Candidate profiles: Francestown Planning Board

Sarah Hibbard Pyle

Occupation: Broker, Country Brokers Real Estate

Time living in town: 22 years

Previously elected offices: Planning Board, 1999 to 2011, Chair for four of those years

Other qualifications: Currently on the Master Plan Update Committee, have a solid knowledge of the Francestown Zoning Ordinance and the Planning Board’s regulations, and a proven commitment to our community.

What are two issues you feel are important and how do you plan to address them?

Helping to plan for the future of our community is to me the most important job of the Planning Board. The Town’s Master Plan and the Capital Improvement Program are two critical tools in our toolbox. Francestown, like many communities country-wide, is facing an infrastructure crisis. This year, we have two closed bridges and two more identified as in trouble; our road improvement program is struggling to keep up with repairs and reconstruction needs, our Town Hall is closed because of structural problems, and several other town buildings need updates or repairs. Careful planning and prioritizing, coupled with a reasonable yet responsible spending plan, can help keep our town both strong and beautiful.

As the economy begins to improve, I believe the town will be faced with both challenges and opportunities. Our laws governing businesses and home-occupations were written, for the most part, over 30 years ago. I would like the board to work with the community to suggest, and ultimately approve, changes to the Zoning Ordinance that will help foster appropriate local businesses. More and varied low-impact uses will help keep our community vibrant and create local jobs.

Michael J. Tartalis

Occupation: Retired

Previous elected offices: Planning Board, two terms; alternate on Planning Board, one term

What are two issues you feel are important and how do you plan to address them?

1. Is electricity generated from wind power a benefit or loss for the citizens of our fine village?

In recent articles published, more information has been provided in support as a great benefit with a good return to the community. Little has been stated with regards to the permanent loss of scenic splendor of natural views or the disturbance to wildlife and the abutting residents. As in all business ventures, the return on investments are primary for the owners while not always with a concern for the abutting property residents. I plan to interview parties from both sides with hopes to gain sufficient information in which to develop and prepare policies for residents in which to vote on and accept as future guidance for the future planning in Francestown. With these new policies in place , my hope is to deter large developers from selecting our village as a possible location and destroying our landscape for generations in the future.

2. Should we have policies in place to protect and maintain the presence and quaint attraction of Francestown as we presently enjoy and also in the future?

I would propose a change in policy that would not allow for any changes to the Historical and New England appearance of our village. These new policies will support language in that there could be no Commercial Development within the length of Main Street of the village. These new policies will prevent an outside developer to come forward to purchase properties along Main Street, with the hope of introducing new commercial business in Francestown. The historical value of our Main Street should not be replaced with commercialization that is not in harmony with the present appearance of our fine village.

Prescott Guyton Tolman

Occupation: Retired from Associated Grocers of New England

Time living in town: 20 years

Previously elected offices: Chairman Goffstown Republican Caucus, 1982. Two years (of a current three year term) as an alternate Planning Board member in Francestown.

Other qualifications: Attended schools in Massachusetts, served in Vietnam as an infantry paratroop officer and in business has been a media analyst, supervisor, operations manager and a manager.

What are two issues you feel are important and how do you plan to address them?

1. Attendance: Attendance is critical when one considers the impact Planning Board decisions may or can have upon Francestown residents. I have maintained and will maintain consistent attendance.

2. Balance: It is necessary to maintain a thoughtful balance between the requisites of the Planning Board and the rights of property owners and residents. For instance, two years ago, a zoning compliance permit was added to the Francestown Zoning Ordinance. It is a simple permit, but it requires that every resident of Francestown obtain a permit prior to the construction of anything: doghouses, cold frames, cord wood frame, garden shed, tool shed, child’s play house, and maybe a birdhouse if one wishes to question it’s location, etc.. I view this as mildly intrusive and presumptive of adult incompetence. Conversely, beginning in 2008, AT&T began an application for the right to build a tower in Francestown. Through multiple meetings, multiple litigations, multiple appeals and multiple approvals, authorization to build the tower was approved in 2012. Though tedious, the Planning Board process provided constant access and transparency and balance.

In general, I view the least amount of government as the best amount of government.

Editor’s note: Robert Lindgren also filed to run for a seat on the Francestown Planning Board. Multiple attempts to reach him for this candidate profile series were unsuccessful.

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