Pillsbury Memorial Hall

93 Main Street

Sutton Mills, NH 03221


Tuesday July 14, 2020 7:00 p.m.


CALL TO ORDER: Roger Wells called the meeting to order at 7:00pm and called roll. There was a quorum.


ROLL: Roger Wells (Chair), David Angeli, Glenn Pogust, David Hill (alternate), Debbie Lang, Peter Stanley, Dane Headley (Selectman), Mike Tardiff (Central NH Regional Planning Commission)

ABSENT: Jim Lowe, Peter Blakeman


OTHER: Rodney Musto, Real Estate Broker (joined meeting at 7:27pm)



  1. Approval of June 9, 2020 Meeting Minutes.

It was noted that the spelling of David Angeli’s name was incorrect.

IT WAS MOVED (Glenn Pogust) AND SECONDED (Debbie Lang) to approve the minutes of the Planning Board Meeting of June 9, 2020, as amended.                                                           THE MOTION WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY. 




  1. Master Plan Survey – Review and Interpret

There were 54 pages in the review document of the questionnaire. Chair Wells said that this would go into the appendix. He believed that they should have a summary. Mr. Tardiff said that the Commission would create a summary, which would be four pages in length. One additional survey response (hard copy) was received after the review had been assembled. There were 179 responses to the survey, which was considered a success (almost 10% of the population).


There was some discussion of the visual elements in the report. It was felt that the table with the numbers was more useful than some of the graphs.


There was some discussion of the open-ended questions and how valuable those responses were.


The outreach data (from 10 groups of people from the town who met to discuss the master plan) and survey responses would be put into a narrative by Katie Nelson of the Commission. It would be a summary of about eight pages.


There was some discussion about how to educate people on the tax issue.  Mr. Stanley said that people need to understand that at the community level, it is hard to reduce the taxes, as a lot of the tax rate is mandated by the State. There are large portions of the taxes that the town has no control over.


Mr. Headley said they are going to try to include details on how the taxes are broken down in the town report. Mr. Pogust offered that this was something that could also go into the appendix of the Master Plan.


Mr. Hill said he wasn’t aware until recently about the theme that open space with less development helped keep municipal taxes lower than developed land, which comes with a need for services. Chair Wells said if there are fewer houses, there is less need, but taxes would be high. There has to be a balance. For example, there are problems in the town of Goshen because there is so much un-taxable land. He said it is a strong argument used by environmental groups. Mr. Pogust said they have to look at a way to look at their base and finding ways to attract people to the town. They can’t just focus on trying to cut taxes.


Mr. Stanley shared that about 25 years ago there was a cost of community services survey done in the state. Various towns were given the template and were to take their operating expenses and enter them into it. On average, for every dollar of tax revenue raised, each category had a certain amount of expense associated with it. Open space generated less demand for service than residential. Commercial was by far the best deal because it raised a lot more revenue and generated only modest amounts of expenses associated with it to the communities. Commercial and open space categories generated more revenue than expense. Residential generated roughly $1.14 in expense for every $1 raised. Revenue has to be generated to cut expenses.


  1. Review of Draft Master Plan Chapter, Sutton Today

Chair Wells asked the Planning Board how they felt about the chapter. What did they like/thought was missing/didn’t understand, etc.


Mr. Pogust the beginning it is a little off-putting because it is visually dense. It could be simplified, perhaps. Maybe bullet points could be used and some of the redundancy could be reduced. He feels there is a lot of sophisticated language that could be changed. Mr. Pogust said that the ideas are good but he didn’t think people would want to sit down and read it.


Chair Wells thinks the diagrams work OK but he has comments on the words. Mr. Tardiff said this is how they want the process to go. They want it to go back and forth and he loves the idea of simplifying it, which will act as a model for the remaining chapters.


The third page was reviewed. Chair Wells doesn’t feel the “donut” graph is helpful. It actually contradicts information on the previous page. Mr. Tardiff said that this is due to the two data sets they are using. They should probably choose one data set to go with, which would be the 2014-2018 ACS.


Chair Wells said he is most interested in showing the facts of a story that needs to be told about the town. Mr. Tardiff said he feels this information is important to the town and to the state. It has to do with the median age of the population and the aging work-force.  Mr. Tardiff said he would remove one of the “donuts” to cut down on the conflicting data.


On page four, Chair Wells wondered if Sutton enrollment was decreasing, does this correlate to their taxes decreasing? If not, why? It was thought perhaps the Sutton enrollment could be compared with the Kearsarge enrollment on the whole. Mr. Tardiff said this would be an interesting correlation that he would include in the update. Mr. Hill said he likes that there are only four towns in the graph as opposed to the seven that were in the first iteration.


Mr. Pogust said an issue might be that they are not able to separate those living off of earned income versus 401k and retirement accounts. Chair Wells said that he looked at the ACS data and it doesn’t match with what Mr. Tardiff had provided. Mr. Tardiff said he would look into this. When asked, Mr. Tardiff said the numbers did not include those who only come here for the summer. It is only for the year-round residents.


Mr. Stanley said that the waterfront properties attract higher-income people. Sutton doesn’t have as much of this opportunity, making a proportional difference.


Page five was reviewed. The percentage increase by category was interesting. The information in the gold box, Chair Wells believed would find its way into Chapter 1.


Page six was reviewed. Chair Wells thought the income vs. cost of housing and what can be afforded should be included. Mr. Headley said this is difficult to determine due to some people having second homes. Chair Wells said that those from the community who suddenly can’t afford it, will need to leave town. Especially if they are older residents and there is no housing for seniors. Mr. Tardiff said that this is a theme around NH; people are looking for smaller houses.


Page seven was reviewed, which discussed density. Chair Wells thought this had fascinating information. Mr. Stanley agreed. It is a useful number as it tells you how you are doing with density and how you are making it look in your town. Sutton’s density is very low comparatively to other towns. Chair Wells said it supports the idea that if they want the town to grow and still look rural, they need to grow in already-concentrated areas.


Chair Wells wished to share his suggestions and recommendations for the chapter. He would send the document he created to Peter, who would then send it to the Board and to Mr. Tardiff.


Mr. Tardiff said this feedback is very helpful to him and in the process. They will be starting with mapping over the next month. Chair Wells said he is very pleased with how this is going. He knows from experience how hard this process can be. Mr. Tardiff said it is refreshing that the Planning Board is so involved and forthcoming with ideas.



NEW BUSINESS:  Mr. Stanley said that at the next meeting there will be at least one minor subdivision.


ANY OTHER BUSINESS: There was none.


PUBLIC COMMENT: Rodney Musto, realtor, joined the meeting at 7:27pm. He had some questions about the property card versus the deed on a property on North Road. There were conflicting numbers which made him wonder if he could subdivide the property. Chair Wells said a surveyor may need to come figure this out to determine if two lots could be subdivided from the six-acre property. Chair Wells said if he wishes to move forward with this, he will need to contact Peter Stanley to get more information about coming before the Planning Board.  Mr. Musto stayed for the remainder of the meeting.




The next meeting would be held August 11, 2020 at 7:00pm.


IT WAS MOVED (Glenn Pogust) AND SECONDED (Debbie Lang) to adjourn the meeting.



The meeting adjourned at 8:12pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kristy Heath, Recording Secretary

Town of Sutton