2022 Chester Planning Board Meetings

Chester Planning Board Continued Garabedian Gravel Pit Excavation to January
By Penny Williams     12-18-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday, December 14, and continued the Site Plan hearing for the Garabedian gravel pit located at 152 Fremont Road.

This has been a long and in-depth site plan review and Garabedian is represented by Doug MacGuire, DuBay Group.

MacGuire stated he had made the site plan adjustments and responded to the list he had received from Planning Director Andrew Hadik.

The board and MacGuire continued to discuss the issue of the high water level and resident concerns of noise, traffic, and blasting impacts.

MacGuire said the crusher decibels are lower than a gunshot and the crusher would not be going all day every day. He indicated the excavation would not be a year round operation as demand for material and the winter weather limits operation. He added that blasting would not be daily and probably not even weekly during the construction season.

There was also a continued discussion of the impact and amount of traffic that would be generated by the gravel pit operation. The board noted that an estimated 50 trips per day would mean that a truck would be going by every 5 to 6 minutes and this would be big, heavy trucks causing both noise to the neighborhood and damage to the road.

As a result of the truck traffic there was a discussion on the bonding required that the board estimated would be in the $541,000 area and another bond needed for the reclamation of $5,000 per acre of disturbed land.

Public Comment saw resident Kevin Scott, speaking as a resident, suggesting that the traffic to and from the pit be developed into a one way pattern to reduce the disturbance to the Fremont Road residences.

Hadik noted that while this was a good suggestion the turn at the Stow Road intersection would be difficult if not dangerously impossible for the big trucks.

Chuck Myette, speaking as a resident, registered a list of concerns the first being that all regulations need to be followed and that no waivers be issued unless there is significantly good reason.

He continued to question the depth of the excavation and the wetlands impacts by the operation. He wants ground water monitoring and the ground water levels mapped as well as wells installed for monitoring.

One resident reiterated his belief that the pit is not grandfathered and that it is illegal and should not be considered. He complained that the board had not responded to his concerns.

The board did not respond other than to continue the hearing to January 4, 2023.

Chester Planning Board Approve Crowley Woods Subdivision Extension
By Penny Williams    12-1-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, November 30, and despite flickering power, completed their meeting and made a decision in the Crowley Woods Subdivision application.

Eric Mitchell, ECM Associates, asked the board for an extension of the Crowley Woods Subdivision. He explained that he has withdrawn his application before the Candia Planning Board because he has not been able to reach an agreement regarding the improvement to Crowley Road.

He feels it is necessary to try and get things worked out with Candia before starting with Phase I of the Crowley Woods subdivision with the Chester Planning Board, thus the request for an extension. To get the application approved in Chester Candia must sign off on the project. Candia is involved because the entrance to the site is Crowley Road that is in Candia.

After a brief discussion the board approved his request.

Chester Planner Andrew Hadik told the board that he had learned from the NH Department of Environmental Services that a Shoreland Protection Permit is needed for the Colby Farm Subdivision. 

The board approved accepting both the Conditions of Approval and the Finding of Fact document and conditionally approved the amended subdivision site plan for the Colby Farm 11-lot subdivision located at 181 Haverhill Road the end of September. One of the Conditions of Approval was the decision from the NH DES regarding the Shoreland Protection Permit..

That Shoreland Protection Permit has been filed for and approved, Hadik said.

The board accepted and approved the request to continue the Site Plan Review application by Old Sandown Road, Paul Garabedian, for a gravel pit located at 152 Fremont Road. The board continued the hearing process until January 25, 2023 and the public hearing to the board's December 14, meeting.

There was a lengthy discussion of the reasons for delay and the information submitted by the board to the applicant that requires answers to be provided. There was also a discussion regarding whether attorneys would be present at the next meeting. It was decided to see when the Attorney Steve Bennett, the board's attorney would be available before the December 14 meeting as the board wants to discuss several things with him relevant to the hearing.

The board approved releasing $7,445 from the Government Buildings Impact Fee funds for the continuation of the HVAC project on two offices at Town Hall as requested by the Board of Selectmen.


Chester Planning Board Approve Jigsaw Builders, LLC Subdivision and Continue  Garabedian Gravel Pit Hearing to November 30
By Penny Williams   11-17-22

The Chester Planning Board, on Wednesday November 16, discussed what they wanted to do relative to the Garabedian Gravel Pit application.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik had forwarded the list of conditions the board developed if it were to approve the proposed gravel pit application to Garabedian and that had been received only the day before this meeting so the applicants didn't show up not having had time to review and respond to them, which was understandable.

After a lengthy discussion it was the board's decision to continue this hearing to the board's November 30th meeting. The board members pointed out that the applicant has a number of things to provide to the board and the board may need time to review and consider them so they may have to extend the 65 day period at the time of the November 30th meeting.

At the conclusion of the discussion,  the board voted to continue the hearing to the November 30th meeting and to decide then whether to extend the 65 day period.

Eric Mitchell, presenting the subdivision application of Jigsaw Builders, LLC for the 3 lot subdivision at 685 Candia Road came before the board.

He had received a 'clean letter' from the Town Engineers and that had been all that was missing at the previous meeting for approving his site plan.

Since there were no changes to what Mitchell had previously presented except for the 'clean letter' from Jeff Adler at the Town Engineers, the board voted to approve his subdivision application.

The board approved releasing impact fees in the amount of $8,904 as requested by the Board of Selectmen for the Town Hall Card Reader System so these could be paid for and installed.

The board approved taking the CIP to public hearing on December 14.

Chester Planning Board Discuss Possible Conservation Easement Warrant Article and Learn Crowley Road Subdivision Coming Back
By Penny Williams    11-10-22

The Chester Planning Board met on Wednesday, November 9 and learned that the Crowley Road Development will be before them again in the near future.

DAR Builders, LLC 305 Massabesic Street, Manchester proposed and pursued a plan for a 60-lot subdivision in Chester accessed off Crowley Road in Candia back in 2018. The plan was and continues to be handled by Eric Mitchell, Eric Mitchell Associates, who did the design which was approved in 2018.

The Chester Planning Board voted to approve the application from DAR Builders, LLC, for the Crowley Road subdivision extension/renewal back in December of 2020.

The board was reminded that the Candia Planning Board, which must sign off on the subdivision approval, has not approved this development yet.

Mitchell explained that the Candia board has requested major improvements to Crowley Road, which he believes are too extreme. Despite efforts to meet Candia requirements no acceptable compromise has been yet reached.

Mitchell told the board the project is a three phased project and he plans to bring the proposed development project back to Chester to see if the first phase of the development can begin. He indicated that he will continue to work with Candia to get their approval of the development.

After a brief discussion the board approved Mitchell bringing the Crowley Road subdivision back before the board at their November 30th meeting with a synopsis of where things are at and to get an extension.

The board discussed putting in a Warrant Article for a number of town owned parcels that are available in the North Woods area with Conservation Chair Victor Chouinard in order to protect and preserve them with Conservation easements.

The board generally was in favor of getting the parcels under conservation easements in order to preserve them and protect them from development.

 However, several board members pointed out that looking to the future was really important. This could be accomplished by specific easements on these parcels that would allow certain recreational or municipal uses.

Such uses might be to meet a municipal need because of growth in Chester. The need could be addressed by the easement language allowing for setting aside certain acres on the parcels for use as a ball field, or cemetery or fire station should the future need exist. Development would still not be permitted.

It was thought that taking this to the voters was a good thing to do but the easement language needs to be carefully developed so as to provide for future recreation or municipal needs. In addition, the board felt there should be just a few parcels presented at a time for consideration.

The board heard from Mitchell that the Jigsaw Builder LLC 3 lot subdivision at 685 Candia Road is ready for conditional approval. However, because the board did not have a 'clean' letter from the Town Engineer's firm the amended site plan presented couldn't be approved.

