Present: Chairman Bea Davis, Selectman Gino Funicella, Selectman David Mason
Visitors: Dee McClave, Sarah Clemons, Road Agent Rob Hatch, Police Chief Karl Meyers, Bobbie Meserve, Tom Perkins, Arthur Holcomb (unidentified woman who came in just prior to and left immediately following the discussion w/ Tom Perkins and Arthur Holcomb - Mrs. Holcomb), Bob Stevenson, Warren Schomaker, Shawn Bergeron, Roger Hartman, Don Bilger
The Board was called to order at 4 p.m.
1. Approve the Minutes of April 16 and April 28, 2008 The minutes of April 16th were approved as amended. The Board received the minutes of April 28th this afternoon so they will be reviewed and approved at the next meeting.
2. Rob Hatch (added) Road Agent Rob Hatch noted the crew is sweeping but it’s going slowly due to some equipment trouble and there’s a lot of sand out there. He noted he hasn’t had any complaints but he wanted the Board to be aware there had been slow progress. The sand also has to be dry to be picked up. Selectman Funicella noted he’d looked for the specs on the sidewalk snow plow and wasn’t able to find them. Rob noted that Tracey is going to look through her information files to see if she can find this. The parks and common areas have all been cleaned up. There are a
couple of ditch line repairs that need to be made; Town Hall Road is troublesome and Dundee is still muddy. They tried to smooth it out with the York rake but then the truck sunk, so they got out of there and will have to wait until it’s drier to finish the work. Rob was asked how many dirt roads his crew is responsible for and he reviewed them with the Board. There are quite a few and Rob reminded them that these are all busy roads. Selectman Mason asked Rob if he’d contacted Paul DegliAngeli (Conway’s Town Engineer) to see how Conway handled their sand and salt shed. Rob hasn’t but will. Rob cautioned all that the future of sand storage is not set in stone but it is widely believed that if we’re going to have bulk sand then the state will require it be covered. There has been no date set for that change. He did remind folks that Jackson’s sand and salt comes in separately but then they mix the whole pile.
3. Karl Meyers (added) Police Chief Karl Meyers noted they met with DCYF regarding someone in town who is not mentally well. There have been a couple of alarms and an open door at a residence which they checked out. There was a suspicious vehicle report and some stolen property was returned to its rightful owner. Ballentine’s camp caved in due to snow; the Police are trying to reach the owner but they have no phone number for him. This is up off Carter Notch Road and Karl plans to put up barricades so folks won’t go up there. Selectman Funicella thinks Tom Perkins will have
that phone number. When asked where the barricades would go Karl noted he plans to barricade the entire road; Selectman Mason requested that only Ballentine’s road be barricaded.
As the Board had folks on the agenda that planned to attend at specific times, and were not yet in attendance, the Board agreed to continue with other items on the agenda.
4. New England Forestry Foundation Selectman Mason spoke to the folks at NEFF and they admitted that no one gives them Charitable Organization status. They don’t do anything in the Jackson area and they spent a relatively small amount on educational programs. Their primary function is timber. Selectman Mason, seconded by Selectman Funicells, made a motion to deny NEFF’s request for Charitable Organization status. The motion passed unanimously.
5. Board of Adjustment Selectman Funicella, seconded by Chairman Davis, made a motion to appoint Dave Urey as a regular member and to appoint Joan Davies as alternate to the Board of Adjustment. Both appointments would normally expire on May 9th but the Board agreed to make these three year appointments. The motion passed unanimously. Dot Wood had notified the Selectmen that she didn’t wish to be reappointed at the expiration of her current Board of Adjustment term. Selectmen will send a letter thanking her for her service.
6. Memo from Jason Call regarding the 2007 Ratio Study Jackson was informed that their ratio was too low; Jason wrote a memo to explain the reason. The ratio depends on what the property is worth and what it was sold for. Selectman Funicella noted that there continues to be disparity with vacant land sales, some lots were out of their levels. Our ratio is 85.5 while the median is 86.4 so we’re close. Ron Cote will be in to discuss this at our next meeting. Selectman Mason asked if Jason would be available to explain the various ratios and calculations referenced in his memo.
