2019 Raymond Planning Board Meetings

Norris Farm Road Five-Lot Conservation Subdivision Gets Planning Approval
By Penny Williams   8-19-19

The Raymond Planning Board spent virtually its entire Aug. 15 meeting discussing and finally unanimously approving an application for a five-lot conservation subdivision on Norris Farm Road.

The subdivision, proposed by Brian Griset, is an updated site plan proposal for the 11.1-acre parcel located at the end of Norris Farm Road. The parcel is currently spot zoned C1 (Commercial).

The proposed conservation subdivision is not allowed in C1, but Griset received a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in February for a change of use for the parcel, a Zone B usage in the C1 zone. He also received a variance to allow development of a conservation subdivision in the C1 zone. The third variance he received allowed him to have five houses on a common driveway; the ordinance restricts that number to four houses.

The five-lot conservation subdivision will have open space provided to the Town as well as common space for the units in the development. The plan includes giving 4.2 acres to the Town on Flint Hill to be added to the Flint Hill Conservation land; 50 percent of the conservation subdivision acreage would be open space.

Griset said his intent is to have the Home Owners Association (HOA) for the subdivision be responsible for maintenance of the driveway, and for the retention pond, swale and forebay that are part of the drainage plan.

The Planning Board at their July meeting did not act on the plan because it needed a waiver, and Town engineers DuBois & King were calling for a correct drainage report. The Board also needed information on a required Special Permit; missing sheets; confirmation from DuBois & King that all their issues have been covered; and a completed site walk.

The Board discussed the requested waiver for sight distance for the right-of-way incursion by the driveway. Under the revised road standards, the request to have only 150 feet of sight distance would meet the regulations, so the stop sign could be at the intersection of Norris Farm Road and Sherburne Drive. The board voted unanimously to approve the waiver.

Griset went to great lengths to defend his position that a new stormwater drainage system calculation analysis is not needed. He said his engineer's response to the DuBois and King request for a new drainage study is that it is unnecessary, given the regulation changes that went into effect on Jan. 1, grandfathering the information for this proposal.

The drainage design proposed for the retention pond and the drainage system with the recommended changes to the swale made by the TRC (Technical Review Committee) and agreed to and put on the site plan, mean that the system as proposed is below the anticipated discharge from both a 25-year and 50-year storm, and would have negligible impact on the abutters downstream.

 This discussion went on for some time, with Griset maintaining that with the proposed design and system, the net zero requirement is met and the existing drainage and discharge are within and actually below the requirements. Griset said the response of Jeff Adler of Dubois & King on this is comparing apples to oranges, and his design engineer disputes the need for a new analytic report.

Board member Gretchen Gott was unimpressed by Griset's argument and said she would not be able to vote on this when there is such a disconnect between DuBois & King and the subdivision plan engineer. She said these conflicts need to be resolved before any decisions can be made. However, the other members of the board for the most part indicated they could accept Griset's explanation and assertion that a new complete report was unnecessary.

The board discussed this briefly and noted the waiver is to allow the new standard to apply to his proposed stormwater design. The board discussed this again and approved the waiver request.

Brief discussion also took place about the disposal of stumps. Griset said the plan is to bury per regulations the stumps from the trees that had to be taken down for the driveway and the lots. It was noted the Town has no regulations for stump dumps, and Griset said he would comply with the state regulations.

The board discussed the Special Permit being requested, as the driveway encroaches on the right-of-way. The Conservation Commission had no issue with the special permit request and Griset had received a variance from the ZBA to allow incursion into the 25-foot setback for the swale, causing the incursion into the right-of-way. It was pointed out the incursion is into the buffer zone, not the wetlands. The board after a brief discussion approved the Special Permit unanimously.

A long discussion ensued over a request from Gott that an 8-foot fence be provided along 30 feet of the driveway to mitigate car headlights for abutters. The board discussed who would own the fence, how much fencing would be needed and whether it would do what Gott wanted it to do. Griset was opposed to the HOA’s being responsible for the fence if it were approved.

In the end it was decided that 30 feet of fencing would be a condition of approval and would be the HOA’s responsibility. Planting of pine trees along the same area would also contribute to reducing the headlight glare.

The Kowalchuk family spoke in public comment to say the headlights from the driveway will be an issue. They complained about the location of the driveway and did not understand why it is a driveway and not a road. Chair Jonathan Wood explained the ZBA had granted a variance to allow a driveway for access to the five proposed dwellings. Resident Kathy McDonald, who is not an abutter, also spoke, questioning why Griset did not just follow the regulations.

It was also decided that the residents would have to bring their trash to the area of the mailboxes, which has been determined by the Postal Service to be a set of five extra-large mailboxes set in a pull-off just past Norris Farm Road on the driveway. Trash vendors do not travel on private roads.

There was more discussion about the standards that will apply to the driveway construction. It is a private driveway, but will be 18 feet wide as per the ZBA variance granted; it will be built according to Town road construction regulations.

