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125 Main Street, Suite 200
Littleton, NH 03561
Phone: 603.444.3996
Fax: 603.444.1703

Dec 20, 2016

Draft Planning Board Minutes December 20, 2016


 

LITTLETON PLANNING BOARD

COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM

120 MAIN STREET

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2016

DRAFT

6:30 P.M.

 

PRESENT: Vice Chair Linda MacNeil, Milton Bratz, Tony J. Ilacqua, Val Poulsen, Colin Trahan, Mary Menzies, and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)

 

EXCUSED: Bruce Ralston and Jim Daly

 

OTHERS: Sign in sheet included:  Bob & Dee Ainsworth, John Starr, John Drown, Peter Cooper, Dave Trono, Chad Stearns, Greg Eastman, Dean Dodge, Sandra Cabrera, Katie Latulip, Linda Goldstein, Kim DeLutis, John Scott, James McGovern, Brien Ward, Wes Griffith, Jon Warzocha, Guy Harriman, and Stan Fillion

 

Vice Chair MacNeil called to order at 6:30. Colin Trahan will be a voting member for this meeting.    

 

Review December 6, 2016 minutes

Milton made a motion to approve the minutes as written.  Tony second the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

Mary Menzies will be a voting member for this meeting.

 

Peter & Susan Cooper, Owners / Mark & Kimberly Lavoie, Owners / Gardner Kellogg, Agent – PB16-10 – Request for a Lot Line Adjustment between TM 84-47 & 84-48 on South Street in the R-I zone.  The hearing was noticed in the newspaper, abutters were notified, and the case fees were paid.  The application was accepted as complete. Gardner Kellogg presented.  A survey revealed the property line went through the Lavoie’s garage. Both property owners agreed to move the line.  The garage will meet the required setbacks.  There were no questions from the public or the Board.  Vice Chair MacNeil closed the public input portion.

 

Tony made a motion to approve the request as presented.  Milton second the motion.  The motion passed by all. 

 

Stuart & Jessica Cozzens, Owners / Clare A. Dennean, Owner / Gardner Kellogg, Agent – PB16-11 – Request for a Lot Line Adjustment between TM 78-66 & 78-67 on Elm Street in the C-I zone. The hearing was noticed in the newspaper, abutters were notified, and the case fees were paid.  The application was accepted as complete. Mary Menzies recused herself for this case.  Gardner Kellogg presented.  The property line is very close to the driveway and turning is difficult.  The line will be adjusted by 8-feet.  Both property owners are in agreement.  Val questioned the conformity of the parcels.  Gardner explained that neither lot is a conforming size. There is no way for them to meet current requirements.  This adjustment will allow the Cozzens shed to be entirely on their property.  There were no more questions from the Board and none from the public.  Vice Chair MacNeil closed the public input portion.

 

Tony made a motion to approve the request as presented.  Val second the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

PUBLIC HEARING:

“Are you in favor of adopting the amendment to the Zoning Ordinance as proposed by the Planning Board to extend the boundaries of the Industrial Zone to include a 115 acre parcel of property which abuts the current Industrial Zone, which is owned by Littleton Industrial Development Corporation and identified as Map/Lot 102-7?  The property is currently in the Rural Zone.”

Vice Chair MacNeil informed every one of the ground rules. There will be a presentation and time for questions and comments. She requested that everyone be respectful.

 

Greg Eastman, President of LIDC, explained that LIDC was formed in the early 1970’s.  There are now 15 companies with 1200 employees.  The proposal for zoning change is because the Industrial Park has run out of developable land.  This 115 acre piece will allow more job growth.  This park has been the backbone of the Town’s economy.

 

Sean Dodge asked if an environmental impact study has been done for this lot.  Jon Warzocha, Horizons Engineering, replied that a study has not been conducted because LIDC is in the early stages of planning.  They would like to rezone the parcel before moving forward.  Jon is aware of the wetland areas but does not have a map with him to show those areas.  Sean asked about which areas would be developed.  Stan Fillion, VP of LIDC, said the plans are in the very early stages so that question cannot be answered.  This is a similar situation as when the park was started 40 years ago.  Sean stated the original park is in an old sand and gravel pit. This hill has wetlands and could impact a lot of properties.  The application from Tender Corp. a few years ago also would have impacted the abutters. 

