ANTRIM PLANNING BOARD
7:00 P.M. Thursday
January 18, 2018
Members & Staff Present:
Chris Condon (Chair), Bob Holmes, Bob Edwards (Ex-Officio), Steve MacDonald, Janet McEwen, and Carol Ogilvie (Consultant Planner).
Members Absent: Jeanne Cahoon (Vice Chair), Lynne Rosansky.
Others Present: Ron Haggett and Ray Ledgerwood.
CTO: Chair Condon called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. and introduced the Board and staff.
I. Shook Lot Line Adjustment
Chair Condon announced that the applicants for a Lot Line Adjustment (Tax Map 232, Lots 5 & 6) that the Board had approved in February of 2013 were here this evening to discuss that application.
Priscilla and Donald Shook explained that the merger was not what they had asked for. They had wanted a subdivision of three lots and relied on advice of the surveyor for a lot line adjustment. They realized when the tax bills came in that the change was not what they wanted.
Chair Condon explained that the application was approved and the plat was filed with the Registry. If they want something different than what was approved and filed, they will need to come back to the Planning Board.
Ms. Shook questioned whether the Town is in some part liable for the mistake, which seems to involve the multiple ownership of the land. Chair Condon asked Ms. Ogilvie’s opinion. Ms. Ogilvie stated that at this point, it is not clear to her what mistake the Town might have made, and therefore she could not really speak to Ms. Shook’s question. All of the property owners at the time signed the plat, so it is not clear what the problem might have been. Chair Condon advised the Shooks to go back to their original surveyor and seek relief. In the meantime, the Town will examine its information from the file.
II. NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs
Ms. Kaylor spoke first on the topic of Business Retention. She noted that up to 80% of new jobs and investments are generated by existing companies. It can be less costly to focus on businesses that are already here as opposed to trying to bring in new business. Relationship building can include featuring local businesses on the Town’s website, for example, or holding events that focus on local businesses. She emphasized the importance of business-friendly regulations. She spoke briefly about the Economic Revitalization Zone program that is available through her agency that provides a tax credit for employers within the designated zone for hiring new employees. She further noted that Antrim had submitted an application for an ERZ last year that was not approved; however, the Town could always re-apply
and the Department would be happy to work with the Town on an application.
Mr. Bergeron then spoke to Business Recruitment. He noted that the most important factors are attitude (how townspeople feel about their town) and patience. The business culture is so different today, and a big piece of that is social media. The Town should actively engage in Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Economic development needs a presence on social media. Find whatever your niche is and keep telling the story. You want to emotionally connect with people on the front page of the website. Tell the selling points – why should people come to Antrim? List the top five reasons as part of your pitch. List your available buildings and land sites. His agency’s website has a page to list businesses and sites by town. Identify suitable sites and – if necessary, adjust the zoning. Towns that can serve as
good models include Claremont, Franklin, Ashland, and Peterborough. Explain the approval process and make it easy to understand. Certainly is important to business and they do not like towns with a bad attitude. He emphasized the importance of good customer service, including a direct line to contact by telephone. He also recommends establishing an Economic Development Committee and start with small steps.
Mr. Holmes asked if lack of cell phone service is a problem, to which Mr. Bergeron replied, yes. Chair Condon asked how other towns handle a website. Mr. Bergeron said that some have a separate page for economic development, for example: “Doing business in Antrim.” Mr. Edwards noted that under 20/20 there was an economic development committee, and he wondered if Antrim should form a Corporation so funding would be possible. If someone were hired, is success more likely? Mr. Bergeron said yes. Very important as well is to find some very small, practical steps that bring some good results.
Ms. McEwen asked if the Board prepared something that followed up on his recommendations, would Mr. Bergeron be willing to review it, to which Mr. Bergeron replied, absolutely.
Mr. Edwards stressed the importance of having business-friendly regulations so that businesses know exactly what they do and where they can do it. Mr. Holmes wondered how to prep Rt. 202, for example? Chair Condon noted that that particular stretch of road has various constraints to development. Mr. Bergeron reiterated the importance of a patient, long-term approach.
