved the continuance.

Chester Planning Board Approves Crowley Subdivision Extension/Renewal Application
By Penny Williams  12-3-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, December 2, and voted to approve the application from DAR Builders, LLC, for the Crowley Road subdivision extension/renewal.

The Crowley Road subdivision is a 60 lot subdivision off Crowley Road. The request for an extension/renewal of the 2018 plan was discussed at the previous board meeting and continued until Planning Director Andrew Hadik could obtain information regarding what the impact of the  extension/renewal would have on impact fees. There still are no bond estimates and no plans for road improvements for the proposed subdivision because Candia, through which one entrance to the subdivision passes, has as to approve the plan.

Hadik said that the Attorney added a few changes in language to the application request so that the clock regarding impact fees isn't impacted. Impact fees can be adjusted at the end of the five year period in 2023.

The board discussed this briefly and since that answered the one impediment to approval at the previous meeting the board voted to approve the request for the Subdivision Extension/Renewal of the Crowley Road project.

The board discussed at length a field change in a Raven Drive subdivision that Kevin Hatch, Cornerstone Survey Associates, had not brought before the Planning Board for approval.

The field change involved a change in the location of the retention pond. Hatch said the change was the result of the placement of the house the landowner built and the location the retention pond was moved to was the right location for the drainage and runoff purposes.

Board member Michael Weider raised the main concern, which is the fact the change was made but not brought before the Planning Board or even any notification of the change to submitted to the Planning Board.

After a lengthy discussion the board members felt they were not comfortable approving the after the fact field change that they couldn't verify without the actual data of the plan site. They added there needed to be engineering approval of  the change prior to it happening and the Planning Board should have been noticed and their approval sought. Neither happened and the board members were in agreement that the change should have come before the Planning Board.

Hatch said he did not make the change the contractor doing the development did because the change made sense. The board would not approve it and Hatch said he would bring that information to the Home Owner and the contractor.

The board decided to eliminate the word 'newspaper' from the application notification fee and not change the amount of the fee. This would allow the notification to be either in the media or on the Town Web Site.

The board voted to approve the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission contract for work on the Chester CIP. The contract language and fee are unchanged from the present contract.

Hadik said that a resident applied for a Home Business permit for a dog grooming business that would involve only a couple of dogs a day. The board felt that the application wouldn't be a commercial business and that the Home Occupation Permit  was the proper application. The NH Department of Environmental Services had some other requirements but the board only dealt with the Home Occupation Permit/Commercial Business issue.

The board voted to increase the billing rate for Attorney Steve Bennett and his office, something that hasn't happened in 11 years. Bennett's rate went up from $175 to $195, while associate attorney rates increased to $165 and paralegal fees went to $100. This will be forwarded to the Board of Selectmen. 


Chester Planning Board Heard Concerns from Latitude Learning
By Penny Williams   11-19-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday night, November 18, and addressed an issue raised by an applicant, Latitude Learning.

The applicant raised concerns over the charges for the application they wanted to submit.  The Town Planner, Andrew Hadik brought their complaint and request for a discount to the board.

After a discussion that involved whether the board wanted to change meeting and agenda notices from placement in news media to perhaps to the online Town Web Site, the board decided with regard to the applicant's request, if the applicant could afford to pay rent for its space then it could afford to pay the fees associated with their application. It was noted that the applicant needs to get their application filed by the end of the week if it is to be considered at the next meeting.

As for changing the way meetings and agendas are noticed, the board asked Hadik to run it by legal before they made any decision on any changes.

Hadik reported to the board that the question about the Chester Academy gym floor refurnishing being included in the School District CIP was answered by the Town Attorney. The item, gym floor refurbishment, the attorney found, meets the CIP requirements and as such it is alright for it to be in the CIP.

The board discussed whether there needs to be an alarm system in the highway shed. That system would run $21,395 and the board members were not certain it was necessary and thought it prohibitively costly.

Hadik noted he would be meeting with Road Agent Michael Oleson, Police Chief Aaron Berube and the Board of Selectmen the next night and could bring this up at that point. The board thought the selectmen should make this decision and the Planning Board could discuss it again at their December 2 meeting and then bring it up for a public hearing on December 9 if a public hearing is necessary.

The Planning Board Chair Brian Sullivan, brought up the fact that Hadik's title is Planning Coordinator and this needs to be changed to Town Planner to accurately reflect the work he actually does and to match where he falls on the matrix. The board unanimously approved changing his title and Sullivan said he would notify Town Manager Debra Doda.


Chester Planning Board Discuss a Lot Line Adjustment and Site Plan Review on Connelly Farm
By Penny Williams    11-7-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday, November 4, and held two Public Hearings and a Site Plan review.

The Site Plan Review was of the proposed plan from Patrick and Daniela Connelly for conducting Agritourism activities and events at their farm. Field to Fork, located at 522 Haverhill Road.

