TOWN OF PELHAM
CONSERVATION COMMISSION MEETING
JANUARY 12, 2000
Members Present: Members Absent:
Alicia Symonovit Hennessey - Chairperson Alicia Harshfield
Debbie Waters - Alternate Rick Cummings
Bill Cookinham William McDevitt, Selectman
Paul McLaughlin (arrived late at 8:20 p.m.)
The chairperson, Alicia Symonovit, called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.
Article 21 Update
Debbie Waters began by announcing that the Budget Committee had endorsed Article 21 and that the Conservation Committee was very pleased. She stated it was an important warrant article for the town’s development in that the Town of Pelham needed to begin purchasing land to set aside for conservation and open space.
It was also noted by Debbie Waters that the Board of Selectmen had accepted the donation of a parcel of land on Debbie Drive for conservation. The committee wished to thank the Executrix of the estate and the family for this donation and setting an example by their donation.
Alicia Symonovit noted that the Budget Committee increased revenue to 75% (over the original 50%). She stated there was $187,000 in penalties in current use tax. Although it was not voted in by a narrow margin last year, the committee is optimistic that it will be this year. Alicia Symonovit added that the $187,000 from last year had decreased taxes by a mere 9 cents.
There will be open space meetings stated Alicia Symonovit which the public is welcome to join as well as an Open Space Committee, or help out in any way possible.
Alicia Symonovit explained that Prime Wetland Studies had been conducted by students from UNH as their senior project. Five sites were selected, four of which will be placed on the ballot for designation; they are Little Island Pond, St. Patrick’s Convent School, Sherburne Road Bog and Sherburne Road Emergent. The fifth wetland area behind PHS off Marsh Road did not have the required percentage of hydric soils. Bill Cookinham observed that the UNH students had done an excellent job with these studies. Alicia Symonovit added that the proposed changes in wetland ordinances would be discussed with the Planning Board during a working session on January 20, 2000 at the Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Map 42, Lot 34-2, 34-33, Wetland Crossing
Wesley Aspinwall of Edward Herbert Surveyors presented a septic design of these lots located at the north end of Hillcrest Lane on the easterly side of the road. He stated that they had looked at this plan about 3 years ago and that the property was owned by Iris Therriault. Mr. Aspinwall pointed out the wet area in front of the lot on the map provided which showed a 50 foot WCD. He stated that in order to get to building portion of the lot, 190' across was needed with no direct wetland impact. The surveyor added that no wetland permit application was needed but he was present to explain to the committee the impact within the WCD.
Alicia Symonovit inquired if a fill-in was needed or just a crossing. Wesley Aspinwall stated that gravel
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Hearing, Map 42 Wetland Crossing continued
would be placed and eventually pavement. He stated the owner had acquired a small triangular parcel
in the back of the lot and that distances needed to be maintained. Bill Cookinham asked what was in the back of the parcel to which Mr. Aspinwall responded there were highlands. Bill Cookinham reiterated that there were no wet areas and Mr. Aspinwall responded there were not. Alicia Symonovit asked about drainage. Mr. Aspinwall stated that pavement would be needed regardless of turnaround location. He added that a well would be needed in WCD but might possibly go outside of that. Alicia Symonovit inquired about vegetation. Wesley Aspinwall responded it was largely pine woods. Don Paquin inquired about the existing water area which Mr. Aspinwall said drained back to the street; a culvert would handle any overflow. Mr. Paquin asked if this would affect the driveway. Mr. Aspinwall stated it would not even with the culvert. Bill Cookinham noted that there was a pond at the end of Hillcrest Lane where it was low. Alicia Symonovit suggested a site walk by the committee. Mr. Aspinwall said he would be happy to accompany the board members.
Debbie Waters asked about the width of the driveway and was told by Wesley Aspinwall that it would be 10 feet. Debbie Waters observed that there would be a 1900 square foot impact on WCD and asked about the WCD presently having pines. Mr. Aspinwall responded yes and added that there was an old farm road currently where most of the driveway would be for the dwelling to be constructed. Alicia Symonovit inquired whether the existing vegetation would be maintained. Mr. Aspinwall said yes. Alicia Symonovit asked about placing mulch around the well. Mr. Aspinwall said it would be as well as hay bales. He added that the driveway would most likely be paved eventually.
