2019 Raymond Planning Board Meetings


Planning Board Approves Two Applications
By Penny Williams    12-10-19

  The Raymond Planning Board heard two applications and approved both at their Wednesday evening, December 5, meeting.
 
       The first application was presented by Dennis Quintel for Roscoe Blaisdell on behalf of the Capone Family Trust. This was for a 12-lot conservation subdivision located on Mica Drive. This plan involves reconfiguring 4 lots to a 12 lot conservation subdivision that will include about 900 feet of new road being built. This road construction will have a minor wetland crossing.
      
       The board did a site walk of the property on October 24 at the request of member Gretchen Gott. The applicant also received a requested Variance and the minutes from that meeting were available to the members

      The board at the October hearing approved all six waivers requested by the applicant.

* Relief from the town requirement that road shoulders be 4-1 slope when the plan proposes 3-1 slope. Guard rails will be provided from the entrance to the first homes on the Cul de sac and the roadway is essentially straight. The board approved waving the 4-1 slope requirement.

* Relief from the requirement to provide landscaping - trees to be planted - every 50 feet when the plan shows appropriate landscaping but doesn't meet the every 50 feet. The waiver was granted allowing landscaping as proposed by the plan.

*  Waiver requested for driveway construction requiring 2 percent down slope within 25 feet of the roadway on one side of the proposed road. The plan proposes the driveway 2 percent down slope within 10 feet. This was granted by the board.

* The same waiver request made for house driveways on the reverse side of the roadway and it too was approved.

* The applicant requested a waiver from the requirement that the driveways be 14 feet wide in favor of the plan proposed 12-feet wide. It was noted that most will be 14 feet wide at the garage and the 12 feet width was sought to minimize impervious surfaces. The board approved the waiver.

* The applicant requested a waiver from the requirement that guard rails be installed along the roadway between the proposed houses where an excess of a 4-1 slope exists. The driveways are very close together and guard rails would hamper snow plowing. The board approved the waiver.

     Questions and concerns and issues still to be resolved included where the mailbox facility would be located but Quintel said this had been resolved with the Postal Service.        

      Gott raised the question again regarding protections for endangered turtle species that have been seen in the area and about a vernal pool she insists is in the path of the proposed roadway.  She was told that the Soil Scientist mapped the site and looked at the wetlands and no vernal pools were identified. As for the turtles, being there is a possibility but there's nothing the applicant has to do about that.
 
     Quintel was asked about the easement at the intersection of Batchelder Road to cut trees and shrubs to improve the sight line and was told abutters had provided that and that the sight lines met the required 200-feet. Gott was concerned that this is insufficient but was told neither TRC nor the Town Engineer had raised any issue with the sight line.

     There was an amendment to the distribution of water for the development. The developer plans to do onsite water but agreed to an amendment that states if onsite water proves insufficient or is absent they will to switch to the offsite hook up for water.

      Since all the questions and concerns had been answered the board went through the conditions of approval. The only special condition was the option for offsite water and the application was conditionally approved.

     The second hearing concerned a site plan application for the construction of a 16,000 square foot medical office building with an 80-space parking lot  located at the corner of Main Street and Old Fremont Road that also included an application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) because the development will impact the Groundwater Protection Zone was presented by Jeff Merritt, Granite Engineering LLC on behalf of the property owner Timothy Peloquin.

        The board determined that the application met all the requirements to be accepted as a complete plan so jurisdiction was taken.

       The development involved is a 1.6 acre lot between Old Fremont Road and Main Street that is essentially undeveloped. In 2005 the property had a site plan approved for a 22,000 square foot office facility. It was marketed for a number of years but never sold. So in 2018  a new mixed use proposal called for a smaller office building and a series of Town House Condominiums, but abutters and neighbors opposed this plan and it was withdrawn.

     This medical facility is being proposed for the lot. The building will have an 11,000 square footprint not 16,000 square feet because a small section will be two stories. The entrance to the medical facility will be off of Old Fremont Road. There will a dedicated parking space area for the imaging trailer that will be there possibly one or two days a week only. It is a medical office building not a hospital or urgent care facility.

