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Planning Board Minutes 04/07/2009

April 7, 2009
7:00 PM


Present: Chair Cheryl Dionne, Brad Christo (Vice Chairman), John Stirling, Bruce Whitney, Bill Straub and Jim Fisk (Planner).

Not Present: Richard Clough and Mimi Demers.

Susie Scott, Assistant to the Town Planner, was taking minutes.


Chairman Dionne called the regular Planning Board meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

Mr. Whitney and Mr. Straub will be voting members at this meeting due to the absence of Mr. Clough and Mrs. Demers, who was not able to attend due to illness.


March 3, 2009 - Regular Meeting: Motion by Mr. Whitney, second by Mr. Christo to approve minutes as written, passed unanimously.

March 17, 2009 - Public Hearing and Regular Meeting: Motion by Mr. Christo, second by Mr. Straub to approve minutes as amended, passed unanimously.

Pat Robinson, Conservation Commission.
Mike Cannon, President, Great Works River Watershed Coalition.
- None.
1. Shoreland Zoning: Further Review.

Chairman Dionne requested Jim Fisk provide a brief overview of proposed zoning changes. Ms. Scott made copies and provided the Planning Board and Mr. Fisk her email dated April 3, 2009 entitled "Shoreland Zoning Ordinance - March 31 Workshop Notes" per Chairman's directive.

Mr. Fisk discussed the tight timeline for Planning Board proposal review and public hearing as scheduled out of consideration to for the Town Council. Although, the public hearing is scheduled for April 21, the Board can decide when to make a recommendation to the Council after the hearing. He noted that after the July 1 deadline, the existing Chapter 140 will remain in effect so long as the Town is diligent about completing the new Chapter 110.

Mr. Christo voiced concern for the tight timeline in light of the fact that there was no urgency on behalf of the DEP. He questioned if an outside body reviewed the water bodies listed in the proposal.

Mr. Fisk discussed Frost Brook as not being located in town, therefore, it will be stricken from the list. The principal changes to Shoreland Zoning relate to the issue of non-conformance. Expansions of existing non-conforming structures were somehow dropped out of the non-conformance section on page 9. This section addresses this omission. The existing ordinance has Resource Protection as the setback with a provision that allows for all structures within the setback. That is the 30% rule. Goes through enlargement, replacement and allows for reconstruction and prescribes for requirement for replacement of trees/vegetation. All other non-conformance that have nothing to do with Shoreland zoning remain separate.

Mike Cannon, President, Great Works River Watershed Coalition: Discussed how current regulations are not being enforced, and concern for future regulations.

Mr. Christo requested assurance that the proposed ordinance will be cross-referenced with the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Fisk noted that the DEP recommended the Shoreland Zoning ordinance be a stand-alone ordinance so the applicant will not get confused. The biggest change is to the Non-conformance section. Table C only refers to water bodies so there are no setbacks for The Balancing Rock, The Spring Hill Overlook and The Gorge. The most important DEP mandate is inclusion of (5) on page 16.

The Board requested Mr. Fisk contact MMA regarding setback rules.

Mr. Fisk discussed existing land use patterns, zoning and growth areas that can be modified per the 1991 DEP memo. Amend setback back to 75 feet. The Board can recommend locations for full setbacks. Residents can request that a regional biologist come down to survey their parcel, and make a recommendation whether it meets the IWWH criteria. There is an exemption if it takes away the usability of a lot. In reference to the definition of wetlands, will continue to keep freshwater wetlands minor so that the Town can continue to regulate them with setbacks and requirements. Currently, the Town has a 25-foot setback, which is not required by the State but South Berwick will continue to retain it.

Mr. Fisk will email new section regarding Applicability to Board members on April 8, 2009. It is up to the discretion of the Code Enforcement officer as to whether he can issue a permit or if it needs to go before the Planning Board. Applicability is required. If the building envelope is outside the Shoreland or RP Zone, the CEO can issue a permit. The RP Zone is 250 feet away from the resource.

The Board requested all provisions of Chapter 140-5 be noted.

The Planning Board discussed having all Definitions located in one place.

Chairman Dionne polled the Planning Board as to the location within the ordinances for definitions:
" Mr. Stirling: Stated he was confused to which way to go.
" Mr. Christo: Stated he would like to see Definitions in the Code in one place eventually (ALL Shoreland be brought over to Stormwater).
" Mr. Whitney: Does not think it a problem with the way it is as long as everything is cross-referenced.
" Mr. Straub: Stated he needs to be convinced why the Shoreland Ordinance, as it is a land use ordinance, cannot be a part of the Zoning Ordinance. He noted there was a lot of overlap between chapters 140 and 110.

Mr. Fisk noted there was no problem with the Board returning to this issue of the Shoreland Zoning being its own ordinance similar to that of a Fee's Ordinance. This section could be organized and structured so that it could be placed into the chapter that is relevant and consistent.

The Board requested Mr. Fisk cross reference definitions with the Stormwater Ordinance and any definitions pertaining with water.

Mr. Straub requested a companion document illustrating sections to be blacklined or marked with a strikethrough in order to accurately compare the changes. He is concerned about how this ordinance will affect the public.

Mr. Christo requested a response to Mr. Straub's concern.

Mr. Fisk will provide the Planning Board two side by side documents for review by this weekend. Documents to include: Revised Draft Ordinance and Strike-through existing ordinance document. He will email the Planning Board the missing section regarding Applicability/Permitting, etc.

The Planning Board will hold a workshop on April 14, 2009 to discuss further.

2. Stormwater Review: Review report update as provided by Kristie Rabasca/Roberta Orsini.

Chairman Dionne requested the Board discuss Shoreland Zoning prior to the Stormwater report. She told Board members that Roberta Orsini will insert the update pages in their Stormwater report if they bring in the inserts.

Stormwater Presentation at 7:30 PM
Delores Leonard, Communications Manager - UNH/NOAA Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology.

Ms. Leonard presented the Board information regarding effective Stormwater management, and the role of the UNH Stormwater Center and related coastal environmental projects. She discussed how non-point source pollution carried by Stormwater runoff is treated and tested by distribution boxes, and the body of data that has been compiled for further research. Field studies started over 15 years ago to address water quality issues. The Center provides assistance for drafting Stormwater ordinances.

Ms. Leonard discussed the educational opportunity to tour the Stormwater Center between now and October, and will email the Board potential dates for a visit. Tours have been subsidized, and will only cost $25 per person including a working lunch.

Mr. Christo discussed requirements of the DEP Chapter 500, and how our developing ordinance should reflect these water quality targets. He believes this is helpful information from Delores Leonard realizing there is an opportunity here for the Board to move forward with Stormwater management. Post construction and maintenance is pretty detailed, and this would strongly encourage applicants to apply LID project designs if practicable.

Chairman Dionne discussed a Planning Board Priority List to be compiled and reviewed in June 2009.
- None.

Dates & Times for Upcoming Meetings:
April 14, 2009 - 7:00 PM Planning Board Workshop re: Shoreland & Stormwater
April 21, 2009 - 7:00 PM Public Hearings
1. Stormwater Ordinance
2. Shoreland Zoning Ordinance
May 5, 2009 - 7:00 PM Planning Board Regular Meeting

Motion by Mr. Stirling, second by Mr. Whitney to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned without objection at 9:33 PM.

ATTESTED: Susie Scott
Susie Scott,
Assistant to the Director of Planning & Economic Development