2021 Chester Planning Board Meetings

Chester Planning Board Approves Wellness Counseling and Retail Herbal Sales
By Penny Williams    2-25-21

Wednesday evening, February 24, the Chester Planning Board had just one public hearing that of Heather Peloquin's application to open a Wellness Counseling Office and Herbal Retail sales business.

The business will be located in the heart of Chester at 15 Chester Street. This small plaza has the local Center Scoop ice cream shop that in season draws people to the location and it is adjacent to the Library and Post Office building.

Tim Peloquin, Promised Land Survey, presented the application for Heather Peloquin the operator and on behalf of the Francis Gesel Revocable Trust. He stated this business would provide a much needed service for the residents of Chester at an ideal location.

The application went before the ZBA the previous night and was granted a Variance for a commercial use in a residential area with no conditions. The ZBA and the Building Inspector Myrick Bunker, suggest that a full scale site plan review was unnecessary because the location has been reviewed on several occasions and there will be no differences with this application. The shop was granted four parking spaces for Peloquin, one other employee and customers. There is no off-site parking at the adjacent buildings or on Chester Street.

The hours of operation were set for Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., which will allow for classes to be taught at times during the evening.

There were no public comments and the board reviewed this very quickly but carefully and voted to approve the application. Peloquin will be able to get started on March first with a goal of opening on April 1.

The board approved a request from the Police Department for the release of $634.00 in impact fees for the purchase of nitrile examination gloves.

Board member Michael Weider suggested this was a lot of money for these gloves since a package of 100 runs less than $30. He asked that it be checked and if this purchase is related to COVID-19 then the town should look for reimbursement. Nevertheless, the board voted to approve the release and it will go the Selectmen next.

The board discussed Farr's Auto that is a mixed use building with an apartment at one end of the repair facility. There may need to be condominiumization of this and similar situations in the future with financing from the SBA for the commercial work area and a bank generated financial loan for the apartment.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik said he had checked with Attorney Steve Bennett to see if Chester has to approve the condominiumization of such a mixed use building  and since Chester has no regulation that would be applicable the answers was no.

Hadik and the board briefly discussed what the best way to handle fees for building permits that have expired and are being renewed.

In the case of a single building it isn't a matter of significant consequence but if you had to deal with a development such as Candia Woods with the many building permits it becomes a different matter.

Weider asked that before the board makes any decision on this for Hadik to check and see how other towns handle this. which he agreed to do.

Hadik told the board that Eversource had made good on its promise to correct the issues at the Clark Road extension for the power line replacement work. He showed the board before and after pictures and it was noted that in the spring Eversource will seed the gravel area as promised.

The board went into a non-meeting with Attorney Bennett.


Chester Planning Board Move Zoning Amendments to Ballot and Warrant
By Penny Williams   2-11-21

The Chester Planning Board on Wednesday night, February 10, held a Public Hearing on their proposed Zoning Amendments and no one posed a question and the board forwarded them to the Ballot and the Warrant.

The board proposed and approved 5 Zoning Amendments, all of which had been thoroughly discussed at the previous meeting and earlier meetings. The proposed Zoning Amendments are as follows:

*  Proposed zoning amendment to Article 2: Definitions – To add a clarifying definition of “Internal Lot” as referenced in Table 1 and Section 6.12.2 – Internal Dimensional and Design Requirements with respect to Article 6 – Open Space Subdivision and Article 7 – Age-Friendly Subdivision

*  Proposed zoning amendments to Articles 2 & – Bed and Breakfasts – To allow Bed and Breakfast facilities by Special Exception in the General Residential and Agricultural District (Zone R1), and to add a definition Bed and Breakfast in Article 2 -Definitions.

*   Proposed zoning amendment to Article – Fences - To clarify that fences must be located on the fence owners’ lots.

*  Proposed zoning amendments to Article 6 - Open Space Subdivision -To eliminate the unit-density incentive bonus for age-restricted housing, and commensurately increase the unit-density incentive bonus for workforce housing, to help Chester meet its fair-share obligation to address the State’s critical shortage of workforce housing.
* Proposed zoning amendments to Article 9.4.10 - ADU Code Requirements - To amend Section 9.4.10 by adding an exemption to Article of the Town’s Building Code, thereby removing the requirement of fire sprinkler systems for Accessory Dwelling Units.

For more information on the specific Zoning Amendments go to the Planning Board page on the Town Website and they can be found in their entirety there.

The board approved a request from the Chester Police Department for the release of Impact Fee funds to cover the cost of a duty jacket in the amount of $132.98.

