PRESENT: Dever-Chairman, Pelczar – Vice-Chairman, Thorpe, Clark, Alternate, Goodheart, Edney, Code Officer, Tivnan, Clerk
Thorpe moved, Goodheart seconded, THAT WE APPROVE THE MINUTES, December 13, 2012.
Dever – Has any Board member been contacted by anyone, in any way, in relation to any of the applications before us tonight? I mean by email, phone, letters, conversations or any other way trying to get your opinion on how you would vote? All Board members said no.
3004: W.E. Aubuchon Co. Inc.: An appeal for a SPECIAL EXCEPTION (ARTICLE V-D-9 G 4a) to construct a Propane Filling Station within the 50’ wetland buffer, Tax Map U15, Lot. No.1A, located at 38 N.H. Rte. 25 in the Central Business District.
Brian Colburn – (McFarland Johnson) -The project is to construct a propane filling station. There will be a storage tank with propane and a filing apparatus where customers can bring empty propane cylinders and have them filled rather than a cylinder exchange. The site we have selected is within the 50’ buffer of a wetland. We looked at other locations on the site but with NFPA’s requirements for filling stations, there were certain offsets from buildings and points of ignition; which could be a parked or idling car. Most of the areas on the site could not meet the setbacks. That is why it is placed where it is. (Pointed to the plan with highlighted wetlands.) I know the Fire Chief had some concerns with the 25’ offset to ignition sources. There won’t be any parked cars within 25’ of the filling station. We will have signs along the fence that go around the site saying no parking or smoking within 25’. The site will always be secured. I would like to address some of the comments from the Conservation Commission. We did characterize this as a non-prime wetland. The prime wetland is out behind the site. The arm reaching out is not part of that prime wetland. The site is currently used for snow storage. I spoke to the site owners today and they contract out snow removal operations and most of the time they have the snow removed from the site. They will tell the snow contractor, once this is built, that area is no longer available for snow storage. We did look at alternative sites. To meet the setbacks from the movie theater building we would be too close to parked cars. That would mean stripping all of those parking spaces off as no parking to insure there would be no ignition sources within the 25’. This site is very tight on parking as is. So that’s why that site was discounted. We did bounce around some ideas about burying the tank. While that removes the requirement of the offsets for the tank itself, we still have the offset requirements for the point of transfer. So burying the tank didn’t provide us any additional options. Clark – What will be paved at the end of the project? Colburn - The project doesn’t propose any additional paving. The proposed site will be a concrete pad. The pad will be raised with crushed rock around it. Thorpe – I need some clarification on whether the Conservation Commission believes the 150’ buffer extends farther than you think it does. I don’t think they have it defined. Edney – There is a proposal that was developed to change the wetland ordinance and to downgrade Hawkins Brook from a prime wetland to a designated wetland; which would also change that buffer from 150’ to 100’. That has been approved by the Planning Board and up for Town Meeting. So in effect, that 100’ buffer exists as we speak. Thorpe – But until Town Meeting meets and votes, that hasn’t changed. Edney – It is in place as of the posting after the approval. Clark – It’s great if we think it might get approved. Then maybe the applicant should wait until after it has been approved. Right now the law is 150’, although the presenter is saying this particular area is not in a prime wetland. Bill, do you know? Who is correct? Edney – This gentleman is correct in terms of where the line is. Clark – In this case then, it is not within either the 150’ or the 100’. So that change is irrelevant to this case. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 150’, 100’, or 50’. They need the Special Exception. Goodheart – What type of fence? Colburn – It will be a steel picket fence. Goodheart – Any provisions if the tank starts to leak? Greg Moran – (Senior Vice-President of Aubuchons) – This is a family run business. I personally installed the first propane filling station 11 years ago. We have been able to grow that business to 90 stations. Those 90 stores all have trained employees through various vendors. We have a strong network of suppliers and we meet the highest standards. We did 5.7 million dollars last year on just propane. We serviced 250,000 customers just last year and to my knowledge, each tank has a pressure release valve. I know of only two instances where the valve kicked in. The system then shuts down and nothing can happen. I know of no incidents other than those two where the vendor came and responded. Clark – The Conservation Commission said you are currently accomplishing this by an exchange cylinder approach. Why is it better to go to a third party? Moran – I was pleased to get the comments from the Conservation Commission. I prepared some data on this. I compared Moultonborough to Meredith. Moultonborough has a filling station and Meredith the exchange. Last year on our exchange program we serviced under 1500 customers at $22.99 ea. We generated $34,270.00. gross dollars. The margin is very very low on the exchange, so we netted $10,866.00. In Moultonborough we charge $14.49. That is an $8.50 saving to our customers. We serviced 7900 customers in Moultonborough. Instead of $34,000.00, we did $114,000.00. The difference is $68,000.00. If we didn’t start putting in propane filling stations 11 years ago, we would be out of business. That’s how tough the hardware business is. This is a service that is less expensive for our customers and allows us to stay in the Community. I cannot open up new hardware stores without a propane filling station. That’s the story on exchange stations. There is no money in them. Dever – I spoke with the Fire Chief yesterday because in reading the minutes from the Planning Board meeting, they said he had some problems with the location. When I spoke to him his problem in this location was he wanted it moved back but if you move it back, it narrows up the hole between the building and the station where the tractor trailers come through. He doesn’t have a problem with it now and it does meet all NFPA’s requirements. Hearing closed at 7:35 PM.
Thorpe – If the town meeting rejects the zoning changes and doesn’t allow Hawkins Brook to be reclassified then this proposal is null and void? Edney – No. This proposal is not affected by that. Dever – We are granting a Special Exception to construct a propane filling station within the buffer. It doesn’t matter whether it is 150’, 100’ or 50’. Clark – I do have a problem with this because relative to purpose and intent it says,” to preserve the ability of wetlands and areas adjacent to wetlands and streams to provide treatment for water quality purposes, to filter pollutants, trap sediments, or retain and absorb chemicals and nutrients. In spite of the fact that I have a problem with it, if you look at that site it pretty much ignores wetlands. I drove around it yesterday and I drove along the 20’ wetland buffer between this and the prime wetland, which is paved. The way I look at it I am inclined to sort of hold my nose and grant it. Dever – Back when this Shopping Center was created the best way to handle a wetland was to pave it. This is exactly what they did. Those days are gone. Goodheart - They did address alternate locations.
3004: W.E. Aubuchon Co. Inc.:
Goodheart moved Thorpe seconded, IN CASE #3004, W.E. AUBUCHON CO. INC:, I MOVE THE APPEAL FOR A SPECIAL EXCEPTION (ARTICLE V-D-9 G 4a) TO CONSTRUCT A PROPANE FILLING STATION WITHIN THE 50’ WETLAND BUFFER, TAX MAP U15, LOT. NO.1A, LOCATED AT 38 N.H. RTE. 25 IN THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT BE GRANTED, AS IT MEETS THE CRITERIA FOR A SPECIAL EXCEPTION. IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF PRESERVING THE WETLANDS AND ALSO FOR PROMOTING A BUSINESS IN THAT AREA. Voted 5-0 in favor.
Thirty day appeal period.
Meeting adjourned at 7:45 PM
Approved by the Meredith Zoning Board on December 13, 2012
Jack Dever- Chairman