The Connelly's want to be able to hold a variety of agricultural related seminars as well as weddings at their 67.5 acre farm. In addition they want to have 6 clamping overnight tents on the conservation portion of the farm.

The Connelly's have already been to the Conservation Commission and have to return for another meeting. They also must go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) for a special exception.

One of the primary areas of concern and contention is that the property has a driveway they would use to reach parking for these activities and events that comes off of Jack Road, a Class VI road. Another major issue is the negotiated conservation easement for the acreage.

While the board determined the application is basically complete, a number of issues were raised by Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector Myrick Bunker that must be addressed.

One of Bunker's issues is the need for a site plan designed by an engineer. He also wants them to have a state certified permit for improving the parking.

A conservation issue is whether the tents for clamping are considered to be structures.

The Planning Board pointed out that the Conservation Easement didn't contemplate Agritourism and so many things, not the least of which is the use of Jack Road that is part of the driveway that would be used has to be figured out. There is a concern if the family were to improve the driveway and Jack Road, even a small portion of it, it might become a liability for the town.

Given all these questions and concerns and the upcoming ZBA meeting, the Connelly's asked for a continuance of this hearing  to the board's December 9, meeting. The board approved the request.

Timothy Peloquin, Promised Land Survey, presented the application for a lot-line adjustment between a lot owned by Michell Jeans at 48 Clark Road and a lot owned by the Robert S. Knapp Revocable Trust at 50 Clark Road. The application calls for 15 acres of the Knapp lot to be added to the Jeans lot. Peloquin made it clear there is no further development planned at the Jeans location.

The board reviewed the plan and Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik went over the standard conditions and the board approved the application in short order.

DAR Builders, LLC 305 Massabesic Street, Manchester, requested the board approve their request for an extension/renewal application for the 60-lot subdivision in Chester accessed off Crowley Road in Candia.

Eric Mitchell, Eric Mitchell Associates, did the design which was approved in 2018. The board learned that there have been no engineering design changes and the only change is the correction of new abutters names. The board was reminded that the Candia Planning Board has not approved this development yet.

The Candia board has requested major improvements to Crowley Road. Mitchell is preparing to propose alternative improvements based on his belief that the improvements required are too extreme. Mitchell said he expects to be back before the Candia Planning Board in the next month or two.

Board member Michael Weider brought up the fact that there will be changes to the amounts of the impact fees that are now part of the approved conditional approval and he wants input from attorneys as to whether those amounts are grandfathered or can be corrected to match the new impact fee amounts.

Based on that request Hadik agreed to check with the attorneys and suggested the board continue the request to their next meeting. The board approved the continuance of this Public Hearing to the December 2, meeting.

Chester Planning Board Reviews All Items for 2021 CIP
By Penny Williams  10-29-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, October 28, and
reviewed Table 10 - the town's CIP document prepared by that board.

Library, PACT, Recreation had nothing on the CIP for 2021

General Government Buildings

* IT - $12,000

* 16-foot trailer -  $6,500

* HVAC upgrade Municipal Building  $6,500 - Board and Budget Committee member Michael Weider asked that these figures not be estimates but firm amounts.

* Municipal and Annex Boiler - $27,500 out a year

Police Department - board wants to push the proposed police building and associated items out past the seven year mark

* Cruiser  -  $55,630

*  Police Protective Equipment - $10,000

* Body Cameras  - $16,885

Fire Department - Weider suggested and the board agreed the need for new trucks needs to be addressed by developing Capital Reserve Funds for these eventual purchases while the department pushes them out until actually needed -

* Repave parking lot  - $75,000

* Roof upgrade  - $45,000

Highway - Board discussed the items relating to changing to a Public Works Department and pushed them out as that point hasn't been reached yet

* Roads for work included Holman - $130,500, North Pond - $174,00, and Rand - $478,500

* Culverts for Halls Village Road push out a year

SAU - School District - Weider questioned whether the gym floor resurfacing should be there because it is basically maintenance not a new item -

* Technology  $3,921

* Sprinkler Tank painting - $25,000

* A/C in Hub Room - $24,000

* Work on Sprinkler Tank %- $10,000

* Water Heater - $36,100

* Cafe Tiles  - $15,000

* Cafe and Gym Bathroom Upgrades  - $45,000

Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik said it looks like the impact to the tax rate on the Town side will be $7.11 and $10.80 on the school side but he needs to get this year's tax rate for this figures to be final.

There was a discussion about comparing the cost of using Zoom meetings and using Teams. The thinking of board members was Team might be less expensive if the town bought all the necessary licenses but that everything you can do on Zoom could be done on Teams. Hadik will look into it but he likes holding the Planning Board meetings and other meetings on Zoom.

He showed the board members some potential subdivision site plans that are on the Planning Board horizon.