Bill Cookinham asked about an existing dwelling on the other side of the lot. Wesley Aspinwall stated that there was a dwelling on 10-32 to the south and open space to the north. Alicia Symonovit recommended a site walk again and Bill Cookinham added it could be done on the coming Saturday.
Debbie Waters requested that Wesley Aspinwall explain hydric B for the public and the minutes. Mr. Aspinwall noted that it was the equivalent of poorly drained soil with various soil criteria having a saturated effect most of the year. He added that standing water would be hydric A. Debbie Waters asked about vegetation in the hydric B area and Mr. Aspinwall replied it was wetland shrubs primarily. The committee agreed to do a site walk on Saturday, January 15th at 7:30 a.m.
ML 7 - 10, Prime Atlantic, Old Lawrence Road
Alicia Symonovit stated that the hearing on the relocation of the cellular tower was withdrawn and would likely return for another meeting at a later date.
Map 37, Lot 6-250, Elston Estate Subdivision
Doug Lees of Dana Perkins Engineering presented regarding the construction of a detention area within the WCD and distributed maps to the committee on this proposed six lot subdivision. Mr. Lees noted that the Planning Board had required revisions. He stated the logical place for the detention pond would be the low area in the parcel which is off Marsh Road near Greeley and behind Jean Guy’s auto business. Each lot would have an individual well and septic system. Mr. Lees explained that the detention area was designed as a wet pond with extra storage for a 72 hour detention factor and emergency overflow. Bill Cookinham inquired how it would be built. Mr. Lees indicated a hole with a culvert. Alicia Symonovit asked how extensive was the wetland area existing over the property line. Mr. Lees responded it was quite large with a creek that would come down into the culvert. Doug Lees indicated the position on the map and distributed drainage report to the committee.
Debbie Waters asked what would be the distance from the treatment area to the road and Mr. Lees
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Hearing, Elston Estates continued
answered it was approximately 135 feet. Debbie Waters requested Mr. Lees to describe how the detention pond would treat the run-off. Doug Lees stated there would be a storage area below outlet pipe to settle out the flow then exit to the pond, taking approximately 70 hours to drain. Debbie Waters inquired what material exists in the proposed pond to filter run-off and Mr. Lees said it was natural loam and grass. Don Paquin asked about the lifespan before it is filled with sediments and Mr. Lees noted there was a lot of space with 2 feet allowed. Debbie Waters asked where the catch basins would be located and Mr. Lees pointed the location out on the map. Debbie Waters asked how effective the detention pond would be. Doug Lees stated it would solve 60 - 75% of the situation.
Alicia Symonovit asked whether the Planning Board had given site specifications for the dwelling to be constructed on this lot. Doug Lees answered no. Don Paquin noted the house would be very close to the WCD and Mr. Lees stated it would be about 6 feet away. Debbie Waters observed that the owner’s backyard would be the WCD and Alicia Symonovit requested that it be moved as far away as possible. Mr. Lees responded that it could be moved further.
Alicia Symonovit asked Mr. Lees if the existing vegetation in front of proposed detention pond would be cleared. Mr. Lees noted that this was likely given the thick growth of evergreen which was not attractive. Alicia Symonovit added that the committee usually requests signage for WCD area and Mr. Lees responded that this could be done.
Bill Cookinham stated that this was mostly an open space area with perhaps 10 feet of trees. The committee agreed to a site walk at 7 a.m. on Saturday, January 15th, when the Planning Board will also be present. The committee informed Mr. Aspinwall that they would therefore attend his site walk at 7:45 a.m. that day. All agreed.
Debbie Waters queried whether a vote would be taken at the time of the site walk and stated that she would like to hear from CLD prior to that. Debbie Waters explained that since the detention pond is only 75% effective on removal of road solids, she would prefer input from CLD and inquired what happens with the remaining 25%. Doug Lees responded that it would go downstream where there is a brook and culvert. Bill Cookinham offered that there could be a request for no salt usage in that area.
