Zoning ‘housekeeping’ changes, new projects ahead

| Joanne Cole |

The planning board on February 2 made quick work of proposed ‘housekeeping’ changes to the town’s zoning ordinance.  The revisions would correct numbering, update labels, and harmonize cross-references – “simple corrections to minor elements,” according to town planner Scott Hastings.

The one substantive change, Hastings noted, would require that notices to abutters be mailed seven days ahead of site plan review before the planning board.  The ordinance currently sets no specific timetable for abutters’ notices.    

As required for proposed ordinance changes, chair Don Libby opened a public hearing on the housekeeping items.  The public responded with resounding silence, and Libby closed the hearing.   The board then voted to send the revisions to the selectmen for formal approval and placement on this year’s town meeting warrant. 

In other business, the board had a preliminary discussion with Dan Kibben about plans for a possible subdivision at the southwest corner of Lewiston Road and Bald Hill Road.  Kibben is contemplating five or six residential lots on the parcel, perhaps including duplexes if feasible.  His surveyor Stuart Davis, also attending the Zoom meeting, described it as a “very wet site.”  Board members familiar with the site concurred.  Don Libby recalled a pond on the site: “The kids used to skate there before the cattails took it over.”

Conversation followed over whether some or all of the tract’s wet areas are standard forested wetlands or instead perhaps a wetlands system subject to greater regulatory scrutiny.  Kibben and his professional team are investigating. 

Along with wetlands questions, board members discussed access requirements if lots front Route 100 and also the acreage needed to support a duplex on the site.  However, all remains theoretical and nonbinding at this point, as Hastings reminded members; the pre-application meeting is an information session to review requirements and possible issues.  The board will walk the site in the next week or two.

According to Hastings, more projects are in the board’s late-winter pipeline.  They will meet to take up two applications in mid-February, with more on the way for March. 

To view the February 2 planning board meeting, click here.  For information about planning board members and their work, click here.