     The 80 parking spaces were based on data from an examination of a similar facility in Derry and on data from the ITE Parking Manual, both of which recommended fewer than the planned 80 spaces. This issue was debated by the board and the presenters.

    Merritt said the stormwater control is managed through an underground infiltration system. There is an onsite septic system and water will come from a tie-in with the offsite water line runs along Main Street. He indicated the proposed plan has been through TRC and the septic and utilities were reviewed and approved back in 2005 as well. Electric will come from Main Street and heat is provided by propane.

      The Lighting design has light poles in the middle of the parking light for best protection for neighbors and there will be only a few building lights.

     The Landscape plan calls for plantings along the Route 107 interchange and the developer is working the Department of Transportation to satisfy their requests regarding this.

     Merritt called the architectural design of the building modern, inviting and attractive.

       The CUP is needed because the parcel is within the Groundwater Protection area and the development has 15 percent impervious cover. Merritt stated that the TRC comments were favorable and the four comments contained in the final DuBois and King letter will be addressed.

      The board went through the process of determining whether the proposed development had a Regional Impact and it was determined that it did not.
 
     The main area of discussion and debate was the 80 parking spaces. Member John Beavilliers and Gott felt this was too few.

    Chris Nickerson speaking for the facility owner (who has not been named) spoke of the adequacy of the 80 spaces for the probable 12 doctors offices and the employees that will be in the building.

    Gott and Beavilliers were also concerned about the plan only showing 4 handicap parking spaces. Gott also raised a concern about not knowing who the medical building owner was noting this prevents her from visiting other sites by the owner to see what they looked like and so forth. Nickerson defended the number of spaces provided. After discussing the park space numbers and planned building use, the 80 spaces were found acceptable when Chair Jonathan Wood polled the board. Gott made a motion to double the number of handicap spaces which died for lack of a second.
 
       While TRC and the attorney had no issues with the zoning set back compliance, Circuit Rider Glen Coppelman said he has a concern about the required set back and buffering in the area adjacent to the residential area. There appears to be some confusion between the use of the term zone line as opposed to the property line which is usually referred to for the 50-foot setback requirement. A compromise was agreed to whereby a request for a waiver or a variance would go into effect if the actual property line is used instead of the zone line which meets the requirement.

     Gott raised a concern about the proposed fence between the parking lot area and the residential area that would be three and a half feet high. After a brief discussion the developer agreed to make the fence five feet high thus protecting residences from headlights.

    Hours of operation will be from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. with the cleaning crew coming it after hours as well as the imaging unit coming in after hours.

    There were no questions or concerns from the board regarding the CUP and it was approved.

   The four points made in the final DuBois and King letter would be fully addressed by the developer and the board would make that a condition of approval.

   The board went through the conditions of approval process with the special conditions being the developer meeting the four points raised in the DuBois and King letter and the fence being increased to 5-feet,. The board then approved the application.

     The board also went over some minor corrections and amendments to then 3 zoning amendments that will be proposed to voters and previously discussed approving all three.

    There will be a fourth zoning amendment coming dealing with water - regarding water bottling business and distribution of water out of the town of Raymond. The attorney is working on the legal language for the zoning amendment.

 


Planning Board Addresses Two Continuation Requests
By Penny Williams   11-23-19

     Jonathan Wood, Chair of the Raymond Planning Board started their November 21, meeting by reading continuation requests for both the nights scheduled public hearings.

    A letter was received requesting the continuance of the application submitted by Roscoe Blaisdell on behalf of the Capone Family Trust for a conservation subdivision located on Mica Drive to the December 5, meeting of the Planning Board. The board voted to approve the continuance request.
  
    A letter was received from Doug McGuire requesting a continuance to the Planning Board's December 12, meeting for the subdivision application for a two-lot subdivision with one lot comprising 5.234 acres with frontage on Old Manchester and Scribner roads and a larger lot comprising 33.876 acres with frontage along proposed roads associated with an accompanying site plan review application entitled Mega-X, which proposes constructing a Gasoline Station and Convenience Center (retail motor fuel outlet, convenience store, donut shop, and quick serve restaurant). There is also an application for a Conditional Use Permit as this development will impact Groundwater Protection Zone. The property is located at the corners of Old Manchester Road and Scribner roads.
       