Debbie Waters stated the committee might want to recommend to Planning Board that they do a site specification requirement for location of dwelling on Lot 6 since much of it is within the WCD. Alicia Symonovit asks if other lots are heavily treed. Mr. Lees pointed out the open space and treed areas on the map. Alicia Symonovit advises that leaving the trees intact will help absorb some of the water. Doug Lees proposes that catch basins with deep sumps can be added to increase that 75% effective rate and that hay bales can be added. Debbie Waters requests that signage be placed on Lot 6 and corner of Lot 7 to mark wetland area and requests that the developer do minimal cutting on parcels. The committee thanks Doug Lees for his presentation.
Bill Cookinham makes a MOTION to vote on the proposed detention pond at the time of the site walk on January 15, 2000 if a quorum of Conservation Committee is present to do so. Don Paquin seconds the motion. All in favor: Alicia Symonovit, Don Paquin, Debbie Waters, Bill Cookinham (4-0-0). Motion passes.
Presentation by Tennessee Gas Pipeline
Four members of the Project Team for Tennessee Gas Pipeline present to inform the committee of the project which is coming through the Town of Pelham and offers the following overview:
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Tennessee Gas Pipeline continued
There are 19.3 miles of replacement pipeline to be placed which begins in Dracut, MA and ends at the meter station on Sanborn Road in Londonderry, NH, passing through Pelham. There are two lines going through Pelham in an existing 40 foot right of way; 8 inch lines were placed in the 1950's and 12 inch lines in the 1980's. This project proposes to remove the 8 inch lines and replace them with 20 inch pipes. A gas generated power station is being built by AES needing gas which is the reason for this project. In order to supply the gas, larger pipes are needed in existing trench. A temporary 50 foot right of way for a total of a 90 foot easement will be required. In one year’s time, the additional footage will revert back to the landowners and the permanent easement will be what is already owned by Tennessee Gas Pipeline. This project requires Federal and State approval. A copy of the Federal filing is available for anyone to view at the Pelham Town Library and a public hearing will be had at some point in the future. Letters have been sent to 114 landowners indicating their rights. The project will take 5 months, starting in the spring of 2001 and ending in October, 2001. Work will be in progress six days per week at 10 hours per day which translates to a couple of days per homeowner for actual construction. Crew will be brought in by bus from staging facility near Pelham Industrial Park where pipelines will be stored. The cost of the project is $32 million and involves 6.82 miles through Pelham with 18 stream crossings, 2 ponds, 2 crossings at Beaver Brook, 28 wetland crossings and 17 road crossings. The two major road crossings will be at Nashua Road and Route 38.
Bill Cookinham asks in what year in the 1980's the 12 inch pipeline was laid. The Project Team responds that it was done in different stages but pipelines went into Pelham in 1980-81. Debbie Waters comments that a letter was sent about a year ago by Tennessee Gas Pipeline to the Town to which the Conservation Committee responded in detail and asks if anyone has the letter. The Team answers that they have the letter but not with them at this meeting. A representative of the Team notes that the State filing will be made next week and the committee will receive a wetland permit application. Debbie Waters remarks that a former committee member and expert in the field had reviewed the matter and assisted in the drafting of the letter response. She would like that gone over point by point between the committee and the Team. Some discussion is had among the members of the committee and the Team as to when and how this can be accomplished and it is decided that the Team will be placed on next month’s agenda at which time they will address all the points in the committee’s letter.
The Team notes that they would like to coordinate all of this for the State applications and filings and that many discussions have been had to date with the Department of Environmental Services on minimizing the impact to the wetland areas. The Team notes that it is important for the committee to see State filings to assess their input against the questions raised in the committee’s response letter. To facilitate the next meeting, the Team will send a response by mail prior to the meeting noting clarifying the points to be discussed. The Team environmentalist notes that some documentation may already be held by Alicia Harshfield that would be helpful to the committee but they would like to be assured that the information was current. He suggests that the committee members may want to walk the pipeline area at some point in the future.
Debbie Waters remarks that it might be prudent to mark off a fair amount of time at the next meeting when Tennessee Gas Pipeline will return. The Team states that it will work around the committee’s schedule to accommodate them for discussions needed. Debbie Waters requests business cards from each of the Team members for the committee records. The Team representative left additional reports for committee members absent at this meeting.
