Pillsbury Memorial Town Hall
93 Main Street Sutton Mills, NH
Sutton Mills, NH 03221


November 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.


CALL TO ORDER:    Chair Wells called the meeting to order at 7:00pm. Roll was called.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Roger Wells (Chair), Jim Lowe, David Hill (alternate), Glenn Pogust, Bill Curless, Peter Stanley

MEMBERS ABSENT: Debbie Lang, Julie McCarthy

Chair Wells called the roll. It was determined that there was a quorum. Chair Wells appointed alternate, David Hill, to be a full member to take the place of Debbie Lang who was absent.


Approval of Minutes from October 8, 2019

IT WAS MOVED (Glenn Pogust) AND SECONDED (Jim Lowe) to approve minutes of the October 8, 2019 Planning Board Meeting. THE MOTION WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.


Master Plan Discussion

Peter Stanley said that he and Glenn met with the Selectmen following the last Planning Board meeting to inform them of their plans for the upcoming Master Plan. The Selectmen were in favor of the plans however there were some questions regarding the funding for the plan. The questions were cleared up with help from the Town Administrator.  Mr. Stanley said the Planning Board needs to be prompt in approving the scope of services so that the contract with the RPC can be solidified. RPC representative, Mike Tardiff was there to discuss the contract that would be made with the Town of Sutton.

Mr. Tardiff said the process defined and the pace suggested seemed to be doable. Mr. Stanley said the town would be handling the public involvement in the plan, instead of the RPC.  This will result in a lower cost from the RPC. 

Chair Wells said he would like to see the contract be converted into an agreement. They would like to reduce the length, and detail of the plan, as compared with the last iteration. They would like to make this plan more concise. He feels flexibility is important.  If there are changes or additions needed, the consultant should be able to work with them.  Mr. Tardiff said he would try to make this possible.  Chair Wells said he feels it important to know what is expected of the RPC to avoid confusion later on about who is responsible for what. Mr. Tardiff said the master plan documents they have been working on the last few years are much shorter than in past years. They have learned over time that the plans don’t need to be as long as they once were.

Mr. Curless asked what the recommended timeframe was between master plans.  Mr. Tardiff said about every six years. Chair Wells said they want to focus on how they can deal with rising taxes, how they can protect their open spaces, and how they can keep their historical data intact.

Mr. Tardiff said he would like this to be a process by which they bounce things off of each other to make sure they are on the right track. Chair Wells agreed. Mr. Stanley said specifications regarding the format of how the information the town provides to the consultant is preferred would be helpful. He would like some guidelines on what information they would need to extract from the various town groups.

Chair Wells asked what the intent of the process was, what pieces would be generated, and what the costs were. Mr. Stanley said they would come up with a bottom line and then a bit more for a contingency. Chair Wells agreed and said there needed to be flexible but also they needed a cap. Mr. Tardiff said Sutton is a member of the RPC which opens up some additional funding to assist in paying for this work.

There was some discussion about the process for the future of master planning. Chair Wells said the plan needs to be “alive.” It can’t become “dead” and unused. Mr. Curless said he wondered if there was a way to prod the Planning Board a few years down the road to make sure they are revisiting the plan and working towards the goals. Mr. Tardiff said this is where an implementation chapter comes into play.  It could become an agenda item whereby the goals are reviewed and the board can discuss if they are being proactive and planning instead of being reactive to issues.

Mr. Tardiff asked about Exit 10 and development. Chair Wells said that he didn’t think that would work but there are places within the villages where there could be a light industrial zone. Mr. Tardiff said that is what he recalled hearing 10 years ago.  There was some discussion of other locations in town that were possibilities for light industrial development. Mr. Stanley noted that development along the entrances to town is likely to kill development and business within the town. People come off the highway, get gas, etc., and leave without coming into the town.

Mr. Pogust said that the Selectmen seemed in favor of mixed uses within the town; they are all looking at the same issues including rising taxes.

Mr. Hill asked if senior housing would be an economic boost for the town. He has had experience working in other towns where this was a successful effort. He thinks it may be a huge opportunity but didn’t know if it would contribute towards the goal they are trying to achieve. Chair Wells said it would be but they have to find how to attract a developer who wants to develop in Sutton. They also have to make sure they are not competing with New London or Warner and see what makes sense for their area. Mr. Curless said an incentive from the Town to make it cost effective for a developer would be a necessary aspect of this idea. Mr. Stanley said they don’t have services that would attract senior housing endeavors. Stores, doctor’s offices, etc. are the things that would be needed.

Chair Wells said because they have an elementary school, and regional middle and high schools, they have the heaviest load but also the lowest population. Is the formula presently used equitable?  This is something they should consider. It was determined that this was a conversation for another time.

Chair Wells said that at the next Planning Board meeting, they hoped to review the agreement and would then send it to the Selectmen for approval.  

Chair Wells asked that the proposal should go to Mr. Stanley from the RPC. They would then meet to review it and it would be ready for the next meeting.

Chair Wells said he would like some larger versions of the town maps. Mr. Stanley said he and the Town Administrator are working on this. Chair Wells offered the Planning Board members some small versions of the villages to review.

With no further business, Chair Wells called for a motion to adjourn.

IT WAS MOVED (Glenn Pogust) AND SECONDED (David Hill) to adjourn the Planning Board meeting of November 12, 2019. THE MOTION WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.


The meeting adjourned at 8:08pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Kristy Heath, Recording Secretary

Town of Sutton