       The board discussed this because they do not have a December 12 meeting listed. Member Gretchen Gott questioned whether this could be heard at their scheduled December 5, meeting noting that there is already another application that night as well as the Mica Drive hearing. She suggested moving it to the December 19 meeting but Wood said that is the Public Hearing for Zoning Amendments.

      After some discussion it was decided to schedule a meeting for December 12, and to hear the Mega-X application at that time. The board voted to approve continuing the Mega-X application to December 12,  but not to the December 5, date as requested.
 
    The board then reviewed briefly the proposed zoning amendment warrant articles based on the edits and changes and recommendations of their attorney.

    The first zoning amendment article has a new subsection recommended by the attorney. It would prohibit allowing approval of requests that would result in a more non-conforming lot.

     The  board then looked at the next warrant article that contained new definitions that the Attorney recommended adding. These included a definition of a landfill, a dump, and prohibits all landfills and dumps in any zone in Raymond.

    An amended ordinance on the subject of signs would  add to the present sign regulation the sign regulations for CL Zone C3  East and West.

     Finally they looked at one article  that sought to amend general provisions by adding a new section prohibiting all water bottling or liquid processing businesses in Raymond. Included had been a section that prohibited the removal of ground water being transported out of Raymond. The attorney said this part can't be in the Zoning amendment but could be done as a Selectmen's Ordinance.
 
    This last was discussed at length and Selectman Liaison George Plante indicated that he and Wood would get together with the board of selectmen and Town Manager to discuss this. It was noted that the Selectmen could develop and approve such an ordinance without having to go to town meeting.

    Gott brought up some questions such as can residents bury commercial items on private property. It was thought this is illegal but difficult if not impossible to regulate.  She also wanted to discuss stump dumps and was told this would be prohibited due to the wording in the definition of "material of any kind."
 
     The board discussed the dumpster ordinance and Plante reviewed briefly some of the concerns and objections raised at the Selectmen's meeting.


  Exeter Medical Facility Approved With Conditions
 By Penny Williams      11-12-19

      Joseph Coronati, Jones & Beach Engineers Inc. presented the plan, on Thursday November 7, for the Exeter Medical Facility on behalf of Exeter Med Real, Inc. for its proposed 24,000 square foot medical office building facing Freetown Road located in the Essex Common on the corner of Essex and Freetown roads.

      Coronati indicated few changes had been made to the site plan since the Conceptual Review of the layout earlier on Sept. 9, but the site plan has been to the Technical Review Committee where a few changes were requested. What needs to be addressed is drainage issues, parking issues, roadway issues and waivers. But, he said, the overall TRC recommendation was favorable.

     TRC, and in particular Public Works Director Steve Brewer, wanted the one way travel around the building changed to two way travel. The plans presented that night still showed one way travel but Coronati said the plans will be amended to show two way travel as requested.

     The board went through the 15 items that determine whether a proposed plan will have a regional impact. The board members responded no to all the items with the exception of member Gretchen Gott who thought the proposed medical facility might increase traffic from other municipalities but agreed it wouldn't be significant. The board voted that the plan does not have a regional impact. The board accepted the plan for review.

     It was noted that as a non-profit this facility won't be producing revenue for the town but it was felt that it would be a magnet drawing people to visit existing commercial enterprises in the area. The DuBois & King Engineer engineering letter was a clean letter with no further comments from the firm on the plan.

    Coronati went over why the facility is being located exactly where it is. He said the urgent care section would have its own entrance. Asked if it was final that there would be an urgent care component  it was stated by an Exeter Hospital official that demand would drive this decision but basically it is expected to have an urgent care component.
 
    Coronati discussed the change to two-way traffic saying the hospital has no issues with making this change. The change would result in a few changes such as adding a side walk around the entire building. He noted the curbs would be granite and vertical.   
   
     The plan calls for 123 parking spaces resulting in the need for a waiver, he said. Handicap spaces are located by the front entrance and the urgent care entrance. There is also a space reserved for the mobile imaging van that will be there off and on.  

