Sunapee planners will hold hearing on zoning amendments

The Sunapee planning board will hold a public hearing on seven proposed zoning amendments on Thursday, December 16 at 7:15 pm at the Sunapee Town Office building on Edgemont Road. If approved by voters in March, the changes would rezone residential areas within the town’s village districts; add a new mixed use district in the Avery Road area; and address issues related to signs, erosion control plans, and use of pervious surfaces in shoreline areas. Continue reading

Hearing Set for Proposed Zoning Changes in Sunapee

The Sunapee Planning Board will receive public comment  on proposed amendments to the town’s zoning ordinance at a public  hearing scheduled for December 17 at 7:15 p.m at the Town Hall.  To download (or view) a copy of the hearing notice and proposed changes, click on: Sunapee Planning Board Notice 2009 Dec 17 (46).

Amendment #1 seeks to bring the town’s regulations “in line with the NH Shoreland Protection Act by including the Sugar River (a fourth-order stream) as part of the Shoreline Overlay District.”

Amendment #2 addresses “minimum front setbacks” by clarifying that they are “measured from the center of all public and private roads as shown on the official map regardless of whether the road meets current town highway specifications.”

Amendment #3 relates to shorelines and erosion control and seeks” to clarify that any grade change of 12” or more within the 50’ shoreline buffer (lakes, ponds, and fourth order streams) requires approval from the Planning Board.”

Amendment #4 addresses workforce housing in Sunapee. Under Use Regulations, a new section will set out guidelines and incentives for allowing workforce housing per RSA 674:58-61. The purpose of “this ordinance is to provide reasonable opportunities for the development of Workforce Housing within Sunapee for both home ownership and rental,” according to language in the amendment.

Amendment #5 seeks to clarify the definition of a contractor’s yard by stating it is an “area used by builders, electricians, plumbers, excavators, roofers, yard maintenance, or other similar contracting service establishments for the storage of materials and equipment.”

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New Lake Sunapee Watershed Project Gets Underway


Map of the Lake Sunapee Watershed

A federally funded project to create policy recommendations for local government to protect the Lake Sunapee Watershed is underway. And national and regional experts will be in Newbury, NH on Wednesday, October 28 to explain the initiative. The project’s first public meeting will be held at the Newbury Town Hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Those interested in attending are asked to sign up by contacting the Lake Sunapee Protective Association, phone 603-763-2210 or email

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) earlier in the year awarded Syntectic International LLC, Antioch University New England, the Lake Sunapee Protective Association, and partners $243,000 to prepare the Lake Sunapee watershed for climate change and population growth. (See the prior news article posted on

The project partners hope to protect a vulnerable storm-water and drinking-water system and develop and distribute practical information for safeguarding communities. This  undertaking will also provide specific estimates of climate change impacts on the Lake Sunapee watershed.

“By developing a local-scale action protocol, the project team aims to maintain historic storm water risk levels for the Lake Sunapee watershed and other communities facing significant impacts from climate change and population growth,” according to a recent  press release about the project.

The meeting in Newbury on the 28th will give the participants an opportunity to learn about the new project and the challenges that result from increased storm water runoff and development patterns in the Lake Sunapee watershed. Working groups will be formed to create policy recommendations for specific infrastructure needs.

What is a Watershed? A watershed is the area of land from which all water drains into a particular lake, river, stream, wetland or ocean. Watersheds are natural areas determined by topography and the boundaries can be drawn on a map by connecting the tops of the tallest hills surrounding a body of water (see map).

Water that falls within our watershed boundary flows downhill and much of it ends up in Lake Sunapee. Watersheds can vary in size from just a few acres to hundreds of millions of acres, as every body of water – from Chalk Pond to the Mississippi River – has its own watershed. The Lake Sunapee Watershed is part of larger watershed basins, the Sugar River and the larger Connecticut River watersheds. – Sunapee Area Watershed Coalition (SAWC)

Planning Board and Selectmen Will Discuss the Sunapee Center

Discussion in Sunapee about the Sunapee Center, a 5-acre parcel with buildings on Sargent Road, continues this week when the town’s planning board meets with the board of selectmen on Thursday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. The planning board continues to work on revisions to the town’s 1998 master plan, a multi-year process that began in 2006. Tomorrow’s session take places as part of the planning board’s master plan meeting, regularly held the third Thursday of the month.

The board of selectmen August 10 met with other town and school representatives, members of the school board and board of trustees of Abbott Library, to discuss possible uses of the Sunapee Center complex. Located across the town’s safety service building, the property is also near the central elementary school and Sherburne gym and adjacent to the state highway that cuts through the center of town. Town leaders and community members are looking at the property to see if it makes sense to acquire the property for future civic needs and to possibly centralize services and create a town center complex.

The property, taken over by Claremont Savings Bank by foreclosure, includes open land and buildings.

