Thursday, August 28, 2014

Scenic Vistas

This is an add on to the previous post as there was also a discussion of scenic vistas last evening. I have heard many times about how important it is to maintain our rural character and uniqueness and we are in fact right now rewriting the Transportation and Land Use chapters of the Master Plan. The NH OEP ( Office of Energy and Planning) has an excellent article on ways to accomplish this. I am not advocating any taking of property rights or getting into the view tax debate, but thinking only of innovative ways to protect as much of our natural beauty as we can. Let me give one example: the wind towers in Groton. Hard to miss as you drive into Plymouth. A beautiful mountain ridge with very large structures all along the top and owned by a foreign company, Iberdrola.  Here is part of the NH OEP article:

"Residents of a community have thoughts and ideas about what makes their surroundings and community visually important and attractive. They generally enjoy views of open fields, farm settings, mountain vistas, water views and tree shaded streets, qualities that make people feel positive about their environment. The challenge is to preserve these visual attributes while working them into our future development. The following suggests a process for: 

  •  Identifying scenic areas in a community 
  • Providing a clear statement in the master plan about goals for preservation of scenic values, and
  • Incorporating specific policies into the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations and site plan review regulations that will enhance the aesthetic qualities that define the community and make it unique."

Scenic Byway or Scenic Road?

The following is from the NH DOT website. This topic came up last evening at the Master Plan transportation chapter focus group. In addition to addressing transportation problems such as problem intersections and Rt 25 traffic, we should also address preserving and maintaining ( perhaps promoting) our scenic and rural beauty. 
Scenic Byway or Scenic Road?
What is the difference between a Scenic Byway and a Scenic Road? Are Scenic Roads a type of Scenic Byway? These questions have come up quite often in the past couple of years. With this in mind, the following is a summary of the main points of each designation. Also, check out the State of New Hampshire's Web site for links to the legislation for each program.
Scenic Byways
The New Hampshire Scenic and Cultural Byways Program was established in 1992 under RSA 238:19, "… to provide the opportunity for residents and visitors to travel a system of byways which feature the scenic and cultural qualities of the state within the existing highway system, promote retention of rural and urban scenic byways, support the cultural, recreational and historic attributes along these byways, and expose the unique elements of the state's beauty, culture and history." The legislation established the program and the Scenic and Cultural Byways Council to serve as an advisory body for the Scenic and Cultural Byway System. The administration of the program is through the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Community Assistance. The New Hampshire Scenic Byway state coordinator is William Rose and he can be reached by e-mail at wrose@dot.state.nh.us.
New Hampshire's Scenic and Cultural Byways program is one of many now in place nationwide. These statewide programs are tied directly to the National Scenic Byways Program. There are three categories of byways under the National Scenic Byways Program; two are nationally designated categories, the third is a state designation.
All-American Roads are the cream of the crop, representing a handful of the Nation's top roadways. National Scenic Byways, the second group of nationally designated byways, represent roadways that are destinations in themselves and deserve national recognition for the intrinsic values they feature. There are about 53 National Scenic Byways in all, three located in New Hampshire (White Mountains Trail, Kancamagus Highway, and Connecticut River Byway). The third group consists of state designated byways (i.e. Coastal Byway, Moose Path Trail, Lakes Tour). These byways fit requirements set by the Scenic and Cultural Byway Council for inclusion in the statewide network. Some state designated byways go on to become National Scenic Byways as efforts progress along the byway. The White Mountains Trail was originally listed as a State Scenic and Cultural Byway, and after a great deal of effort, was nominated and accepted as a National Scenic Byway in 1998.
Scenic Roads
New Hampshire also has RSA 231:157 on the books, which allows the establishment of Scenic Roads. Scenic Roads are substantially different from Scenic and Cultural Byways. Scenic Roads are local, town designations. These roadways are only recognized locally, cannot be on Class I or II roads, and are not specifically part of a statewide system.
The RSA says that any road in a town, other than a Class I or Class II highway, may be designated as a Scenic Road upon petition of 10 persons who are either voters of the town or who own land that abuts a road mentioned in the petition. All abutters of the road must be notified within 10 days of the filing that a Scenic Road petition has been filed. Upon approval of this petition, the voters of the town may designate the road as a Scenic Road at any annual or special meeting. Similarly, a Scenic Road may also be un-designated at any annual or special meeting.
Designation as a Scenic Road means that repair, maintenance, and reconstruction work to the roadway should not involve the cutting or removal of trees (defined as 15 inches in diameter or more) or the tearing down or destruction of stone walls without prior written consent of the planning board or board responsible for the local Scenic Roads program. The RSA also goes on to say that designation of a roadway does not affect the rights of any abutting landowners on their property, and does not affect the eligibility of the town to receive construction, maintenance, or reconstruction aid.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Village Vision Committee Continues to Move Forward