     Town regulations call for 159 spaces for the size of the building but the hospital's experience at its other facilities support their decision that 123 parking spaces will be more than adequate. There are places marked for additional spaces if needed and Gott pushed for them to have them developed.

     The utilities will be underground and the site will need some leveling and fill and the stormwater drainage and treatment system will be under the parking lot. The drainage will flow off the edge of the site into the existing wetlands and a retention pond that exists off site.
  
      The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week for urgent care when and if it is in place. The size of the parking spaces was discussed and the fact that there will be a lot consolidation recorded with the plan.
 
      The board heard the plan's request for two waivers: one to allow the plan scale of one inch equals forty feet rather than the towns 1 to 20 requirement. The board granted the waiver. The second waiver was for the reduced number of parking spaces. There was a brief discussion with only Gott really having an objection and the board approved this waiver request.
 
     There was a general discussion regarding the facade of the building which they said was designed to basically match their other facilities, sort of a branding effort. The lighting was reviewed as per plan and the board asked about whether the hospital sign would remain lit all night. The answer was yes but it would be dimmed so it wouldn't be an issue for drivers. Coronati said they plan to make the amendments required by the TRC and will add those pages to the site plan package.
 
      The board went through the reading of the conditions and the only ones added to the usual conditions were the parking waiver and plan scale waivers. The board voted unanimously to conditionally approve the plan.

In other business:

•  Wayne Watjus, Chair of the Solid Waste and Recycling Advisory Committee discussed issues surrounding landfill legislation. He said the state is trying to enact HB 617, a study  about municipal recycling and solid waste  sites.

     He explained the main New Hampshire landfills are rapidly filling up and changes will have to be made soon. He also noted that much of the waste brought to New Hampshire landfills is from out of state.  As a result waste companies are looking for land to develop landfills and he asked if the town 's laws and regulations are ready for this. He pointed out there are places in Raymond where a landfill could be developed if the zoning ordinances and town ordinances are not up to date to prevent it from happening. He wanted Raymond to be prepared to deny any landfill developments within the town limits.

     Chair Jonathan Wood suggested there should be a regulation or ordinance that prohibits a landfill within 1,000 feet  of any aquifer. He thought this would essentially protect the entire town.

    There was a discussion of how to prohibit a landfill from being developed in Raymond and it was thought  that it could be done most effectively as a water quality protection regulation. It was decided to hold a workshop to look at this issue and how to best address it. The board had difficulty finding a time for the workshop that would allow something to be developed in time for this year's warrant articles.

     This lead to a discussion of also developing protections against allowing a company to export water from Raymond. Wood referred to the Hampstead Area Water Company (HAWC) doing this in Hampstead and the unfortunate results for some Hampstead residents whose wells went dry because of the HAWC activity. It was suggested that Raymond could adopt and adapt the Nottingham regulation regarding this issue and that this would need to be approved by the voters.  The board will try and hold a workshop to address these issues and the Planning Department will try to get regulations/ordinances drawn up relative to both issues.

• There were three pieces of property donated to the town. The first is the Griset property that will be added to the Flint Hill Conservation area, and two other pieces, one  from Mrs. Sue Ege on Juanita Avenue that is a quarter acre lot that touches the Exeter River and 36.7 acres from John and Alaya Chadwick, which will be an easement held by the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency). After a discussion the board voted to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that they accept these donations of land.

• It was announced but there was no discussion allowed by Wood that the McDonald court case regarding the 172 unit Ridgewood Commons Condominium development off Route 102 had been resolved and the McDonald's had lost because the court found they didn't bear the burden of proof.

•  Gott complained that on the last site walk the board members walked too fast and left her behind. She asked that more respectful behavior be adopted at site walks.

 


Planning Board Approves Lot Line Adjustment on West Shore Drive
By Penny Williams    10-23-19

      The Raymond Planning Board approved the application for a Lot Line Adjustment submitted by Franklin Associates on behalf of Donna and Michael Katz for properties located at 2 West Shore Drive and for John and Nancy Correia whose property is at 4 West Shore Drive.

