Woodmont Master Plan Signed, Impact Fee Changes Go to Council

The Planning Board has signed off on the Woodmont Commons Master Plan and accepted revisions to a proposed amended impact fee ordinance.
At its Wednesday, Oct. 2 meeting, the Planning Board heard from Town Planner Cynthia May, who said the Woodmont Commons Master Plan had met all conditions for approval and was ready to be signed.
Board member Mary Wing Soares made the motion to sign the document.
Board member Chris Davies had a question about the conditional use process not applying to the Planned Unit Development (PUD).

“It was the amendment that talks about the conditional use process applying to the development. The question I had was there was a part of the master plan that talked about conditional use for site plans and I’m just confused as to how that applies,” Davies said.
“That was not handled as one of the conditions of approval,” explained Ari Pollack, attorney for Woodmont Commons. “It was a matter that was worked on with staff prior to the conditional approval and the modification was that we would be exempt from the conditional use process except for the conditional use process within the conservation overlay, where we were modifying what we could ask for. We could ask for the ability to build up to the edge of the wetland, not to a setback amount from the wetland, and that would be up to the board’s discretion.”`
As the plan had been approved at the last meeting, Davies agreed that the point was moot.
The board voted unanimously to sign the Master Plan. Woodmont Commons is a 600-plus-acre Planned Unit Development, the town’s first, and as such has its own master plan.
In other business, a public hearing took place on the impact fee amendment proposed to replace in its entirety the current impact fee ordinance. Because of problems with how the impact fees were implemented, the town has not been assessing them for the past several months.
Town attorney Michael Ramsdell said there were two revisions regarding clarification of language in the proposed amendment.
“Both of these issues were brought up at the last public hearing,” Ramsdell said.
According to Ramsdell, the first clarification was meant to clarify the intent of the state statute. All of the language but the clarification appears in the statute. The clarification recognizes the distinction between impact fees assessed at site plan or subdivision approval, and impact fees assessed where Planning Board approval was not required.
The second clarification removed an entire provision from the proposed ordinance amendment that said that “Impact fees imposed upon development for the construction of or improvements to municipal road systems may be expended upon state highways with the town only for improvement costs that are to the capital needs created by the development. No such improvements shall be constructed or installed without approval of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.”
Ramsdell said the provision was struck because the provision in the state statute addresses only those impact fees that already had been collected before the statute was amended, and said it should not have been included in his revisions.
There was no public input and the Board voted unanimously to accept the amendment.
As the Planning Board recommended the Town Council adopt the proposed language, the Council will schedule a time to consider adopting a resolution to put the amendment into effect.

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