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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 9/14/2017 DRAFT

September 20th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
September 14, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.
Carroll Town Hall

Members present: Tadd Bailey, Allan Clark, John Gardiner, Greg Hogan, Brad Houston, Janet Nelson, Jeremy Oleson, Imre Szauter, and John Trammell.

Guests present: Wayne Garneau, Kelly Trammell, and Rena Vecchio.

The Building Committee (the “Committee”) meeting began at 9:00 a.m. and was recorded.

Attendees stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

An agenda was distributed and a sign-in sheet was routed around.

Attendees introduced themselves.

The Aug. 31st draft meeting minutes were discussed. John Gardiner made a motion, seconded by Tadd Bailey, to approve the minutes as written. The vote in favor was unanimous.

Allan Clark opened a discussion on the latest conceptual drawings, floor plans and elevations that were posted on the Google Drive and distributed in hardcopy format. He reminded attendees that the drawings were not for construction, but for proof-of-concept and to generate discussion on what is needed both now and in the future. The drawings are essential to the next steps, which include determining specifications and pricing the project. Allan Clark mentioned that ongoing behind-the-scenes structural considerations, such as roofing design, are key to planning for a building that is long-lasting, energy-efficient, easy and inexpensive to maintain, and attractive.

Allan Clark conducted a walk-through of the fire department floor plan, highlighting each space and the considerations that went into sizing them. He asked if Jeremy Oleson had any concerns or modifications in mind. Jeremy Oleson replied that he did not at this time.

Allan Clark moved on to the police department floor plan. He mentioned that following the previous meeting, the police department floor plan was widened by two feet, as both he and Peter Stewart felt the extra width would be beneficial. Allan Clark asked John Trammell if the floor plan was acceptable. John Trammell replied that other than enlarging the evidence room by removing the wall between it and the storage room and deleting the storage room door, he felt the police department floor plan was acceptable.

Allan Clark asked for feedback on the public safety building elevations. He stressed that simplicity, ease of maintenance and longevity were the goals of the exterior. Attendees agreed that elevations were acceptable for presentation to the public.

Allan Clark stated that typically, the design of the public safety building is easier because the police and fire departments are represented by their respective chiefs. The administrative services building is more complex to design, in part because it is more difficult to gain consensus among staff and elected officials performing different roles.

Allan Clark described the major changes made to the Town Hall floor plan since the previous meeting. The library and historical society spaces were moved to accommodate weekend hours and access to the public restrooms while the Town Hall offices are closed. He also indicated that if the library and historical society ever moved to a separate building, the spaces they vacated could be used for future administrative office expansion. Allan Clark reviewed the community room layout, highlighting the addition of storage space for roll-away table and chair carts, a small kitchenette, and a janitor closet. The municipal office spaces take into consideration public traffic flow, placing most-frequented spaces nearer the lobby with separate secure storages spaces for town clerk and for administration and finance.

Allan Clark addressed the conference room adjacent to the planning office. He stated that the conference room could comfortably seat up to 25 people and could be used to host public meetings held by the Select Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and others. An advantage to using the conference room for most public meetings would be lower energy usage for heating and lighting, when compared to using the much larger community room.

Allan Clark invited questions and comments on the Town Hall floor plan.

John Gardiner asked if additional exits would be required if public meetings are held in the conference room. Allan Clark stated that only one exit is required for this space as it is not classified as a place of assembly; it is designed to hold less than 50 people.

Kelly Trammell asked about furniture used in the conference room, with one thought being a large, heavy conference table that seats eight. Allan Clark suggested that such a setup would limit the uses of the conference room, given its size of almost 300 square feet, and offered that a better arrangement might be tables and chairs that are easy to reconfigure for each type of use. He mentioned the conference room would be better viewed as a multi-purpose room with flexible furniture arrangements.

Allan Clark stated that with the conceptual drawings, floor plans and elevations available for public inspection and comment, he envisions that the work of the Committee will enter a new phase following the Sep. 28th informational session. He will continue developing the specifications for use by design/build firms for pricing while the Committee’s focus should shift to marketing the project. These efforts will culminate at the February deliberative session when a complete Phase Two package is placed before the town’s voters in the form of a warrant article. Much work still needs to be done, but moving the process forward in a methodical manner presents the best opportunity for success at the March town vote.