One site plan  for 117 Hemlock Lane was initially approved in 2006, a lot dropped in 2008 and bonding recalculated in 2015. However, the Planning Board and the Code Enforcement/Building Inspector Myrick Bunker have concerns about the proposed driveway access and would like the dwelling and the driveway access changed.

Developer Eric Mitchell doesn't want to make the change because of the cost since the plans are already fully engineered and designed and he feels the design is grandfathered. Hadik doesn't think it is grandfathered and has reached out for a legal opinion. The board will deal with this when it is presented but by then Hadik will have a legal opinion regarding the grandfathering aspect.


Chester Planning Board Considers Three More CIP Items
By Penny Williams  10-16-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday night, October 14, and discussed three more department CIP items as well as approving the Eversource request for a Conditional Use Permit for work on the 373 transmission line in Chester.

There was a long discussion with Superintendent Darrell Longwood over the Chester Academy CPI. School Board Chair Royal Richardson also participated. Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik reminded Longwood that impact fees, if not used within the six year period, have to be returned. Longwood assured him the district plans to use the impact fees and they will not end up being returned.

The fact that one of the boilers sprang a leak over the summer was discussed but it was taken care of and hasn't been a problem since. The district has plans to replace its boilers and has started a Capital Reserve Fund for that purpose and put $20,000 in it this year and plans to do so again this coming year.

There was a discussion about the tractor on the CIP. Longwood said the tractor the district has is used primarily for snow removal and is too small for anything else. It is pushed out some but when it is probably necessary to replace it will be 20 years old.

Longwood did note that he doesn't anticipate the surplus this next year to be anywhere near as much as the district provided this year to help reduce the tax burden. The board members suggested that anything that could be purchased during the year that could be taken off the CIP would be a good idea. Longwood indicated that the district plans that carefully.

Corinna Reishus was up next and the board noted that Recreation is not asking for anything this year. Reishus said nothing on their CIP had changed,  they just pushed everything out a year. Hadik encouraged them to make use of their impact fees.

The board discussed the Fitness Trail item in great detail. This was a subject of discussion last year and it was removed from the CIP because it was felt it couldn't be put on the suggested property.

However, Reishus found since doing her research information that she believes supports the Fitness Trail being on the Gladys Nichols property so asked that it be put back on the CIP although several years out.

It was decided after a long discussion that more information is needed as to whether the Fitness Trail can be on this property and that information includes finding out a definition of structures.  Research on this issue will continue in terms of whether the Fitness Trail qualifies to be on the Gladys Nichols property.

Pay Kavanaugh, Maintenance Supervisor, discussed the General Government Buildings CIP.  

The usual IT software and hardware items are on it but the bulk of the discussion revolved around the $41,000 truck item.

Maintenance needs a truck to move the mowing and other equipment around as needed. These items can't be put into the dump truck that was given to Maintenance from the Highway Department. That truck is just too big.

One solution suggested is to go ahead and this year purchase the pick-up truck wanted by the Police Department  (pushed out 2 years) and the Police Department's current truck passed over to Maintenance.

Another solution is to sell the dump truck and lease a pick-up for Maintenance for two years until the old Police pick-up becomes available for Maintenance.

The board members and Kavanaugh as well Selectmen Steph Landau and Chuck Myette and Budget Committee member Mike Weider all discussed these possible solutions. But it was left for further information and costs, such as  leasing costs, to be determined. This information, and the option for leasing or for moving up the purchase of the truck for the Police Department would need to be available for the board at the October 28 meeting when the CIP will be formally finalized.

It was also noted that by getting the proposed trailer that is on the CPI, the it could be attached to the dump truck and that would resolve the issues the Maintenance Department has with that truck except that only Kavananugh has the necessary licensing to drive it. This option would be consider at the next meeting.

The well house and water line needed at Wason Pond came in for discussion as did the need for work on the Town Hall and Stevens Hall parking lots.

On the water issue at Wason Pond it was decided there was time for this issue to have additional information and potential costs presented.

The parking lot issues were thought to be different and there was some discussion about the Town Hall parking lot work being a project that should be connected to the proposed Police Station project and not be on the CIP as a separate item.

However, Kavanaugh did point out that the Town Hall parking lot in front in particular is getting so torn up it will cause someone to fall so needs at least to be patched up.

The board approved the  Conditional Use Permit request from Eversource for the replacement of 10 poles on the select 373 Transmission Line and the addition after the pole replacement of Line Optical Ground Wires.

Eversource agreed to continue to work to disguise the access points they use for the replacement to try and discourage ATVs from using the power line.

It was noted that only 973 square feet of wetlands is disturbed. The work will all take place between Bridal Path and Lane Road and will begin this fall and be completed by next spring. 