The lot line adjustment hearing was continued from the previous meeting in order to correct the lot line placement that put the existing dwelling too close to the lot line, so a minor adjustment to the line was made and the square foot calculations redone.

     The result is that the Katz  property that contains lots 33 and 34 at 2 West Shore Drive will eliminate lot 34, taking that land and splitting it between their lot 33 and the Correia's lot 35 that is located at 4 West Shore Drive.

    Lot 33 will receive 4,484 square feet bringing it to 19,014 square feet and making the lot less non-conforming. There will be a transfer of 1,707 square feet to lot 35 making it 6,888 square feet and less non-conforming. The board approved the plan with the usual conditions.

      The board then considered the application submitted by Roscoe Blaisdell on behalf of the Capone Family Trust for a twelve-lot conservation subdivision located on Mica Drive which was also a continued hearing.  This application has been being continued since June 20, however, the board in September approved a continuation to the October 17, meeting.
 
    This plan involves reconfiguring 4 lots to a 12 lot conservation subdivision that will include about 900 feet of new road being built. This road construction will have a minor wetland crossing and the Dredge and Fill permit has been requested and is in process. Conservation has not submitted any letter or comment and needs to do so. ConsCom will be invited to the next meeting or encouraged to send a letter with their comments, concerns, and recommendations if any.

     The board went through the criteria for determining whether the proposed plan has a regional impact and determined that it does not.

      Member Gretchen Gott at this point stated she wanted to do a site walk. In addition, the wetland crossing requires the applicant to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance. Gott maintained that the Planning Board should not continue with the hearing since the variance has not be sought or granted. However, she was overridden by the balance of the board who felt the hearing could continue without the variance having taken place. However,  Glenn Coppelman, the Circuit Rider Planner assisting the board, cautioned the board to make sure they don't deal with anything that the variance might have an impact on.
  
    The main issue that had to be dealt with by the board was the question of whether the road to be constructed would be private or public. The board discussed this with applicant and among themselves and finally voted in favor of having the road be private.
 
    That decided the board learned the houses would be sprinkled and there are two options for providing water; a community well; or, getting water from the Pennichuck Water Company. The applicant is leaning toward a community well. There is a design in place and the decision will be made shortly.
     
The board then took up the six waivers requested by the applicant.

* Relief from the town requirement that road shoulders be 4-1 slope when the plan proposes 3-1 slope. Guard rails will be provided from the entrance to the first homes on the Cul de sac and the roadway is essentially straight. The board approved waving the 4-1 slope requirement.

* Relief from the requirement to provide landscaping - trees to be planted - every 50 feet when the plan shows appropriate landscaping but doesn't meet the every 50 feet. The waiver was granted allowing landscaping as proposed by the plan.

*  Waiver requested for driveway construction requiring 2 percent down slope within 25 feet of the roadway on one side of the proposed road. The plan proposes the driveway 2 percent down slope within 10 feet. This was granted by the board.

* The same waiver request made for house driveways on the reverse side of the roadway and it too was approved.

* The applicant requested a waiver from the requirement that the driveways be 14 feet wide in favor of the plan proposed 12-feet wide. It was noted that most will be 14 feet wide at the garage and the 12 feet width was sought to minimize impervious surfaces. The board approved the waiver.

* The applicant requested a waiver from the requirement that guard rails be installed along the roadway between the proposed houses where an excess of a 4-1 slope exists. The driveways are very close together and guard rails would hamper snow plowing. The board approved the waiver.

The board then discussed member concerns and size of house lot 9 being small was one. It was explained that is small because the community septic system is out behind it and made it necessary to make this lot smaller.

   There was a brief discussion about where the mailbox facility would be located but the applicant said the Post Master had designated the spot and there was adequate space for the mailbox facility and for a pull off and was near enough the main road for the mail truck to turn around and exit from the location.

The applicant has received an easement agreement from homeowners at the intersection of Batchelder Road to remove some trees in the right of way to improve the sightlines.

The board agreed to a site walk on Thursday, October 24 at 4 p.m.. The public is invited.

Due to needing the variance, the proposed plan was continued to November 21 and if they haven't received the variance by then  they can request a further continuance.

