Neil Schuster, Chair
Don Girouard, Vice Chair
Roger Gay, City Council Liaison
Emily Cole-Prescott, City Planner
Please note: if you intend to communicate with members regarding a current matter being considered by the Planning Board please be advised of this limitation:
Ex parte communications are a particular concern because they involve an opportunity for one party to influence a decision maker outside the presence of other parties and off the record, violating due process requirements.
The Board meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall Conference Room.
In most cases, site plans are projects that are permitted in a particular zone, but that require a new building to be built, or result in a large amount of said disturbance. In an Industrial District, the threshold is 10,000 s.f. of new building space, while in a business district, anything over 1,000 s.f. of new building requires review. The intent of site plan review is to make sure that a project's adverse impacts are minimized. These impacts could include soil erosion or sedimentation into streams, controlling increased stormwater flows, proper buffers from roads, neighbors, natural areas and residences.
Conditional uses are uses that are fairly appropriate in a particular zone, but that may cause some increased impacts. For instance, a new retail building in a business zone is a permitted use. However, an auto repair garage is a conditional use, because of the potential for increased impacts, such as noise, odor, pollution, etc. Each zone has conditional uses that must go to the Planning Board before being implemented.
Subdivisions take place when a piece of land is split into three or more smaller pieces, or when a building is converted to three or more dwelling units. These require formal plans to be drawn by an engineer or surveyor that show where the new property lines will be. In the case where a new road is to be built, the drainage system has to be designed by an engineer, and reviewed by our engineer, to ensure that the road is designed and ultimately built the correct way.
Another aspect of subdivisions is open space preservation. In all subdivisions, a portion of the parcel has to be set aside as open space. This helps to ensure that not all land is built on, and that appropriate buffers are maintained along wetlands and streams.
For information regarding the application process, whether you might need a permit from the Board, or Planning Board schedules, please give us a call at 282-3487.