Chester Planning Board Starts 2021 Capital Improvement Plan Review
By Penny Williams   10-12-20

The Chester Planning Board started its review of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2021, on Wednesday night, October 7.

Before starting the board discussed the need for departments to push for only things that are absolutely needed so that there will be available funding. 

The first CIP reviewed was of the Police Department and Police Chief Aaron Berube was there to explain the items he feels should be approved. He indicated that the portable radios are needed but the department can manage until 2024-25.

He insisted the cruiser for this year is needed and it will be covered financially. The cruiser is needed this year as the department skipped getting a new cruiser last year due to the replacement cruiser coming during the year.

The department truck doesn't need to be addressed until 2023-24 because it is not a primary daily use vehicle.

Regarding the proposed new police station he indicated he doesn't think the present numbers are appropriate and that everything needs to be reduced. He questioned the appropriateness of the proposed design costs for 2022. The board  indicated these figures should be looked at again next year and at their year placement.

Captain Ben Clark spoke for the Fire Department CIP and said there has been nothing new added. The department is firm that it wants a new pumper not a refurbished one as a refurbished pumper would not be cost effective in any way. He indicated the department will continue to push the new pumper truck out as far as possible.

It was noted that there is no funding requests for PACT, Library and Recreation. The board indicated that the Police and Fire Departments are being very conservative.

Road Agent Mike Oleson presented his CIP requests. He said he asking for no equipment just specifying roads that need to be done.

He is looking for the same amount of money he got last year so he can continue with upgrading and renewing Chester Roads. He wants to finish North Pond Road and several others that are deteriorating badly. He did note that there are some culverts that need attention - pointing to the Harts Robert Road culvert as one but he indicated he had no price on that work as yet.

There was a discussion about whether it is time for the town to think about moving to a Department of Public Works (DPW). This would entail getting equipment, a building and manpower.

Oleson said he believes moving to the DPW model would cost almost $2,000,000. The board indicated it agreed with him that they don't believe residents would have the stomach for that cost but as the town grows highway needs grow.

The board approved the subdivision extension and renewal application for Pipit Estates Realty Trust.

This is an open space subdivision for 8 single family units just off Route 121 A. The placement of the US Postal mailboxes remains an undecided issue with the USPS wanting the mailboxes as near to Route 121A as possible and developers and town officials wanting the mail box pull off further away from the 121A roadway. This will be worked out going forward.


Chester Planning Board Approve Minutes and Address Three Agenda Items
By Penny Williams   9-24-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, September 23, and was finished in almost half an hour since there were no public hearings on the agenda.

In addition to approving two sets of minutes, the board discussed three issues brought to their attention by Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik. These included:
* Jenkins Farm site visit. 
* Information regarding Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission’s (SNHPC) annual  membership fee increasing $135 from $3,448 to $3,583. 
* Haverhill Road lots.

Hadik said he had participated in an on-site visit to the Jenkins Farm site along with developer Keith Martel, Road Agent Michael Oleson and DuBois & King Engineer Scott Bourcier. They were looking at driveway and culvert issues. A solution was provided to the related issues that involved adding a couple of small catch basins.

Hadik said he was asked to get the Board's ok for allowing lawn irrigation equipment to be implanted at this development as long they were more than 6-feet from the edge of the pavement. The board discussed this but since the homeowners agreed if a plow hit and damaged any implanted lawn irrigation equipment so long as it was 6-feet from the edge of the pavement it was the homeowners liability not the Town's. The board indicated they were ok with this.

Hadik informed the board the SNHPC's annual fee rate was to remain unchanged but Chester's fee, based on its population, had increased by $135. The SNHPC had a 3.9 percent population growth for Chester. Hadik felt this number was a 'catch-up' number because he didn't feel Chester's population had grown 3.9 percent in the year. He indicated he was looking forward to seeing the Census numbers for Chester.

He told the board  two lots had been purchased by a single individual at 181 Haverhill Road. The two lots together contain 36 acres. The land is cleared and used for farming but he told the board he has no idea what the new owner has planned for the lots.

The board approved both the September 2 and September 16 minutes with minor amendments.

On Tuesday, September 22,  the SNHPC held their 54th annual meeting.  It was their first annual virtual meeting.  At the end of the meeting Hadik was informed that he had received the James W. Tethers Award.  The James W. Tethers Award was established in 2016 to recognize those professionals in the region who have made significant contributions to sound community and regional planning above and beyond their professional duty. The award is named in honor of Jim Tethers, who worked at the Southern NH Planning Commission for 29 years and served as Chief Planner as well as Assistant Executive Director.  The 2016 recipient of the Award was George Sioras of Derry; the 2017 recipient was Jo Ann Duffy of Goffstown; and Mike Whitten of MTA in 2019.


Chester Planning Board Approves Indoor Riding Arena
By Penny Williams     8-27-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, August 26, and with very little discussion approved the 6,500 square foot indoor riding arena at 43 Hart Roberts Road belonging to Elizabeth Buchanan and Gene Blanchard.