Selectman Mason would like to gain a better understanding of the process. Selectman Funicella noted that the number of sales skews the ratio as well.
7. Other business #1 Selectman Mason, seconded by Selectman Funicella, made a motion to send a letter to Thorne Hill Inn and ask them to either pay their taxes according to the regular schedule or to make an appointment to meet with the Board to explain why they should be granted an installment arrangement. The motion passed unanimously. While Tracey was in the room, the Board asked her if she had any follow-up information regarding Valley Vision. Tracey confirmed that Linda Dresch is working on both the Valley Vision situation and the UNH cancer research. Tracey will follow
up with Linda on these items. Selectman Mason wants to discuss office hours. The office is closed Monday through Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 for lunch. If that were a problem for Jackson residents who had to conduct business on their lunch hour this practice would be worth reviewing. However, observation suggests traffic is primarily business people such as realtors, surveyors, engineers and builders. It would seem these business people are very aware of office hours and have the flexibility in their schedules to visit the office when it is open. Selectman Mason reviewed the schedules of office employees and the reasons the hours have been set as they have. He noted that Julie’s days had been changed to include Wednesday because Tracey was working alone in the building on Wednesday afternoons. Concern was expressed for her security and Julie’s days were changed in order to have two people in the office on Wednesday afternoons. The office is closed on Friday to provide
uninterrupted time for work on projects that require focus and concentration. Although some administrative duties have been moved (outsourcing minutes and payroll) with some time being made available as a result, the need for uninterrupted work time is not changed. Also, the security concerns posed by one person alone on Wednesdays would exist if the office were open on Fridays. Selectman Mason suggested if the office were to be opened for a half or full day on Friday it would require adding to employee hours. While being open for a half day might provide adequate uninterrupted work time in the second half of the day, the previously expressed security concerns would require a second person for at least the half day the office would be open. If the office were to be open for a full day the security concerns and the need to field calls and inquiries to provide uninterrupted work time would require an additional person for the full day. Selectman Mason suggested selectmen give
the issue some thought and the subject be discussed again. Chairman Davis is looking into providing a Dutch door for the office. Tracey was asked how often Linda works and she explained Linda works one day a week but her schedule is flexible depending on the needs of the Town Office. Selectman Funicella pointed out that Jackson’s office is open more often and provides more service than most offices in this area. Tracey wanted to make sure no decisions on changing office hours would be made without her input. She was assured any changes would be made only after she provided input. Chairman Davis has heard that most employees would prefer to be paid weekly. Chairman Davis noted that Fran will do the monument and the triangle for the same price as last year. The garden club does the walkway at the town office and the Fire Department has purchased buckets. There will be buckets purchased for the Town Hall as well. Selectman Mason wanted to know if the Board had received the
addendum from Shawn regarding indemnification. This was affirmed.
8. Tom Perkins & Arthur Holcomb to discuss parking at the end of Carter Notch Road Tom and Arthur explained that they have been trying to figure out a way to get a parking lot at the end of Carter Notch Road for use during the winter. The men provided the Board with a plan to review and wanted to know if the town would allow them to put this lot in its ROW, it was clarified that the ROW would be the parking lot. It’s under the power lines and it’s overgrown but has no big trees. Rob Hatch also looked at the plan; he has to leave but he wants to make sure he is involved in
this project as it progresses. The Board plans to go out and walk the area. Sarah Clemons wants to know if this would be where Ms White’s B & B would be able to see it; which was negated. She also wanted to know if they will be clearing snow from this area and putting it on anyone else’s land; this was also negated. The Board wanted to assure that this would be for use during the winter only; which was affirmed; and that there wouldn’t be a multitude of signage, which they agreed to. Arthur noted the only sign anticipated at this time might be one that requests head-in parking only. The plan would call for them to build a retaining wall and to assure drainage without erosion. Selectman Funicella, seconded by Chairman Davis, made a motion to set up a meeting with the parties involved, to review the plan and to make a decision within thirty days. The motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Davis believed that since the Board had a letter from Don Bilger he wouldn’t be attending tonight. She reviewed the letter and the request but was informed that Mr. Bilger is planning to attend and he’s not on the schedule until 5:30 (see agenda item # 13).