Alicia Symonovit inquires if there are any questions from the public. Paul McLaughlin arrives late and informs the committee that he is familiar with Tennessee Gas Pipeline project and asks if committee has information on crossings. Debbie Waters tells Mr. McLaughlin that a comprehensive discussion will be had at the February 9th meeting.
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Tennessee Gas Pipeline continued
Alicia Symonovit asks the Team how the crossings will be done at Beaver Brook. The environmentalist on the Team explains that an equipment crossing has to be created by placing pipes in stream, gravel or other material, so equipment can go back and forth. He further explains that there are several methods for cutting trench and laying pipe such as a wet crossing. This is when construction crew cuts the stream while water is flowing and drops the pipe in but there can be potential sediment difficulties. If there is a lot of flow, they may have to flume and thread pipe underneath. Standard procedures will be used and these will be addressed in State filings, a copy of which can be shared with the committee. Another option is to dam and pump around to create a dry spot for laying of pipe.
Debbie Waters asks what stage Tennessee Gas Pipeline is at in Londonderry and whether the plant has been approved as yet. The Team presenter responds that the plant has received approval but there is a group called Londonderry Neighborhood Coalition (LNC) that has asked requested it go before the Supreme Court. LNC has asked that the Supreme Court view this matter in March and it will be determined if there is a case. The Team states that the power plant is not their project and if for any reason it is not built, then their project for new pipelines will not be necessary. AES has given Tennessee the critical in service date of October 1, 2001.
Alicia Symonovit asks if the easement is 50 feet only in some areas. The Team presenter states that it is 40 feet as a permanent easement but more area is needed to construct. She states again that the ownership reverts back to the homeowner. Tennessee Gas is only seeking temporary easement for this project. Paul McLaughlin states that when this matter came before the Planning Board, there were questions about the easements and asked if this had been addressed. The presenter stated that in the 1980's the easements were apparently not defined and that was being worked on now. Title searches are being done on the existing easements to see what parties need to be dealt with in terms of negotiating. Tennessee Gas will be negotiating with some individual property owners. The committee thanks the Team for their input and will continue discussion at the next meeting.
The Team environmentalist asks the committee if they had stated that the wetland area behind the school will not be designated as prime. The committee notes that this is uncertain as not all of the area was studied. Debbie Waters noted that there might be some appeal at the State to get some clarification since the criteria was very high, other than the hydric soil issue.
Map 13 and 14, Lot 4-137, Rivier Project
Alicia Symonovit notes that this is a 4 lot subdivision with proposed future lots and land that was donated to Rivier College. She explains that this is not a hearing but only for discussion and listening. Jim Gove presents from Gove Environmental Services. Mr. Gove notes that it is a potential six lot subdivision along Mammoth Road and Valley Hill Road. A fair portion of the land has been flagged with property lines being somewhat uncertain at this point. The area is about 7+ acres with an existing house on Mammoth Road. Lot 4-37-4 is indicated by Gove as having well drained canton. A lot of excavation took place there in the past as is shown on soil maps. There is a seasonable water table that is between 1 and 3 feet down in the subsoil material left. Mr. Gove explains there is another area with deeper water table that has been excavated out at some time and graded over. The topsoil was removed. There are some wetland areas which may have been encroached upon during excavation in the past but it appears that they are relatively undisturbed. Mr. Gove notes that this land was used as a borrow area at one time. Grading was done well and in some cases not so well. There are areas of rocky debris that were left from excavation and some poorly drained areas. He points out the places where the land was ditched and where a bridging is proposed. Mr. Gove states there will be no wetland impact if this is done.
Bill Cookinham asks if the area near ditch, where there is drainage, had been man-made and if it was the
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Rivier Project continued
result of the ditch line being made. Jim Gove responds says there are clearly some poorly drained soils which takes much time under natural conditions. He notes the steep boundary and notes that a portion was apparently excavated down to the water table. He doesn’t know the answer but notes that there are 4 inches of muck in this area which can occur fast under man-made conditions. He notes that the trees in the area are at least 50 years old. Mr. Gove knows it was a highly excavated area.
