The property would be sub-divided into 5 lots. As presented on Wednesday, there are no plans for any construction on the property, only a conceptual idea as to how the property could be used and how it could be laid out.
Early in the discussion, BoS Planning Board representative Russ Wakefield told the applicants that " we're not going to make it easy for you" presumably in regards to approving the site plan. While that may have not been the most politically correct statement to make considering all applications are to be reviewed according to their legal merits and within the requirements of our Zoning Ordinances and Site Plan Regulations, it does express how many locals feel.
Protecting Lake Kanasatka should be a priority and the Planning Board seems very attuned to that fact.
There was at first a vote denying moving the application to a public hearing because as per the Town Planner, it was not complete. Ellis argued that he provided more information and detail than required and that the intent of the Site Plan Regulations had been met. He expressed dismay that the Town Planner only provided the staff memo on the project to him that very morning and basically told him to go back to the drawing board.
After some discussion, Board member Al Hoch made a motion to reconsider the application to move to a public hearing and this time it passed.
What was presented to the Planning Board was a five lot subdivision with depictions of where homes could be located, but without any detailed plans for actual construction. The applicant is planning to sell the lots individually and it would be up to each new owner to obtain the necessary permits and site plan approvals for whatever they are planning to construct.
The depiction of the five homes on the property according to Dan Ellis of Ames Associates, was only meant to provide a possible configuration to indicate that each lot is build-able according to our site plan regulations.
The application includes approval by NH DOT for four proposed driveway curb cuts. That raised a great deal of angst from members of the Planning Board. They are concerned that it is a very tough area to make turns out of the BP station and Redding Lane and adding more outlets to that area would not be welcomed, especially during high traffic times.
The Planning Board is urging the applicant to develop the project in a cluster type development that would have the least impact on the lake and minimize the new driveway accesses. The creation of an interior road that would access all five properties was also something the board would like to see.
Another major issue, was the lack of a plan for the entire property to control water runoff into the lake. The applicant did not propose a plan for the entire property because the previously stated intent is for five property owners to create individual plans if and when the parcels are sold.
The hearing was continued to September 13th on a motion by Al Hoch, so that the owner and developer can show a plan with a single interior road and a plan to control water runoff to the lake.
This will be a tough one for the Planning Board. The owners of the property do have the right to achieve the full value of their property. Whether a cluster development will devalue what they could sell the lots for is debatable, but our current land use regulations and ordinances do not prevent what is being proposed.
That being said, what is in the best interest of the town? I am certain the traffic and access issues can be resolved or at least mitigated to the boards satisfaction.
More concerning is the lack of a plan to protect the lake. I believe that a plan for the entire property ( a holistic plan as PB Chair Scott Bartlett called it) in terms of water runoff should be required for approval. The lots when sold should then be required to follow these plans and construct their buildings to be in compliance.
The town cannot prevent development, nor should they, if the applicant follows the regulations, but the town can certainly draw a line in the sand and make this and future applicants aware that our priority is to protect our natural resources and as Russ Wakefield stated, we're not going to make it easy for you.