For more info: Read the selectmen minutes for August 10, 2009

For related articles:

Sunapee officials have a go at Sunapee Center Aug. 10 (

It’s a unique opportunity says Mastin (

Sunapee Officials ‘Have a Go’ at Sunapee Center Aug. 10

“Just want to thank the Sunapee Board of Selectmen for taking the time at their last meeting to listen to the idea of the Town of Sunapee acquiring a 5 acre piece of property,” said Rem Mastin, Sunapee. This occurred after Mastin, in a letter published in the InterTown Record, suggested the town look at the Sunapee Center on Sargent Road for a new complex to eventually centralize town services in one location. He listed different civic projects in the planning stages that might be suitable for the site. (See article: It’s a Unique Opportunity Says Mastin.)

Although not on the agenda, the selectmen took up Mastin’s idea July 27 and agreed to invite the Sunapee school board and library trustees to the August 10 meeting to discuss the possibilities. Continue reading

Sunapee Planners Approve U-Haul Rental

The Sunapee planning board approved adding U-Haul truck rentals to Philip and Linda Johnson’s property usage at 1158 Route 11 in Sunapee. At the July 16 planning board meeting, Phil Johnson said they’d be picking up the rental dealership previously operated by Northstar Storage, also located on Route 11.

Linda Johnson, who has operated Ideal Properties real estate sales from the 1158 Route 11 location for 13 years, told she thought it would be “a good match.” They expect to be operating the dealership by the end of the month. Phil Johnson operates Auto Agent car sales, as well. Previously, the Johnsons ran an electronics business from the Muzzey Hill location, up from the Georges Mills firehouse.

According to the planning board minutes, the Johnsons could use 50% of their existing display area for truck parking, up to five to six vehicles. Trucks would be rented and returned to the location, which has “good” visibility “up and down” the highway, according to Johnson. A change in signage to advertise the U-Haul rentals may occur. The board unanimously approved the application subject to no additional lot coverage.

Other U-Haul truck rental sites are in Claremont, Charlestown, Andover and Lebanon, according the company website.

To view Sunapee planning board minutes, visit the town website. The board usually meets the first and third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the town hall meeting room; meetings are open to the public.

It’s a Unique Opportunity Says Mastin

Rem Mastin is a 33-year resident of Sunapee, a member of the town conservation commission and a former member of the zoning board. He knows the lay of the land, appreciates local politics and understands the challenges facing towns such as Sunapee these days. Right now, however, he feels the town has an opportunity, unique opportunity that deserves at least serious conversation, if not serious study by the town.

Mastin recently published his idea in a letter to the InterTown Record, an area weekly, and purchased an ad in this week’s Kearsarge Shopper.

SunapeeCre2009_cphThe idea is to look at existing and future needs of the town and the potential of centralizing services in one area to form a new “Sunapee Town Center.” Mastin has his eye on the commercial property called Sunapee Center…“that in time, could be the answer to a lot of the [town’s] expanding and upgrading pains.”

Located adjacent to Route 11, off Sargent Road and across from the town’s safety services building, the Center encompasses “about 5.3 acres” and includes a newly constructed 11,000 square foot building, and to put it into perspective, our current town hall is about 2800 sq. ft., Mastin says.

The multi-phase development project went belly-up before phase one was occupied. The complex remains largely empty, the surrounding parking lot paved, and two acres remain cleared and open.

“The current owner [Claremont Savings Bank] took back the property by foreclosure and certainly is not in the business of real estate and development. In other words, they might be willing to try to work out a plan with the town to get this so called ‘asset’ off their books.”

“Wouldn’t it be great to get all of our town offices in one location…in a “new, totally upgraded and modernized” space with “the latest in ‘Green’ Energy Savings, too.”

Mastin thinks the property might be the perfect answer to a combined, multi-faceted planning project that considers the long-term needs for town office space, the library, recreation and the school.

“We have a town library…in very dire need of more space and, while efforts to solve this problem have been proposed, the outlook right now looks bleak. We have the Old Town Hall building known as the French Livery building, that as well as poorly located for public access, needs extensive (and very expensive!) rehabilitation just to make it functional for any public use,” Mastin writes in his public letter to the community.

“The Sunapee Center parcel was initially approved to include twenty or so condos/apartments and a 100 seat restaurant in addition to what is already there. Do we really need all that? Hmmmm, maybe not.”

Mastin hopes his idea gets the attention of the school board, as well. “Maybe the old school would make a great new library and indoor activities area for children. Wow, just think,  all the schools, recreation areas, library and town hall, all [located] on one side of the highway. Sounds like a safety feature to me.”

“If this sounds interesting to you folks in Sunapee, like it does to me, talk to your selectmen, town manager, department heads, your neighbors. Or call me or email me to share your thoughts.”

Mastin wants to gather more information and, depending on the feedback he gets, thinks a town warrant article to study the possibilities might be the way to go. A timely conversation is needed now, Mastin suggests, because once the parcel or part of it is sold for other use, the opportunity will be lost.

One can reach Mastin via phone (603-763-2016) or email:

To share your opinion about this and other topics of local interest, leave a comment or submit a Letter to the Editor.