China planners talk about procedures, ordinance changes

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members spent their April 24 meeting talking about board procedures and potential ordinance amendments.

Two procedural questions revolved around signing the formal findings of fact document to support their April 10 approval of Wesley and Susan Horton’s permit to open a teen leadership camp at 24 Pond Hill Road.

The first issue was whether board members were reopening review of the criteria on which they previously voted. They decided they were not, and that in the future the board chairman and the codes officer could sign the findings of fact, representing the board.

The other question was when the Fire Marshal’s permit had to be in Codes Officer Paul Mitnik’s hand. Obtaining the Fire Marshal’s permit was made a condition for getting China’s permit for the project; so board members concluded Mitnik should not give the Hortons their final okay until they have it.

Mitnik said he found discrepancies in China’s land use ordinances and suggested an approach to correction, which board members seemed to like. They have been reviewing the definitions section of the ordinance for the last several months, as time permitted, and might eventually ask voters to approve changes.

The codes officer also suggested revising and re-presenting the part of the proposed amendments to match town requirements with state guidelines that China voters rejected in 2016 and 2017. Although board members agreed neither the present ordinance nor the state guidelines are entirely satisfactory, they decided not to pursue the issue now.

Chairman Tom Miragliuolo said he planned to submit names of two volunteers for a new committee to update China’s comprehensive plan to selectmen at their April 30 meeting. More volunteers are welcome; Planning board members would like to have a committee of six or eight people, at least.

The next regular planning board meeting is scheduled for May 8.

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