Planning Board Town Meetings

Master Plan May 12th public comments from the meeting minutes.

Julie LaBranche, Rockingham Planning Commission, reviewed the Master Plan updates with the Board.

She stated that a public forum was held on May 12th. There were about thirty people who attended the forum with about five tables and a facilitator at each table. The task was to respond to the draft of the Coastal Hazard and Adaptation Chapter; vision statement, goals and recommendations.

7 Highlights/summary of comments from the public forum:

 Vision Statement – Everyone seemed clear. Wording was added “and creating a more sustainable and climate resilient community”.

 Main goals: o Protect important infrastructure – (stormwater infrastructures, septic systems & transportation aspects.)

o Ensuring the safety of residents and businesses – comments focused on safe drinking water and adequate supply.

o Identify areas at high risk to coastal hazards including storm flooding, storm damage and erosion – fresh water flooding and increased precipitation were the most comments.

o Manage development and use of land and resources in high risk areas – Protect and increase wetland buffers

o Adapt built landscapes and natural landscapes to changing conditions – Comments revolved around drinking water and natural protections for buffers

 Recommendations:

o Protect municipal and state roads, bridges, culverts, and drainage lines – Need to coordinate with the state to make lateral decisions that do not adversely impact the community or state. o Sustain drinking water supplies, sources and infrastructure – Prioritize actions for water quality and aquifer protection.

o Maintain and enhance function of wastewater services and infrastructure – Understanding the infrastructure and mapping.

o Dedicate funds for infrastructure improvements – Comments made about more use of solar in the community.

o Control flooding and protect natural resources with sound land use and development standards – A lot of discussion about the pollution problems at Parson’s Creek and stormwater management to protect natural resources. o Increase preparedness across all municipal functions and services – Comments made about the need for more cell towers and better cell coverage for communications. Comments were also made on the need to enhance emergency management plans.

o Raise awareness and preparedness of coastal hazards in the community – This is a topic that may need some public education.

What does it mean to be prepared? This should be defined in the chapter. Ms. LaBranche noted that the Long Range Planning Committee will be going through the comments and creating new draft recommendations. She continued that these are the general goals and recommendations that will be going into the Coastal Hazards Chapter. The next step will be to look at the individual chapters of Transportation, Land Use and Natural Resources to make sure that anything reflected in the Coastal Hazard chapter is reflected in those chapters and there is no conflicting recommendations.

The grant period for the Coastal Hazard Chapter ends in September and the goal is to have a final draft of the chapter and recommendations for the other three chapters. She noted that Rye has contracted RPC to update the other three chapters completely, not just for Coastal Hazards. The forum on June 22nd will be focusing on the chapters of Transportation, Land Use and Natural Resources. The purpose of the forum is to end with a knowledge of what the residents are most concerned about so that the recommendations make sense and will be supported by the public during the final draft phase. She continued that a draft of the Coastal Hazards and Adaptation Chapter should be available to the Planning 8 Board by the end of July for review. She encourages the Board to send any comments to the Planning Administrator.