Rena Vecchio stated that at the previous meeting, discussion took place about locating the planning and zoning boards’ secretary along with the building inspector in the planning office. She now feels that there is not enough space in the planning office to make that arrangement work. Rena Vecchio suggested moving the multi-function copy machine from the copy room to the administrator office space and placing the building inspector in the copy room space. Both the planning/zoning secretary and the building inspector would have easy access to the conference room and be able to conduct business without interfering with each other.

Kelly Trammell suggested swapping the kitchenette/break area with the food pantry, as it would make it easier for staff to keep an eye on the public entering and exiting the building. Allan Clark suggested the food pantry could become a hallway into the library area if the library and historical society were to move to a separate building in the future.

Allan Clark asked if there were any comments on the Town Hall elevation. John Gardiner asked what materials Allan Clark had experience with for siding a municipal building. Allan Clark replied that composite sidings, especially cement-based types with paint or stain incorporated in the material, tend to last longer with less maintenance than other choices. John Gardiner asked about roofing choices, to which Allan Clark responded that either medal or architectural-grade asphalt shingles would work well.

Allan Clark referenced the conceptual plan, reviewing the main features of building placement and traffic flow, storm drainage and septic system locations, driveway access to US 302 and removal of portions of School Street, and potential expansion of the property currently associated with the existing Town Hall. He mentioned the undeveloped areas on the town parcel could be well suited for recreation, including picnic and viewing areas near and along a redeveloped trail system on the ridge. Janet Nelson suggested adding those recreational options on the conceptual drawing, as those items may be of interest to the public.

Wayne Garneau suggested that additional thought and planning should be put into the area of School Street where the parking area, the gazebo and the Cog Railway train are located. He pointed out that visitors who enter the parking area from US 3 would also be required to exit onto US 3 if School Street were closed and/or removed west of the gazebo. This is potentially difficult and perhaps dangerous for larger RVs (with and without towed vehicles) and vehicles pulling trailers. Wayne Garneau offered that if School Street between the gazebo and the proposed driveway remained open and was made one-way westbound, it would be easier and safer for those larger and longer vehicles to exit. He also suggested that once the fire department’s current building was razed, the land there might become a good location for a park-and-ride area. Vehicles are currently utilizing the parking area near the gazebo for longer-term parking, subtracting spaces that should be used by out-of-area visitors for short-term visits to the gazebo or future recreational functions.

John Gardiner mentioned a pending issue with a culvert under School Street; he asked Greg Hogan if that culvert needs to be replaced or repaired. Greg Hogan indicated there is a known problem with the culvert that might be addressed by slip-lining it to extend its life.

Jeremy Oleson echoed Wayne Garneau’s concern about larger and longer vehicles entering and exiting School Street from US 3.

Wayne Garneau asked which governmental entity would have responsibility for improvements to the School Street intersection with US 3. Allan Clark stated that likely the state would approve any improvements but the town would be financially responsible.

Imre Szauter mentioned the latest set of conceptual drawings, floor plans and elevations have been posted on the chalkboards in the Town Hall meeting room and will be left there for public review. A second set of drawings have been given to Jeremy Oleson for posting in the fire department. A third set will be retained for portable use at meetings outside of Town Hall or the fire department.

At this point in the meeting, several members of the public safety services excused themselves to respond to an emergency call for assistance.

Hearing no additional questions or comments on the architectural services, Allan Clark opened a discussion on project management issues. He mentioned he is still working on the budget, which will include all facets of the project, not just construction of the buildings. Based on the current drawings with about 19,250 square feet of floor space, Allan Clark believes the project will be in the $3.75 million price range.

Allan Clark indicated that it is too early to speculate on financing options, but worth noting that his previous Franconia Public Safety Building project was financed through a local commercial bank at an attractive interest rate. Finally, the property tax implications of the project can be discussed, but only in general terms until a final project budget is determined. Affecting the overall cost and property tax implication will be any grants and/or rebates received from governmental and private sources.

While continuing work on his existing building analysis, Allan Clark highlighted some of the factors that make governmental reuse of the fire department building and renovation to the existing Town Hall uneconomical and impractical for the town. Even under the best conditions, renovations to both buildings to resolve life- and fire-safety code issues would not gain taxpayers much in energy efficiency or structure longevity.