The board continued the hearing to the board's November 16th meeting when they felt sure they would have the required 'clean' letter.


Chester Planning Board Discusses Garabedian Gravel Pit Concerns In More Detail and Continue Jigsaw to Next Meeting
By Penny Williams   11-3-22

On Wednesday evening, November 2, the Planning Board discussed the concerns they have related to the Garabedian Gravel Pit Excavation site plan.

At this time the Garabedian site plan will be before the board again on November 16. By that meeting Planning Director Andrew Hadik will have the conditions of approval for that site plan prepared and will provide Doug MacGuire with these at the meeting.

The board views the issues before the board as being their sense that MacGuire doesn't intend to follow the local regulations and possibly not the state or federal regulations.

The board feels that the federal, state and local regulations need to be followed and if not then waiver requests should be presented. However, Hadik pointed out that the conditions of approval will be drawn to local regulations which are stricter than state or federal regulations.

The board discussed the fact that the applicant can agree to the conditions presented, or request a further extension of the 65 day window. The board can grant an extension to the November 30 meeting or deny the application because it is incomplete. However, Hadik said he wanted to check with legal counsel on these options.

The board wanted to make sure they would have time to consider any changes or amendments the Garabedian plan might put forward after hearing the conditions of approval so they wanted to make sure they could meet on November 30.

The board received a request from Eric Mitchell to continue the Subdivision application by Jigsaw Builder for a three lot subdivision at 685 Candia Road to the November 9, meeting. The board voted to approve the continuation.

The board then discussed the Chester General Government Building CIP with Selectmen Steph Landau and Steve D'Angelo.

The board heard from Fire Chief Phil Gladu about his department's CIP.

Road Agent Michael Oleson went over the highway CIP with the board.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Garabedian Gravel Pit Site Plan Further and Continue the Jigsaw Builder Subdivision Application
By Penny Williams   10-27-22

The Chester Planning Board on Wednesday, October 26, continued the site plan review for the proposed Garabedian Gravel Pit Excavation and the hearing will continue for at least one more meeting.

Doug MacGuire, DuBay Group, presented the changes made to the site plan based on the Planning Board concerns raised at the previous hearing.

MacGuire explained why the concerns of water and the wetlands is not justified. He indicated a number of test pits were dug and no water seepage discovered. He also provided information from Gove Environmental Services to back up his statements.

The board continued to express concerns and questions regarding the two five acre areas that would constitute phase 1 and phase 2. The issue of where equipment and material would be stored and whether it would be moved or remain in one place was discussed. The board expressed concernover stabilization of any area that was disturbed and then moved on from. MacGuire was asked about plans for reclamation.

The board continued going over the list of concerns and questions developed by Planning Director Andrew Hadik. MacGuire and the board got into a semi contentious discussion regarding excavating within 4 to 8 feet of the high water table local zoning regulation.  Hadik explained why this zoning regulation existed noting it was included for a specific reason that would not necessarily apply here.

There was a discussion in which the board asked if the applicant would consider increasing their 25 foot buffer zone to something closer to the 150 foot zoning regulation. If the applicant would agree to a 50 foot buffer zone the board would be happy but if not they will need to ask for a waiver for this requirement.

There was a discussion regarding the board's insistence on a third party monitoring vendor.

Other issues discussed included vernal pools and wildlife which MacGuire said were addressed in the AOT permitting process with the state.

A proportionate share of the cost to replace and reconstruct Fremont Road was discussed as the heavy trucks associated with the excavation will ultimately destroy the road board members believe.

Development of a complaint resolution form was discussed and the board decided to continue their hearing to the November 16th meeting. The board then opened the meeting up to resident public comment.

The comments were resident concerns about damage to their wells, water quality and other health issues from dust and so forth.

Other concerns were over noise and disruption of the quiet peaceful neighborhood. Many spoke of the change this project will bring to their way of life.

 Increased traffic and safety concerns associated with the excavation operation were also expressed.

The board continued the subdivision application from Jigsaw Builder for a 3 lot subdivision located at 685 Candia Road to the November 2nd meeting.


Chester Planning Board Vote to Continue Garabedian Gravel Hearing Again
By Penny Williams   10-14-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday, October 12, and after adopting the Town's Impact Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units spent the remainder of the meeting on the Garabedian Gravel Pit site plan public hearing.

Doug MacGuire, Vice President, DuBay Group, answered the prepared questions Planning Director Andrew Hadik had prepared regarding the site plan for the proposed Garabedian Gravel Pit Excavation located at 152 Fremont Road.

The questions and responses concerned many issues. Among them were the following:

* wetlands issues,

* water drainage issues,

* potential phasing of the excavation process, 

* blasting,

* processing area and storage area issues,

* stabilization and reclamation plans,

* whether plan needs to go to the Conservation Commission,

* Public health and safety issues such as dust control,

* hours of operation.

The board then opened the floor to residents for public comment.

The issues here included the residents' objections to the disturbance of the peace and quiet of their neighborhood posed by this proposed operation. They also worried about diminution of their property values.

Another issue was the wear and tear this operation will wreak on Fremont Road that has only recently been re-paved.

Concerns were raised over potential damage to wells and water quality by blasting associated with the proposed gravel pit operation.  The speakers noting the proposed plan appears to be more of a quarry operation than gravel pit operation.

Residents expressed concern over monitoring of pit operation issues and claimed that this should be conducted by a certified third party monitoring operation.

There were concerns raised about the use of Stow Road as an access road.

The residents made the point that they were strongly objecting at this time because this would be their only opportunity to change things.

MacGuire and the board answered the resident questions as best they could.

The board voted to continue the hearing to its October 26 meeting.


Chester Planning Board Approve Pomp Road Development
By Penny Williams     10-9-22

The Chester Planning Board met on Wednesday evening, October 5, and after a lengthy discussion based on a form developed by the Planning Director Andrew Hadik with assistance from the board's attorney to address this unique situation, the board finally approved the application for the Pomp Road development.

The board determined the lot is buildable and went over the applicant's upgrade conditions for the driveway to ensure it is appropriate for emergency vehicle use. The driveway upgrades will be built to the town's roadway standards with a turnaround included.

The applicants, Paul and Sue Foskitt, agreed to upgrade the culvert to meet the 100 year storm and to the upgrades to that section of Pomp Road that will be the driveway.

The Board of Selectmen will have to approve a building permit be issued to the Foskitts but if that happens then their proposal will need to meet all the conditions proposed by the Planning Board. A  Hold Harmless will need to be registered  and the boundaries set.

DuBois and King, the Town Engineers, will monitor the development at the Foskitts expense.

The Planning Board recommended the Selectmen approve the proposed development with the conditions the Planning Board stipulated. The Planning Board approved the Pomp Road development request with the conditions that will need to be followed.

The board took jurisdiction of the subdivision application by Jigsaw Builders LLC for a 3-lot subdivision located at 685 Candia Road.

Eric Mitchell presented the proposed development.  It is a 9.8 acre parcel that is proposed to be subdivided into three lots, with 2 lots each having 2 acres and the third lot with 7.8 acres.

Mitchell said there is a waiver being requested not to set one iron pin since the location is under water. Other than that the proposal met all site distances, and setbacks for the driveways but permits will have to be obtained.

DuBois and King has not had time to review the plan so the request was to continue the public hearing.

An abutter spoke saying the pin the waiver is requested to omit is not under water and should be set. Mitchell said he would go out and look and make a decision at that time.

Another resident spoke saying the speed on Candia Road guarantees that there would be accidents at the driveway entrances.

The board voted to continue this public hearing to its October 26, meeting.


