2019 Raymond Planning Board Meetings

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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