The Conservation Commission had requested that placards be placed along the house lots’ conservation boundary every 50 feet. Griset wanted it to be every 75 feet instead but the board opted for the Conservation Commission recommendation. However, the board liked Griset's suggestion of dual-sided signs - on one side stating “no dumping or cutting” and on the reverse side “no trespassing on private property.”

The Board went through the usual conditions of approval and the conditions specific to this proposal that included a waiver from the new drainage analytical plan and the right- of-way sight distance waiver; the special permit for the incursion of the driveway into the wetlands area; the variances for single family homes in the C1 zone; allowance of a conservation subdivision in the C1 zone; allowance for a driveway to have five houses off it; and allowance for incursion into the wetlands setback. Another special condition was for 30 feet of 8-foot-high stockade fencing to mitigate headlight wash, to be the responsibility of the HOA.

The Board then voted unanimously to approve the Griset subdivision plan for Norris Farm Road.

Having exhausted their allotted time, the Board voted to continue to the Sept. 5 meeting the discussion and approval of the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations. Also continued to that meeting was an application from Roscoe Blaisdell on behalf of the Capone Family Trust for a 12-lot subdivision on Mica Drive.

Norris Farm Subdivision Continued After ZBA Fails to Reach Quorum
By Penny Williams  8-5-19

The Raymond Planning Board met Aug. 1 to continue the application by Brian Griset on behalf of Adele Griset for a five-lot conservation subdivision on Norris Farm Road, but Griset requested a continuance to Aug. 15.

The Griset application was to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment prior to Aug. 1, but the ZBA failed to reach a quorum.

The Planning Board voted unanimously for the continuance to Aug. 15.

Planning Board Hears Update on Norris Farm Conservation Subdivision
By Penny Williams  7-25-19

The Raymond Planning Board continued two hearings at its July 18 meeting – one for a 12-lot conservation subdivision on Mica Drive, and the other on a five-lot conservation subdivision on Norris Farm Road.

The Mica Drive hearing was continued immediately to the Aug. 15 meeting, after Roscoe Blaisdall, on behalf of the Capone Family Trust, told the board he still had things to change on the plan.

On the Norris Farm Road proposal, Brian Griset presented in a public hearing on behalf of Adela Griset.

In a conceptual discussion of the proposed subdivision in February, Griset came before the board with a new proposal for an 11.1-acre parcel at the end of Norris Farm Road. The parcel in question is now spot zoned C1 (Commercial); Griset had proposed a Conservation Subdivision the site. As a Conservation Subdivision is not allowed in C1, Griset said he would have to go to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to procure a variance for a change of use for the parcel, seeking a Zone B usage in the C1 zone. If that variance were granted, he said he would ask for a variance to allow development of a Conservation Subdivision in the C1 zone, as well as one to allow five houses on a common driveway; the ordinance restricts that to four houses.

The five-lot Conservation Subdivision would have open space provided to the town as well as common space for the units involved.

Griset and the plan went before the ZBA with the three requested variances; all three were approved, i.e. a conservation subdivision was allowed, single-family dwellings were allowed, and a private driveway was allowed to have five houses on it.

The ZBA recommended an adequate turnaround for Town emergency vehicles at the end of the common driveway and that the subdivision provide public access to the Flint Hill Conservation land. These recommendations were included on the plan submitted this month.

Griset said a Home Owners Association (HOA) would manage and maintain the private driveway, which would be paved, would be 18 feet in width, would have 2-foot shoulders and would have an additional 4 feet on both sides for a public footpath and public utilities underground installation. The HOA would be responsible for maintenance and plowing the driveway from the Sherburne Drive intersection.

The plan also includes giving 4.2 acres to the Town on Flint Hill, with 52 percent of the Conservation Subdivision acreage set aside as open space. The HOA for the subdivision would be responsible for the maintenance of the driveway and retention pond.

A change to the previous plan was the movement of the mailbox kiosk 75 feet further up the access roadway with a turnout. In addition, the stop sign placement was adjusted to be closer to the intersection of Sherburne Drive. The plan requires a Special Permit due to the encroachment of the private driveway into the right-of-way because of ledge issues, and this was approved by the Conservation Commission. The plan is to go before the ZBA on July 24 for a variance to be allowed to encroach on the setback.

Griset discussed the waiver concerning drainage. The plan is grandfathered for the existing drainage structure, a retention pond, but the developer must submit a new survey showing the culvert would withstand a 50-year storm and a 100-year storm. It was noted that the Technical Review Committee indicated the need for a waiver from ordinance 5.6.F, not 5.6.H, with a new survey report saying the plan meets the requirement. Griset said a forebay section of the culvert has been added prior to the retention pond, and the HOA would be responsible for maintaining this, as well as for annual cleaning.

Board member Gretchen Gott asked for a site walk, and one was set for her and John Beauvilliers at 8:30 a.m. July 31. Gott also said she opposed doing anything on this proposal until the board receives the final variance information from the ZBA, and she also wants the minutes from the last TRC meeting with Griset.

