November 26, 2013BARNSTEAD — The Barnstead Planning Board held a work session on Thursday, Nov. 21, and discussed the Master Plan and the Capital Improvement Plans during its meeting.
Chair Nancy Carr said the board had received information regarding the CIPs from the school, the highway department and the fire chief.
Member Clarke Goodrich felt the police department's CIP was a couple of years behind. Carol Locke pointed out that information had recently come forward announcing the retirement of the police chief.
Jim Barnard, the selectmen's representative felt that any town employee has a responsibility to do their job if they are on the payroll.
The board reviewed a copy of the vision statement for the new Master Plan, with David Brown, the Chair of the Master Plan Committee in attendance to answer any questions.
The statement included the thought of building a new energy efficient municipal building and pointed to the survey that showed people aren't in favor of a new building but are in support of repairing roads and bridges.
Goodrich thanked Barnard and the rest of the selectmen for reducing the tax rate. Goodrich brought up the question presented to him recently about where the town wants to move forward. He was asked if the town wants to remain a bedroom community or grow businesses and industry that would allow for vast improvements of the town infrastructure. He couldn't provide an answer.
Barnard said plans to improve the infrastructure have to move slowly and paying for different town projects needs to be figured out.
A senior housing project is also included in the vision statement and improvements of the roads and bridges in town.
Members of the board suggested that the school improvement plan should be included. Brown said this could be easily included and would include adding six classrooms and roof repairs.
Karen Schacht, an alternate on the board, said that it is important that the Master Plan is well written. There was some discussion about the exact language and that it should include "problem areas are identified and needs have been evaluated and then addressed."
Brown brought up goals of the previous Master Plan that included bus service to Concord and extended sidewalks. The previous version was created in better economic times and wouldn't have included many of these types of goals.
The board discussed the rules of procedure and after a lengthy discussion it was agreed that the issue of posting limits and changing it to 15 days within a planning board meeting needed to be addressed by the town attorney.
Carr said the issue of workforce housing needs to be drafted into an amendment and previously the board agreed to create a ballot question extending the sunset clause five years.
The meeting ended with a non-public meeting to discuss legal issues.
The next scheduled meeting of Barnstead Planning Board is on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Barnstead Town Hall.
Tim Croes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126