The quick decision resulted from the board having received a 'clean' letter from the Town Engineering firm, DuBois and King following a previous public hearing on the site plan.  

Eversource brought a power point presentation regarding the issue of access roadways to the high tension access roadways in Chester. Elizabeth LaRocca and Jennie Menedez went over the properties owned by Eversource in Chester and the various access roadway locations.

The issue has been that because the repairs being done to Eversource power line structures an issue has been created over the graveled access roadways which ATVs have been using to access the power line areas and in so doing often causing damage to private properties adjacent to the power line. LaRocca and Menedez admitted being aware of the issues and said they are working with NH Fish and Game (NH F&G) in terms of doing what they can to address this but enforcement, which is provided by NH F&G, is difficult at best.

Eversource will be doing planting of a package of seeds that will grow in the gravel area and disguise over time the access roadways. Eversource is willing to erect gates and add boulders to try and keep ATVs from going around such gates and boulders but in many locations there are pathways that already exist to avoid the entrances and gates and boulders.

Eversource agreed to put up signs but has concerns that signs they put up claiming enforcement could be a liability for the company. Nevertheless, they agreed to erect the signs. LaRocca said they had plenty of new No Trespassing signs made of Polycarbonate so more difficult to destroy.

Board member Michael Weider complained that the original presentation made by Eversource regarding this structure repair project was not in sufficient detail regarding actually what the repair projects involved or how long the project would keep the company in Chester. He said he simply wanted to note that a clearer project presentation would have been beneficial.

 Eversource, according to LaRocca, will continue to take a multi-faceted approach to handling this incursion issue by ATVs and will erect gates and add boulders where it will work and erect no trespassing signs.

Corinna and Bill Reishus spoke to the board about their site plan for a small wine tasting structure and gravel parking lot they wish to add to their property at Lane Road and Laurel Hill. They needed to know if the site plan paper work they had presented was sufficient.

They plan to add the gravel parking area in their front yard and will have vines in their back yard and the wine tasting structure, which would be 14-feet by 16-feet, would be between the parking and their dwelling. The wine tasting events would take place outside and the structure would be basically for storage. Right now they are producing their wine in their basement from grapes from NH, MY and CT. They are licensed and certified for their wine producing company.

The wine tasting would be seasonal and there will be tables for the wine tasting outside the structure. The hours would be Friday afternoon and a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. They could serve a single 5 ounce of wine and people could purchase wine or just taste five wines for $5. They noted their business would be a home business and falls under the State's Agritourism RSAs.

The board decided this site plan doesn't need to go DuBois and King. The board also asked that a graphic side bar be added as well as the actual numbers for the lot line setbacks and have those  additions available for the hearing that will be upcoming.


Chester Planning Board Meeting Shortened Due to Request for Continuance
By Penny Williams   8-13-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, August 12, and in what was probably a record, ended their meeting in less than half an hour due to the request for continuing the only Public Hearing on the agenda.

The planned public hearing was a continuation of a Site Plan Review of a proposed enclosed 6,500 square foot riding arena at 43 Hart Roberts Road owned by Elizabeth Buchanan and Gene Blanchard. The board has previously discussed the proposed riding arena as an outdoor arena but since the plan is to enclose it shortly the site plan had to be revised to indicate it is an enclosed arena.

The owners requested a continuance to the board's August 28 meeting because the redesign arrived too late for DuBois and King. Town Engineers, to review it and provide the board with a response. The board voted unanimously to approve the continuance request to the August 28, board meeting..

The board reviewed a lot-line adjustment request from Webster and Sylvia Anderson between their lots 5-57 and 5-26 located on Old Sandown Road. This previously went before the Zoning Board and a variance request was approved without conditions. The board previously looked at this and considered it a minor subdivision not requiring a public hearing. The board members were all comfortable with the request and approved it unanimously.

There being nothing else on the agenda the meeting was adjourned.


Chester Planning Board Extend Southwoods Subdivision Conditions
By Penny Williams  7-10-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, July 8, but had no hearings so discussed a number of items and issues waiting to be resolved.

They extended the Conditions of Approval for Phase IV of the Southwoods Subdivision for another year since they had received a letter of credit covering the $290,900 in the total amount of $452,400. The letter was signed and the board approved the extension.

The board discussed the issue of discontinuing the Carkin Street cul-de-sac. This cul-de-sac is a paper street which has never been built. The owner of one of the two properties that abut the planned cul-de-sac has asked the Board of Selectmen to  discontinue the road and that board has sought the Planning Board's opinion.