  The Raymond Planning Board approved continuing to November 7, the public hearing for the Exeter Med Real, Inc., for construction of a medical office building facing Freetown Road, located at Essex Commons on the corner of Essex and Freetown Roads. 

 


Board Continues Lot Line Adjustment on West Shore Drive
By Penny Williams    10-8-19

The Raymond Planning Board met Thursday, October 3, and heard the application submitted by Franklin Associates on behalf of Donna and Michael Katz for property located at 2 West Shore Drive that includes lots 33 and 34, and on behalf of Nancy and John Correia for property located at 4 West Shore Drive that is lot 35.

The applicants are proposing a lot line adjustment that would eliminate lot 34 located at 2 West Shore Drive by adding 4,317 square feet plus or minus to lot 33 to make that lot 18,847 plus or minus square feet and therefore less non-conforming and by adding 1,875 plus or minus square feet to lot 35 to make it 7,056 square feet plus or minus and thus making it less non- conforming.

Jim Franklin presented the proposed lot line adjustment application. These lots, lot 34 and lot 35, are non-conforming lots and as such they can be maintained or improved. When the site plan and the lot line adjustment was calculated he said they discovered that morning the existing house when the proposed lot line adjustment was made ended up too close to the lot line and would need to have a variance.  To avoid having to go for a variance the lot line adjustment can be recalculated to leave the house at the appropriate distance from the lot line. The square footage calculations as shown on the site plan have not been recalculated and board member Gretchen Gott said she wanted the proposed lot line adjustment application to come back before the board with the proper calculations.

The board discussed this and it was determined that the application could be heard at the board's October 17 meeting at 7 p.m.. The board approved continuing the application to allow the corrected calculations to be provided on the site plan.

In other business:

The board received answers, from Planning Technician Christina McCarthy, to questions they had raised regarding Site Plan/Subdivision Regulations and Rules of Procedure.

On Cisterns in subdivision regulations, Fire Chief Paul Hammond said they are not tested. He said they are maintained by the Home Owners Association(HOA). The HOA would fund any water replacement that might be needed. Dry hydrants are tested, Hammond said.

McCarthy said she doesn't have the answer to all the questions but the documents can be amended when the answers are known. It was pointed out that approving these Site Plan/Subdivision Regulations and Rules of Procedure are under a time constraint due to the MS4 requirements. Chair Jonathan Wood said they should be approved right away since they can be amended later. The board adopted each separately.

Resident Kathy McDonald provided the board members with what she described as a transcription  of the August 15 meeting minutes done by a third party transcriber that she wanted added to the meeting minutes officially supplied.  There was a discussion amongst board members as to whether to accept the whole transcript she provided or just parts of it but in the end the board decided to approve adding the transcript she provided to the minutes. Wood objected saying it is going to set a precedent but the board approved it over his objection

 


Work Continues on Subdivision/Site Plan Regulations and Rules of Procedure
By Penny Williams   9-25-19

The Planning Board met on Thursday, September 19, to continue working on the Subdivision/Site Plan Regulations and Rules of Procedure that they have been working on for almost a year.

Turning first to Subdivision, they looked at the Erosion and Sediment Control section whose title has been changed to Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control and Erosion and Sediment Control. They reviewed what was proposed and the changes from using the term municipality to Town of Raymond.

There was a brief discussion regarding whether when 3,000 square feet or more is disturbed approval of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is required is a sufficient amount if it is near water or wetlands. It was decided that this was sufficient distance for erosion or construction taking place near  wetlands or water sources.

Member Gretchen Gott raised the question how one defines minor or major when discussing these things. It was noted that if this is a serious concern, examples could be put in parenthesis. 

The board approved changing the uses of the word grade to slope in the regulations.

Chair Jonathan Wood interjected that, while not part of the regulations before them, he wanted it noted that he believes the town rules and regulations should show that Cul-de-sacs looping around back to a town road shall be private roads maintained by the Home Owners Association of the development. For a private road to become public it has to come before the voters and the road has to be built to town road construction standards. He suggested this be brought up at the next TRC meeting.

There was a brief discussion about impact fees and why they aren't in place. The board wanted the changes discussed and made to the Subdivision regulations, to be made in the similar spots in the Site Plan regulations.