Chester Planning Board Still Want More from Garabedian Gravel Pit Application
By Penny Williams     9-29-22

The Planning Board met on Wednesday evening, September 28, and while there were just two hearings, the meeting lasted until after 10:30 p.m. The Site Plan Review Application for the Garabedian Gravel Pit at 152 Fremont Road took up most of the time despite the plan being demonstrably well fleshed out from the conceptual look the board saw last year, the board still wanted more information.

Doug MacGuire, Vice President of the DuBay Group, presented the site plan application for the Excavation. He went over the changes that have been made to plan in response to the requests and comments made at the Conceptual Discussion held last year.

The board felt the application complete so took jurisdiction of it and opened the hearing.

MacGuire stated that as the board had requested, the plan being presented to the board had been approved by the town's engineering firm DuBois and King with all their questions, comments, and requested changes having been made to DuBois and King's satisfaction.

The site is 180 plus acres but only 18.5 acres are being contemplated for excavation. However, MacGuire pointed out they would be addressing approximately 5 acre chunks at a time on a phased approach.

MacGuire indicated the plan includes a complete drainage plan, a Stormwater Pollution Plan, and, a Reclamation Plan. He indicated that the excavation process would be monitored with reports provided monthly to the board and whomever else the board indicated. As for setbacks and buffers he stated that where Chester zoning regulations are stricter than state regulations the town's requirements would be met.

He indicated that blasting would likely be required but there was a blasting plan included and a certified blasting company would be used so all blasting issues and requirements re wells and environment issues would be addressed and followed.

The board asked if borings had been done to determine where ledge was therefore where blasting would be required and MacGuire said not yet but agreed such borings must be done.

The board asked if the owner, Paul Garabedian Jr., would be willing to consider presenting the excavation site plan for just the five acre area to be worked rather than the plan being for the entire excavation of the 18 plus acre area. As each new chunk was moved to the plan would return to the board for any changes or amendments.

 MacGuire indicated he thought Garabedian would agree to this and he himself said it might be easier to do it that way and would probably make more sense. However, he reminded the board they had asked for the total picture which was why the plan was in the present form at this point.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik had a list of prepared questions and concerns that the board and he felt covered their questions and concerns as well as those which would be the concerns and questions of abutters, many of whom filled the room for the hearing.

The hearing was then opened to public comments. Abutters basically raised the following concerns and questions most of which were on Hadik's list.

Residents concerns included the noise of the excavation processes and the changes that would bring to the neighborhood. The impact of the excavation enterprise on their property value was raised. Potential damage to wells and to the quality of drinking water was an issue as was the traffic that would be generated by the operation.

Several were concerned about how long (in terms of years) this operation would continue and what the plans are for the reclaimed area at the end of gravel pit excavation activities. A couple of residents indicated they wanted the board or the applicant to provide a direct, simplified response to all the questions and concerns.

The board suggested that almost all the questions and concerns are answered in the notes on the actual plans provided and residents were encouraged to come in and read the plans in the Planning Office if they couldn't manage it on their own computers but the plans are on the Web site. The reports referred to are also available online as well as in the Planning Office. The board indicated that residents would be able to find the answers to all the questions and concerns raised.

The board continued the hearing to October 12.

Jason Lopez, Keach Nordstrom & Associates, told the board that he still has not received the answer to the question he raised concerning the reference line at the board's behest from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), Wetlands Division.

He said he plans to use the application for a permit approach which will force the NHDES to respond. However, he indicated that everything else has been addressed satisfactorily and he would like the project to be conditionally approved subject to the NHDES response to the question regarding the reference line being provided.

The NHDES Wetlands Division will have to make a determination once the permit application is submitted on whether a Shoreland Protection Permit needs to be granted or whether one is not needed which is the pending question.

The board approved accepting both the Conditions of Approval and the Finding of Fact document and conditionally approved the amended subdivision site plan for the Colby Farm 11-lot subdivision located at 181 Haverhill Road.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Pomp Road Development and Continues Lifestyle Homes of Chester Subdivision
By Penny Williams    9-16-22

On Wednesday evening, September 14, the Chester Planning Board struggled with a conceptual discussion regarding a development on Pomp Road, a Class VI road.

Paul and Sue Foskitt, who have a long relationship with the Pomp Road area, came before the board to discuss conceptually their development idea request.

The request is to build a house on a lot on Pomp Road, a Class VI road.  Up until this discussion, the request has been considered solely as a request to layout or upgrade a portion of the road from Class VI to Class V.  To that end, Counsel relayed that there are the following three options for the applicant to follow.

He can go to the Building Inspector and if that is denied he can apply to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). There he can appeal the denial or file an application for a variance.

The second course of action would be to Petition the Board of Selectmen (BOS) to lay out a highway over an existing Class VI highway. Then the BOS would direct the applicant to schedule a review with the Planning Board (PB). The PB reviews the proposed layout and submits recommendation to the BOS.  However, it should be noted the PB has no approval or denial authority. The BOS would then render a decision on the petition.

His third option would be to submit to the BOS a petition warrant article by Town Meeting signed by a minimum of 25 registered residents and the BOS would submit the warrant article for Town Meeting.

During Wednesday night’s discussion, it was determined that there still may be another pathway for the applicant to obtain a building permit that does not require upgrading the road to a Class V road. 

The section of RSA 674:41 that pertains to this is: (The subject road) Is a class VI highway, provided that: (1) The local governing body after review and comment by the planning board has voted to authorize the issuance of building permits for the erection of buildings on said class VI highway or a portion thereof; and (2) The municipality neither assumes responsibility for maintenance of said class VI highway nor liability for any damages resulting from the use thereof; and (3) Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall produce evidence that notice of the limits of municipal responsibility and liability has been recorded in the county registry of deeds;

The board asked Planning Director Andrew Hadik to do further research about this last possibility and to discuss it with Counsel.

The board approved a request to continue to the board's September 28, meeting, the continuance of the subdivision application from Lifestyle Homes of Chester for an 11-lot subdivision called Colby Farm located at 181 Haverhill Road.

The Wason Pond replacement bridge surveying is to happen the week of September 26.

Hadik also told the board the state will continue the Route102 and Route 121 intersection traffic count that started September 13 through September 19. He said supposedly information is coming regarding a proposed design for the intersection. The intersection is on the State's 10 year structure plan but there is no estimated cost attached.

Hadik told the board a list of roads in Chester to be striped will either be submitted to the Selectmen as part of the budget or as a Warrant Article.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Chesterbrook School of Natural Learning Home Business Permit and Colby Farm Subdivision Continued
By Penny Williams   9-10-22

On Wednesday, September 7, the Chester Planning Board met with Sarah and Joe Surrette, Chesterbrook School of Natural Learning and discussed confusion in the conditions of approval  and denial of the Home Business Permit.

The board pointed out that in the initial filing there are differing times for the Child Care use in Chester and the school that will be in Sandown except for using the Chester property for outdoor programs.

The Surrette's had approval of their school that was moved to a building that is entirely in Sandown with only the Home Business of Child Care remaining in Chester. However, Myrick Bunker, Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer claimed their Home Business Permit is void. There were differing times in the Child Care Permit and the School Permit.

After a long discussion the board advised the Surrette's to combine the two permits together and keep the hours of operation the same for both.

The reason Chester is involved is that the entrance to the school, which is now located in the Sandown portion of the parcel, is in Chester therefore cars enter and leave through Chester. The Surrette's have to widen the driveway entrance.

The Surrette's will have to submit a new Site Plan and have a public hearing regarding combining the Child Care and the School together.

Jason Lopez, Keach Nordstrom & Associates, told the board that the requested information the board asked him to get regarding the Colby Farm subdivision slated for 181 Haverhill Road had not been provided to him yet by the State Department of Environmental Services Wetlands Division.

The board indicated they still wanted to know why only one of three criteria for determining the Shoreland Water Quality Protection reference line was eligible for its determination.