Kathy McDonald, who is not an abutter but is a Raymond resident, questioned the setbacks and was shown that they meet the requirements. She asked why the private driveway is not required to be 20 feet wide, as the recently approved regulation requires, and was told the application has to meet the requirements in force when submitted, so the 18-foot-wide driveway is grandfathered.

Board chair Jonathan Wood, after checking to see if his board had further questions, recommended postponing any action on this proposal until the next meeting, as the waiver and the correct drainage report are needed, along with the variance decision from the ZBA. The planning board also needs confirmation from town engineers DuBois and King that all their issues have been covered; and the site walk must be completed.

Wood received a motion from the board to continue the public hearing to the Aug. 1 planning board meeting because of the items needed, and the board voted to approve continuing the public hearing to Aug. 1.


Exeter Hospital Medical Building Proposed for Raymond
By Penny Williams  7-16-19

An Exeter Hospital medical building could be in Raymond’s future.

The Raymond Planning Board heard Joseph Coronati, senior project manager at Jones & Beach Engineers Inc., discuss plans for an Exeter Hospital medical building during a nonbinding design review discussion July 11.

The discussion concerned a proposal for developing two parcels with a medical office building in Essex Commons. The two lots would be merged for the purpose of constructing the 24,000-square-foot, one-story office building at the corner of the exit 5 of Highway 101 off-ramp and Freetown Road.

Coronati said under consideration is the addition of an Urgent Care component to the building, which is set to be multi-use, offering rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy and primary care physicians' offices.

Given its location and the fact that two lots would be merged, the potential exists for accessing the building from two sides, with an access loop around the building. The front door would face Freetown Road, with parking around the building and entrance doors on all four sides.

The Town requires one parking space per 150 square feet of area but a waiver would be sought to allow one parking space per 200 square feet of space. Using the Town's required footage would mean159 parking spaces; the waiver would mean 120 spaces.

Several board members raised concerns about the proposed parking and thought the 120 spaces would be too few, given that there would be 45 to 50 staff and especially if Urgent Care were included. Coronati said ample area exists for additional parking if needed.

Coronati said they don't expect to start the project for two or three years, as the hospital has a similar medical building going up now in Plaistow that they want to finish first.

The proposed Raymond building would have sprinklers and the septic system would be below the building, which would be served by Town water. Board members asked Coronati if he had checked with the Water Department to ensure adequate water would be available; they were told the plan was designed to accommodate the highest water use, but Coronati agreed to talk with the Water Department directly. He said they hoped to use an advanced septic system for the area they have tentatively identified, and if that doesn't work, would place the septic system under the parking lot.

Coronati said his design calls for replacing the state's easement fence along the edge of the lot on Freetown Road with 3-foot wall. He plans to work with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation on this issue and said he would like to see two signs - one for each of the entrance roads to the site. He said he will check on the Town's sign regulations.

There was a brief discussion of what the building would look like and it was suggested board members drive by the Exeter Hospital Medical Center in Epping, which is basically the same size and design. Hours without Urgent Care would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the facility would be open two hours later with Urgent Care were added.

Board member Gretchen Gott asked if there would be a regional impact and also questioned what would trigger the Urgent Care component. She was told Urgent Care is purely speculation at this point.

The board ended the conceptual hearing and said they would see Coronati at site plan review when Exeter Hospital was ready.

In other business:

• The board heard from Rockingham Planning Commission senior planner Julie LaBranche concerning the Town's MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) compliance needs.

She brought a preliminary model of the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations the board will need to adopt and then amend the Town's Site Plan and Subdivision Regulations, based on compliance with that Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations.

She reviewed the proposed model and suggested eliminating specific requirements the Town already has in place. She added t hat the portion dealing with Stop Work Orders is probably optional and if retained, would have to be consistent with Raymond's enforcement regulations. After some discussion she noted that the Planning Board would deal with the Stop Work orders and revocations while the Board of Selectmen would handle violations and penalties, and the selectmen will have to approve an ordinance related to this.

The board discussed holding a public hearing Aug. 15 on the proposed Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations, as LaBranche said she would have the updated model back to the board for review at the beginning of August or sooner. The board wanted the updated proposed Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations to review for input for the Aug. 1 meeting so as to have the final proposal ready for the Aug. 15 public hearing.

LaBranche asked if the board had filed the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Ordinance yet, and was told it had not, as it was not ready. She said she would help the Town get it prepared and would have a model ordinance for them to review.

• Gott said she wanted Town Manager Joe Ilsley to come before the board at its next meeting to update plans for moving forward to get a Planning Coordinator and Economic Development staffer in place, now that Ernie Creveling has resigned. Ilsley has temporarily taken over those duties and the Town has contracted with a circuit rider. However, the board was not in favor of pushing Ilsley to make a decision at this point and voted not to ask him to come in to talk as yet.