Mr. Ledgerwood stated that 20/20 had some very good groups, but with no full-time person to oversee activities, enthusiasm gets lost. He also emphasized the importance of housing: you can’t attract business if there is no place for employees to live.
Chair Condon pointed out that rules for home businesses have been relaxed and made more user-friendly. Mr. Bergeron said the Town should advertise that. Ms. McEwen asked if there were grants for this work. Mr. Bergeron said no, however, other possibilities include leveraging a local college and/or using interns. Mr. Edwards asked if it would be possible for Mr. Bergeron and Ms. Kaylor to come back for another presentation for a broader audience, including other Town officials and people who participated in the 20/20 exercise.
Chair Condon stated that he would put this item on the February agenda so that the enthusiasm generated by tonight’s discussion would not be lost.
III. CIP Presentation
Chair Condon called on Ron Haggett, Chair of the CIP Committee, to present the CIP for 2018 – 2023 to the Planning Board. Mr. Haggett reported that the CIP was presented to the BOS last night. The presentation was out of order, but that was unavoidable. Mr. Haggett gave an overview of the six-year period but noted that the focus right now is on the first year of the Program. The Select Board will now want to follow up on a few items that are in the plan. The CIP work has identified issues that need follow-up. Mr. Edwards and Mr. Haggett then reviewed the Plan for the Board, noting that these are recommendations and that the Select Board will get more detail on certain specifics.
Fire Department: There is a need to fine-tune the unexpended balance, but it is essentially accurate. Capital Reserve may be adjusted. 2010 Freightliner may change, as might the breathing apparatus.
Library: No Capital Reserve funds are being proposed at this time. The Library is in good shape with operating budget, Town buildings and/or trust funds.
Public Works: The program is essentially equipment replacement, and the dollars are approximate. The Select Board will need to decide how to fund this in the future. 410k unexpended needs another review. Mr. Haggett noted that unexpended does not necessarily mean unencumbered.
Dams & Bridges: West Street is the only state/town project that has an 80/20 match. Other projects are town-funded. The Dam Capital Reserve Fund was created last year with $16,000 and plan is to put $5,000 away every year following.
Police: They will be continuing the customary cruiser replacement. The Capital Reserve Fund has been deleted because the cruisers come out of the Department’s operating budget.
Recreation: The Town will be talking with the School about how the expenses are shared for the gym floor and the fields.
Town Government Buildings: The roof is the only project at this time. Mr. Edwards stated that someone suggested that an assessment should be done for all town buildings. There are many buildings that have and/or will be facing issues in the future, so the Select Board needs to be thinking ahead.
Fixed CIP Obligations: The bonded debt for Highland Avenue is not yet reflected.
Water & Sewer: This program needs much more evaluating. An assessment must be done to identify a proper location for a new well. Testing has been done, but so far no good results. The River Crossing is the major project; it has been plugged-in to bring attention, but cost is uncertain. The Commissioners are being proactive.
Mr. MacDonald stated that in his opinion, the process has worked the best this year of all time. The numbers mean nothing without the information that comes out of the departments. In the future, the Planning Board should make clear that the data is the most important piece (in the letter to the department heads).
- Minutes of December 21, 2017. Chair Condon tabled this item until next meeting.
V. Other Business
Chair Condon noted that the filing period for the Board opens January 24, 2018.
Mr. Edwards reported that there is going to be a recommendation by the assessing standards board for any town that is in a cooperative school district that the DRA should use towns’ assessment for utility properties instead of the DRA’s assessment. For Antrim, this will mean more money to be paid by the Town, and it is important to pay attention to that for future budgeting.
Mr. Edwards asked if the Board had any interest in hearing a presentation for the DRA regarding current use and gravel pits. Chair Condon stated that he will bring the question up when there is a full board sitting.
Motion: Ms. McEwen made a motion to adjourn/seconded by Mr. Edwards.
Vote: By a voice vote, all agreed.
Meeting adjourned: 9:30 PM
Respectfully Submitted By,