Allan Clark reminded attendees that a municipal project of this kind is substantially different from a residential or commercial project in that town voters will decide whether the project proceeds in March 2018. With much of the information gathering completed, it is incumbent that the Committee shift to marketing the project to the public through informational sessions, individual and group meetings, and social media postings.

Greg Hogan reported that he ordered a water pressure and flow test kit, as it became increasingly difficult to reschedule EJP, Inc. to return to test the School Street hydrant. He tested the hydrant an hour before the meeting started and found 840 gpm (gallons per minute) at 25 psi (pounds per square inch). The static pressure was 130 psi. Allan Clark indicated this is good news, as the pressure and flow are sufficient to eliminate the need for a booster pump for the public safety building sprinkler system. Allan Clark and Imre Szauter thanked Greg Hogan for his persistence and follow through.

Imre Szauter reported on the property owner notification mailing that the Committee authorized at the previous meeting. Attendees received a copy of the final letter informing property owners of the Sep. 28th informational session and background on the Building Committee’s efforts to explore options regarding the future of housing the police and fire departments and town administrative services. He reported that Mailings Unlimited would be printing, folding, and inserting the letters into a windowed business-sized envelope at $0.23 per piece and mailing them on Sep. 15th at a pre-sorted first class postage rate of $0.38 per letter. The mailing list was built from the town online property database; with duplicate names and mailing addresses removed, and Select Board members, Committee members, and town employee names removed, the final mailing list was 787 entries long. Total cost for the mailing will be $500.41, and relieve Committee members having to manually tape and affix postage to each letter.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the Sep. 28th informational session. He provided a draft agenda and offered that Peter Stewart would focus his presentation on the conceptual drawings, floor plans and elevations and Allan Clark would focus on the existing building analysis, developing specifications, estimated project cost, and property tax implications. Further, Allan Clark would explain the process followed by the Committee in developing the plans and what steps remain between now and the February 2018 town deliberative session.

Kelly Trammell stated that she has heard from some residents about the community room and its size relative to the now-closed gymnasium. She suggested an explanation at the informational session that compared them using a drawing to explain square footage and capacity. Jeremy Oleson offered that capacity may vary, depending on the type of event being hosted. Wayne Garneau suggested a simple graphic with the proposed community room overlaying the gymnasium.

Allan Clark asked how the gymnasium had been used in the past. Kelly Trammell cited baby showers, bouncy houses, birthday and anniversary parties, spaghetti dinners and fund-raising events, bingo, wedding and funeral receptions, and basketball games among others. Allan Clark responded that town deliberative session and other meetings that use chairs only would safely allow 150 people, while events that included tables and chairs might reduce capacity to 100 people. The fire chief would have final say on how many people could be safely accommodated for each type of event, taking into account issues such as food service, whether alcohol was permitted, and more.

Rena Vecchio asked if capacity could be increased by erecting a tent, perhaps in the parking lot to the west of the community room. Kelly Trammell stated that she doesn’t envision the town catering to every type and size of event, but believes approved private uses are a potential selling point to the voters. Wayne Garneau mentioned that community residents appreciated access to the Town Hall, especially the gym, for public and private functions and he felt the community room would garner support from the voters if it was made available in a similar manner.

John Gardiner asked what type of flooring would be used in the Town Hall, especially in the community room. Allan Clark stated that hard surfaces such as polished concrete and vinyl planking and panels work well with radiant heat flooring systems, where thick carpeting and laminated wood flooring are costly to maintain, short-lived in high-traffic areas, and reduce the efficiency of radiant heat flooring installations. He offered the expanded Littleton Food Cooperative as an example of a polished concrete floor and the reconstructed Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill as an example of vinyl plank flooring. Allan Clark stated that perhaps some of the office spaces and the library would benefit from durable carpeting, as ambient sound reduction would result from an absorbent surface treatment.

Janet Nelson asked about using doors on the exterior walls of the community room to access a temporary tent set up for an event. Allan Clark stated that while the west parking lot might be used as a tent location, the slope of the land to the north of the community room would prevent its use for that purpose. Jeremy Oleson cautioned that temporary structures such as tents should not be attached to a permanent structure such as the community room and require special consideration regarding location and life-safety issues that make their use challenging.

