Planning Board Meeting

Meeting date: 
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Planning Board

November 21, 2017

Approved December 19, 2017


Members Present: Bruce Healey, Chair; Bill Weiler, Members; Richard Wright, Alternate; Russell Smith, Ex-officio Member.


Mr. Healey called the meeting to order at 6:58 p.m.


Mr. Healey appointed Mr. Wright as a voting member for this meeting.


Capital Improvements Program (CIP)

Mr. Healey noted that the Board surfaced three issues in the proposed CIP during the November 9, 2017 PB work session:


The Paving Expendable Trust Fund for road paving needs to be investigated since there was an approved warrant article several years ago that stipulated a three year graduated spending plan to be used exclusively for paving the town roads, not for the monies to be placed in a trust fund.

The cost of a new Kubota ($45,000) was cited as being excessive.

The cost of replacing the bailer at the transfer station should be reduced to cover replacing the bailer parts only.


Ivor Freeman, CIP Committee Chair, reviewed the Board’s concerns. Discussion followed. It was agreed that the Kubota cost was a typo and should have been listed as $25,000. Mr. Freeman suggested increasing the bailer line item amount from $15,000 to $35,000. The Board agreed.


Significant discussion ensued regarding the Paving Expendable Trust Fund line item. It was decided that the Trust Fund, as currently defined, needs correction to the intent of the Fund. Mr. Smith noted that the Selectboard will need to write a warrant article to make said correction and present it at Town Meeting.


Discussion followed. It was decided by the Board to leave the Trust Fund item in the CIP for now, until a change is made as a result of a Town Meeting warrant article.


The Board agreed to vote on the CIP – with the suggested changes – at the December 19, 2017 meeting.    



The Board reviewed the minutes of November 9, 2017 and made corrections. Mr. Weiler made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. Mr. Wright seconded the motion. All in favor.


Shoreland Restoration Amendment

Katheryn Holmes, Newbury Conservation Commission chair, discussed the proposed amendment with the Board. There was significant discussion regarding enforcement of the regulations and the current procedures and processes regarding same. Discussion topics included several possible techniques to help improve compliance but no conclusion was reached about changing the current procedures. It was noted that DES should be the enforcement arm when needed. Ms. Holmes note that DES is challenged by a shortage of field personnel. She added that DES has increasingly turned to local conservation commissions and groups as another set of oversight.


Mr. Weiler suggested that the NCC contact a lawyer for clarification on due process and the best way to make a property owner comply with shoreland regulations. Mr. Wright agreed and suggested that Ms. Holmes request from the Selectboard access to town counsel to discuss this topic.


The Fells Site Plan for Signing 

Mr. Healey noted that The Fells has not yet delivered the promised Site Plan.


Excavation Sites

Discussion of proposed procedures and forms pertaining to excavation sites was tabled until the December 19, 2017 meeting.


Master Plan Printing

The Recording Secretary reported on the two bids received for the printing of Envision Newbury 2027 and Envision Newbury Summary. The Selectboard will review the bids at the December 11, 2017 meeting.


Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Katheryn Holmes, chair of the Newbury Conservation Commission (NCC), discussed with the Board the proposed changes to the scoring methodology when calculating the waterfront buffer grid segment tree and sapling point score. The changes affect paragraphs and of the zoning ordinance. Ms. Holmes added that the suggested changes reflect recent changes in state law. Discussion followed.


Mr. Wright suggested that the proposed changes include a diagram depicting the revisions. Ms. Holmes agreed and Mr. Healey asked that the diagram be sent to him.


Ms. Holmes expressed concern over the term “mechanical timber harvesting” as it appears in Paragraphs and of the zoning ordinance. There was discussion regarding the meaning of the term and how it is applied under the current regulations. There was no decision to modify the ordinance as a result of this discussion.


Ms. Holmes discussed Paragraph 7.7.4 Waterfront Buffer Changes, specifically the topics pertaining to construction in the buffer. She noted that there needs to be more town oversight. Significant discussion followed.


Mr. Wright noted that DES permits provide oversight and suggested that the NCC contact the property owner by letter citing the specific town regulations that must be observed. It was noted that the Code Enforcement Officer currently does that and will continue to do so moving forward.


Business District Boundaries Amendment   

The proposed change to 4.1 District Boundaries includes the following: “The Business District is only that area adjacent to and within 300 feet from the edge of the right-of-way of 103B and the following described sections of Route 103:”.


Mr. Healey discussed his research into the state records pertaining to the area cited in the above sentence. He noted that the state records show varying measurements in the right-of-way along Route 103 along South Newbury. As a result, Mr. Healey proposed removing the words “edge of the” from the above statement until a full-scale study could be made into how property owners might be affected by the proposed change. Mr. Wright disagreed.


Mr. Wright and Mr. Healey proceeded to engage in significant discussion of the topic.  


Mr. Healey stated that he wants to know what the old roads looked like in South Newbury as reflected in Department of Transportation (DOT) records. He noted that the last DOT map was done in 1963 and that the end of Route 103 in Newbury shows a varying width of road. He added that the existing 300 feet from the center line was ample as a definition and he saw no need at this time to expand that measurement to 300 feet from the edge of the right-of-way. Discussion followed.


Mr. Wright noted that he proposed the change because he thinks this would be fairer to the property owner who wants to build in the business district. Discussion followed.


Mr. Healey proposed that the Board table this topic for a year until a study can be done. Mr. Smith agreed, saying the study will surface the impact a change might have on the property owners along that corridor. The topic was tabled.


There was further discussion regarding the proposed changes to Paragraphs 4.1.1, 4.1.2, and 4.1.3. Suggestions were made to include street references along with the proposed map and lot numbers to provide added clarity. The Board agreed.


Mr. Healey called for a work session on December 5, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. to review the amendments and move them to public hearing.


Mr. Healey noted that a Public Hearing on the proposed amendments will be scheduled for January 9, 2018.


Mr. Smith made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Wright seconded the motion. All in favor.


Meeting adjourned at 9:01 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Meg Whittemore

Recording Secretary