There was a question about checking on cisterns, which the board wanted brought up at the TRC, to get information on this from the Fire Department. It was noted that the Fire Department does check dry fire hydrants but nothing on cisterns.

It was determined that the corrections and changes to the Subdivision Regulations and Procedures were accepted and approved and would come back for a public hearing on October 3.

Most of the discussion regarding the Site Plan Review Regulations was the same as the previous discussions on the Subdivision Regulations. It was noted that the references to  Ready Set Go were removed.

Gott had a question regarding the number of parking spaces required for child or adult care facilities. She was concerned that the 2 spaces per employee was insufficient. The board discussed this but no change was made.

The board approved these changes and amendments for the Site Plan Regulations and that they be brought back for a public hearing on October 3 when they should be considered together with the Subdivision Regulation changes.

Looking at the Rules and Procedures there was a question regarding changes to the Community Development Director who would also serve as the Chair of the TRC regarding land use issues. It was decided that the Planning Technician, Christina McCarthy, would serve in the Community Development Director's place and serve as chair of TRC in the absence of the Community Development Director. These changes were agreed to and this was approved for public hearing on October 3.

 In other business:

• The Raymond Planning Board received word from the Town Engineer that more time was needed regarding the application submitted by Roscoe Blaisdell on behalf of the Capone Family Trust for a twelve-lot conservation subdivision located on Mica Drive.  This application has been being continued since June 20, however,  the board approved a continuation to the October 17 meeting.

•  Richard Mulryan was introduced and asked why he would like to be an alternate on the Planning Board. He was approved with a three year term to run to 2022. He will need to get sworn in but the board invited him to stay and listen to the meeting.

• Kathy McDonald brought her changes to the August 15 minutes she wanted added. Gott asked that these minutes be tabled until she had time to review McDonald's proposed changes and additions. It was noted that minutes are not meant to be a transcript.

 


Medical Office Building Proposed for Main Street/Old Fremont Road Property
By Penny Williams   9-9-19

Timothy Peloquin, Promised Land Survey, along with his engineer Jeffrey Merritt, Granite Engineers, LLC presented the Planning Board a nonbinding  review for discussion regarding a proposal to develop a parcel  on the corner of Main Street and Old Fremont Road for a medical office building, on Thursday, September 5.

Peloquin gave the board the background and history of the parcel he wants to develop for the medical building. He has owned the property for a decade and a half and in 2005 he was approved to develop the property for a business office building in which he planned to move his survey business as well as providing space for other businesses. However, the development never progressed beyond putting in a foundation and he continued to try and market it.

In 2018 he proposed a mixed use development. Initially the plan was to build 10, 2 bedroom condominium units and a small, 2,715 square-foot office building on the 1.62 acre property that is in C1 zone. An amended site plan increased the size of the commercial building to 4,000 square feet and reduced the number of 2 bedroom units to 8. The property exists in a narrow strip of C1 sandwiched between C2 mixed and residential zones.

Now he has changed course again given the controversy over the mixed use proposal and abutter objections and Merritt provided the conceptual design information about the medical building to the board.

 Peloquin noted he met with Town manager Joe Ilsley and other town officials about this proposal and that they had supported his new proposal for the property seeing it as a good use of the property.

Merritt said the proposed building would be slightly smaller than the building proposed in 2005. The medical building would be basically one story that would be 15,800 square feet with the first floor having 12,000 square feet and the partial lower floor area of around 3,000 square feet. The building would have an L shaped configuration and would have an area that would accommodate the mobile medical imaging truck that would be there from time to time.

Parking requirements based on similar medical buildings in other locations would require 79 spaces for the proposed building but it would show 80 spaces. This is 4/5 per thousand feet which is less than Raymond regulations require but the Planning Board can change the ratio and this proposed ratio, he stated, will be more than meet the medical building needs.

Access would be off Fremont Road and there will be municipal water and utilities on site. He said he anticipates being before the board with a formal site plan proposal in November.