Raymond Planning Board Addresses Subdivision Amendments, Sets Hearing
By Penny Williams   4-22-19

The Raymond Planning Board reviewed a proposed amendment to the Raymond Subdivision Regulations April 18 as recommended by Attorney Eric Meyer, who is representing the Town in ongoing utilities litigation.

The amendment concerns the provision of written acknowledgement from all providers of utility services (electric, telecommunications, gas, water) of each utility's obligation to pay real and personal taxes for use of any public rights-of-way associated with the subdivision. This would be added to part 3.3n of the Subdivision Regulations.

Resident Robert McDonald raised a concern over the use of personal property, saying that as New Hampshire has no personal property tax, he thinks the state definition should be incorporated into the proposed amendment in place of the proposed definition. A brief discussion followed, and the Board determined that Planning Coordinator Ernie Creveling would bring back a revised amendment at the May 2 meeting for the Board’s approval. 

The Board also discussed the Subdivision Regulation amendments related to road definitions and design standards, specifically the Right-of-Way Design Matrix. Public Works Director Steve Brewer was to have provided additional information but was unable to attend the meeting. The proposed amendments had been discussed and reviewed by the Board and had gone before the Technical Review Committee, where Brewer had made his comments.

Both Robert and Kathy McDonald expressed concerns and suggestions in an effort to find ways to ensure people on private roads have room to walk safely. They also discussed the definition of driveways. Robert McDonald said he had issues with the amendments and had developed his own calculations.

Planning Board Chair Jonathan Wood asked if what McDonald is looking for is to further expand the private road definition and regulations, and McDonald said that was his intent.

Resident Trisha Bridgeo asked about defining a road and parking, based on the Freetown Road development application. Discussion followed, and Wood told her that in that specific instance, the Planning Board and the Technical Review Committee would look at it and she could get additional information from Creveling.

Kathy McDonald told the Board the existing road definitions need to be changed and noted that there is an inconsistency on the arterial road, where 500 trips are listed; she said that should be changed to 750 trips if it is adopted.

The Board noted they have been over the material on road definitions and design standards several times and have discussed private roads as well. The McDonalds’ suggestions would expand the minimum standards, and the Board said that information needs to be considered at a public hearing. It was noted that the Fire Chief had suggested that private road pavement should be 22 feet wide, not 20 feet wide, and this change should be considered as well.

The Board decided that what the McDonalds suggested did not change what was before it in terms of recommended road definitions and design standards and after a discussion, voted to approve those and to hold a public hearing May 16 regarding the suggestions brought forward by the McDonalds.

In other business, the Board looked at the proposed Master Plan Demographics and Community Character Chapter. The draft was prepared in accordance with parameters set forth in State law and contains a vision statement and demographic trends.

It was noted that personal references were included in this chapter that do not belong in the Master Plan. The Board approved removing the personalized sections and then approved accepting the amended chapter.


Postal Decision to Impact Subdivisions, Cluster Developments
By Penny Williams   4-9-19

The Raymond Planning Board met April 4 to finish reviewing subdivision regulation amendments pertaining to road definitions and design standards, specifically the right-of-way design matrix, but that review did not take place.

Public Works Director Steve Brewer was unable to attend the meeting and Planning Board member Gretchen Gott was adamant that the review should not occur without Brewer present. Chair Jonathan Wood noted the proposed amendments had already been discussed once and the purpose was to make Raymond's regulations more in line with ASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) regulations and requirements.

"We want to make the road designs more calming," Wood said.

However, after a brief discussion the board voted to approve Gott's motion to continue the review. Gott also said the board should receive comments on the proposed amendments from the fire and police chiefs and/or the Technical Review Committee. The board decided that Wood will contact the two chiefs and obtain a letter with their input, and then rescheduled the hearing to April 18.

Wood also read into the record a message he had received from Kathy McDonald. She expressed concern about changing the road standards to reduce waiver requests and asked that the proposals be brought before the Technical Review Committee in public.

In other business:

• Planning Coordinator Ernie Creveling explained a Post Office decision affecting the Town. He said that about five years ago the Postal Service made a rule change to make subdivision developments and roads with cluster housing use mail stations rather than individual mailboxes, as a way to reduce postal delivery mileage and time. The Raymond Post Master is now implementing this decision, and an attempt is being made to have several of the more recent developments install mail stations. As it is federally mandated, the Town will have to take another look at these developments and through the Planning Board, come up with a design for installing safe mail stations.

• Creveling reviewed with the board some of the things he and Wood had discussed that the board needs to cover in the coming year. Among those are a review and update of the demographics chapter of the Master Plan. He provided the board with demographics documents for their review before the next meeting.

Creveling said it is also time to look at the total Master Plan and perhaps consider streamlining its many chapters, as only two are required - Land Use and Vision.