9. Other business #2 The Selectmen invited Bob Stevenson and Dee McClave to discuss a project regarding a grant funds available for safe pathways to school emphasizing walking and bicycling. Projects such as sidewalk and bicycle lanes were mentioned. Bob and Dee reviewed how the funding works. The town has to raise, appropriate and approve spending the funds, spend the funds and then be reimbursed within thirty days by the state. Chairman Davis has a lot of questions about this project; she thinks this whole thing needs to be brought before the town. Selectman Mason asked for
clarification on how this would work; Bob noted the item goes on the warrant but before the vote we’d know if the state has approved the project for funding. First they have to develop a proposal and it’s not just for a sidewalk; this may be for things such as bike racks and can be for anything within a two mile radius of the school. The first step is to form a task force and we can be reimbursed up to $5,000 for this phase. The next phase would be planning and the maximum reimbursement for this is $15,000. The third phase would begin after studies are completed, sometime next fall; then this would go on the warrant for 2009. The project has a maximum reimbursement of $100,000 and the town doesn’t have to come up with matching funds. The state would reimburse the town within thirty days of submission of billing. The proposals for funding of the group and planning have to be in by Monday. A group of interested citizens is going to meet tomorrow morning but they need to have
a signature on the proposal; they are hoping the Board will support this. Chairman Davis thought they had to have the money for the project before they could apply for the funds. Bob noted this was incorrect; we only need the plan to apply. Chairman Davis noted that this is within a two mile radius and if it’s for sidewalks and crosswalks the state would have to approve those. Bob noted that’s true but this is a state project. Chairman Davis wants to know if Bob and Dee think kids are going to ride their bikes to school because currently parents drop their kids off and pick them up; citizens can’t even get into the Post Office because the cars are all lined up for the school. Bob noted that while the town must spend the money the group and planning money will be approved by the state before any money is spent so it is simply a timing difference, funds will be fully reimbursed. Chairman Davis noted they are asking us to spend $5,000 before they’ll get any reimbursement and
she still feels the voters need to approve spending these funds. Selectman Funicella is participating in this project and he noted there isn’t really a rush to get sidewalks; he suggested getting a machine that would be used to clear the sidewalks. Bob noted that Jackson built the addition to the school with blinders; we didn’t talk about sidewalks or bike racks or parking; now we have a problem and this is a way to get the money to fix this problem. They’ve spoken with the Planning Board regarding what the library is planning to put in; they are going to put in sidewalks but there’s nothing going across to the school. Warren Schomaker noted there is a mechanism available to provide “walking around money” to get this going. Donations can be made to an escrow fund then once the project is approved and funded those making donations to the escrow fund can be reimbursed. The Board agreed this is a project they could support especially if Jackson will get the funds back.
Selectman Mason wants to know how we get the $20,000 (for the task force and planning) into the budget. Bob noted there is a cap of $5,000 for the task force and $15,000 for the planning and the state can approve up to that amount; then it would go on the warrant for what has been approved. Bob noted their group is simply looking for the Board to approve their applying for these funds. Selectman Funicella noted that if we don’t approve this then we are passing up the opportunity for the funds. Bob agreed noting that last year the state only spent $500,000 out of $1,000,000 that was available and now is the time to plan. If there is no approval from the state then they don’t spend any money. If the state does approve funding then the project would come back to the Board. Chairman Davis wants folks to understand this is going to increase our taxes. Selectman Mason doesn’t see any reason not to pursue this as we are not spending any tax dollars at this point and there are a
number of people willing to spend their time and energy to see if there is a viable project. Selectman Funicella agrees noting Jackson is a town that needs the help and shouldn’t walk away from the opportunity. Chairman Davis just wants to make sure everyone is aware any final project impact taxes as funds will have to be appropriated even though they are to be reimbursed by the state. Selectman Mason, seconded by Selectman Funicella, made a motion to approve applying for these funds. The motion passed unanimously.