While the board had no real issues with the discontinuation of the cul-de-sac, it thought that the conditions of discontinuation suggested by Road Agent Michael Oleson made sense. He asked that the property owners, if the cul-de-sac is discontinued, take responsibility for plowing the area from their driveways out to Donna since it would be difficult at best for the town to plow that short area. The second condition he suggested was that the town be compensated for the town-owned land held for the cul-de-sac would then belong to the two property owners.

The board decided to refer their discussion to the selectmen.  The Planning Board has no problem with the discontinuance of the cul-de-sac but that they see Oleson's suggestions as conditions of such discontinuation as being reasonable and worth discussion by the Selectmen. However, the Planning Board has no jurisdiction on this as it is in the purview of the Selectmen.

Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik went over the request for the release of three Letters of Credit and a bond reduction for the Mill Pine Subdivision. He recommended and the board approved releasing the three phase 2 letters of credit which included:
*2A in the amount of $34,185  leaving $6.250;
*2B in the amount of $31,700 leaving $6,250;
*2C in the amount of $42,200 leaving $6,250. 
      In addition the bond for 2D, in the amount of $49,700 was reduced to $43,450.

The board reviewed the 2019-2020 Offsite Improvement Fees accounts and the Impact Fee expenditures summary. There were few questions and Hadik moved on to discussing the Buchanan Riding Arena site plan that he expects will be available for the board's July 22, meeting.

He also noted there soon will be a site plan for the Miles To Go Coffee Roasters that is seeking approval for its commercial business to be allowed in the residential zone because it seeks to use the former Chester College Administration Building downstairs kitchen. Hadik doesn't expect this site plan until later in the summer.  

There was a brief discussion about whether Christy and Nick Ortins, the couple using the Spring Hill Farm (SHF) green house high tunnel and field for their vegetable garden production, can sell their cooked vegetables from their food truck when it is parked at SHF. 

No decision made but the consensus was that since the vegetables were grown there and their form changed through cooking that they probably could sell the processed product from their food truck when it was at SHF.


Chester Planning Board Discussed Southwood Subdivision
By Penny Williams   6-25-20

The Chester Planning Board on Wednesday evening, June 24. discussed the Southwood Subdivision's application for an extension of its Conditional Approval for another year. The discussion featured Attorney Steve Bennett for the Planning Board and Attorney Marc Pinard for Bradley Sullivan and the Southwood Subdivision

The issue at the moment is that the $452,400 surety has not been provided by Bradley Sullivan. The surety bond was rejected and the Planning Board is waiting for a Letter of Credit for the $452,400 but that has been received yet.

 Pinard said that he was seeking a five business day extension to work with the bank on the Letter of Credit. The Planning Board pointed out this issue has been under discussion for many months and they weren't happy about the request for additional time.

After an extended discussion the Planning Board approved allowing Bradley Sullivan and Pinard to have an extension for the Letter of Credit until July 7 at close of business. However, a draft is to be provided to Attorney Bennett by July 1. The board conditionally approved the one year extension of the Conditional approval for the Southwood Subdivision subject to receiving the Letter of Credit by July 7. 

Bradley Sullivan Engineer Jon Rokeh was reminded that the board has only seen the state permits for the subdivision but not the rest of the conditions of approval that expires June 26. The board needs the As Built for Phase 3 and the As Built for Phase 2, neither of which have been submitted. Rokeh said he would get all of the required paperwork and information to DuBois & King 's Scott Bourcier.

Nate Miller, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, went over the draft Updated Impact Fee ordinance figures with the board. He noted that some of the numbers have changed since the last time it was updated in 2016 and that further tweaking would happen before the final version is ready. Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik mentioned that Chester has had two property revaluations since the original figures were done. Miller said that over time Chester as a community has changed and it is no longer exclusively a bedroom community with its residents working elsewhere. Both Miller and Hadik said they would review the list of town buildings to see if more should be added.

The board approved the release of the $44,300 Letter of Credit for the Ruth Ray Road since the Board of Selectmen had voted to accept Ruth Ray Road as a Town road on June 4. They also reviewed and approved the request from the Road Agent for the release of Offsite Improvement and Impact Fees to help cover the cost of  installation of the wear-course for Mulberry Lane.

The board discussed the Drowne Gravel Pit that is situated behind Pine Acres Development and the fact that annually a permit has to be applied for. In the end the board decided that the owner Richard Drowne would need to provide the board with a Reclamation Plan for the Gravel Pit. Hadik indicated he would do some research to see if Drowne's claim that the pit is grandfathered is actually accurate. But regardless, the Reclamation Plan must be developed and submitted and Hadik said Drowne had agreed to do this.

The board briefly discussed the intent of the Zoning Ordinance Special Exception Uses regarding facilities for the processing of agricultural products provided there is no pollution of streams or sources of water supply because Building Inspector Myrick Bunker had asked about it. The board felt it had been written back in the 1980s but had been deliberately been kept broad in nature on purpose. It hasn't been changed over the intervening years and the board was inclined to leave it alone as is.