Debbie Waters asks how many houses are proposed and Mr. Gove responds there are 4 frontage lots with two side by side driveway crossings with bridge over the ditch. Debbie Waters asks Mr. Gove to describe the back area. Mr. Gove says it is very thick in some areas with old apple trees with mixed vegetation. There is also a big pit area and relatively steep slopes as you move up hill. Debbie Waters asks the purpose of some hay bales indicated on page 3 of the plan. Mr. Gove said they are to mark off the edges to keep construction within area so as not to create wetland violation. The plan also shows silt fence. Debbie Waters asks about a roadway noted and Mr. Gove states it is to show an access road off Mammoth Road for the balance of the land in the back. Debbie Waters inquires if Mr. Gove is going to be asking for an access road there as well and Jim Gove states it’s undecided at this point.
Alicia Symonovit asks about trails in the area that may have been researched. Jim Gove states that he noted some trails which may have been an old access into gravel pit area in back. He has not yet done site specific mapping on that area. Alicia Symonovit remarks that there may be some established trails and asks whether they can be maintained. Debbie Waters asks when Gove is going next to the Planning Board. Mr. Gove believes it is February 7th. Debbie Waters states that the committee has some time since the Planning Board will not be ruling that night with a first presentation.
Alicia Symonovit asks whether the large parcel in the back is buildable since there are some very steep areas. Mr. Gove notes there are wetlands and steep slopes but that it is 75% buildable. Mr. Gove will note that trails may be a concern and Alicia Symonovit indicates she will gather more information. Debbie Waters notes that the land is across from Muldoon Park and that in the back of this parcel is land owned by New England Forestry. She says that Rivier College who owns the front land was agreeable to extending trails since it was across from Muldoon Park. Don Paquin states that it would be nice to connect with Raymond Park as well. Jim Gove says he will speak with Peter Zohdi about it and that it may be possible to create sustained trails. Paul McLaughlin asks if there are any indications of rare and endangered species on the property and Mr. Gove states there are not in this area.
Alicia Symonovit requests that Jim Gove keep in mind the discussion of trails and he agrees to pass it on to Peter Zohdi at Edward Herbert Surveyors. The committee thanked Mr. Gove.
Discussion: Phase II of 100 acre woods
Jim Gove presents a map showing 19 lot subdivision with the first part of a two part environmental impact assessment. There are vast differences and part two addresses the residue of the property. Mr. Gove asks the committee to view page 12 of the first part showing two prototypes. The area discussed is by Honey Lane which has a mixed hardwood pine forest and another which is thick young white pine area. Mr. Gove indicates a young wetland area stating his recommendation that a 50' WCD should be proposed. A natural heritage inventory data search was conducted which found a valuable flood plain wetland area with unique plant community and species. Under the first Phase of subdivision, provisions were made to donate conservation and wetland areas to the Town.
Mr. Gove asks committee to turn to page 13 of second report on the residual area. He notes that a fair portion of the area is wetlands with a fair diversity. Much is poorly drained soils. Mr. Gove notes that under Phase I there was much discussion about connecting Noela Ave. with Irene Drive which he does not
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Phase II, Honey Lane continued
recommend. There are issues of public safety, health and welfare. Mr. Gove recommends that Honey Lane end in a cul-de-sac to maintain wetland areas.
Alicia Symonovit asks whether the residue area is buildable and Mr. Gove says it may be but at this time, nothing is being proposed in residue in terms of housing. There is no impact since there is no proposal. Debbie Waters asks if Honey Lane ends in a cul-de-sac, would there be impact in any other area of this plan. Mr. Gove states there is no direct wetland impact on any of this plan. He indicates that it is his opinion from an environmental standpoint that Honey Lane should not be a through road. Debbie Waters asks, if Noela Avenue did not go through, what would be the buffer impact of that configuration of the subdivision. Mr. Gove says it would be reduced by half. He refers the committee to last page of report where WCD is shown and the residue. He wrote into report what is functionally there but not a recommendation for Honey Lane to go through. Mr. Gove explains that during Phase I, the Planning Board stated he must make some connection to Noela Avenue. Debbie Waters states her understanding that with configuration presented, the impact would be somewhat on Honey Lane to the buffer and a small impact on Robin Road to the buffer. Gove states that is correct.