10. Shawn Bergeron Technical Services: update on building permits Shawn has four items to discuss with the Board and a question on a fifth item. He asked the Board if they got information regarding Mr. Gury; which they haven’t. Shawn noted the case is now in the hands of the court and it’s up to the court to make a decision. The hold harmless and indemnification modification to Shawn’s proposal to provide technical services to the town came in to Shawn from Ken Cargill today so he hasn’t reviewed this yet. Regarding the Land Use portion there is an addition to this that states
the information Shawn is providing is a best attempt at accuracy but is non-binding. There is a new inspector starting with Shawn on May 15th; his name is Andy Chalmers and he’ll be doing a fair amount of work for both Jackson and Bartlett. He’ll be working with Kim and Shawn for several months before he’ll be working on his own. Regarding the Crane project, Shawn wants to know what the Board is looking for in looking at the project. The Board noted this has been underway for two years (Shawn noted it’s been more than two years) and they want to make sure it is still within the limits of the original permit. Shawn inherited this project so he’ll do the best he can to work out the information the Board is looking for. The permit is good until June of this year so it’s a good time to review it. Shawn also reported that he’s left several building permits on Julie’s desk so building is picking up again. Selectman Funicella wants to know if Shawn is all set with fire
inspections and Shawn noted that he wouldn’t say he’s “all set” but he’s well on the way to working out the details. In the Board’s packet there is an approval for framing only at the Wentworth Condominiums. Their engineer gave the foundation his blessing; Shawn would not have but it’s out of his hands. They have to bring the building up to current code. Jackson is implementing the state building code so if their engineer seals it, the state’s all set and we have that in writing. The Wentworth admitted they have spent all of their code enforcement money so they are trying very hard not to have to do more. The project has been sealed and signed by the state.
11. Roger Hartmann to discuss business proposal at home Roger noted he received the letter from the Board and was very surprised by their denial. He argued that the home at 91 Thorne Hill Road is owned by Hartmann Railroad so he doesn’t see how they can deny him the ability to run that business out of that address, he believes he is grandfathered. Selectman Mason pointed out that the problem is that while the home may be owned by Hartmann Railroad, he hasn’t been running the railroad there. Roger countered the office work has always been based out of that location. He noted that
his business is on the very edge of existence at their Intervale location; he has three times the expenses with half the attendance. This property is for sale because the business has always been on Thorne Hill Road. Selectman Mason concurred that doing the office work is an allowable home occupation but what Mr. Hartmann is now proposing is a non-conforming use. Grandfathering would only apply if he were proposing to continue doing what he is already doing. Having the railroad moved to that location is different and is not a customary home occupation. Roger believes it comes down to does the Valley want to have a Railroad museum or does no one want them to continue what they’ve been doing for many years. Roger wondered if he could simply put an extension on his house rather than asking to build a separate building for his railroad. His neighbors are the Jackson Inn and the Inn at Thorne Hill. The letter he got from the Board in 1991 states there’s no reason that he can’t
have his business at his Thorne Hill property. Selectman Mason noted that the project Roger spoke about in 1991 is vastly different from what he is proposing now. He believes the best thing for Roger to do would be to bring a plan to the Board, get denied and then pursue it through the Board of Adjustment by making the argument that he has businesses right next to him. Roger doesn’t think that what he is proposing would be offensive to anyone since he’s talking about operating only four days a week for perhaps five months a year. Selectman Mason noted that if he lived across from or next to Roger he would not be happy with the new traffic in and out of Roger’s business. He reiterated that Roger could ask for a variance but the Board can’t give him approval. The Board agreed that Roger has plenty of room for what he is proposing. Selectman Funicella noted that Jackson has had home businesses that have affected their neighborhoods and that a request for a variance would be the
way to do what Roger wants to do. He suggested Roger contact Shawn (Bergeron) and get his input. He also wanted to know if Roger has spoken with Mr. Cyr at the Nestlenook. Roger hasn’t. Selectman Funicella noted that Mr. Cyr is always on the lookout for attractions to enhance his business and maybe he’d be interested in working with Roger on this. Selectman Mason pointed out that Roger has some work to do before he can apply for a permit. Roger noted he has plans and he has clientele who will be sad to see Hartmann Railroad go; and there’s one more hobby gone. Roger explained that when he came to the United States and became a citizen he worked to provide this railroad heritage and history and it will go down the drain with a lot of his money because no one wants to help him. Selectman Funicella pointed out that it’s not that the Board doesn’t want to help him with this situation; it’s that the Board has to follow the rules. Roger noted the Board is upset with his six
parking spaces but not the parking for the Inns. It was pointed out that the Thorne Hill Inn has been in existence since the 1800’s and the Jackson Inn is in the commercial district; Roger is outside the commercial district; he can’t be grandfathered because he hasn’t been running the railroad out of his Thorne Hill location and what he is currently proposing is not a usual home occupation. Roger argued that based on the letter he has from the Jackson Board of Selectman from 1991 he thought he could run his business at his Thorne Hill location. It was pointed out to Roger that his letter of 1991 doesn’t say he wanted to run the railroad up at his Thorne Hill location and Roger agreed he had wanted to keep the business separate from his home. The business he is proposing is open only between ten and five so he won’t be increasing traffic on the road. Selectman Mason noted Roger may be right but he has to present his plan to the Board of Adjustment and ask for a variance.
