2022 HollisWatch Voter Information
(Updates as of 3/7/2022)
HollisWatch Ballot Recommendations
The election will be held on Tuesday, March 8 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
at the Lawrence Barn.
Zoning amendments to be voted on this year, followed by HollisWatch's recommended vote:
(1) Removal of drainage restrictions from Zoning Ordinance
(2) Requirement that developers submit notice of logging before
site development to Planning Board
(3) Restoration of ability to store propane underground in Aquifer
(4) Prohibition of manned aircraft landing and takeoff
Not taking a position.
(5) Prohibition on Construction Noise For Developments of three or more YES
(6) Clarification of definitions to be for restrictive of high-density
development (submitted by HollisWatch)
HollisWatch Printable Voter Guide
Marked-Up Planning Staff "Voter's Guide"
Note: Town Staff is not permitted to use Town resources to influence voters on a ballot question. This is known as electioneering and is prohibited by RSA 659:44-a. Do you think the Planning Staff "Voter's Guide" was written to influence voters? Do you want your tax dollars spent in this way? Please share your thoughts with the Select Board by sending an email via email@example.com.
Analysis of Amendments
(1) Removal of Drainage Restrictions from Zoning Ordinance
This amendment removes the long-standing drainage requirements protecting the wetlands conservation zone and in the rural character section of the zoning ordinance. It replaces the strict past regulations with homogenized restrictions common in other parts of the state. In addition it adds a new stormwater management zone per EPA mandated stormwater rules
Moving rules from ordinance to regulation means that a variance is not needed for exceptions. This eliminates the Zoning Board Approval process and sets a much lower standard for exception.
In addition, in the future the Planning Board alone will be able to make changes without a vote by town residents. We cannot give up our power to control development and hand that authority to an unelected Planning Board.
Hollis Watch recommends adding EPA mandated restrictions as an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance for next year. This year’s proposal does not protect Hollis and should be voted down.
Removing the following restriction from our ordinance will likely remove a significant roadblock to the approval of fifty more units across from Toddy Brook Road. This alone is reason to vote against this proposal. This language is an important protection for our Wetland Conservation Overlay zone. Why would the planning board propose to weaken this protection? The present restriction quoted below would be removed by passage of this amendment
...drainage in wetland conservation overlay (WCO) zones must adhere to the
standards provided in Section XI.C.4 of the Hollis Zoning Ordinance, which
requires that there be no net increase in peak flow or overall volume of stormwater runoff in the WCO zone as a result of any development.
For more information see HollisWatch Stormwater page
Recommended Vote: NO
(2) Requirement to Notify Planning Board Prior to Site Development
This amendment requires Planning Board applicants to notify the Planning Department of any proposed site disturbance prior to site construction to ensure relevant environmental protections are in place.
Recommended Vote: YES
(3) Restoring the Ability to Store Propane Underground
Explanation: This amendment will allow the storage of natural gas or propane in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone.
Details: Based on our research, propane is stored in non-corrosive tanks. Any leaks that might occur would dissipate into the air. Above-ground tanks are more obtrusive to rural character.
Recommended Vote: YES
(4) Prohibition on Manned Aircraft Landing and Takeoff
This amendment would prohibit manned aircraft takeoff and landing areas within the community.
This amendment also prohibits hot air balloons. It is not clear if this will effect the long standing tradition of balloon rides at Old Home Days. Do we want to prohibit hot air balloons?
Recommended Vote: HollisWatch does not take a position on this amendment.
(5) Prohibition on Construction Noise For Developments of three or more
Recent development projects have caused significant noise problems for the surrounding homeowners. This amendment is not intended to limit anyone’s ability to legally build, but it does intend to enforce courtesy and consideration on builders of large developments for the surrounding community.
The Planning Board adopted a regulation related to noise at its January meeting. The language that was adopted does not restrict development noise at all but rather serves as a procedure for planning applications. The complete language of the “regulation” the planning board adopted after receiving the petitioned article is below. Bold emphasis added
During the course of an application review, the Planning Board shall take into consideration the impact of construction activity (road & building) on neighboring residential properties. In appropriate situations, the Board may limit construction hours to reduce noise related impacts. The Planning Board shall consider the following when reviewing a proposed plan:
1. The proximity of the proposed project to residential uses;
2. The size of the project and the anticipated length of construction activity necessary to complete the development;
3. Will ledge removal be required and if so, what quantities are involved? How will the ledge be removed?
4. Are there other access points available to reduce impacts?
5. What is the timeline for road construction?
Reading the above regulation enacted by the Planning Board one can see that they have not imposed any requirements on construction noise. In addition since this is a regulation, not an ordinance it may be changed at the Planning Board’s discretion and exceptions from regulations do not require Zoning Board approval and are therefore much easier for developers to obtain.
The proposed warrant article on the other hand actually addresses the concerns of construction noise and it only applies to large developments of three units or more. In addition, it imposes actual restrictions on the times that construction noise can occur. (8:30AM to 5PM). This ordinance is needed to prevent Hollis residents from suffering through the din of years long construction projects on nights and weekends.
Recommended Vote: YES
(6) Clarification of Definitions to be More Restrictive of High Density Development
This amendment is intended to clarify the definition of subdivision so that it is clear that Housing For Older Persons developments and other condominium developments are included.
It clarifies the definition of net tract area regarding surface water of man-made ponds.
In addition, the requirement to demonstrate unique building areas for condominium developments is clarified.
This ordinance addresses three specific instances which the planning board has accepted the contrived interpretations of the Town Planner and/or developers over the rational interpretations presented by HollisWatch members and other town residents.
1. The Planning Board approved the development of thirty-two units of High Density Housing on Old Runnells Bridge Road without setting aside land for a park as is required by regulation for other housing developments. They accepted the claim that since there was only one lot of record, the set aside was not a subdivision.
2. The Planning Board approved the filling of a pond because it was man-made even though the definition of net tract area clearly included surface water. The developer claimed that the pond could be filled and therefore should be counted as dry land. The planning board willfully accepted this.
3. The Planning Board approved fifty-two units at Cobbett Lane without verifying proper building areas.
The proposed ordinance elaborates on the requirements and hopefully will prevent the Town Planner and developers from working around the will of the voters. More information about each of the referenced projects can be found at the links below:
32 Units on Old Runnels Bridge Road
Recommended Vote: YES
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