Chester Planning Board Approves Edward Jones Financial Services Site Plan
Penny Williams   5-14-20

The Chester Planning Board held a Public Hearing on Wednesday evening, May 13, regarding the application of NASR Enterprises (Sam Nasr, owner of the Chester General Store and the building at 4 Haverhill Road that will house the Edward Jones Office)  and approved the site plan for the lease space for the Edward Jones office.

The site plan, developed by Eric Mitchell, Eric Mitchell & Associates, was discussed at length on May 6, during a Planning Board meeting and the main sticking point was marking parking spaces that include spaces on Town Owned property.

Selectman liaison Chuck Myette had raised the concern about such identification of specific parking spaces potentially leading to a liability for the town and Mitchell was asked to remove the planned parking space stripping from the plan. Concerns were also discussed on May 6, regarding the location of the handicap parking space and it was determined that the handicap parking would be identified by placing the handicap parking sign on the building at 4 Haverhill Road.

Wednesday night, the board accepted jurisdiction of the site plan for the Public Hearing discussion. It was noted there are 9 waivers requested and Mitchell noted they are all unnecessary requirements for this site plan and would be an unnecessary use of time, paper and money.  Mitchell reviewed the revised plan that addressed the board's concerns noting the changes to site are minimal and all that is added is the lift added to the exterior. He indicated the planned striping of parking spaces will be eliminated from the plan.

He stated the DuBois & King, Town Engineers, letter had been answered. While Chester Zoning requires 16 spaces for the site plan area, the national standard requires only 12 and the plan has 12 spaces. The issue raised about the dumpster's location has been addressed and it will be moved and screened.

  The specific conditions of approval include increasing the hours of operation for the General Store to 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. while the Edward Jones office will be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

The Variance granted to the application by the Chester Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) on November 25, 2019,  permitted a professional office space, namely Edward Jones Financial Office, to be located at 4 Haverhill Road. The Variance was granted without conditions. Nasr stated Wednesday night that the area on the second floor of the building to house the Edward Jones Office will be used only by him for storage and/or an office for him.

The board decided the plan would have to seek a Variance to allow only 12 rather than 16 parking spaces. In addition, although the vegetation will be removed to allow for snow storage, because it is then only 6 feet it will need a variance since 8 feet is required.

The nine waiver requests from Mitchell were read into the record but the board voted on them as a package, approving all the requests.

  It was noted that the board had received comments supporting the proposed plan but had not received any in opposition. This use of the building will actually have less associated traffic and use than the previous nail salon occupant. There was no public comment so the board closed the Public Hearing to deliberate.

Regarding the placement of the handicap parking space, Myrick Bunker, Code Enforcement and Building Inspector said he was a little concerned about the safety of the location. However, Mitchell stated there was no other available location.

  The board, after a brief discussion, approved the site plan with the specific conditions, and routine conditions.

In Other Business:

* The board discussed the issue of four wheelers and ORV destroying property, private and town owned, as they continue to utilize the improved power line pathway created by Eversource when they repaired and replaced poles.

* Member Aaron Hume suggested it might be time for Eversource to meet with Conservation, Fish & Game and the Planning Board to discuss this issue.

* It was noted that Fish & Game have been in town enforcing the law to the extent they can but the destruction of property is a concern.

Chester Planning Board Discusses Edward Jones Financial Services Office
By Penny Williams     4-30-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, April 29, and held a conceptual discussion regarding the requirements for the Site Plan Review for the Edward Jones Financial Services Office that will be located at 4 Haverhill Road. 

Present Wednesday evening was Sam Nasr, owner of the Chester General Store and the building at 4 Haverhill Road in which the Edward Jones Office will be located and Eric Mitchell, Eric Mitchell Associates, the engineer and designer of the site plan. 

The plan was before the Chester Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in November, 2019 and the ZBA approved the requested Variance by Angela Hayden, Sage Legal, LLC on behalf of Nasr Enterprises, LLC to permit the conversion of the former nail salon located at 4 Haverhill Road to a professional office space for an Edward Jones Financial Services Office.

This location was initially residential but for the last 30 years it has been a commercial site for a variety of businesses including, a bank, a laundry mat, and most recently the nail salon. This proposed new  professional commercial use would have the least impact in terms of traffic in the many iterations.
    Carla Beck, who is planning to move her Plaistow Edward Jones Office to this location in Chester, plans to make improvements to the interior of the first floor of the building but the only exterior change would be the addition of a handicap  lift. This proposed use  would be a consistent use and represents the most reasonable use of the property, generating less traffic and fewer parking issues.   

Monday night the conceptual discussion focused on the parking that exists on the thruway to the General Store and the building in question that enters off of Route 102 and exits out onto Route 121A. The plan calls for stripping the parking spaces with one handicap space in front of the new office.