The members of the board and a resident disagree with Lopez and the results of his survey that delineates the reference line and the 250 feet region. The discussion concerns a building which is in the 150 to 250 foot area and there does or does not require a permit depending on where the reference line is.

Lopez received permission from the property owner to go onto his property to conduct the necessary survey but he doesn't have the information from the state. Therefore the board accepted his request to continue the hearing to the September 14, meeting of the board.

The board approved the request from the Police Department for $1,208 from impact fees to purchase boots and a vest for an officer.

There was a discussion of the progress and process for the survey and engineering design for both the Hanson and Shepherd Home road bridges.

The cost for each bridge survey would be $7,500 and be the survey would be conducted in Mid-November.

It was noted that the Hanson bridge at Route 102, a federal highway, may therefore make the bridge eligible for the federal funding of the construction phase. The Hanson bridge design will be done in the spring and the Shepherd Home bridge work would begin after that.

Work on the Wason Pond bridge is progressing. The borings that were done proved favorable for a shallow foundation. The design goals and funding will move forward with grants being sought as well as impact fees for the project.

The board reduced the Pippen Estate bond for Mark Goodrich from $462,800 to $292,000.


Chester Planning Board Continues Colby Farm Subdivision Hearing a Third Time and Review Impact Fee Areas
By Penny Williams   8-25-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, August 24, and discussed the one hearing on the agenda, the Colby Farm Subdivision.

Jason Lopez, Keach Nordstrom & Associates presented, noting the changes he had made to the proposed site plan since the previous hearing.

He indicated he had raised the berm from 4 feet to almost 5 feet in several areas. He said  he will work with the board with regard to the placement of the buffer zone signs that need to be placed along the perimeters of the parcel.

The issue that took up the majority of the meeting was related to the reference line. There was a difference of opinion on whether one of the 11 buildings on the plan as proposed was allowed or not.  The issue defining this has to do with reference line which is part of the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act.

The Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act regulates the removal of ground cover within 150 feet of protected waters. There are three areas progressing from the shoreline high water mark - 50-feet; 150 feet- and 250 feet.

The first is the required 50 foot setback from the waterline. The 50 to 150 feet area mandates that this woodland buffer must maintain 25 percent of vegetation. The 150 to 250 foot area has no vegetation removal restrictions but it does have restrictions relating to construction, excavation or fill and thus the question regarding the proposed building.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Fact Sheet, These distances are  "measured from the reference line ( high water line- in this case at the edge of the Essex River). Within 150 feet of the reference line there are two distinct regions, the waterfront buffer and the woodland buffer..."

A developer does not need a permit for vegetation management so long as it occurs in accordance with the prescribed limitations. However a NHDES permit is needed if any excavation, fill or construction takes place within 250 feet of the reference line.

The members of the board and a resident disagree with Lopez and the results of his survey that delineates the reference line and the 250 feet region. The discussion concerns a building which is in the 150 to 250 foot area and there does or does not require a permit depending on where the reference line is.

The board and Lopez could not come to any final agreement until board member  Rick Synder suggested that Lopez could go to the NHDES and have them determine whether a permit is needed for the subject building based on the reference line. If a permit is not needed, Lopez needs to bring the board a letter from the NHDES stating a permit is not needed and why. If a permit is needed he will have to bring the permit.

Lopez agreed to go to the NHDES and have them make this determination. The board continued the hearing until the board's September 7, meeting.

Nate Miller, Deputy Executive Director, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission went over the methodology for arriving at the impact fees for the 7 Chester Town Impact Fee areas.

The seven are:
* The dual Public Safety of Police and Fire
* Recreation
* School
* Library
* Roads
* Municipal Offices

Miller previously went over each area in great detail describing how each impact fee was determined so he only summarized things at this meeting.

The board voted to approve adopting the proposed impact fee for each of the 7 elements on the list.

The Town Planner, Andrew Hadik asked the board to approve accepting a new Letter of Credit from the Haverhill Bank from the Southwoods Development owner David Hadad, DL Development, while releasing the Letter of Credit from Brady Sullivan who had sold the subdivision to Hadad.

The board approved accepting the $402,100 Haverhill Bank Letter of Credit and releasing Brady Sullivan's Letter of Credit.

Hadik said he had received another resume for a part time clerk. She is a business owner who is retired so he thinks she obviously has organizational skills. He said he would keep the board informed.


Chester Planning Board Approves Carkin Street/Donna Drive Lot Line Adjustment and Private School Site Plan 
By Penny Williams   8-11-22

On Wednesday night, August 10, the Chester Planning Board held two public hearings and conditionally approved both.

The first was a lot line adjustment application from Russell Quintal, 24 Carkin Street and the Frances Bechtold Family Trust for property at 4 Donna Drive. This lot line adjustment was approved by the voters at the March Town Meeting.

The board asked if the two property owners would be agreeable to an easement that would allow the town to address the drainage issues on Carkin Street and both said yes. They both said so long as there is a plan, a design for the easement and work in place, they are fine with it being done.

The board approved the lot line adjustment.

The second hearing was for a site plan review of Sarah and Leon Surrette's application for a private school at 232 Fremont Street. This property is in Chester and Sandown. The existing school is in Chester but the plan is to move it to a different building on the property that is more in Sandown.

Other than moving the school to the different building there are no changes being proposed. A new septic system permit has been approved for the building that will now house the school.

Chester has to deal with this since the entrance/exit to the school property is in Chester.

The school has 60 students and 10 non family employees and it has been in existence as a permitted use of a Home Occupation. Now it is seeking approval as an Educational Institution.

Hours of operation are 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. week days from Labor Day to Memorial Day with local school holidays observed. During the summer there is a 4 week program Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to noon in July.

The board had issues with the driveway which has been widened over the years to accommodate two day traffic. The best solution to dealing with this is for the Surrette's to go to the Zoning Board of Adjustment regarding this issue. Their presenter, Tim Lavelle, James Lavelle &Associates agreed and said he would do that.

Abutters complained that amplified music and increased and careless drivers are a problem.

The board found no merit in the amplified music complaint so dismissed it. They did suggest that the Surrette's put a stop sign on their property at the end of the driveway which was agreed to.

The abutters claimed the school isn't allowed in the zone but the board said it is a permitted use so dismissed this and conditionally approved the application. It will now be taken up by the Sandown Planning Board.


Chester Planning Board Continues Colby Farm Application Again
By Penny Williams   8-4-22

Wednesday evening, August 3, the Chester Planning Board once again continued the public hearing on the Lifestyle Homes of Chester - Colby Farm   application.

The development is located at 181 Haverhill Road and Jason Lopez, Keach Nordstrom & Associates summarized the proposed plan.

This is an Open Space development made up of two existing parcels. One parcel has an existing house on it. There is a total of 36.6 acres in the new development and Lifestyle Homes of Chester plans an eleven lot subdivision at the 181 Haverhill Road location.

Each lot will have its own well and septic system. Five of the lots will have 4 bedroom houses while six of the lots will have 3 bedroom houses.

The existing house, which is currently a five bedroom house, will either be renovated to a three bedroom dwelling or if not sold and renovated, will be torn down and a new three bedroom dwelling (one of the six) will be built.

There are 23 acres of open space which will be deeded to the town.

The property runs all the way down to the Exeter River so there is a 250-foot buffer at that end of the property. The plan includes a stormwater and drainage design that includes a closed drainage system, detention basins and two pocket ponds, a sediment forebay filtration and a infiltration basin.

The existing driveway to the existing home will be eliminated and a 1200 foot private road will be built, 24-feet wide with curbing and closed drainage.

Lopez went over some of the discussion he had had with Planning Director Andrew Hadik as well as addressing the comments from residents at the previous meeting.

