Meredith Planning Board Meeting
December 11, 2012
Members Present: Peter Brothers, Ed Touhey, Roger Sorell, Bill Bayard, Lou Kahn, Ann Butler (tardy with notice)
Staff Present: John Edgar and Angela LaBrecque
Chairman Bayard opened the meeting at 7:02 PM.
Bayard-The purpose of the meeting is to hold a public hearing on zoning amendments to the Wetland Resources Conservation Overlay District and to un-designate Hawkins Brook as a prime wetland. The meeting is being held in accordance with RSA 675:3 and this hearing has been noticed as required by RSA 675:7. A brief summary was given of both amendments: Amendments to Article V, Section D-9 Water Resource Conservation Overlay District, to un-designate Hawkins Brook status from prime to a designated wetland; incorporate updated mapping of Prime and Designated Wetlands; decrease the number of Designated Wetlands based on the application of updated criteria as depicted on the updated mapping; add one new Designated Stream; and incorporate general cleanup and edits of the ordinance that do not affect how wetlands are currently regulated. Correspondence from Mark Billings, Conservation Commission Chairman, was read… (See attached correspondence)
Patricia Landry- noted she was a resident attending the meeting to be informed
Edgar- Provided background, details of the amendments, and events leading up to the hearing. 2002 Community Plan recommended a Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) be conducted. In 2005 NRI I was completed and followed up with NRI II with a more detailed look at the prime wetland boundaries. It was recommended that Hawkins Brook be undesignated as a prime wetland due to the lack of ecological integrity. A number of factors led to this conclusion including the extent of wetland filling, disturbance, developed edges and buffers, etc. Several workshops were held between 2010 and 2011 to determine what to do treat the designated wetland category and how to use the better mapping. In 2012, the Planning Board held public meetings to discuss the amendments. In March of 2012, both zoning amendments were presented on the town’s webpage in a narrative along with the maps. On Planning Board workshop on November 13 it was voted on to proceed with a presentation to the Conservation Commission on November 15 and subsequently submitted to the state on November 20 for their preliminary approval. This meeting notice was posted and all documents (proposed text of amendments, summaries of amendments and maps) we made available for inspection.
Brothers- Wanted to make clear that Hawkins Brook will still be regulated as a designated wetland just not as a prime.
Edgar- John explained the existing 4 tiers of wetland designations and their differences. He also described the difference between designated and non-designated streams and that there will be one additional with the amendment. He noted the designated wetlands were identified in a very purposeful way. All wetlands are regulated in Meredith in one way or another. Impacts to wetlands are looked at by Planning Board, ZBA and DES. Without a doubt, water quality is important in Meredith for many reasons.
Bayard- Reinforced for the public that the purpose of the ordinance is to regulate wetlands and the purpose of the amendment is to improve how we do that. The criteria established with identifying the designated wetlands give us a more purposeful list of valued wetlands.
Kahn- Motioned to submit the amendments to Article V, Section D-9 as two warrant articles for Town Meeting as proposed.
LaBrecque- Reviewed the direction given to her at the last meeting regarding density within the village. A draft amendment to the Central Business District section of the ordinance was reviewed. The goal is to provide a little flexibility to establish more housing in the village. These are the properties having Class I utilities (water and sewer). The 2002 Community Plan suggests infill and mix uses in the village core to help support the viability of our town center. Many of the lots in the CB district with an apartment or two above a commercial use and are not conforming with respect to lot size. The minimum requirement for one dwelling unit is 10,000 SF and most lots on Main Street are less than that, making just one new apartment a variance request.
Edgar- A number of these variance request have been made of the past 10 years and many denied (the complete list and details was reviewed).
LaBrecque- In order to accomplish this, the PB will have a site plan review with each of these applications via a conditional use permit allowed by RSA 674:21 II. The additional density unit(s) above that allowed by the district’s minimum standard can be granted in conjunction with the site plan approval. Requirements such as lot coverage, parking, etc. will still apply. Discussion continued regarding the Board’s concerns:
- The increase to density should be a cumulative calculation so that a property isn’t exercising the same provision over and over again.
- On-site parking requirements must be strictly reviewed because parking is an issue in the village.
- This should not be something to enable or promote the elimination of the limited existing commercial space.
- The additional density granted should only be one or two units, as that is really what is practical.
It was agreed to proceed with a workshop on December 18th to review this amendment and decide whether to proceed to a public hearing on January 8th. This will allow for changes to be made prior the January’s regular meeting where a second hearing can be held.
Meeting adjourned at 8:15PM
To: Bill Bayard, Chairman Meredith Planning Board
CC: John Edgar, Community Development Officer
From: Mark Billings, Chairman Meredith Conservation Commission
Because of a schedule conflict, I will be unable to attend the public hearing on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. I have attached the approved minutes from the Meredith Conservation Commission’s meeting dated November 15, 2012 where the Commission voted in favor of the following motion.
Motion: Move that the Meredith Conservation Commission support the revised wetlands ordinance and accepts the updated Prime Wetlands Map(s) contained in the NRI 2. Additionally, the commission accepts the recommendation by Rick Van de Poll, Ph.D., Ecologist and Wetlands Scientist, to uncouple Hawkins Brook from its’ prime designation.
Accepted as written
The Conservation Commission has been a supporter of and an active participant in the “Natural Resource Inventory” the Town has conducted over the last number of year. We are convinced that the process, the technology and the thoroughness of the NRI’s have provided the town with more accurate data pertaining to the wetlands. The resultant updates to the Wetland Maps reflect that data and the changes in designation are reasonable, balanced and supported by the science.
Meredith Conservation Commission