He also noted that utilities in areas served by three-phase electrical service are expensive and this needs to be looked at to determine whether it is still valid. The Stormwater regulations for MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) will also have to be addressed, and the Rockingham Planning Commission has a template document that will make this somewhat easier to accomplish.

In addition, utilities litigation has recommended a paragraph to be added to the subdivision regulations to ensure they specifically address modifications, such as new language. The Board of Selectmen adopted the utilities petition at the recommendation of Town Counsel to ensure utilities, when their petitions are put forward, also commit to reporting any other utilities on their poles or in their conduits so they can all be properly taxed.


Jonathan Wood to Chair Raymond Planning Board
By Penny Williams    3-21-19

Jonathan Wood is the new chair of the Raymond Planning Board. Wood, who had served as an alternate last year and previously was a member of the board, was elected to a full seat on the board at the March polls.

At the Board’s organizational meeting March 21, Wood was unanimously chosen as chair after Steve Feher declined the position. Bob Wentworth was unanimously approved as vice chair, with Feher as secretary.

Jim Kent, the previous chair, did not seek reelection to the board. Filling the second seat open at the election was longtime member Gretchen Gott, who stood for reelection.

Selectmen’s liaison to the Planning Board  is George Plante, with Jack Barnes as alternate. Barnes was present, Plante was not. Planning Board members who will serve on the Capital Improvement Plan committee are Alissa Welch and Brad Reed.

The board will meet April 4 to complete the discussion and adoption of Subdivision Regulation amendments pertaining to road definitions and design standards, specifically the right-of-way design matrix. Public Works Director Steve Brewer will present information on road definitions and design standards with input from the meeting of the Highway Safety Committee.

Community Development Director Ernest Creveling listed some of the matters that will come before the Planning Board in the coming weeks, including reviewing the demographics chapter of the Master Plan, and working on updating utilities license requirements and subdivision regulations pertaining to utility poles and conduit. He said the board will be working on subcommittees for wetlands and updating conservation subdivision zoning provisions.


Raymond Planning Board OKs Lot Line Adjustment for Commercial Subdivision
By Penny Williams     3-11-19

The Raymond Planning Board has approved a lot line adjustment for a commercial subdivision to be known as Essex Commons, at the corner of Freetown Road and Essex Drive.

The application for Essex Commons was approved in December 2018. The five-lot subdivision application was submitted by Joseph Coronati of Jones & Beach Engineers on behalf of Rye Harbor Realty, LLC and Shaw's Supermarket for the corner of Freetown and Essex. The application required a Special Permit and Conditional Use Permit concurrently.

The site for the five-lot commercial subdivision is the former location of the Silver Fox Restaurant; old asphalt and foundation remnants remain at the site, along with a retention pond and drainage system. The land being developed included two parcels owned by Shaw's and a third acquired from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

The intent is to subdivide the property with frontage on three roads to create five commercial lots to be serviced by an internal roadway aligned with the exit from the Cork N’ Keg Grill and Strikers East Bowling Center on Essex Drive. The application was strictly for the creation of the five commercial lots; each lot, when a tenant is found, will have to bring its own site plan before the Planning Board. The subdivision will have Town water, and each lot will have its own septic system.

At the March 7 Planning Board, Coronati presented the application for a lot line adjustment to create two lots and then merge them to create two new lots, one with 1.8 acres, the other with 2.07 acres. He said the developer had finally purchased the final parcel from Shaw's Market.

With the lot line approved, Coronati said, there will be six lots in the Essex Commons commercial subdivision.

Coronati said the two new lots created from the merger are more rectangular in shape, making them and the entire subdivision look better. While there is a wetland area within the newly created lots, this will be dealt with when a business presents a site plan for the lots, he said.

Two waivers involved in the lot line adjustment application were presented and both were approved. The first requested relief from the Town's Plan Scale requirement, an often requested waiver. The second was for site plan details, and after review, it was determined none applied to the lot line adjustment request. The board granted both waivers unanimously.
One abutter asked the board members if they had looked at the properties in question. He was told the board had conducted a site walk when the initial site plan was before the Planning Board.

The board amended the motion for approval of the lot line adjustment request by correcting the specific location at the suggestion of member Gretchen Gott. It read initially “at the corner of Essex and Freetown streets,” but that is the location of Essex Commons, not the specific lots in question. It was thus altered to read “within the Essex Commons, which is at the corner of Essex and Freetown streets.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the request.

Chairman Jim Kent and Gretchen Gott's terms expire March 2019. There will be 2 open seats on the Planning Board.

Raymond Planning Board Considers Changes to Road Standards
By Penny Williams     2-26-19

Lucy Gibson of DuBois & King, Inc., engineering firm and Raymond Public Works Director Steve Brewer reviewed changes they had recommended to the Town’s road standards at the Feb. 21 Planning Board meeting. Chair Jim Kent appeared ready to take a vote on the recommendations but the board decided to continue a decision until the March 21 meeting, when Community Development Director Ernie Creveling would be present.

The changes recommended by Gibson and Brewer include types of roads and placement of mailboxes.