One issue was the question of the number of allowed bedrooms and the size of a proposed dwelling at each of the 11 sites. What if someone wanted to buy site x that is an assigned 3 bedroom house lot but wants to build a 4 bedroom house. The board felt that such possible conflicts would be handled by the Building Inspector who would monitor the total number of bedrooms being built on the 11 lots. This could end up with a lot or two that would have to be adjudicated because the overall proposed plan was out of bedrooms.

There was a long discussion about buffering abutting residences from impact of headlights turning into the development. It was finally agreed that a 4 foot berm would be created that would shield the residences from the lights.

There was a difference of opinion between a resident and the developer regarding the reference line at the Exeter River used to determine the 250 foot buffer zone.

Other residents expressed concerns for the impact of the development on the traffic particularly on Halls Village Road and in the immediate neighborhood and the negative impact on water resources - wells.

The board continued the hearing to its August 24 meeting in order to get more information regarding the Exeter River reference line.

The board approved the Home Business application of Devin McCartney, 186 Harantis Lake Road. McCartney plans to open an in-home but basically online firearms sales business.

 He previously applied for this permit and was approved but never actually developed the business and now wants to move forward with it but needed to re-apply.

An abutter questioned his added request to his initial proposal to have a sign. However, he said it would only have the business name and not refer to firearms sales. The board encouraged him to think of the neighbors if he actually went forward with seeking a sign.

The board conditionally approved the subdivision application of David Rand, 12 Ledge Road for a single lot subdivision to create one new lot on Route 102.

Jason Franklin, Franklin Associates,  discussed the proposed subdivision asking that the proposed subdivision plan not have to include a stormwater run-off design since it is not known where a dwelling might be constructed. This subdivision is for the sale of the lot, not for construction of a dwelling on the lot.

The board indicated that this did not constitute a waiver but rather a request to defer. This deferral of a design plan for the stormwater run-off would have to be developed by a licensed engineer and approved by the town's engineer when a structure on the site is set to be constructed. The board felt this could be handled by the Building Inspector.


Chester Planning Accepts DuBois & King Wason Road Drainage Recommendation
By Penny Williams    7-29-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, July 27, and received a recommendation from the town's engineering firm, DuBois & King, on how to start addressing the Wason Road drainage issues.

Mark Goodrich, Project Manager, DuBois & King, addressed the Planning Board with his analysis and recommendation of the Wason Road drainage issues.

Goodrich said that the pre and post development construction from when the development was initially done as well as what the circumstances are now were reviewed.

Looking at the situation, he made some recommendations to the board regarding what can be done at this point to reduce the silt that is being swept down along the roadway damaging culverts and driveways as well as the overall drainage issues.

 He indicated his proposed plan would capture run off down the west side of the roadway by diverting it into retention ponds and in filtration systems that would direct it eventually into the wetlands. He indicated his proposed drainage plan would produce a 10 percent reduction in major run off.

Since the current developer is willing to undertake some of the proposed implementation of the drainage plan to mitigate the drainage issues the board felt it should approve acting now. However, it was noted that this doesn't address issues that exist on the east side of the roadway. The board and Goodrich felt this can be addressed later on.

The board voted to authorize Planning Director Andrew Hadik to move forward with the DuBois & King drainage design solution for the Wason Road drainage situation as presented.

The board heard from Nate Miller, Deputy Executive Director, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission reviewing for the board how the impact fees are arrived at for Recreation, Safety Departments, and the Schools.  Miller earlier in the spring had presented information on how impact fees are arrived at for Municipal Offices, Library, and Town Roads.

Miller said he had worked with Bruce Mayberry, known as the top resource for development of impact fees, on developing the Chester impact fees for these areas.

The impact fee structure has increased from $6,946 in 2016 for a single family structure to $8,085 in 2022. Miller said this represents a 26.5 percent increase.

The board thanked Miller for his work on behalf of Chester and said that his explanation of how impact fees are arrived at was clear and understandable. The board noted that there will be a Public Hearing on the proposed impact fee structure on August 24.  Miller said he would be there to respond to any questions that residents may raise.

The board approved the August 24 Public Hearing for the impact fee proposal. Miller reminded the board that they are not obligated to approve the recommended impact fee scheduled amount but can approve less if they decide to.


Chester Planning Board Continue Colby Farm Subdivision Hearing
By Penny Williams  7-15-22

On Wednesday evening, July 13, the Chester Planning Board heard the presentation for the Colby Farm Subdivision and continued it to their August 3, meeting.

Jason Lopez, Keach Nordstrom & Associates, presented the Colby Farm Subdivision plan to the Chester Planning Board.

This is an Open Space development made up of two existing parcels. One parcel has an existing house on it. There is a total of 36.6 acres in the new development and Lifestyle Homes of Chester plans an eleven lot subdivision at the 181 Haverhill Road location.

Each lot will have its own well and septic system. Five of the lots will have 4 bedroom houses while six of the lots will have 3 bedroom houses. The existing house, which is currently a five bedroom house, will either be renovated to a three bedroom dwelling or if not sold and renovated, will be torn down and a new three bedroom dwelling (one of the six) will be built.

There are 23 acres of open space which will be deeded to the town.

The property runs all the way down to the Exeter River so there is a 250-foot buffer at that end of the property. The plan includes a stormwater and drainage design that includes a closed drainage system, detention basins and two pocket ponds, a sediment forebay filtration and a infiltration basin.

The existing driveway to the existing home will be eliminated and a 1200 foot private road will be built, 24-feet wide with curbing and closed drainage.

The Conservation Commission reviewed the plan and approved the signage being placed along the buffer zone every 100 feet as well as town ownership of the open space.

The applicant is still waiting for the DOT, AOT, and Subdivision permits for the development from the State.

Several residents spoke about the planned development. Among them, Sue Ryder, wanted the developer to ensure abutters that the drainage and stormwater management design would address any and all pollutants that might be intermingled in run off.

Other abutters expressed their concerns over the size of the development and the potential negative impact on their wells and the neighborhood. They also were concerned about the increased traffic that will be generated.

The Planning Board voted to continue the hearing to the next meeting on August 3.

The board approved a request presented by Jason Franklin, Franklin Associates, to continue to August 3, a subdivision application from David Rand, for a single-lot subdivision to create one new lot on Route 102 .


Chester Planning Board Discuss Southwoods Subdivision
By Penny Williams   6-23-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, June 22, and the only item addressed was the Southwoods Subdivision.

The board spoke with Engineer Jon Rokeh and Attorney Marc Pinard, both speaking on behalf of Brady Sullivan who is the current owner of the Southwoods Subdivision.

Rokeh sought another year extension of the Conditional Approval of Phase IV and bonding for Phase 11 of the Southwoods Subdivision. He told the board that the bond amounts have been amended and there is still a laundry list of things to get finished before the subdivision can be approved for the registry. In addition, the sale, which is in process, is not final yet.

The pins are set, a survey has been conducted and certifications completed and the Mylars are essentially ready. That leaves signed Mylars and the final updated plans outstanding.

He suggested the Conservation Easement has been signed but the board noted that Conservation needs to hold a public hearing regarding the easement.

Changes made include bond amounts and the date of the conditional approval changed to the present date.

The board moved to accept the Southwoods Phase IV conditional site plan extension for one year with the amendments made that evening.

The board then spoke with David Haddad, owner of DJ Construction and the prospective buyer of the subdivision. He questioned why one of the two roads in the subdivision needs to be bonded.

The board said the construction of the road was faulty and it is rough and potentially prone to deterioration when development trucking uses it.

The bond is the result of issues with the road construction. The board noted the bond had been reduced and the reduction, down to $90,000 had been approved.

The board explained about the road issues but did not change the fact that it needs to be bonded saying board members see risks associated with it as it exists.

There was a brief discussion regarding the state renewing its review of potential designs for the intersection of Routes 102 and 121 in the center of Chester.