The board discussed possibly changing the process for releasing and approving release of impact fees but in the end decided to leave things as they are.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik brought up a request he had received from Jenkins Farm LLC owner Keith Martel. Martel wishes to exchange the cash account for a Letter of Credit. The board discussed this briefly then approved authorizing the Town Treasurer to send a check to Martel for the amount of the Letter of Credit when it is received.

A lot line merger for two lots owned by Charles and Louise St. Aubin was discussed. The request is to merge two lots they own off of Harantis Lake Road into a single lot. Timothy Peloquin, Promised Land Survey, is handling this and all that is required is for the board to approve it. The board did approve the request.  


Chester Planning Board Reviews Zoning Amendments
By Penny Williams    1-28-21

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday night, January 27, and reviewed the proposed zoning amendments.

Andrew Hadik, Chester Town Planner, and the board members went over the following proposed zoning amendments.

* Article 2 - Internal Lot Definition

* Article 2 & - Add Bed and Breakfast

* Article - Fence Location Clarification

*  Open Space Subdivision - amend density bonuses

*  Article 9.4.10 - ADU Code Requirements

*Another that one that may not actually move forward is designed to Upgrade Legal Language - shall/will to must.

The board approved the request from the Police Department for two impact releases one $125.00 for winter boots, and the other $70.93 for fire arms equipment, a total impact fee release of $195.93.

The board discussed when a site plan review could be considered a minor site plan review. Hadik said there are two coming up that Building Inspector Myrick Bunker felt didn't require a full site plan review but would need waivers. The board decided that even if it is a minor site plan review if waivers are needed the plan needs to come before the board for a public hearing but an engineering design would not be required.

Hadik told the board he had visited a site with Eversource personnel to view a property owner complaint about the work being conducted by Eversource and its impact on Clark Road. Hadik explained that Eversource immediately promised to return the area to exactly what it is was before they made changes for pole replacement as soon as their work was finished. Eversource also noted a wooden mat had been placed incorrectly and had been changed and any disturbance would be corrected come spring.

Hadik informed the board that the NH DES had approved the grant for them connected  with the Source Water Protection Plan. He added the plan still needs G & C approval but he was unsure what specific department this referred to.


Chester Planning Board Public Hearings Continued or Withdrawn
By Penny Williams    1-15-21

The Chester Planning Board on Wednesday, January 13, had three public hearings scheduled but two were continued and one was withdrawn.

There was a request from the MacLean Family Revocable Trust, 82 Pulpit Road  seeking an extension of the original conditional approval for a 2-Lot Subdivision to continue their hearing until March 24. The board approved this continuance.

There was a request from Patrick and Daniela Connelly, 522 Haverhill Road, to continue their site plan review to conduct agritourism activities and events at their farm, Field to Fork Farm, until March 3. The board approved this continuance.

The third hearing was for an application from Katelyn DePeron and Jonathan Dufresne, 518 Fremont Road, for a Home Business permit to operate a dog grooming business. This application was withdrawn.

The board then discussed a number of topics and issues, among them a review of the offsite improvement account. They talked about  Southwoods As-Built plans being received to allow building permits to be issued after these are reviewed and approved. And, Planning Director Andrew Hadik told the board he was continuing his research with respect to the Lincoln Lane Footbridge  replacement issue.

Another issue the board discussed was snowmobiles on other people's private property. In seeking an answer from Fish and Game Hadik indicated the Fish & Game stated that for any such activity, the snowmobile owner needed permission in writing from any private property owners whose land the snowmobile would be on. In addition the use of snowmobiles or any other motorized vehicle is not allowed on Jack Road or any other Class VI roads in Chester. Hadik said Fish and Game informed him Chester has never authorized the use of motorized vehicles on its trails or town owned property. This needs further investigation.

The board spent the majority of the remainder of the meeting discussing a Zoning Amendment for Bed and Breakfast places in Chester. The proposed amendment would limit the parties staying at a B&B to 30 consecutive days with a total of 45 days within a given year.

The board also discussed the number of bedrooms allowed and decided the number 4 was appropriate. The fact that only single family dwellings can be used answered a question about the use of an ADU but the single family dwelling used as a B&B must be owner occupied. The board decided that any applications would be required to have a site plan review.

The board discussed whether they thought micro wineries, brewing and distilleries should be added to businesses allowed. After an in-depth discussion the board decided this would not be a good idea and since there isn't any demand at present they didn't feel any zoning amendment would be needed at this time.

They concluded the meeting discussing what is meant by an Internal Lot in an Open Space development and agreed it was alright to add the definition of an Internal Lot to the associated zoning regulation. Hadik said he would draw something up to address this and bring it to the board.  

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

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