  The board had a number of questions. They wanted to know who the medical end user was but Peloquin said that information is confidential at this point and  couldn't be revealed. The material for the exterior hasn't been determined yet but would be known in November.  The board wanted to know how many offices would be in the building, what the hours of operation would be, whether there would be any urgent care facilities and whether there would be any inpatient issues.

Merritt and Peloquin said most of the questions will have to wait for November for answers but there would probably be upwards of a dozen medical offices; there would be no inpatient or urgent care units; lighting and utility and landscaping information will, be provided in November.

Resident Janice Arsenault asked if the mobile imaging unit would be able to access the building and when other types of deliveries would be made. She said the intersection there is difficult in terms of sight lines and wondered if something could done to improve it such as an offsite improvement. It was thought that these issues would be dealt with by TRC.

   Tricia Bridgeo thanked Peloquin for changing the plan and not pursuing the mixed use proposal. She asked if any of the offices in the building would be used for drug rehabilitation or recovery clinics and Peloquin and Merritt said they didn't think so but would get that confirmed.

    Kathy McDonald wanted to know if ambulances would be coming and going and she was told to talk to someone from the medical building and to the hospital if necessary.

    Rich Morai asked if a traffic study would be done and was told that one has been done by Stephen Pernaw and would be part of the November presentation.

    The board was asked if they were favorable of Peloquin moving forward and all were except Gretchen Gott who said she needed more information and had real reservations regarding the parking and Selectman liaison Jack Barnes who wanted to know what the Town Officials had said before committing himself.

     The board expects to see a formal application at their November 7, meeting and if not that meeting then the following one on November 21. Wood then closed the review hearing.

 In other business:

• The Raymond Planning Board accepted the resignation of Stephen Feher and appointed alternate John Beavilliers as a full time board member through 2020. Chair Jonathan Wood said that member Alyssa Welch has volunteered to be the liaison to the ZBA replacing Stephen Feher who has resigned from that board as well.

•The board approved a request to continue the application of Roscoe Blaisdell on behalf of the Capone Family Trust for a twelve-lot conservation subdivision located in Mica Drive to September 19. The reason for the continuance is the applicant is meeting with the Technical Review Committee on September 17.

•Glenn Coppelman was introduced as the Circuit Rider Planner assigned to Raymond Planning Board from the Rockingham County Planning Commission.   

Coppelman has been consulting with RPC as a circuit rider planner since 2014, and specializes in advising communities, non-profits and businesses in the areas of planning, economic development, grant writing and strategic initiatives. Previously, he was the Economic Development Director for the NH Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Framingham State College, and his Master’s in Resource Administration and Management from the University of New Hampshire. He has served as Kingston’s representative to RPC since 1985, and has served as the Chairman of the Commission for four terms over the past 30 years.

Coppelman said he plans to attend the board meetings and perhaps TRC meetings and is under contract for 18- 20 hours a month. Gott said she is concerned that this is insufficient. However, the contract is structured so they can try it this way and if the contract needs to be adjusted it can be. He said if he feels he should be providing more time to Raymond he will speak up.

• The board then discussed the Erosion and Sediment Control with a view to adopting the regulations to meet the MS4 Permit requirements. The town is already late in supplying this to the EPA for the MS4.

There are some minor changes being worked on by Julie LaBranche, Rockingham County Planning Commission, which made board members unsure about whether they should approve the proposed regulations. The regulations will reflect the new standards where required and will be added to the Site Plan and Subdivision regulations to reflect these new Standards where required.

After a discussion with Christina McCarthy,  assistant Planning Coordinator, the board determined that continued delay of the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulation submission would not be a good thing and approving them as presented and as being worked on would not be a problem as any adjustments or changes can be approved down the road.

The board approved and adopted the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations Model Ordinance by a 3 to 2 vote with Gott and Barnes abstaining, but this will allow it to be submitted for the MS4 requirements.

• The board discussed spraying for Japanese Knottweed invasive weeds noting that the town owned area to be sprayed will be posted and abutters to the town owned areas notified.

• McDonald raised issues with the minutes from the previous meeting saying they didn't accurately reflect what had been said. The board agreed to table the minutes until she could provide them with her issues in writing and they would deal with this at the next meeting.

 


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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