Pillsbury Memorial Hall

93 Main Street

Sutton Mills, NH 03221


Meeting Minutes for Wednesday March 17, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.


Call to Order: Betsy Forsham, called the meeting to order at 7:00pm. She noted that the regular Chair, Derek Lick, and another member, Zachary Brock, recused themselves in this discussion as they have a conflict of interest. Alternates Katy Beauchemin will sit in for Derek and Joe Eisenberg will sit in for Zachary. Should the meeting reach 9pm, it would be continued to the next month. Chair Forsham also disclosed that there was a husband and wife on the Zoning Board and suggested to the applicants that if there were any perceived issues with this, that one of them would be asked to step down for this discussion. The applicant said he did not see any issues with this.

Roll Call: Betsy Forsham, Katy Beauchemin, Marc Beauchemin, Joe Eisenberg, Sam Gordon

Also in attendance: Peter Stanley (Planning and Zoning Administrator), Joe Driscoll (Town Counsel), Arthur Siciliano, surveyor and representative for the applicant, Zachary Brock, Derek Lick, Glen Pogust Danielle Thomas, Ira Thomas, George Nixon, Barbara Hoffman, Bette Fredrickson and others.

Public Hearing:

Case #2021-03 – a request by Peacock Hill Road LLC, 149 Old Town Road, Weare, NH 03281 for a Special Exception, as permitted by the terms of Article IX, B, 1 of the Sutton Zoning and Building Ordinance, to permit the development of a 7 lot Cluster Subdivision on Map/Lot 01-173-097, a 98.2acre parcel of land on the West Side of East Sutton Road.

Chair Forsham asked if all fees had been paid and all notices submitted appropriately. Peter Stanley confirmed this to be true.

Chair Forsham welcomed Arthur Siciliano, surveyor, and asked him to explain the conceptual cluster development. Arthur said he met with the Planning Board on February 9th about their subdivision plans. They had previously wanted seven lots with a road that was a little over 2200’ long which would need to be constructed. They are now proposing a cluster subdivision plan with a lot layout with only 295’ of road to construct. The common lot would be 81 acres, which is 3x the size as what is required by the town’s regulations. Arthur said that the Planning Board gave some suggestions on how to amend their plan. He has been working on a plan that extends the cluster road.

Arthur said the cluster has less future road to maintain. The proposed plan would also provide more open space than is required by the town’s regulations. He felt the cluster, versus regular subdivision, was a benefit to the town.

Chair Forsham said that it would be helpful to know where the houses would be located on the plan. Arthur said on the plans, they show the areas where the well radiuses and the leach fields are. The houses will be located between those two things. Test pits have not been done yet but they have looked at soils and are confident that they will be able to put the septic systems in there. Chair Forsham said she walked the property recently and she saw a swale, ferns, standing water, etc., which signify wetlands, which were not designated on the plan. She wasn’t sure that the wetlands had been delineated completely. Arthur said that his wetlands scientist said he was done, but said he would ask him to look again; there were some other items that he also felt needed to be delineated.

Katy asked about the wetlands. Without having the wetlands delineated correctly, she isn’t sure the requirement about open land having less than 50% of wetlands within it could be proven. She would prefer to have a map with a delineation with a wetland’s scientist’s stamp on it.

Chair Forsham said there is a wonderful stone wall that goes almost the width of the lot, which is not on the plan. This would be helpful to include. Arthur said they don’t typically include interior walls on a map. This is also a preliminary plan which is why it doesn’t have as much detail as a final plan would have. Chair Forsham thought that the inclusion of this wall would be helpful to determine whether it would bisect a property or need to be dismantled for the road, etc.

Chair Forsham didn’t care for the placement of the buildings in this development and didn’t think it could be considered a “cluster” development. She felt a cluster development was a community of houses and not houses as spread out as this plan depicts. Arthur said that it doesn’t specify in the town’s regulations that the cluster development has to be “close.” The homes will be close enough that they can see each other, but they will also have their privacy.

Marc read the access clause and doesn’t feel that all the lots abut the common land. Sam said there is one off, by itself in the corner, that doesn’t touch the common land. Arthur argued that the 25’ buffer includes the common land, and all the properties abut either the common land or buffer. Katy said that the spirit of the ordinance, as she reads it, promotes open land and vegetation. The 80 acres (common land) is promoted by this ordinance, but if one lot doesn’t have access to this land, how is this requirement met? Arthur argued that all the lots have access to the 80 acres. There was discussion as to whether the 25’ buffer should be considered part of the 80 acres and/or the access to the 80 acres.

Arthur said they are discussing whether they should be doing a cluster versus a conventional subdivision. He said that the Planning Board didn’t like his previous plan, so he is working on this new concept. Sam wasn’t sure that the plan he is working on even constitutes as a cluster development per the town’s zoning ordinance. Chair Forsham said the buffer is meant for privacy and for the planting of trees, etc. It isn’t meant to be a walkway to access the 80 acres. She added that the 80 acres are also very wet and rocky, which is not conducive to recreation.