Chester Planning Board Discussed Bonds, Had No Hearings or Appointments
By Penny Williams   6-3-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, June 1, but had no hearings and no appointments. Instead they discussed some items with the Planning Director.

The board approved the reduction of the updated Southwoods Subdivision bonds. The bond reductions were the result of the recalculation of the bonds by DuBois & King.

* Phase 1 bond was reduced to $230,000 from $240,00

* Phase 2  bond was reduced to $90,000 from $115,000

* Phase 4 bond was reduced to $82,100 from $97,400.

* The houses in Phase 3 are all built

The board discussed the check list on three roads that are up for adoption by the Town.

Jenkins Farm Road had all the requirements checked off and the board recommended that the Board of Selectmen accept this road at the Public Hearing for  Road Acceptance.

Wilcombs Way is all set to be accepted with the exception of one issue, Planning Director Andrew Hadik told the board.

This one issue is the disturbance of the grass area by drainage issues at the top of the Cul de Sac. Hadik indicated that Road Agent Michael Oleson has told him he has the issue under control and is taking care of it.

The board voted to recommend the Board of Selectmen accept this road at the Public Hearing for  Road Acceptance subject to Oleson handling the one issue. successfully.

Hemlock Lane has several of the checklist items pending and several to be reviewed by counsel.

Hadik said he expects these all to be taken care of and in hand by Wednesday, June 8. If they are not the Planning Board would deny the request to be accepted as a Town road.

However, if Hemlock Lane fails to get accepted at the upcoming hearing it will be an entire year before it can be considered for acceptance again. In view of that the Planning Board voted to recommend the town accept the road at the Public Hearing for Road Acceptance  so long as all the conditions are met. The conditions included:

* Review of As Built Plans

* A Certified Letter of Completion from the Engineers

* Approval of As Builts by DuBois & King

* Engineering fees paid

* Warranty Deed for Right of Way reviewed and approved by Town Counsel

* Attorney Lien fee certified by bank and reviewed by Town Counsel.

The board discussed the request from Raymond related to Shattigee Road. This request is for a culvert replacement on the Raymond side of Shattigee Road.

The Board of Selectmen will need to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Raymond that the Chester Planning Board and Conservation Commission grant the easement to Raymond to do this.

The Planning Board and Conservation Commission have no issue with the Selectmen entering into a MOA on the Chester easement for Raymond doing this.

Hadik said an advertisement has been developed by the Town Administrator Debra Doda  seeking a clerical assistant for Hadik.

The board discussed whether they were looking for someone to merely provide some clerical assistance to ease Hadik's burden or whether they were in fact looking for someone who had the potential to assist him and be able to move into Hadik's position at his retirement.

It was decided that the decision on this would be dependent upon the candidates' experience and interest who responded to the advertisement.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Wason Pond Bridge Grant and Lifestyle Homes Development
By Penny Williams   5-12-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, May 11, and their one appointment didn't show up but the board members discussed several general business items.

They were supposed to have an appointment with Dana & Ryan Redmond, Lifestyle Homes, about questions pertaining to the conditions of approval for Southwoods Phase IV.

The development has recently been sold and one of the questions was part of the board’s general discussion.

The condition of approval called for 'fully engineered' septic design but the development didn't have a Professional Engineer's stamp, which is required. However, Planner Andrew Hadik pointed out the developer did get a Professional Engineer's signature so it can move ahead but the developer wanted more information or clarification regarding this condition of approval.

The board discussed the fact that the bond for the development will need to be updated and raised probably by as much as 25 percent. The developer is going to request a third extension when the conditional approval expires at the end of June.

They will need to come to the board with the request even though the conditions of approval have been substantially addressed. They will need to have the bond updated and any changes they plan to make to the originally approved plan will have to be presented.

The other discussion the board had concerned the Wason Pond bridge and the grant Hadik applied for with the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).

Hadik said the proposed $420,000 grant request was enthusiastically accepted by the REDC and placed on the Short Term List of Priorities.

He indicated that the reason the Wason Pond Project was welcomed at least in part was because the town has budgeted for the engineering study. Repairing or replacing the bridge also deals with the Town's Recreation Program and is a draw for people to visit from town and from out of state.

Hadik indicated that the other grant he had applied for, Halls Village Road Project was place on the 'Long Term Priority List.'


Eversource Conditional Use Permit Request Approved by Chester Planning Board
By Penny Williams  4-28-22

On Wednesday evening, April 27,  the Chester Planning Board met and approved the Eversource Conditional Use Permit Request.

The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) sought by Eversource for temporary impacts to the wetlands for utility transmission structures for lines 373 and 391 for Eversource's Transmission Line Structure Replacement Project in the Chester areas was presented by Conor Madison of GZA GeoEnvironmetal, Inc.

The plan is to replace 11 old, damaged, wooden service line poles with new steel poles that will be placed within 5 feet of the wooden pole to be removed. The new steel poles will be 5 to 10 feet higher.

Protections for incursions impacting the wetlands will follow best practices and the areas will be restored to their pre-impact status. Madison felt there would only be four temporary impacts.

The project is slated to start in the July/August timeframe and will take two months to complete so it is anticipated they will finish by the end of October.

Madison met with the Conservation Commission earlier and the commission after his presentation and discussion agreed to send a letter to the Planning Board recommending approval of the CUP. The letter was in the board members' packet.

After asking a few questions and a brief discussion the board voted to approve the CUP request.

The board heard from Nate Miller, Deputy Executive Director, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission reviewing for the board how the impact fees are arrived at for Municipal Offices, Library, and Town Roads.

Miller said he had worked with Bruce Mayberry, accepted as the top resource for development of impact fees, on developing the Chester impact fees for these three areas and was working with him on the Public Service, Recreation, and School impact fees which he would present at a later date.

The board thanked Miller for his work on behalf of Chester and said that his explanation of how impact fees are arrived at was clear and understandable.

Road Agent Michael Oleson asked for a $25,000 Highway Impact Fee release for work to be done reconstructing Jennifer Drive that will include three culverts.

The board was informed that the previous request for a $22,000 Highway Impact Fee release for work on Wason Road has been reversed as the project has been withdrawn.

The Chester Rod and Gun Club was told they needed to return to the Planning Board with respect to their decision to change the location of the proposed storage building.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik informed the board that after receiving that board decision, the Chester Rod and Gun Club decided not to change the location of the proposed storage building but to stick with the location approved by the board.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Emerson Road Extension Subdivision and Wilcomb's Way Subdivision Bond and Ask Chester Rod and Gun Club for New Site Plan  
By Penny Williams    4-15-22

On Wednesday, April 13, the Chester Planning Board met and dealt with several housekeeping issues but spent most of the time in non-public.

The board did discuss a site plan review question from the Chester Rod and Gun Club. Back in May, 2021, the board approved the site plan put forward by Dan Jones for the construction of storage building and safety improvements to his rifle and pistol ranges at the Chester Rod and Gun Club located at 99 Rod and Gun Club Road.

The 30 by 50-foot prefab metal building is to be used for storage. This would take care of the tractor used for maintenance and his product and equipment storage needs. There would be no heat or water, just electricity. It would be located on the existing sand parking area. He now wishes to move the building, which has not been built, to a different location.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik asked the board whether the move was substantive enough of a change that the site plan needs to be brought back before the board for an amendment for this change of location.

The board decided the change was sufficient to request the site plan to come before the board for an amendment to allow the change of location.

Hadik said he has applied for the grant for the Wason Pond Causeway which is a 100 percent grant. The town will cover the cost of the engineering design. He indicated there were other grant opportunities and asked Selectman Chuck Myette to review these and see if there any Myette thinks Hadik should apply for.

The board discussed a request for a Home Occupancy permit for a property that already has one approved but this one would be for another individual at the same address.