The issue that concerned the board members is the easement and portion of the property owned by the Town where parking spaces are located and whether marking the parking spaces could result in a liability issue for the Town.

Mitchell presented 8 waiver requests that the board reviewed. Most dealt with items that would be needed on a site plan for a new development but nothing is going to be changed or developed so the board found most of the waiver requests would be approved without much discussion. It was noted that lot lines and the entrance and exit areas and adjoining properties need to be added to the site plan and Mitchell said he could do that.  

The only issue appeared to be the question of actually identifying the parking spaces or not and whether the town's interests were being properly protected. Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik said the proposal needs to be brought to the Board of Selectmen because of the fact that the town owns part of that overall lot and  Selectman Liaison Chuck Myette said he would do that. The Planning Board wants selectmen input prior to the Public Hearing on the site plan scheduled for Wednesday,  May 13.


Chester Planning Board Reviews Kerry’s Dance Studio Conceptual Plan
 By Penny Williams     4-23-20 

The Chester Planning Board met electronically Wednesday evening, April 22, and held a Conceptual Discussion with Jennifer Morin regarding the Board's expectations of her application following her purchase of Kerry Bacheller's Kerry's Dance Studio.
   Morin and Bacheller had been before the Zoning Board of Adjustment in February, and received a Variance to permit the operation of a dance, yoga studio on the property known as Map/Lot 006-014-000, 8 Deerwood Hollow in the R1 (residential) Zone.

At the February ZBA hearing Attorney John Cronin presented a review of the history of the home, which was constructed by the former owner, John Bacheller, as a dance studio.  The Bachellers' had a home occupation business as a dance studio. When Jennifer Morin bought the property, as a dance studio, she wasn't aware that because she has four employees, making her a commercial enterprise in the residential zone, she would need to go the ZBA for a variance.

Morin has been told by Myrick Bunker, Building Inspector, that she cannot have a permit to operate her dance studio until the Planning Board approves her site plan.

Her site plan has been prepared by Benchmark Engineering, Inc. and she and Bacheller were there before the Planning Board to find out what information the Planning Board wants. Morin wants to complete this process as quickly as possible so if the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted she will be able to complete the dance studio season.

While the ZBA Variance took care of allowing the commercial enterprise to  be within the residential zone, the permit for occupation/use can't be provided until her site plan is approved by the Planning Board.

Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik pointed out there are several issues the Planning Board needed to deal with mainly because they slightly encroach on setbacks, which include:
* paving/parking on south side
* paving/parking on west side
* small shed
* percent of lot coverage - impervious surface
* outside staircase
   These items were all discussed at length and for some, such as the parking areas, and the outside stairway, it was thought there were probably permits already on file in the Town. The board pointed out the shed issue was minimal because all that is needed was for its relocation out of the setback zone to be noted on the site plan and the shed so moved. The impervious surface allowed is 15 percent and it appears there is about 20 percent plus but the board acknowledged this could be waived.

The board wants the setbacks of the property properly noted on the site plan and the relocation of the shed shown. The board wants a waiver request form for overage of impervious surface filed along with the site plan review application.

The board voted that the site plan does not need to go to the Town Engineer, DuBois and King, for further review. The board hopes to have this process ready for a public hearing within the next three weeks.

In other business:

• The board discussed at length with Selectman Liaison Chuck Myette the issues surrounding Hart Robert's Road/driveway since the board will be reviewing the site plan for the Buchanan Riding Arena that is accessed off Hart Roberts.

The upshot of that lengthy discussion was that a decision has to made regarding the road - is it a road or is it a driveway - and, is a town road or a private way. A title search is needed and Town Administrator Debra Doda is starting that effort on behalf of the Board of Selectmen where the final decision on this has to be made.

• Hadik told the board he will also be requesting a board site plan review for the Edward Jones Office that is going to be in the old nail salon building next to the General Store.

This came before the ZBA in November, 2019 and that board  approved the request of Angela Hayden, Sage Legal, LLC on behalf of Nasr Enterprises, LLC for a Variance to permit the conversion of the former nail salon located at 4 Haverhill Road to a professional office space for an Edward Jones Financial Office.

Hayden made the point that was reiterated by Sam Nasr, owner of the General Store and the property owner, that this professional commercial use would have the least impact in terms of traffic in may iterations.
•  Carla Beck who is planning to move her Plaistow Edward Jones Office to Chester to this location. She has plans to make improvements to the interior but the only exterior change would be the addition of either a handicap ramp or a lift with the thinking going more towards the lift.
•  The ZBA approved the Variance at that time because it was felt the planned improvements were positive and the generation of  less traffic and fewer parking issues also positive and were critical components of the reasonableness of this proposed use.

NH RSA 675:3 gives the Planning Board the authority to submit an ordinance or zoning amendment to the voters.

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