Wayne Garneau asked about options for the existing Town Hall and the land on which it is built. Imre Szauter explained that at the June 22nd informational session, the Committee outlined three possible scenarios for Town Hall – do nothing; private sale; raze building and reuse land. Allan Clark suggested that the fate of the existing Town Hall should not be undertaken by the Committee; that issue is best resolved by the Select Board and perhaps the voters in a separate and distinct action once voters have approved Phase Two of the project.

Imre Szauter outlined his Sep. 11th Committee report to the Select Board. He provided the Selectmen copies of the updated conceptual drawings, floor plans and elevations, the letter being sent to all property owners regarding the Sep. 28th informational session, and the flyer created by Allan Clark announcing the informational session.

Imre Szauter explained two additional items he brought before the Select Board on Sep. 11th.

The first item, dealing with records retention, cited recent changes in the NH RSAs (Revised Statutes Annotated). Kelly Trammell had inquired and received a response from the New Hampshire Municipal Association about records retention. The RSAs provide for a municipal records committee, made up of a Select Board member or its delegate, plus several town employees, that is empowered to review and determine in which format (paper, electronic, or both) town records will be kept. Imre Szauter asked that the Select Board start or restart the municipal records committee to help reduce the amount of paper records that need to be transferred and stored in a new Town Hall.

The second item, dealing with the proposed community room in the new Town Hall, cited the need for a set of terms and conditions for its private use. Issues such as the types of events authorized, liability insurance, an alcohol policy, requirements for public safety details, set-up and take-down responsibilities, and clean-up requirements should all be spelled out. Imre Szauter asked the Select Board to consider drafting community room use terms and conditions prior to the February 2018 deliberative session.

Imre Szauter asked Kelly Trammell about town employees reviewing records with an eye toward electronic storage and paper copy retention. She replied that she and administrative assistant, Maryclare Quigley, have been reviewing records each Wednesday, as their offices are closed to the public that day. Kelly Trammell stated that she did not know what action the Select Board might take regarding the municipal records committee, but felt that as time permits, she and Maryclare Quigley will be able to reduce the volume of paper records currently stored in the basement and on the second floor.

Under other issues, Imre Szauter provided an update on Committee account balances. The miscellaneous expenses account has $1,628.60 (out of $2,500 authorized) and the warrant article account has $52,988.75 (out of $60,000 authorized). Wayne Garneau asked what invoices are still outstanding. Allan Clark replied that his invoice for August project management services has not yet been submitted and architect Peter Stewart’s invoice of about $10,000 had not yet been paid.

Imre Szauter summarized current action items:
1) Post approved August 31st Committee meeting minutes on the town website and Google Drive (Imre Szauter)
2) Finalize Sep. 28th informational session agenda and PowerPoint (Imre Szauter)

There were no additional action items identified.

With regard to the next regular Committee meeting, Imre Szauter asked if the Committee still wanted to meet on the morning of Sep. 28th. Kelly Trammell suggested that the property owner mailing might generate feedback and questions that should be address in the Sep. 28th evening informational session. Allan Clark said a morning meeting would be a good opportunity to incorporate any last-minute changes to address public comments and concerns.

Wayne Garneau asked if there was a plan in place if the number of attendees exceeds the capacity of the Town Hall meeting room. Kelly Trammell said it would not be appropriate to use the now-closed gymnasium for the informational session; instead, she suggested moving the meeting to the fire department building. Jeremy Oleson stated the fire department building could be used, but there are considerations for using that building for public events, especially at night.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the Committee agreed to hold the Sep. 28th informational session as planned at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

The next regular meeting of the Committee was scheduled for Thursday, September 28th at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall.

Imre Szauter polled attendees for any closing remarks.

Jeremy Oleson offered additional information regarding the use of temporary structures such as tents in conjunction with permanent structures.

Wayne Garneau asked how many town departments had social media accounts such as a Facebook page on which they could promote the Sep. 28th informational session.

Kelly Trammell asked if voters approve the project in March 2018, when would construction begin. Allan Clark replied that it his intent to move the town into their new facilities by the end of 2018. Kelly Trammell followed up by asking how that might impact town budget planning for calendar year 2018. Allan Clark responded that his project budget would be all-inclusive, except for those items carried over to the new facilities (such as computers, printers, etc.).

Allan Clark suggested the Committee should begin thinking about the next public informational session.

John Gardiner made a motion, seconded by Janet Nelson, to adjourn the meeting. The vote to adjourn was unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m.

Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.