Katy referenced section D-5 in the ordinance that pertains to cluster development. All the lots not only need the 25’ buffer, but they have to have the open space visible to them. Arthur asked if he made the 25’ strip wider and made it 40’ instead, that would give a 25’ buffer and another 15’ access for each lot to the common land. Katy said she didn’t think that would satisfy the visibility requirement in the ordinance. Arthur thought Katy was overreaching about the access requirement; most people will walk to the open space.

Peter said the focus of the meeting needed to be on the five criteria for a special exception. Chair Forsham agreed. To review the criteria thoughtfully as it pertains to the ordinance, she had more questions.

Chair Forsham said with regards to criteria 2B: this may be considered detrimental, noxious or offensive to the neighborhood.

Katy said per the criteria, access to the common land and the wetlands would tie into 2-A. The site is not in an appropriate designation, as the plan shows the common land in the back, and one of the lots doesn’t have access to it. Katy said that the spirit of the ordinance is not met per 2-E; Article 9 encourages access to the common open space. Access and view are her biggest problems. She would also like the wetlands delineated.

Joe Eisenberg said the issue he has is that the plans all say “conceptual” and he’s never sat on a hearing where a vote was expected after using this type of material. “Conceptual” is a thought; it’s not concrete. Feedback could be expected, but a vote is not something he thinks is fair to the board or the community.

Arthur said the Planning Board advised him to come to the Zoning Board. They have come up with a “yield plan” with seven lots. To the benefit of the town, they have opted to put in a cluster development, which is allowed. This kind of plan eliminates roads and creates open space. The details will be determined by the Planning Board on how it will be implemented. The Zoning Board is to make a decision on which development is better for the town. Joe said that cluster development is allowed by special exception as long as the five criteria are met.

Chair Forsham said that it isn’t just the town they need to consider, it’s the neighborhood. How the development impacts the neighborhood is part of the criteria they have to discuss. Arthur said there is less road and more open space, which is a win/win for the town. Chair Forsham said the number of driveways seem to be a problem; why not have more shared driveways? Will they be paved? Arthur said the owner is putting half a million dollar homes on these lots and he wasn’t sure if they would be paved or not.

Katy said the driveways seem to be very close together. She asked if any safety analyses had been done on this and how it compares with a conventional subdivision. She is concerned about emergency vehicles and access to that area. Arthur said they haven’t done any analysis. Katy said she brings this up as it pertains to criteria 2-B, which asks if the plan is detrimental noxious or offensive to the area. This seems to be an unknown at present.

Sam said she wondered if a study had been done regarding the increased traffic expected from an additional seven houses (presumably 14 cars) on that road.  Arthur said that seven houses isn’t a big impact on a town road. Roads can handle traffic, it depends on the speed people travel on the road. Sam said she has visited the site and it is near a dirt road, which could also be affected. There was pedestrian traffic that she saw but didn’t see a lot of space on the road for them both to share the road safely. This ties in to criteria 3, regarding vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Arthur said the Planning Board may require a traffic study.

Chair Forsham asked what the line of sight is looking north, on the most southerly lot on the plan that requires its own driveway? Arthur said that would have 400’ as the driveway would be way to the north of the property. The other direction is straight; easily 400’ line of sight.

Chair Forsham thought it would be nice to have more than a 25’ buffer around the cemetery to keep more trees and keep the spirit of the ordinance intact. It is an important historical site.

There were no other comments from the board. Arthur asked to address the criteria before the public portion of the hearing began.

Arthur said he understood that the wetlands were a concern, as was access to the common land, and a larger buffer for the cemetery. Chair Forsham reminded Arthur of the suggestion he had made to widen the buffer to 40’ instead of 25’ around all the lots. Peter said the buffer becomes part of the common land, not part of the lot. A buffer shown on the map has been incorrectly labeled as part of each parcel and it cannot be; it is common land. Arthur said he would add a protected easement area around the lots to increase the undisturbed land.

Katy asked, on the proposed cluster subdivision map, what the estimate was of how far away in feet the driveways are of each other on the road they would be building.  Arthur said about 40’ on the right. Katy asked about the distances on the yield plan. Arthur said the driveways on the yield plan would be very far apart. She said she was relating this to 2-C, which is serious hazard to vehicular/pedestrian traffic. She said that if there is an increased hazard due to the proximity of the driveways, they will need to have emergency vehicles able to access the area.

Chair Forsham said 1-D is to preserve and protect the topography and vegetation and other natural features of the land. It seemed to her that the applicant was trying to put as much in on the land as he could regardless of how it looked. It would be best to utilize the natural features and the wetlands. Has there been consideration of making fewer lots which are larger? Is seven lots “cast in stone”?  Arthur said they have gotten a yield plan for seven lots, so that’s what they’d like to get.

