"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Major Subdivision Planned for Lake Kanasatka Property. Town Needs to do What is Necessary to Protect the Lake

The Planning Board last Wednesday held a public hearing on a proposed 5 lot major subdivision for this shore front property ( below outlined in yellow)  across from the BP gas station. The picture below from the town GIS map

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.


Fred Van Magness said...

Following is a letter I sent to the BOS and Planning Board concerning the proposed development. It is important for residents of Redding Lane, Krainewood, etc. etc. voice their concerns about no improvements to the Rt25/Redding Lane intersection, as this proposed development will only make problems entering and exiting Redding Lane more miserable. Now is the time to speak up...not later.
Moultonborough BOS, Planning Board: 8/11/2017
In listening to the BOS meeting of 8/10/17, I learned about Planning Board discussions concerning the development across from the current BP gas station on Rt25. Of concern is the addition of any further driveway access onto Rt 25 at this location without substantial improvements to the traffic patterns as they relate to Redding Lane.

On the town web site….Major Projects….Rt25 Intersection Design Matrix dated 11/14/2008…..Redding Lane was identified as the #1 problem intersection along Rt 25. Interestingly, Fox Hollow was identified as the #6 priority, although we all know Fox Hollow got attention a number of years ago. In the Rt25 Corridor Study of April, 2008 (another study) located at the same town project site, Redding Lane was again identified as one of the top 5 intersections needing significant improvement. Maybe it is time for folks to dust off these studies.

So, what has happened? Nothing as far as I can tell ! Pictures in the 2008 studies are the same today. These studies have been ignored and there appears to be no action by the town, in concert with NHDOT, to begin formal designs or funding to improve Redding Lane access. I think statistics will prove that there are far more vehicle trips entering Rt 25 at Redding Lane than the Fox Hollow intersection, yet that project got first billing. Strange, but then again, I think I know why, but that is for another day. Certainly the CIPC most likely has nothing allocated in the current draft. So now, 9 + years after all these studies, nothing is happening or even contemplated. Does anyone ever develop an action plan from these studies that is actually followed?? Now we have yet another development that will impact this Rt25 corridor. Bravo to the Planning Board for potentially reducing the number of driveway accesses, but that simply is not sufficient to solve the problems longer term. The Planning Board cannot add to the problem without demanding solutions. The issues brought up in the 2008 studies still exist and have multiplied with further development along the Redding Lane corridor. The situation now will be further exacerbated by more driveway (s) along this same stretch of Rt25.

It is certainly time…..9+ years of inaction….for the BOS and the Planning Board to take concrete actionable steps to request NHDOT prioritize the Redding Lane intersection improvements and require the developers of the Tamarack LLC project to contribute to fixing the this intersection before they make it even more dangerous. This intersection cannot be ignored any longer !! It is also probably time for an on demand traffic light as well.

I request the town take positive actions to redesign and construct improvements to this intersection that were identified 9 + long years ago. Certainly the Planning Board must take these studies into consideration before any approvals are granted for the current project and the BOS must initiate a solid plan with NHDOT to make improvements soon.

Anonymous said...

Two comments, the property on Rte. 25 is zoned commercial, not residential. New commercial development can take place without any variance or special exceptions. Subdividing it into 5 lots will only enable 5 commercial developments. Yes, before any consideration of subdividing, improvements to the Redding intersection should come first and be a condition precedent.

With regard to Redding Lane, Mr. Van Magness is absolutely correct. Redding was identified by Lakes Region Planning, the State DOT and a group of representatives from the Town including the then Police Chief, later Road Agent Kinmond as the intersection most in need of redesign on Rte. 25 in Moultonboro. Notwithstanding that determination, the political powers to be, including both local and state, determined to award money and use Town funds to widen Rte. 25 at Fox Hollow to create a pseudo left turn lane and improve visibility, spending more than $700,000 of State and Town money on the project to benefit the residents of Fox Hollow that low and behold included the former NH House Majority Leader.

The trouble is that the local political swamp needs draining and the current powers to be won’t abide by the interests and needs of the Town.