The board discussed this and decided that so long as the individual applied for a Home Business Permit and followed the process and there was no external evidence of the business there was no reason not to allow these two at the same address but with different individual owners.

The board discussed the issue of the Emerson Road Extension subdivision. After legal opinion was sought it remains necessary for the two proposed lots that do not show the 25 percent conservation easement to the town on their deed need to correct that and have that added to their deeds.

The board reduced the Wilcomb's Way subdivision bond from just under $37,000 down to $31,500.

Eversource Energy requested a postponement until May 27, for a Conditional Use Permit Application hearing. The board approved it.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Emerson Road Conservation Easement and Conservation Ordinances    
By Penny Williams   4-7-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, April 6,  but there were no appointments or public hearings on the agenda.

The board members discussed a number of issues brought up by Planning Director Andrew Hadik. Hadik reminded board members Brian Sullivan and Rick Snyder they need to meet with the Board of Selectmen in order to be re-appointed.

There was a discussion about the Emerson Road subdivision conservation easement. This discussion concerned the 25 acres at the back end of the parcel designated Open Space. The Conservation Commission wishes to figure out how to approach this issue. The board decided that Hadik needs to review exactly what was approved for the subdivision and who owns it. This will discussed again at the next meeting.

The board then discussed conservation ordinances. They also got into a discussion regarding work force housing which is basically not available in Chester.

Hadik said he has three of seven ordinances ready for a public hearing. The board went back and forth over whether to move forward with the three and then look at the other four later on. In the end it was decided the best way to handle it was to deal with all seven ordinances in a work session and then after that hold a public hearing to adopt them.

Hadik and the board discussed getting Chrome Books so as not to have to deal with piles of paper at meetings. It was suggested that he talk with Chester Academy's IT Director Ben Kilar regarding how that board uses and takes care of their computers.


Chester Planning Board Conditionally Approves Ark Animal Homecare
By Penny Williams  3-24-22

The Chester Planning Board conditionally approved the Ark Animal Homecare proposal on Wednesday, March 23.

Prior to appearing before the Planning Board, Erika and Erwan DeBeckers, owners of Arc Animal Homecare, had appeared before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in September of 2021 and again in March 2022 for a number of variances. The variances are all related to the 10 Edwards Mill Road residence where the couple plans to increase the veterinary services they provide from the mobile services to care at the Edwards Road location for veterinary examinations and surgery. However, there will be absolutely no overnight animal clients.

The 2021 Variance was to allow the couple to operate a commercial veterinary practice on the premises in addition to the three mobile veterinary vans which will be parked on site. The 10 Edwards Mill Road is in the R-1 Residential zoning district. The plan is to move DeBeckers veterinary operation from their Towle Road location to the Edwards Mill Road location. The ZBA approved the Variance.

In March, the DeBeckers went before the ZBA seeking a number of Variances for the property. The Variances sought are as follows:

*Expansion of Pre-existing Non-Conforming Use - increase of impervious surface from 27.3 percent to 33.7 percent

*To install a 25 square foot deck and a 30 square foot accessibility ramp and a 68 square foot paved walkway; to expand the parking area on the south side of the lot by 360 square feet; expand the parking area in the front by 942 square feet; install a 1768 square foot in-ground pool

*To allow a 7.9 square foot sign 82 inches high on existing post; to display a 28.5 by 40 inch or 7.9 square foot sign on existing post that exceeds allowable size in residential zone when post is 82 inches high which exceeds allowable 72  inch height

*To allow an approximately 4,200 square foot parking lot, half of which will be approximately 10-feet from the front setback where 40-feet are required

*To allow expansion of a Pre-Existing Non Conforming Use to allow an 18 by 31 378 square foot parking lot expansion six feet to the side setback where 25 feet are required

*To allow the leach barrier to be 27.5 feet from the Right of Way where 40-feet are required

*To allow three snow storage areas to be utilized where the Ordinance requires 8-foot strips of land to be provided on three sides for snow storage

One building on the property is the DeBeckers home while the other is for the business. It was noted the premises have been used as a business for years. Screening and landscaping would be provided where needed. All of the requested Variances were approved by the ZBA.

The Planning Board went over the proposed plan and the variances approved and there was a discussion regarding drainage and submission of request for driveway permits to the Town and State. The board made some minor amendments to the proposed plan.

It was noted there will be a total of 10 employees and there will be sufficient parking spaces for the employees and clients. The 3 mobile vans are never all out at the same time but there are 15 parking spaces available and 3 spaces for the vans. The DeBeckers will park their vehicles in the garage.

The board, after going over the proposed plan with Koravos, DeBeckers' engineer, the board conditionally approved the plan with the amendments they had added.

The board released $31,250 in impact fees to Recreation which covers half of the Wason Pond Engineering amount. The board also reduced the Cedar View Estates bond to $24,375.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik told the board the Halls Village Road property update has requirements for 2 significant culvert upgrades increasing the cost to $1,907,000. The amount on the grant application was increased to match the increased cost. There are two different grant applications for the money for the Wason Pond Causeway. There was a brief discussion about the town looking for a grant writer.

It was decided that a home business or home occupation can be in an ADU so long as all the ADU regulations are followed.


Chester Planning Board Approves Scott/Gawry’s Firewood Processing Operation
By Penny Williams     2-24-22

In their only public hearing, the Chester Planning Board approved the site plan review for the Scott/Gawrys Firewood Processing Operation to be located at 359 Chester Street on Wednesday evening, February 23.

The firewood processing operation is to take place on a one acre lot belonging to Kevin and Annette Scott. The one acre lot is part of a 76 acre parcel the Scotts own at 359 Chester Street.

The plan is for Glenn Gawrys to operate a fire wood processing operation there on the one acre using wood he will truck in from his tree service business. The firewood processing operation could have 2 or 3 part time employees; there will be no more than 35 truckloads of logs delivered to be processed; and, only 250 cords will be cut per year.

On site Gawrys will have 2 small tractors, 2 wood splitters and 1 conveyor elevator. There will be no fuel stored on the site except what is actually in the vehicles. Operations will be between 7 a.m. and 6  p.m. but deliveries/pick-ups can be earlier or later. There are no buildings on the acre in use for the fire wood processing operation. The operation still has to receive the State Driveway permit.

The driveway permit drew comment because it was called a residential driveway in the application. Scott explained this was simply so he would not have to go back for a driveway permit should he decide at a later date to build a residence on the property. One resident, Ted Broadwater expressed concern that the residential driveway application to the state didn't properly or adequately explain what the driveway was actually to be used for.

Resident David Veale had a list of concerns. He said he can hear the noise from the operation at his home. He wants more definitive guardrails established around what can and cannot be done on the acre by the fire wood processing operation. He was concerned that at any given time more than 250 cords could be stashed on the property. He felt this was a fire danger as well as the equipment that would be there posed a fire danger.

In addition, he felt that the 2 or 3 employees might smoke and cause a fire. He also was concerned that the men working the operation would use the wooded area as a bathroom and that this would contaminate his water supply even though his residence is more than 2,000 feet distant. He wanted a porta potty placed there.

The board did think residents' wish for inspection by the Fire Department was a good point and the acre will be inspected for initial information by both the fire department and the Code Enforcement Officer and then there after there would be annual inspections.

The planning board members took the information about the proposed operation and the comments from the public under consideration. They added requiring a drip pan to be slid under the vehicles when refueling takes place.

There was one waiver requested to not require that an engineering site plan be presented. Since there are no buildings and nothing really to engineer the planning board approved the waiver request.

After deliberating the planning board members conditionally approved the application. However, starting the operation is subject to receiving the state driveway permit.

The planning board learned about possible funding for red listed bridges from the Planning Director Andrew Hadik.