Collector roads would be classified as major or minor, with most collector roads falling into the minor category. Minor collector roads are those that go through town.

The next level down would be local roads, which serve residential neighborhoods or an industrial park. The recommendation was to align the local standards with the functional classification, with local roads classified either as minor collector roads or local streets. Arterial roads are generally state roads and must meet New Hampshire Department of Transportation standards. At present, many roads are required to meet arterial road construction standards, which Gibson and Brewer said does not make sense for developments and creates a demand for waivers.

Gibson spoke about classifying roads by their average daily traffic volume. She recommended that minor collector roads have average daily use of 750 to 2,000 daily trips. Subdivision roads intersecting with a collector road would warrant a traffic study.

Looking at design criteria and design speed, the recommendation was to lower current design speeds. That would have an impact on lessening the strict horizontal and vertical curvature standards for the roads and would also impact road width and shoulders. Curvature deign is based on speed, and lowering the speeds therefore would allow slightly sharper curves, which are designed to make cars drive more slowly.

This would also impact the straight tangent requirement that now exists between curves. While all roads would need a straight section between curves, its required length could be reduced with lower speeds.

They also recommended changing the cul-de-sac design to local road standards, requiring them to allow emergency vehicles to pass and turn around.

They recommended revising the table for subdivision regulations and making collector roads where there is an average of 750 to 2,000 trips per day, and local roads where there are fewer than an average of 750 trips per day. Urban and rural roads could have either open or closed drainage, with design speed for the rural minor collector roads 30 miles per hour, all others 25 mph, and private roads, 20 mph. The right-of-way width for public roadways would be 50 feet, and 40 feet for private roads. Pavement width would be 24 feet for collector roads, 22 feet for local roads and 20 feet for private roads. The lower speeds would reduce minimums for curves.

After some discussion it was decided that private roads in developments should have sidewalks; if the subdivision is too small for that, the developer could seek a waiver.

Gibson said they would provide the Planning Board with a document showing where the changes need to be made in the regulations. Brewer said the changes would reduce waiver requests and suggested that if a conceptual workshop were held prior to hearings for developments and subdivisions, it might be easier to determine and resolve design and geometry issues.

The board was comfortable with the changes but noted that requirements for waivers must meet applicable AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials).

Brewer also discussed the U.S. Postal Service requirement that in developments and subdivisions, centralized mail stations must be established, with no mailboxes at homes. The Town will not plow centralized mail stations, as they are too expensive to repair if hit accidently by a plow, so the Home Owners Association of a subdivision would have to manage the maintenance. That would mean subdivision regulations would have to incorporate this and developers would have to incorporate mail stations into their site plan design.

Once installed, the centralized mail station becomes the property of the federal government.

Also discussed was the need for a parking area at the centralized mail stations, which cannot be near an intersection with a main road.

 Brewer said there have already been conversations with the developers of the Ridgewood subdivision, with a plan to put the centralized mail station next to the clubhouse and to add parking spaces to accommodate for mail pick-up.

 It was noted that in a few cases, homes in new developments or subdivisions front on existing roadways, and these dwellings can have individual mailboxes.

In other business:

• Christina McCarthy said New Life Church has asked for permission to improve its parking lot and to remove a sidewalk that is not used but interferes with plowing. She sought approval from the Planning Board for this request to go directly to the Technical Review Committee (TRC) and not have to come to the Planning Board.

She said the Town Building Inspector has reviewed the plans, agreed they have no impact on abutters and approved the replacement of the sidewalk with grass. The board approved this matter to go directly to the TRC rather than coming before the board.


Raymond Planning Board Approves Subdivided Lot
By Penny Williams     2-11-19

The Raymond Planning Board approved a new 2-acre buildable lot on Smith Pond Road at its Feb. 7 meeting.

Blaisdell Survey, LLC, presented a subdivision application on behalf of Debra Murphy for property at 12 Smith Pond Road. The parcel is 7.0131 acres, and the proposal would create a new 2-acre buildable lot, leaving the remaining 5 acres with the existing dwelling.

Roscoe Blaisdell said the plan is presumably to sell the buildable lot. He said he has been to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), which approved his request for a variance for relief from the frontage requirement on a public road regulation. Smith Pond Road has been maintained by the Town but there is no record of its being accepted as a Town Road.

In other business:

• Brian Griset came before the board in a non-binding conceptual discussion for a proposal for an 11.1-acre parcel at the end of Norris Farm Road. The parcel is now spot zoned C1 (Commercial), and Griset wishes to propose a conservation subdivision proposal for that parcel, which is not allowed in C1. He said he would have to go to the ZBA first to secure a variance for a change of use for the parcel, seeking a Zone B usage in the C1 zone.

If that variance is granted, he said he would then ask for a variance to allow development of a conservation subdivision in the C1 zone, a variance for allowing five houses on a common driveway where the ordinance restricts it to four, and if not allowed to do that, a variance to put in two driveways, which would require blasting and wetlands incursion.

