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


October 8, 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, Debbie Lang, Julie McCarthy, Peter Stanley

OTHERS PRESENT: Don Davis, Barbara Hoffman – Members of the Sutton Conservation Commission


Chair Wells called the roll. It was determined that there was a quorum. He introduced Don Davis and Barbara Hoffman, members of the Conservation Commission.



Approval of Minutes from September 10, 2019

Mr. Hill noted the date of August 10 should be changed to September 10.

IT WAS MOVED (Glenn Pogust) AND SECONDED (Debbie Lang) to approve the amended minutes of the September 10, 2019 Planning Board Meeting. THE MOTION WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.


Summary of Regional Planning Commission Meeting with Peter Stanley and Roger Wells

The consultant from the RPC said they would work with the Town on a more concise master plan. There were no comments from the Planning Board on the meeting summary.

Conservation Commission Update

Barbara Hoffman and Don Davis noted the conservation plan that the Conservation Commission came up with. The plan is mandated by NH law to survey and index all the geological areas in the town. Their former chair, Dan Sundquist thought it should be updated as there had been some changes made in Fish and Game, Nature Conservancy, etc. requirements. The Conservation Commission read through the plan and voted on the areas that were most important to conserve. That data was tabulated which created a proposed conservation focus areas. They feel that the high quality stream/watersheds are what are most important not only for humans but for the habitats in the area. Based on this, they are trying to put together a list of landowners who own those areas so when the plan is rolled out, they can be specifically invited to the meeting where this would be discussed, as well as someone from Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust, to discuss conservation easements. There is no money available to purchase these lands but asking the owners to put their land in conservation would help protect these areas.

Barbara said they have been to the Selectmen to explain this plan and are now presenting it to the Planning Board. She added that at the end of the plan, the Conservation Commission has come up with some goals they would like to strive for. One of which is to try and get as much as the high quality watershed streams/areas preserved, and also to up the number of acres of agricultural land that is in conservation. There is not much of that conserved land in Sutton. Perhaps this could be done by leasing town-owned land to people who may be interested in using it for agricultural uses.  Additionally, the state runs a program called aquatic mitigation program. If someone is going to be impacting watersheds or wetlands, they need to go to the State and explain how they will mitigate what they are doing. If they can’t afford to pay for this, the State will help with funding. They want to come up with 10 areas that are important to conserve or improve, and when a project comes to town and may impact watershed/streams, and they cannot comply, they will have to pay money into the mitigation fund. State of NH DOT has sent a letter indicating they will be doing work on 89 and asked if the town had a list of 10 properties they wanted to protect. They are now working on this, with the help of Pete ___ from Warner who has some experience with this. Debbie Lang stressed the importance of getting this list together. The Selectmen and the Highway Department also received this letter from DOT, requesting the list of properties.

Chair Wells said there should be different – priced mitigation solutions. He said this list should be included in their master plan for the next year. He said the way they came up with the highest ranked areas was important to note. People need to understand how the conservation commission voted on the most valued feature to protect. He said they should see how the townspeople react to their voting and then perhaps reconsider as a commission if they thought the feelings of the town were much different than those of the commission.

Chair Wells thanked the commissioners for coming and sharing this information with the Planning Board.


Sutton Master Plan Discussion

Chair Wells said he tried to summarize from the last set of minutes, the three most agreed-upon goal statements from each of the five questions pertaining to the future of the town. Debbie Lang asked if the four seasons recreational opportunities in the town could be included. This was added to the list.

Chair Wells said they should go to the groups that represent the Town and see how they feel about the where the Planning Board is with what they have come up with. This should be done before their ideas are presented to the citizens.

It was suggested by Mr. Pogust to change the wording to “what aspects of other towns” are valued instead of “what towns” the board members thought they wanted to emulate.

Chair Wells said if there were any other comments pertaining to this list, they should email them to Mr. Stanley who would then communicate those suggestions to him.

Mr. Stanley said they really need to try and make this list simple. Everyone agreed. Chair Wells said they need to make sure they have some fairly achievable goals to begin with so they can gather momentum and build on their successes and continue working on the rest of the goals.

Chair Wells they would adjust the initial goals to meet the needs of the entire town. He thinks they should use a flip chart and as they make comments, write them down. There needs to be clear indication that they are listening and are trying to do what the population wants. The intention is to meet with the town groups before Town Meeting to get their input on the goals. They will use this information to come up with a warrant for next year’s Regional Planning Commission consultant. There is enough money now for phase 1, but the following phases (data examining and writing) will need to be funded.  They are generating data to support the goals. The Planning Board gets to establish the goals and the vision.

After Town meeting and they go to phase 2 they would work on larger scale maps that they can look at and discuss things like steep slopes, the villages and the roads. They can then draw things on the maps and build a series of answers that address the goals. This will take time but some ideas should emerge on how to change their existing zoning. This will require some very careful and gentle and sensitive adjustments to what is there currently.

There was some discussion about the upcoming challenge of making changes to the zoning in Sutton in 2021.  Mr. Stanley suggested only trying to get three changes through per year as this is a good amount that people can wrap their heads around. It was thought that education and awareness for the public about proposed changes ahead of the Town Meeting was important. Mr. Stanley stressed that keeping the changes simple and include examples so people can understand to a better extent.

Chair Wells said if they are going to present to the town groups, they need to do it as a group but doesn’t need to be everyone on the planning board. He would like it to be more than only Peter and himself, however. There was discussion about how the board members could use their influence in their own neighborhoods to get people to come to the meetings about the master plan.

Mr. Stanley suggested keeping all the Safety Services groups together as one group when they go speak to the various groups in town. Mr. Stanley also suggested getting a response from seasonal residents by creating a “Survey Monkey” survey online. Chair Wells said that was fine if Mr. Stanley was willing to do this. It was thought that even if they did not get a good response from this survey, at least they will have been given a chance to give their input.

Mr. Stanley will come up with a schedule for the meetings and will ask the members of the planning board to attend them. Chair Wells will be away for two weeks and will rely on Mr. Stanley to come up with this schedule.

Among others, they would meet with the Selectmen, the Zoning Board, Conservation Commission, and the Budget Committee.

Mr. Pogust asked if they could withhold increasing the value on a property instead of abatement. Chair Wells said this is what he was thinking. Mr. Stanley said they would need to talk to DRA and an attorney would need to be consulted.

Mr. Curless said that a good angle to take is take a stance that they (the town) agrees that the taxes are high and present some ideas on how to alleviate them.  Then ask what the citizens’ thoughts are on the ideas.

There was some discussion of community septic systems. Mr. Stanley said in New London there are some of these that have great success, with up to 25 homes.  They are commercially available.

Mr. Hill said in perusing the current Master Plan, he noticed a huge amount of charts. He asked if they could eliminate these from the new plan. Chair Wells agreed. There was some discussion on ways that the new master plan could be made more concise. Phase 1 with the consultant will determine what is really needed in the plan.  Then the Phase 2 will use the data compiled to make the update.


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

IT WAS MOVED (Glenn Pogust) AND SECONDED (Bill Curless) to adjourn the Planning Board meeting of October 8, 2019. THE MOTION WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.


The meeting adjourned at 8:33pm.



Respectfully submitted,

Kristy Heath, Recording Secretary

Town of Sutton