 

Sandra Cabrera, attorney for Tom Clardy, asked what other lots have been looked at for development. Jon Warzocha replied that there are other lots in the park but they are very small and not very developable.  Tax map 102-7 would allow for more potential uses. 

 

Sean Dodge asked about access.  Jon Warzocha replied that the access would be the existing right-of-way on the Transfer Station lot. 

 

Stan Fillion stated that other areas of Town were considered but not proven to be as efficient as this area.  There have been utility investments in this area. 

 

Kim Delutis stated she is a 21-year resident and has a view of this mountain.  She claims that the Town will be setting a precedent to people coming into Town that rezoning can happen on a whim.  She also asked about the environmental study and how this development would impact property values.

 

Robert Copenhaver reminded everyone of the attempt to create an Industrial Park with Bethlehem and Lisbon.  There were problems with both.  The current location is what works.

 

Jon Warzocha reviewed some of the current permitted and Special Exception uses for the Rural zone.  Manufacturing is allowed by Special Exception, but not office space.  If the lot was zoned Industrial, office space would be allowed.  There are specific uses proposed at this time.  The design process should consider minimizing the visual impact.  Kim Delutis told him that this is not what she expected when she purchased her property. 

 

James McGovern, Lisbon resident, asked what uses were prohibited with this classification.  Jon Warzocha reviewed some of the permitted and SE uses.  Other uses are not allowed.  Greg Eastman stated that LIDC is careful with who is interested and what their purpose is. They want job creation.  Stan Fillion stated LIDC works with abutters and the Town to be responsible with development.  Development might increase property values.  Kim Delutis did not agree.

 

Linda Goldstein stated the rural area and quiet, dark, and has large properties.  If something is permitted by SE, they have to justify it.  The land will not necessarily be developed.  Jon Warzocha stated the land is developable.  Linda asked if taking away the rural zone will make it easier.  Jon replied yes.  It would remove the hurdles and help get companies interest in being there.

 

John Scott stated that jobs are important, but there are houses on the hill.  They fought Tender Corp. coming in and they will fight again.  Perhaps LIDC should consider the Hitchiner’s building or the old wire mill.  There currently are spaces available. 

 

 

Bob Copenhaver stated that the LIDC board puts covenants in the land deeds.  Underground utilities and specific building setbacks are a couple of them.  It protects the park and makes it look good.  Many employees of the park have homes in Town.  Stan Fillion stated that there is a 50-foot setback on the Pilgrim Drive side.  Stan said he understands the abutters concerns and LIDC is trying to balance this.  Nobody likes this in their back yard.  There used to be fields all around, but it has changed.

 

Wes Griffith, Cyr Rd. in Bethlehem, said he can see the lights in the Industrial Park right now. The knoll is a direct view from his house.  He respects the job creation idea, but agrees that LIDC should look at current vacant buildings. He also feels that the rural area should stay rural.

 

Brien Ward, not a current LIDC member, discussed the investment of the Park and how it benefits the Town. The Town gets a return of the Park investments.  This rezone makes sense because it is attached to the current infrastructure.  The hospital lot also needed to be rezoned and they are currently the largest employer in Town. McLures property was also rezoned for development. There are more jobs than people in Town.  Brien discussed how economic growth has been lost in recent years and how an increase could help build a much needed new school.  Homes behind the Park were built after the Park went in.  This shows that the two uses can exist next to each other.  LIDC has a great record of stewardship.  The wetlands people get the last word on everything.  There will be plenty more hearings for people to be heard.

 

Sally Trimble, stated that once this area is developed, it cannot be undone.  The problem is developing rural and losing farm land.  This happens in the North Country.