Attorney Joe Driscoll said the plan is a seven lot yield plan. They have touched on the shared driveways, etc., which are things the Planning Board will figure out.

Arthur said his client doesn’t want to have shared driveways as he thinks it is detrimental to selling the lots. It isn’t what people want.

Arthur asked to request a continuance until next month so he can address the concerns that have been brought up. Attorney Driscoll said he thinks it would be best for the Board to entertain this request. The public can then react at the later meeting. Attorney Driscoll said a date and time for the continuance should be set at this evening’s meeting. Arthur said he would like to hear from the abutters this evening, as it may add to the items he will need to address at the next meeting.

Chair Forsham opened the meeting to the public. She reminded people to state their name and address.  She then asked for comments for those in favor of the plan. There were none.

Chair Forsham opened the meeting to those abutters who were not in favor of the plan.

Danielle Thomas: 105 East Sutton Road, said she had a presentation supported by 57 residents of the neighborhood (East Sutton Road and Eaton Grange Road) that she wanted to show. She shared a slide show from her screen. A copy of the presentation and endorsement pages are available at the town hall.

Danielle showed some history with a 1988 proposal for a subdivision on a large, nearby lot, which was denied. It was felt that the cluster subdivision today, would be detrimental to the neighborhood and the town. She felt that this subdivision was not in keeping with the spirit of the zoning ordinance or the neighborhood. The Master Plan references the protection of the town’s cemeteries, one of which is surrounded by this property. She referenced a map from Holden Engineering that the town should have on file, which shows all the wetlands on the property that have been delineated. It appears that the wetlands delineated on the engineering plan are not shown on the proposed cluster plan. She urged the Town to use their own wetlands scientist. The vehicular increase was thought to be detrimental to pedestrians and to property values.

Chair Forsham thanked Danielle for the presentation. Other abutters were offered the floor to make remarks.

Dr. Nixon, who lives south of the proposed area said strangely, his property was not shown on the plan at all, although they share a property line. Three of the seven houses of the subdivision are right along his driveway. He finds this noxious and detrimental to his property value and line of sight. He is also worried about the wetlands and drainage across his driveway. This will also effect Mr. Brock’s driveway down the hill. Their wells could also be effected by this. He hopes the next proposal shows abutting properties on each side so they can get a good view of the impact and the possible properties affected.

Ira Thomas lives at 105 East Sutton Road. He said they have done their homework as this is a serious issue to them. The applicant hasn’t done his homework with regards to the criteria. Every single citizen on East Sutton Road and Eaton Grange Rd., West and East, have signed against this development. He wondered if they should even be allowed a continuance as the abutters are against this entirely. Chair Forsham said that the applicant has a right to a continuance. Attorney Driscoll said that the continuance has been asked for in response to remarks from the Board. Until the Board makes a final decision, the applicant has the right to continue the meeting. Chair Forsham agreed.

It was moved (Betsy Forsham) and seconded (Sam Gordon) to continue the hearing to Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 7pm, using the same format (Zoom).

Danielle asked if the public would receive the new information from the applicant prior to the next meeting so they can prepare a new presentation.  Peter said that he would get this information to whomever wished to have it as soon as he gets it. Chair Forsham wondered if a month was enough time for Arthur to gather his information. Arthur said he wasn’t sure but he would try to get it done as soon as possible. He did not have authorization from the owners of the property to push the hearing out until May. Attorney Driscoll said if the applicant decided after that night’s meeting that he needed to move the continuance to May, he would need to provide a written letter to Board letting them know. Then at the April 21st meeting, they would open the continuance and announce the new date and time.

Chair Forsham called for a roll call vote on the motion on the floor:

Betsy Forsham: Yes; Katy Beauchemin: Yes; Mark Beauchemin: Yes; Sam Gordon: Yes; Joe Eisenberg: Yes.

The motion passed unanimously.

Chair Forsham closed this hearing portion of the meeting and asked the members of the Board to stay to review the minutes from the last meeting.


Meeting Minutes: Wednesday January 20, 2021 Regular Meeting & Public Hearing

Chair Forsham said she found a few typos and had corrected them prior to submitting them to the rest of the Board. She added one sentence having to do with the sign for the development on Kearsarge Valley Road. She had asked if the homes would be built by the owner or would he just market the lots. The answer was that the owner would be building them.

It was moved (Katy Beauchemin) and seconded (Sam Gordon) to accept the minutes of January 20, 2021 as circulated. The motion passed unanimously.


New Business: None

Old Business:  None Scheduled

Administrative: Next Meeting – Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

Adjournment: It was moved (Katy Beauchemin) and seconded (Sam Gordon) to adjourn the meeting.

The motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 9:07pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Kristy Heath, Recording Secretary

Town of Sutton