China planners express frustration with virtual meetings

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members held a short virtual meeting April 13, at which they expressed their frustration with virtual meetings and, they hope, resolved one of the annoying issues.

The agenda called for continued discussion of the two draft ordinances board members are working on, a shoreland stabilization ordinance and a solar ordinance. The former is intended to describe what lakeshore residents can and cannot do to prevent erosion into the lake. The latter is to provide specific regulations for future solar developments, so board members won’t need to continue adapting other ordinance provisions.

The documents are on a site that members can theoretically share, but not everyone has been able to access it. Several are also unhappy with reading documents and changes on line; they want paper copies.

Codes Officer Jaime Hanson said he would immediately see about having copies made at the town office for board members to pick up.

This offer led to the next question, from board member Toni Wall: when can we go back to in-person meetings?

Hanson said he would ask the town manager.

With Scott Rollins, one of the two computer-savvy board members, absent, the four who were connected briefly discussed the shoreland stabilization ordinance, referring back to their March 23 meeting (see The Town Line, April 1, p. 3). Chairman Randall Downer again advocated reviewing Maine and New Hampshire documents that he thinks contain helpful ideas.

An important issue is where China Lake (and Three Mile Pond and other water bodies) get their water from – inflowing streams and their sources, direct rainfall and rainfall run-off, underwater springs. No one knew of a map of springs in China Lake.

Hanson reported issuing an increasing number of building and plumbing permits. China is seeing “a lot of real estate action, too,” he said.

The next regular China Planning Board member is scheduled for Tuesday evening, April 27, and is unlikely to be in person.


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2 replies
  1. Avatar

    A shoreline stabilization ordinance might not be the best fit for addressing erosion and sedimentation controls issues along the shore. It might be better to revise the existing shoreland zoning ordinance which currently does not meet DEP standards in several areas including the glaring lack of clarity on whether rip rap or other permanent structures (such as the monstrosity on Fire Road 9) warrants a planning board permit in addition to a DEP permit. As all probably know, the Board of Appeals ruled the retaining wall on Fire Road 9 required a permit from the planning board. The owner appealed it to Superior Court and the Select Board upon legal advice decided to settle out of court with the owner.

  2. Avatar

    Regarding paper copies of planning board applications… was always my practice to require the planning board applicant provide adequate paper copies for each planning board member. (I believe the ordinance specifies that) The copies would be available at the town office for pick-up and if not picked up I would deliver them to the members residence. I don’t know why that process stopped as it seemed to work well with minimal burden on the clerks.


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