Roger asked if he can put an addition on his house. Selectman Mason asked if the addition is conforming; if it conforms then he can put an addition on his house but then he still has to ask if he can run a retail business out of that addition and the answer to that is probably that his proposal is non-conforming and is not a usual home occupation. The only option is for Roger to bring in a plan, have the Board of Selectman reject it, then bring it to the Board of Adjustment and ask for a variance.
12. Other Business #2 Sarah Clemons noted that the Board has been speaking about changing office hours and she’d like to suggest they be open (to the public) every day from 8:30 to 1 then have four hours for five days a week of “private time”. This would give the staff more hours of uninterrupted time to complete their work without hiring more staff. Selectman Mason noted we currently provide staff with uninterrupted time. Chairman Davis thinks a lot of people would complain; she thinks 8:30 to 4:30 and being closed on Friday works better. Sarah agreed individuals would need to
be accommodated and could set up afternoon appointments if that’s the only time they have. It was pointed out that if exceptions are made for folks who need to come in after closing then the uninterrupted time this is supposed to provide has been eliminated.
13. Don Bilger Whitney’s Inn liquor license (extending the license to designated areas of the Inn) Don explained that the Liquor Commission is saying he has to get town approval for his request before the Commission will consider it. There are three areas that all did at one time serve liquor. He wants to be able to serve liquor in the pool area, the patio area outside the tavern and the picnic area. Regarding the picnic area he is making this request on behalf of Marty Sweeney as he has a history of having lobster bakes in the picnic area. Don thinks most likely he won’t get
approval from the Commission for that. One issue is bathrooms (which could be addressed by providing porta-potties) and the other is people crossing the road. Selectman Funicella doesn’t think that would prevent approval from the Commission; we have people crossing the road at Christmas Farm Inn and the Eagle Mountain House has had functions on both sides of the road for years. Selectman Funicella, seconded by Chairman Davis, made a motion to accept the Whitney Inn’s proposal and process the paperwork necessary to bring it to the Liquor Commission. The motion passed unanimously. Don noted he will generate the paperwork for the Board’s review.
14. Other Business #3 Don Bilger would like to express his appreciation to the town regarding MS Week. We have 270 people coming to town for this week; every lodging property in Jackson is participating and he’d also like to thank all the local businesses and residents of Jackson who are providing rooms and serving meals.
Chairman Davis reiterated for the public that Ron Cote is going to be at the Board meeting on May 19th. We have yet to hear from Bartlett regarding setting a date to meet regarding the Transfer Station. Chairman Davis got a copy of the Master Plan which is three or four years old and she has a copy of the agreement on how the Transfer Station is to be run. Bobbie Meserve asked if the Master Plan was created with Jackson and Bartlett or just Jackson. Selectman Funicella confirmed this was a joint plan developed with both towns.
Selectman Mason will follow-up with Tracey regarding the Alpine Lane Cul-de-sac.
Chairman Davis, seconded by Selectman Funicella, made a motion to adjourn at 6:02 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.
Respectfully submitted by:
Martha D. Tobin