 

Sandra Cabrera stated she appreciated the commitment and effort for jobs and the community. She did not feel the answer for jobs is to expand.  This location is not the only option that has been mentioned.  Sandra added that rezoning is the point of view of a single land owner.  Zoning changes to me make sense for more than the land owner.  The others have invested in their property of the rural character of Littleton.  Littleton is not defined by the Industrial Park, but the rural character and quality of living.  Sandra submitted a letter on behalf of Tom Clardy. 

 

James McGovern voiced concerns about the precedent being set and that the Town of Lisbon would be happy to add onto this Park if the opportunity were to arise.  Littleton should think about the impact.

 

John Drown stated he does not have a view of this development, but his concern is increased traffic.  Mount Eustis is too narrow for the current truck traffic from Fed Ex and Dodge’s dump trucks.  John suggested fixing the current infrastructure.

 

Vice Chair MacNeil reviewed the concerns that were covered.  These included environmental impact, visual impact, property values, and infrastructure. 

 

John Scott agreed with the previous statement about increased traffic and their speed.  He also commented on taxes helping with a new school, but there was opposition with a new school years ago.

 

Sean Dodge agreed that the current Park was planned very well, but this is a different situation. There is no way to leave a buffer on this hill.  He also stated that he can’t believe it is worthwhile to put water, electric, and sewer up the hill.

 

Kim Delutis stated that changing the zone from Rural to Industrial is spot zoning.  Vice Chair MacNeil replied that this is not spot zoning because it abuts the Industrial zone. 

 

Stan Fillion stated he understood the Lisbon issue.  LIDC is looking into the future, about 40 years, and someone else might own the abutting lots.  LIDC is trying to do due diligence to increase the tax base.  Stan also stated that LIDC is trying to meet the needs of all the residents that want jobs in Town.  Stan asked if not here, then where?  If a proposal was brought up on Manns Hill Road, the residents would say the same thing. He is trying to sympathize and create a balance.  Kim Delutis stated that Stan does not understand what rural is.  It is more than keeping the view.  People want to be reassured on what they are buying.

Vice Chair MacNeil closed the public input portion of the hearing.  She reviewed how LIDC had spoken to the advantage of including this lot in the Industrial zone and the list of items people have concerns about.  She thanked everyone for discussing this respectfully.  The deliberative session will be another place to voice concerns.  If the Planning Board decides to support this zoning amendment and include it on the warrant, it does not mean it will pass on voting day.  The citizens will decide.  Tony J. Ilacqua added that if the amendment does not pass on voting day, the property owner has the option to submit a petition for the 2018 Town Warrant.

 

Milton Bratz stated that the abutters concerns were legitimate concerns.  Milton also stated that he recognized LIDC as a leadership group that is empathetic to the abutters.  They plan things very well, but things can be perceived differently.  Milton feels the community should be able to vote on this. 

 

Tony J. Ilacqua stated he has been taking notes of everyone’s concerns.  The Planning Board is charged with balancing the uses of land.  This Town has changed since 1972.  Buildable land is hard to find and the future economic concerns should be looked at.  LIDC has a good record, but the plan from 40 years ago might not work today.  Tony stated his concerns about road conditions and preserving rural space.  Protecting land uses is why he is on the Planning Board.  Tony recommended LIDC submit a petition for the 2018 vote. This will give them time to consider alternative spaces as previously mentioned.

 

Val Poulsen stated he has high confidence in LIDC and recommends the zoning amendment be turned over for a Town vote.

 

Colin Trahan stated he was born in this area of Town, knows a lot of the people in the crowd, and understands the road issue.  He also stated he appreciates what the Park has become.  Without jobs in Town, it would be in serious trouble.  This is planning for the future of the Town.  Colin stated he is in favor of what they want to do and it makes sense to expand the Park with this rezoning. The amendment should go to Town vote.

 

Mary Menzies said she was torn but feels it is appropriate to let the citizens decide.

 

Milton Bratz made a motion to move the zoning amendment to the warrant.  Colin Trahan second the motion.  The motion passed 5-1. 

 

At 7:45, Milton Bratz made a motion to adjourn.  Val Poulsen second the motion.  The motion passed by all. 

 

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray