ANTRIM PLANNING BOARD
September 7, 2017
Members & Staff Present:
Jeanne Cahoon (Vice-Chair), Chris Condon (Chair), Colleen Giffin (Staff), Bob Holmes (Member),
Steve MacDonald (Member), Carol Ogilvie (Consultant Planner), Lynne Rosansky (Member), Bob Edwards (Ex-Officio)
Members Absent: Janet McEwen
Public Present: Jim Creighton
7:00 PM Public Meeting:
Chair Condon opened the meeting at 7
Approve August 17, 2017 Meeting Minutes
Ms. Rosansky moved to accept the meeting minutes of August 17. Mr. MacDonald seconded.
Motion: Minutes Ms. Rosansky moved to accept minutes as amended Mr. MacDonald seconded.
Vote: By a voice vote, all agreed.
How to be a Good Board Member
Mr. Holmes brought this to the Board’s attention pointing out the points he felt were relevant to this Board in
the new amendment of the 2017 South West Regional Planning Commissions Planning Board Handbook.
- Remain impartial. Never say how you intend to vote during the applicant’s presentation, abutter
- testimony or at any time during the hearing. Once the board closes the hearing and begins to
- deliberate, you can start to express your positions and begin to form an opinion about whether
- to approve the application or not. It is quite proper to raise questions and raise issues during
- the hearing but don’t make pronouncements like “well then, I guess I’ll just have to vote to
- deny this application” based on someone’s testimony or the applicant’s presentation.
- Remember, you are there to help all applicants, whether you agree with them or not.
- Be polite to everyone and “play fair” like you learned in kindergarten. *
- Consider recusal. You must step down (recuse yourself) if you have a direct personal
- or pecuniary interest in the outcome of a case that differs from the interest of other
- citizens or where you would otherwise be disqualified as a juror. [RSA 673:14, I] The
- board can even take a non-binding vote as to whether or not you should step down,
- but the ultimate decision is yours and yours alone. [673:14, II] The "Juror Standard" (RSA 500-A: 12) calls for disqualification where a board member:
a. Expects to gain or lose upon the disposition of the case;
b. Is related to either party;
c. Has advised or assisted either party;
d. Has directly or indirectly given an opinion or has formed an opinion;
e. Is employed by or employs any party in the case;
f. Is prejudiced to any degree regarding the case; or
g. Employs any of the counsel appearing in the case in any action then pending in the court. *
If you do recuse yourself, go for a walk, grab a coffee, read the notices on the bulletin
board, etc., and just step away from the proceedings – but make sure someone calls
you back in when that case is finished so you can resume your duties on the board.
Of course you can always participate in the case as a private citizen – membership
on the board does not strip you of that right – just be clear that you are speaking as
a citizen and not as a member of the board. But, if you firmly believe that you do
not have a conflict and can impartially judge the application, don’t be bullied into
stepping down just because the applicant might think you’ll vote against them.
It’s your decision. Always consider what is best for the board as a whole.
If you should be disqualified yet participate in the board’s decision, you may have
tainted the entire decision of the board, and it can be invalidated.* [Winslow v. Holderness, 125 NH 262 (1984)]
- Vote! There should be a roll call vote on every motion where each member’s vote is
- clearly documented as part of the record. The board should never vote by a show
- of hands and only use the mass “all those in favor say aye, those opposed say
- nay” for things that are generally expected to be unanimous, like approving minutes
- or closing the meeting. Each board member should vote yes or no on every motion
- and rarely if ever abstain (i.e., “acquiesce to the will of the majority”) from voting.
Never abstain just to avoid the difficult task of voting, fearing the anger of friends and
neighbors. This is the position you volunteered (or ran for) and it can come with
some difficult moments. Lastly, under RSA 91-A:3, I, the board is required to
have a roll call vote to enter into a non-public session.* [For more information
on non-public sessions, see Legal Q and A: The Inside Scoop on Nonpublic Sessions, New Hampshire Town and City, June 2012]
- Address the Chair. ALL questions should be addressed to the chair, e.g., “Madame (or Mister) Chairman,
- I have a question.” Once the person asks their question, the chair can then ask the applicant
- or appropriate person to respond. Do not allow direct back and forth discussions that can
escalate out of hand. All questions must be germane to the subject and if not,
the chair can so state and move to the next question.*
- Adhere to the ordinance and regulations. People may appear before the board in
- distressed situations. You should remain objective, yet still be sympathetic to their
- situation. Don’t try to be the hero and grant their relief by throwing the regulations or
- ordinance out the window. If the case comes back on appeal you may well have
- actually caused a disservice to the person, deepening their distress.
- If someone has become involved in bad business deals or other self-imposed difficulties, you are not necessarily there to bail them out.*
Other points different members felt were important;
- Have speakers introduce themselves. Ask everyone to state their name and address
- , the organization they represent, a brief summary of their concerns and any details
- or specifics that the board should know. As suggested previously, use a podium
- and microphone, if possible, and require everyone to speak and ask questions
- from that point. By having everyone speak from a common location
- (not from the audience seating), it puts all speakers on an equal footing and may
- lessen the chance of on-going back and forth arguments between abutters
- and a developer. Everyone needs to able to hear and see what is going on.*
- Chair Condon suggested a different arrangement of the chairs and tables so everyone can see the client.
- Mr. Edwards suggested a microphone system for the client so everyone can hear them.
*Taken from The Planning Board in New Hampshire A Handbook for Local Officials November 2016, Appendix G: How to be a Good Board Member.
Masterplan Survey Questions
The survey questions/answers will tell the Board what they should focus on concerning the sections that will be in the plan.
The discussion focused on the kind of questions in the survey. Some members of the
Board felt the questions should be simple one answer questions and that a second
survey could have more complex questions.
Chair Condon read through the questions one by one. A discussion ensued about
the questions that the Federal Census will ask vs. what the Board will ask.
Mr. Edwards asked Ms. Ogilvie if she knew how the Census was done and if the
information was current or not. Ms. Ogilvie explained that the Census was no longer
done on a ten year cycle, but in pieces every few years through mailers,
phone calls and other survey devices. The Board went through and decided
that some of the questions would go on the second more in-depth survey.
Jim Creighton, having never heard about how a Masterplan was developed,
asked how the Board decided what was going to go into the Masterplan at all
concerning the town and how did the Board narrow down all the concerns the
citizens might have. Chair Condon explained that the Masterplan is primarily
about Land Use. There are only two sections that have to be done and they are the Vision section and the Land Use Sections.
Mr. Edwards read “ the Masterplan is a tool for community growth and for capital investment.”
Chair Condon explained that the only real land use expert in the room was not on the Planning Board, but was the Consultant Ms. Ogilvie.
The Board would like to get the survey’s out by the middle of October.
Mr. Edwards asked if anything was being done about this. And he asked if
Ms. Ogilvie could incorporate the towns Discarded Materials ordinance into her Drafts of Revised Ordinances as well.
Motion: Ms. Cahoon made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Rosansky seconded the motion.
Vote: By a voice vote, all agreed
Meeting adjourned 7:59PM
Respectfully Submitted By,
Colleen Giffin, Land Use Board Staff