Jim Gove explains that he does not believe that Noela Avenue can go through now. Debbie Waters asks where the Planning Board is now proposing that Noela go through and Mr. Gove indicates on Honey Lane. He explains the alternative is going around the wetlands and not through the wetlands. Debbie Waters seeks to confirm that Mr. Gove recommends a connection not be made from Honey Lane to Noela which he states is correct. She further reiterates that if Honey Lane is to go through, the buffer impact would be twice as much as if it didn’t and Gove agrees. Debbie Waters asks if Jim Gove will return to the committee at a later date and he responds yes.
Debbie Waters asks if that residual area will be deeded to the Town since there are no plans to build upon it. Jim Gove responds that he does not know. Alicia inquires if there are any other questions and thanks Mr. Gove for his report. She asks if he remembers how much of a buffer zone was given in the first Phase. He states 100 feet in some places and 200 feet in other places but most of property lines went to the top of the banks of the flood plan. Mr. Gove recalls there were three pools connected which were deeded to the Town and man-made ditches were constructed with bridges.
Paul McLaughlin asks if it is the same ownership being dealt with in Phase II as Phase I and Mr. Gove says yes, it is Thomas Mahoney. Mr. McLaughlin states that there had been some assurances made that certain areas would be cleaned up and asked if they had been. Mr. Gove stated he had not gone down there to look himself but was told by the owner that the car was pulled out of the hole and a bottle dump covered. He will make a note to go check on those areas. Mr. McLaughlin said he recalls that some residents on Irene Drive were concerned during Phase I about the effect of their properties having water. He asks if there might be some effect from Phase II. Jim Gove responds that he will find out if there has been any detrimental impact on Irene Drive.
Alicia Symonovit inquires whether Mr. Mahoney sells the lots to individuals and Mr. Gove says he believes so; that some were built by a son or son-in-law or a few other builders. One lot was sold to an individual who hired his own builder to construct a home. Bill Cookinham states there is one lot left unsold and that he believes a superb job was done in answer to Paul McLaughlin’s question earlier.
Debbie Waters states that she was speaking with someone at NRPC recently and it was mentioned there was a trail of porous tar which was not available in this part of the country. She asked Jim Gove if he had any knowledge of that and he states he believes there is, citing Victoria Park in Salem as an example of a site made out of that porous material. He states it is available but expensive and Debbie Waters asks if it might be available for a roadway. Mr. Gove does not know for certain but has been informed that it is not a viable solution. Bill Cookinham questions if it is durable material to plow and Mr. Gove says it cannot be
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Phase II, Honey Lane continued
plowed. Debbie Waters wondered if there was some way to reduce the impact to the environment but get the road in for emergency vehicles. Bill Cookinham suggests the size of the road might be reduced from 24 feet as there would be tendency to drive slower. Debbie Waters suggests that might be a recommendation for the committee if the road has to go through that area. The committee thanked Jim Gove and asked him to thank Mr. Mahoney.
Alicia Symonovit asks committee members to think about projects and voice any special interests. She asks that the members review December minutes before next meeting. Bill Cookinham advises Paul McLaughlin of the site walks scheduled for the coming Saturday. Alicia Symonovit advises members of a special conference on January 22nd regarding the $12 million state appropriation for open space if anyone is interested in attending. She adds the public is invited to attend as well. The committee discussed a treed area of fire damage which Bill Cookinham went to view. Alicia Symonovit remarked that the Forestry inspector said two or three acres may need to be cleared.
Paul McLaughlin made a MOTION to adjourn. Bill Cookinham seconded the motion. All in favor: Alicia Symonovit, Debbie Waters, Don Paquin, Paul McLaughlin, Bill Cookinham (5-0-0). Motion passes.
Meeting adjourned at 9:54 p.m.
Minutes recorded by,
Kathleen A. Carr
Note: These minutes were taken from a video taping of the Conservation Committee Meeting. No recording secretary was present at the meeting.