May 27, 2015ALTON — The Alton planning board began its May 19 meeting by deciding how the town would define earth excavations.
Town Planner Kenneth Williams explained the regulations would be determined by what the planning board decides to adopt after a public meeting. It would not involve a town vote.
There was some discussion over who would work on creating regulations, the planning board or the zoning amendment committee.
Vice-Chairman Thomas Hoopes stated he felt the zoning amendment committee (consisting of members from the zoning board, planning board and board of selectmen) was the "best subcommittee I've seen in the town, ever."
Hoopes also noted the planning board would have the final say on the policies regarding excavations, so there was no reason to not pass the work on to the subcommittee.
Planning board member Peter Bolster noted currently the ordinance on excavations was a little "skimpy" and he believed it would be much easier on contractors and others if everyone was more informed.
ZBA Chairman Paul Monzione was also present and included in the discussion.
Monzione suggested they may need to take the state statute and "develop it uniquely to suit the needs of the town."
Planning board member also recognized that sometimes the planning board can do something with good intentions and end up making it a "nightmare" for the ZBA.
He also felt the zoning amendment committee was a good place to start in building these new guidelines.
The decision was unanimously approved by the planning board.
Brad Smith on behalf of the Alton Bay Camp Meeting Association came before the board asking for an extension on the approved amended site plan.
Board member Roger Sample recused himself from the discussion.
The board and Smith discussed the issue of one homeowner at the Alton Christian Conference Center causing the delay, but that ACCC was trying to work with him.
Williams stated he would like to see the home owned by Lee Maserian moved or razed by Independence Day. Williams noted it has been years since the fire at the ACCC, which damaged the home, and he would rather it did not sit untouched for another summer.
Smith stated Maserian said he would contact the town and get this situation resolved, but he has not yet done this.
Bolster suggested the board give ACCC the 90-day extension knowing the Conference Center wants this issue resolved even more so than the town. He recognized it was not ACCC's fault the house has sat destroyed for six years.
Selectmen's representative to the planning board Virgil MacDonald motioned to grant another 90 days extension to the Conference Center, but in further discussion the board noted they wanted to give Smith 90 days from the day of the meeting not from the time the application expired so it was amended to a 120-day extension and unanimously approved.
Mark Sargent with Richard D. Bartlett & Associates, LLC came before the planning board on behalf of Bahre Alton Properties, LLC also requesting an extension.
It was a request to give the company an additional year before construction at Route 28 and Homestead Place must commence.
This extension would push the project out until March 15, 2016.
Bolster spoke to approving the extension stating because construction projects have been "held up" and made little progress due to the economy in recent years, he saw the need for this request. Also, Bolster noted there had been a "strong precedent of doing this for others."
Chairman David Collier recused himself from the discussion.
After little discussion the board agreed with Bolster and granted unanimously the 12-month extension.
The board also looked at a final site plan review for the addition of land adjacent to the current Dunkin Donuts property.
This additional land would be used to expand the drive thru and the available parking. The store itself would not change.
The board went through the plans looking at the proposed changes including one-way traffic in and out of the lot, building a wood or vinyl privacy fence, placement of the dumpster for easier access and additional handicapped spaces before opening the discussion up for public input.
Brenda Fontaine, a neighbor to the business, stated she would really like for a fence to be put up and she did not care if it was wood or vinyl, just as long as there was a fence.
Fontaine agreed to iron the details out later regarding the exact placement of the fence since there is rock wall and a berm to work around.
The plan was unanimously approved.
The planning board also accepted an application for a swapping of equal land area by Marc P. & Mary L. Tetreau and George A. & Susan E. Major.
Additionally the board approved a voluntary lot merger from John Ardizzoni to combine lots with 0.56 and 0.10 acres.
The Alton planning board meets once a month on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. They meet in the town hall.