A full committee met last night and progress continues to be made. Report format and outline has been somewhat defined and if all goes well, there should be a report in front of the BoS and Planning Board ( as well as the public) by early January. The next meeting is scheduled for September 9th at 7pm to gain some consensus on the outline of a vision and work to follow may include some graphic design and possibly even a landscape plan. The survey is also expected to be mailed out in the near future and as I understand it, will include a stamped self addressed envelope to return it. No firm date has been set yet.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Moultonboro Selectmen Meeting August 21st 2014

Video of the BoS meeting of August 21st 2014 can be found here on the Town website.

Some highlights: The BoS approved by a 3-2 vote  to amend the ABC charge. The ABC charge had previously included a review and comment of the collective bargaining agreement for the School District. The amended charge includes review of the "governing bodies" ( Town and School Board) CBA's after they have been negotiated since the Town now has the Moultonborough PD union.
There was extensive discussion of the role of the ABC in voting on all warrant articles vs. just those that are monetary articles. The charge specifies all warrant articles appearing on the Town and School warrant articles.
The ABC issue was followed by a lengthy discussion of the proposed UNH BRC feasibility study. A major issue was about the focus groups being open to the public to observe. I was strongly in favor of keeping the session open, but the BoS voted to keep the groups in closed session by a 4 to 1 vote. In addition, the School Superintendent will be invited to be part of the "oversight" team to include a member of the RAB, Recreation Director, Town Administrator, School Board member, and BoS member. I will represent the BoS with Joel Mudget as alternate.

A few more reminders

I forgot to mention in the previous post that the CIPC public hearing will be held in the Library program room.
And....there will be a Master Plan Transportation issues focus group on Wednesday at  5pm Town Hall

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The week ahead

On Tuesday, the Village Vision Committee will meet at 7pm in Town Hall.  According to the agenda , they are expected to discuss the Draft Guiding Principles document ,the gym site study progress and relationship to the Village Vision ,report preparation and the survey status
The BoS will have a work session at 4pm in Town Hall on Thursday, followed at 7pm with the CIPC Public Hearing. CIPC documents can be found here on the Town website.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"Study: Taylor property best site for possible gym" ?? Meredtith News August 21st 2014

To begin, I do appreciate that the Meredith News did provide coverage of some recent Moultonboro meetings , front page no less, but the headline is not quite accurate. The article that follows the headline does explain that the final decision was to use only part of the Taylor property, but the impression picking up the paper was just the opposite.
Purchasing the Taylor property was somewhat contentious and the selectboard at the time was clear that no plans were in place for the property if we purchased it, so the last thing the public would want to hear just 5 months later would be that it was chosen as the best site for the proposed gym. It wasn't. The BRC site study team was very clear that preserving the property for some future was important, and we wanted to minimize the use of it as much as possible. The final approved plan includes the back part of the Taylor property for some parking and a sliver for a possible access road to Rt. 25. The entirety of the building foot print is on the adjacent school property.


Friday, August 22, 2014

CIPC Meeting August 21st, 2014

The public hearing for the 2015-2020 CIPC proposed program will be held on Thursday August 28th at 7pm in the library meeting room.


 

"Performance Should Determine Your Vote" Nick Vazzana Democratic State Rep Candidate

Performance Should Determine Your Vote
 
According to Article I of the New Hampshire Constitution - “When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to insure the protection of others.” These words are meant to set the tone for a State Government that is created to serve the common good.
 
All of us can remember a time when State Reps were proud of the services, funding and assistance they brought to the voters, towns and businesses in their districts. Today, my incumbent opponents appear to have no philosophical interest or desire to use their office in serving the common good by helping our people or businesses succeed. Apparently, it’s just not their job anymore!
 
First, they say we should cut back on the role of government. Next, they claim government incompetence and waste … and then their conclusion: we shouldn’t even try to repair our local roads, provide inexpensive health care, protect women’s rights or encourage business.
 
It’s time that we elect Reps who speak and work for the people and towns of their districts. I hope to be such a representative. Our officials should only be rewarded with re-election for bringing services and assistance from Concord to our districts.
 
Nick Vazzana
Democratic State Rep Candidate
Moultonborough, Sandwich & Tuftonboro