Planning Board Members Discuss Town’s Master Plan

By Alex Malm

The Planning Board had a first reading for the transportation chapter of the master plan during their Oct. 25 meeting.
Town Planner, Brian Groth, said part of the draft of the transportation chapter was done a couple of years ago by the Southern NH Planning Commission and town staff recently went in and changed the data points, and updated and added to different parts of the chapter. “We can’t argue with some of the data, the data is what it is,” Groth said. He noted that the document is large and they didn’t expect the board to make any recommendations to move it forward during the meeting. “It is 70 pages, there’s a lot here,” Groth said.
Groth also noted that they added the recent town wide traffic study as an appendix.
One of the suggestions made by Planning Board member, Victor Oates, was to add more about roundabouts, saying he thinks they could be potentially helpful in areas like school zones, saying even when people try to make a left hand turn people drive past them. “The purpose of a roundabout is to mitigate a lot of traffic control while slowing things down,” Oates said. He added that with roundabouts they could avoid having long stretches of roads, where people are “flying by.” Oates stated that there could also be other areas where they could be a good spot to have them, especially where people have been hit, and having roundabouts highlighted in the master plan would be a way for the town to consider them in the future. Groth said roundabouts are included in the section to consider design changes for local streets. Oates said he thinks that it made the most sense to have it included in the intersection design as well. “That’s the area I think it should be in,” he said.
Another area discussed was regarding electric vehicles charging stations. Planning Board member, Ed Vand der Veen, said he was concerned with the language on page 60 of the plan, saying it sounds like taxpayers would be paying for it.
The draft reads in part: “The point at which the adoption of EV technology becomes widespread remains uncertain, however, communities can take proactive steps to encourage local infrastructure development to ensure that they are EV ready. To become EV ready, Hudson should consider creating a plan to deploy strategically placed EV charging stations throughout the community at both public and private commercial sites.”
Planning Board Secretary, Brian Etienne, in his professional capacity, said he is working on deploying electric vehicle charging stations across the country, and one of the biggest issues they are finding is not having the infrastructure in the street available to put them in for commercial developments or at homes. “Does the town infrastructure support all of that future need?” he said. He added that the chapter should have language to the effect that the board thinks and strategizes about the infrastructure over time and to also work with other committees in town to implement and design that plan.
Selectmen member, Bob Guessferd, said it will also be important to have infrastructure in place for the public side because they may have electric vehicles one day for town owned vehicles. “We’re going to need that correct infrastructure,” Guessferd said. It was decided to have Etienne develop the language to bring back to the board for their consideration.
The Planning Board is expected to have another meeting to discuss the first reading of the draft further, before sending the proposal to a public hearing.

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