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Castleberry Fairs

Light agenda for New Durham Planning Board


by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
January 25, 2012
NEW DURHAM — The New Durham Planning Board met on Tuesday, Jan. 17, with a fairly light agenda.

Videographer Mary McHale informed the board that this was her last time filming a planning board meeting before moving out of town.

She thanked the board for the opportunity to work with such committed and thoughtful citizens.

A public hearing was held on the proposed regulations that implement the Stormwater Management and Erosion Control Ordinance, which was adopted at the 2010 town meeting.

The regulations were unanimously approved by the board.

The board discussed the wording of the warrant articles, which place amendments to the Town Center Mixed Use District Ordinance and the Stormwater Management and Erosion Control Ordinances on the ballot for the 2012 town meeting.

A change was made to clarify language and the board unanimously approved the warrant articles.

The board agreed to schedule two training sessions for the board during the year.

One will be held to update recent changes in land use law by the legislature or by court interpretation.

The second would allow the board to schedule training sessions at its third workshop meeting, with a plan to last 1.5 to 2 hours. The board would invite member of other land use board and citizens to this workshop.

The board also discussed training for new members of the board.

The board agreed that new members should be required to get training and orientation in specific areas through reading of the zoning ordinance and town regulations, participating in training sessions at conferences and other sources on basic planning and zoning law and the role of planning boards.

The board also discussed the process they wanted to use for writing "Dark Sky" regulations.

Members have a lot of questions about the scientific and practical knowledge that exists regarding this issue, which involves reducing light pollution to allow people to see the stars at night.

The board agreed it would be helpful to begin a conversation with one or two people who have expertise in both the scientific and practical issues involved.

The board would then work on crafting a set of regulations and will plan on having the experts return to answer additional questions.

David Allen reported that he has been trying to contact the Northwood Planning Department staff to ask them about improving clarity and brevity of ordinances and regulations.

Allen distributed a copy of their development ordinance and asked members to skim over it and see if they find it more user friendly.

Dot Veisel and Craig Groom reported on a training session they attended on 2011 changes to the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act.

They reported that extensive changes had been made, most of which decreased protection for lakes and rivers.

Some of the changes made in the state law are not relevant to New Durham because the town's Short Front Protection Ordinance is stricter than the state regulations.

Veisel suggested that the planning board organize a training session with Jason Aube, the staff person at New Hampshire DES, to be held at the annual Merrymeeting Lake Association annual meeting, with focusing on where town regulation are stricter than state regulations.

The next scheduled New Durham Planning Board meeting is on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. at the New Durham Library.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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