He said the proposed five-lot subdivision is necessary to make the development financially viable, even though other development plans could be used. He added that the parcel in the spot C1 zone is surrounded by residential B1 (residential/agricultural) zone parcels.

The proposed subdivision would provide open space to the Town as well as common space for the units in the development. Griset also noted that while a private road is possible, it is not practical, and a second driveway would also be impractical, both because of the negative impact on the surrounding abutters and the expense to build it.

He said that Fire Chief Paul Hammond had no problems with the plan. Griset has not yet been to the Technical Review Committee or  the Highway Safety Committee.

Alternate member Jonathan Wood suggested that before going to the ZBA for variances, Griset should check on the changes being made to the private road construction ordinance regulations. Griset said the proposed plan and design at this point is done in such a manner as to have the least impact on abutters. Two abutters spoke and had no issues with the proposal.

Wood proposed closing the conceptual design review but member Gretchen Gott objected, saying it was premature. She was told this was only a conceptual review and nothing was being approved, and it needed to be closed to avoid future difficulties stemming from the board’s failure to close the conceptual design review. Wood's motion to close was approved.

• Planning Assistant Christina McCarthy read a letter from resident Anthony Dickerson requesting the board change its “not recommended” position regarding his petition warrant articles. It was noted prior to reading the letter into the record that it was too late to make any changes. Gott asked that he be contacted and told that he can request his letter be read at the Deliberative Session, as he will be unable to attend it.


Planning Board Finds No Problem with Excavation Site
By Penny Williams   1-22-19

The Raymond Planning Board met with James Gregoire on Jan. 17 regarding the Littlewoods, LLC excavation site. Board member Gretchen Gott had observed activity at the site and questioned whether it was still active.

Gregoire said the excavation site is inactive and has been for two years. He explained that he uses a few acres at the front of his property for materials storage from other sites until he can sell the material.

Gott asked if storage is a permitted use, and Raymond Community Development Director Ernie Creveling said onsite storage is not covered by regulation. The site is private property so no public is involved and very little traffic is created. No excavation is taking place. He explained it is personal use by a private party on his private property.

Creveling said Gregoire has approximately 34 acres and is using about three-quarters of an acre in the front of the parcel for the storage of materials. In addition, he noted that Gregoire has met all the reclamation requirements for the excavation.

At that point the board questioned what was the actual issue involved, which boiled down to considering whether the storage activity, a commercial activity, is allowed in Zone B. The board wondered if there is a threshold for such activity.

Creveling said the board only knows of the commercial activity because Gregoire told them about it. He added that there have been no complaints regarding the activity and there is nothing in the regulations regarding this type of activity, so he sees no violation.

Alternate member Jonathan Wood made a motion for a Finding of Fact that the excavation site is properly closed, and the board approved the motion. The board added that it found no issue with the current activity, but as there is nothing in the regulations, it would be prudent to look into this in the future.

Creveling then introduced the excavation regulations amendment.

The first will amend Article XV: Administration Section A: Enforcement Subsection 2 - to change annual compliance hearings to annual compliance inspections to be conducted by Town staff during June and September. The purpose of a compliance inspection is to: ensure an applicant's continued compliance with the Excavation Permit; review progress on the excavation site; and inform the Planning Board of any changes in conditions or other factors that may encourage or delay progress on the site.

Gott was concerned that changing from compliance hearings to staff inspections cut the abutters out of the review. She added that it is part of Planning Board responsibilities to conduct these hearings and said she thinks the Planning Board needs to see for themselves any activity at excavation sites.

After a discussion the board voted to approve the proposed changes unanimously.

Creveling then presented the subdivision regulation amendments as they pertain to road definitions and design standards, specifically the Right-of-Way Design Matrix.

The board discussed the road category definitions provided that included collector roads, urban roads, local urban public roads and local urban private roads. The issue of Raymond’s requiring a minimum right-of-way of 50 feet was discussed, along with the fact that this would apply to any private road that became public. Being able to define each of these categories would be a starting point for the board, they said.

The board noted that an arterial road has a higher standard than a rural collector road, and said the state generally controls arterial roads. Gott raised concerns about allowing narrower shoulders and said this is a safety concern for people walking or riding a bicycle. She pointed out that even when a road is posted at 25 miles per hour, drivers are unlikely to drive that slowly. She suggested using reality when considering sight lines.

The board noted that many private development roadways have curves and are deliberately designed in such a way as to calm driving speeds. Members said most private development roads have a 20 mph speed limit but the issue centers on how that can be enforced. Current public roads would have to go to the Board of Selectmen for a speed change.

The board also discussed shoulder width, and whether shoulders should be gravel. Chair Jim Kent asked what Durham’s regulations are regarding shoulders, as that community has a lot of designated bike paths. The board could not reach a decision regarding what the width of shoulders should be and was concerned over the definitions provided regarding the categories of roads.