Chester has two red listed bridges - Hansen and Shepherd Home Road -  and they are hoping to get state assistance for the construction of these bridges. Hadik did say that he had learned that Chester can use ARPA funds to do the Cole Road culvert.

Chester isn't close to being eligible for state funding for the bridges at this point in time. To ensure they are move up in eligibility the board agreed that money should be set aside in the Highway Capital Reserve Fund to cover the 20 percent funding for construction.

The board approved raising the amount Hadik can spend with the board credit card to $500. He has had to use his own money for deed registrations when the cost exceeds $100.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Ledge Road Single Lot Subdivision Conceptual Plan
By Penny Williams    2-10-22

On Wednesday evening, February 9, the Chester Planning Board held a brief Conceptual Discussion regarding a possible one lot subdivision to be located at the intersection of Route 102 and Ledge Road.

Jason Franklin, Franklin Associates, presented the plan for owner David Rand.

The plan is to create a new 2 acre lot for sale leaving more than 3 acres for the original lot.. Franklin called it a "straight forward" plan with only one waiver they plan to ask for.

The waiver would be to not have to produce an engineering review of the plan. He indicated since there is no engineering that needs to be done it isn't reasonable for the owner to have to incur the associated cost of an engineering review. There are no wetlands issues and no driveway access required at this time. The lot has 450-feet of frontage.

The board members spend a lot of time explaining why that waiver would more than likely not be approved. Unexpected drainage and run-off issues are what many engineering reviews discover and that allows steps to be taken to avert future more in-depth related drainage and run-off issues.

The board indicated they felt an engineer review should take place to look at possible drainage issues and provide drainage calculations.

Franklin asked if the plan, therefore, needs to be submitted to the Town Engineering firm, DuBois & King, for the review before coming to the Planning Board with their site plan hearing application. He was told yes that is how it works.

Rand at first objected to the requirement but after hearing the board's explanations, he agreed saying that whatever the board wants will be done.

Franklin said a drainage design will be provided to DuBois & King for review and recommendations.

The board didn't have any other issues with the plan and Franklin said they were basically ready to move forward now that they have the concerns and suggestions from the board. The board thanked them for coming in.

The board then discussed a subdivision plan that hasn't been submitted yet that will be in the location of the dirt road/Route 121 and Halls Village Road.


Chester Planning Board Discuss Using Computers for Meeting Information
By Penny Williams    1-27-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, January 26, and took care of business in short order as well as discussing using computers instead of paper for  information from the Planning Director.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik said he had asked Chester Academy Technology Director Ben Kilar about whether the Planning Board could acquire some of the school's used Chrome Books the students have. He reported that Kilar said the Chrome Books all have to be returned so none would be available and those used by the School Board are used until they die.

Hadik said he researched the cost of Chrome Books and the level of computer the board members would need would cost between $80 and $120. The board discussed the benefits of being able to use computers for their meetings and indicated to Hadik they would like him to look into whether there is sufficient money to cover the cost of getting computers.

Hadik indicated he would look into it and get back to them.

The board reviewed the Zoning Amendment Article 2, Definitions for Educational Institutions and saw that changes had been made so it now differentiates between public and private educational facilities. The board voted to accept the changes and approved forwarding the article to the ballot.

The board approved the bond reduction for the Jenkins Farm Road from $189,000 to $25,000.

The board approved the Draft of the Board's Annual Report with the only change an addition regarding the grant the board is in the process of seeking.


Chester Planning Board Conditional Approval Extension for Subdivision on Pulpit Rock Road Approved  
By Penny Williams   1-13-22

There was only one hearing on the Chester Planning Board agenda Wednesday night, January 12 and the board took care of business with dispatch.

The MacLean Family Revocable Trust of 2018, owner of 82 Pulpit Road, requested an extension of the original conditional approval for a 2-lot subdivision at the end of Pulpit Rock Road. Nick MacLean presented the request to the board noting that other than the monuments having been posted there weren't any significant changes to the original plan.

The original plan went before the Planning Board back on October 17, 2019.  At that time it was noted that the newly created 2 acre lot would have sufficient frontage. The original lot is 120 acres and the owner wishes to sub-divide it into the 118 acre lot with the existing dwelling which would have only 40-feet of frontage and a small, single lot of 2 acres that would have 290 feet of frontage.

The request went before the Chester Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in 2018 and was granted a Variance to allow this.

The Planning Board in 2019 ,after some discussion, granted the plan conditional approval with a specific condition being that everything that had been discussed relative to the plan would be shown on the final plan prior to recording of the plan which was done.

MacLean on Wednesday night said the plan is ready to move ahead but it just hasn't happened yet. The board noting that no significant changes have been made to the plan had no problem with approving the extension of the conditional approval.

Planning Director Andrew Hadik told the board he had received a letter from the Town Engineering Firm DuBois and King regarding the Garabedian Gravel Pit plan. DuBois and King wanted a Swift Plan filed and an Alteration Of Terrain permit from the State provided as well as a drainage design for run-off management. Hadik said he had received a Swift Plan so the Garabedian engineer is responding to the DuBois and King letter..

Hadik asked the board members to review the board's Annual Report draft he had sent and he would have a final report for their approval before January 26.


Scott Subdivision Conditionally Approved by Chester Planning Board
By Penny Williams     1-6-22

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday night, January 5, and the only hearing was conditionally approved.

Earl Sandford,  Sandford Surveying and Engineering, presented Kevin, David and Theodore Scott and Martha Scott Chazanoff's  application to combine lots 84 and 84-1 located between Route 102 and East Derry Road, and then subdivide the combined lot into five lots for development. Four of the lots would be accessed by driveways off of Route 102 and one lot would be accessed from East Derry Road.

The five lots would all be in excess of 2 acres. Planning Director Andrew Hadik told the board the application was complete and the board took jurisdiction of the proposed plan.

It was noted that extensive work had been done with the Town Engineers DuBois & King  regarding drainage issues. Four mechanisms will be implemented to eliminate any increase in drainage resulting from the development. In addition, mitigation for increased impervious surfaces will be provided.

The driveways off of Route 102 were approved by the state but the state requested that the berms on either side of each driveway be shaved to allow for improved sight line, particularly driveway 3. Lot sizing, environmental issues, and setbacks were all addressed and meet requirements.

The plan went before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) at their October 19, meeting. The following two ZBA variances were approved and apply to:

*  Article 5, Section 5.7.8 Table 2 (Table of Dimensional Requirements – Wetlands Setback) of 59 the ordinance to permit a driveway to be constructed within the 75’ setback of wetlands of 60 Map/Lot 001-084-000 61 2.

*  Article 2.5.5 of the ordinance to permit a shared driveway to be located within the side 62 setback of both the lots to be known as Map 001-084-103 and 001-084-104 63 On the premises known as Map/Lots 001-084-000 and 001-084-001 at 68 & 80 East Derry 64 Road in the R-1 Residential zoning district.

The Planning Board members wanted included in plan notes and the driveway permits that the Route 102 driveway berms would be shaved to improve sight lines of the Route 102 driveways, particularly driveway 3. This doesn't apply to the East Derry driveway.

The board voted to approve the plan as presented with the required condition of adding the specifics of the Route 102 driveway berms as a specific condition.

The board then reviewed the five zoning amendments they had discussed previously. After reading them they approved them to be forwarded to a Warrant Article.

The board approved the request for release of $4,989 in General Government Building impact fees for the replacement of a server.

They discussed but decided to get clarification of the possible zoning amendment regarding the definition of educational institution.

The definition, sought by Code Enforcement officer Myrick Bunker, was developed by Land Use Attorney Bennett but board members were uncomfortable with it. One issue was there was no specific RSA tied to it. They put off further discussion until the board received more information from Attorney Bennett.

However, the board did approve taking this particular zoning amendment to a public hearing as long the board agrees with it after further explanation from Bennett.  


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

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