Creveling suggested that he provide the Rockingham Planning Commission with the proposed definitions developed by DuBois & King, and get the Commission’s suggestions, as well as referring the board's questions to the Commission for its response. The board agreed and continued the hearing on the regulation amendment to Feb. 21.

In other business:

• The board briefly discussed the Board of Selectmen's recent meeting on Raymond board and committee conduct that focused primarily on the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). The comments about the Selectmen's meeting indicated that board members were focusing on getting members to take classes to learn their responsibilities and how their board is supposed to function. It was noted that in Hampstead, a Community Forum with Town board and committee members available to meet residents and answer questions about their groups is being held at the town library. Members thought this was a good idea.

Six Zoning Amendments to Face Voters in March
By Penny Williams  1-15-19

The Raymond Planning Board reviewed six proposed zoning amendments, two of them citizen petitions, and decided whether to recommend or not recommend them on Jan. 10.

The first proposed zoning amendment rewrites and rearranges Article 6, Section 6.6.3 of the zoning ordinance to clarify allowed excavation uses and Special Permit requirements. Adoption of this amendment would result in a Special Permit requirement for certain activities in lieu of a Special Exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). In addition, it provides a definition for a Minor Topographical Adjustment but would not bring about any changes in zoning boundaries.

The switch to obtaining a Special Permit from the Planning Board from obtaining a Special Exception from the ZBA was made because it is the Planning Board that has the knowledge and information regarding these matters.

The board had options to consider on the Minor Topographical Adjustment section. The first said, "A Minor Topographical Adjustment means a one-time removal of earth less than 1,000 cubic yards from a site which is necessary to change the physical configuration of the land for a specified use or situation and which will not create a change in water flow or drainage patterns that impact abutting land and/or public or private road."

The second option was worded exactly the same except the “1,000 cubic yards” was removed.

Following discussion, the board voted to use the option that included the 1,000 cubic yard delineation. The board, except for Gretchen Gott, voted to recommend the amendment.

The second proposed zoning amendment dealt with the Shoreland Protection area within Zone G. This was put forward by the Raymond Conservation Commission and its purpose is to clarify that the setbacks from any waters are 75 feet, eliminating, and any reference to the early 2009 Water Resource Management Plan’s 50-foot setback for some situations.

The board discussed this briefly and noted that Conservation Commission Chair Jan Kent had provided the wording. The board voted unanimously to recommend this zoning amendment to Section 4.9.3 District Boundaries.

Proposed amendment 3, proposed by the Conservation Commission, deals with wetlands and “No Net Loss” of wetlands. The Conservation Commission said the change would allow increased flexibility in meeting the No Net Loss of Wetlands requirement.

The board discussed the language that would allow a developer to address the No Net Loss activity by providing three options: (1) within the actual development within Raymond; (2) within Raymond but within a 5-mile radius of the development; (3) in cases where neither (1) nor (2) can be reasonably achieved, within a 5-mile radius of the development but in another town, after approval by the Planning Board and Conservation Commission.

Gott had reservations about the third option but the board eventually voted, with Gott opposed, to recommend it as presented.

Amendment 4 dealt with Zone C3 East and West (Commercial Mixed Use) and updated the reference to the New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules regarding individual sewage disposal systems and clarifying that within C3 East and West, for any multi-family dwelling that may be approved, in no case may density exceed three bedrooms per developable land.

The board said this language was still confusing and debated how to clarify it but in the end, except for Gott, voted to recommend the article as presented.

The final two amendments were citizen petitions.

The first dealt with 3 Gile Road and asked to change the zoning designation from C1, Commercial to Zone B, Residential/Agricultural. George Galloway, who owns several parcels in the area that are zoned C1, spoke against it.

The petitioner was not present and the lack of a “good reason” to make this change persuaded the board not to recommend the petition. Gott abstained from the vote.

The second citizen petition would amend the zoning designation of several parcels from Zone C1 to Zone B on Long Hill Road. The owners of a couple of the lots in question, at 74 and 76 Long Hill Road, were present and objected to the change and were upset that they had not been notified about the petition. They questioned how someone who did not live on the lots could propose such a change. The petitioner, Anthony Dickerson, was not present.

Community Development Director Ernie Creveling told the board that the Town Tax Map is incorrect with respect to one of the lots in question, indicating the map shows it as being larger than it actually is.

The board was not in favor of recommending this amendment because they did not know what the purpose of the change in zoning was, the current owners were not in favor of it, and the Town Map was in error. The board voted not to recommend the amendment.

Even though the board voted not to recommend either of the citizen petitions, they will go to the warrant as written, as the board cannot alter them in any way. For more information on the two citizens petitions see the Planning Board to Hold Hearing on Zoning Warrant Articles meeting.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was announced that the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Jan. 14, would hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. to address residents’ concerns regarding Boards and Commissions, specifically resident complaints recently made regarding the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and further to discuss potential appointment(s) to the ZBA.

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



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