Members Present: Members Absent:
Robert Yarmo, Acting Chairperson
Hal Lynde, Selectmen Representative
Alicia Harshfield, Alternate
Brenda Jensen, Alternate
A meeting of the Pelham Conservation Commission was held upstairs at the Pelham, NH Town Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2000. The acting Chairperson, Robert Yarmo, called the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.
Map 4, Lot 137-5, Mammoth Road
Valley Hill Land Development, LLC
Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors in Windham, NH presented a plan on this 30 lot subdivision off Mammoth Road which had been approved by the Planning Board, subject to approval by the Conservation Commission. Mr. Zohdi explained that Conservation and Planning had requested an environmental study on this project along with two adjacent subdivisions and that the study on the Valley Hill Land Development was completed. Copies were given to Conservation and Planning boards. Mr. Zohdi stated that there were no dredge and fill applications but wetland crossings for two bridges to be constructed (at Lots 4-137-9 and 4-137-10). A water line would be drilled. There is impact on WCD; wetland areas will stay intact. Planning Board had dictated that all roads were to be connected in the development.
Alicia Harshfield asked about an alternate driveway access on Lots 4-137-9 and 4-137-10. Peter Zohdi responded that the driveways could be constructed from Holstein Drive but would create a near 300 foot drive on one lot and near 400 foot drive on the other. Bob Yarmo inquired about the footings for the proposed bridges and Mr. Zohdi answered that they would be outside of wetlands. Mr. Yarmo asked about the designs for the bridges and Peter stated they would be completed and given to CLD for approval. Bridges would be approximately 40’ by 40’. Hal Lynde questions whether the front part of Lot 10 is all WCD and Mr. Zohdi responds affirmatively.
Alicia Harshfield confirms that it is necessary to go through wetlands to connect roads per order of the Planning Board and Mr. Zohdi agrees. Alicia adds that given the design, wetlands must be crossed for driveways on Lots 9 and 10 and that another design might avoid this. Peter Zohdi states that the plan is in compliance with all zoning and ordinance regulations. He adds that it is his job to design a plan for maximum use of land and number of buildable lots. Alicia Harshfield states that there is the letter of the law to follow and then the intent which is more discretionary. She adds that it is the job of the Conservation board to look at subdivisions with broader intent of impact to the residents. Mr. Zohdi offers that Lots 9 and 10 can be changed by putting a driveway easement in Lot 11, without crossing WCD. Mrs. Harshfield feels that this would be preferable and a net gain in protecting wetlands. She asks if WCD is a no cut zone on plan and Mr. Zohdi agrees that it is.
Bob Yarmo inquires about the signs to be posted in the development and Peter Zohdi states that they will be placed in compliance with the board’s conditions, except for the road and driveways. Alicia Harshfield questions if homes are site specific and whether Planning Board required this. Mr. Zohdi answers no and offers that the plan shows approximate location of homes. Bob Yarmo queries whether a drainage study had been done and Peter says yes, adding that copies had been submitted to boards. Mr. Yarmo asks if the study shows that the wetlands would still receive same amount of water and Peter responds that the drainage direction will not be changed. Bob notes that there is a treatment swale on Lot 11 and asks if there would be standing water in it. Mr. Zohdi answers that the topography of land is being followed. Alicia Harshfield inquires about the pedestrian easement on Lots 27 and 28 connecting with Valley Hill Road. Mr. Zohdi indicates its location and direction on the plan.
Katie Surowiec of Turtle Pond Enterprises in Sanbornton, NH presents the results of a wildlife impact study completed at the request of the Planning Board. The study lists species in the area and any potential impact. Ms. Surowiec asks the board to disregard note on impact to wetlands since it had changed after the last Planning Board meeting. She explains that the benefit is that most property house locations are near the roads, leaving the integrity of the wetlands in buffer area as a travel corridor for wildlife. She adds that there are natural constraints topographically still to be used by wildlife in area and that many species will adapt. Ms. Surowiec says that she can review studies on adjacent parcels as they are developed. Bob Yarmo states that he thought the intent was to report on all three developments together. Ms. Surowiec answers that the Planning Board requested study on wildlife impact only and that only the topography had been done to date on the adjacent Peterson property.
Jim Gove of Gove Environmental Services explains that there is a potential road lay-out to connect this parcel with the adjacent development and eventually the third parcel but that the exact lay-out is not known at this time. He states that there will have to be an ongoing study as the planning develops. Bob Yarmo asks where the wildlife corridor is located currently, noting that there is a Prime wetland on one side and a Town Forest on another side of the three proposed developments. Katie Surowiec indicates on the map that the Prime wetland is located on the other side of the road, adding that the ridges and existing wildlife corridor is being maintained. Peter Zohdi interjects that a pedestrian easement has been given around the border of this property leading to the Town Forest. Bob Yarmo inquires about endangered species and Ms. Surowiec answers that there are none known. She adds that there is no mechanism set up to protect endangered or rare species on private lands as there are on public lands.
Bob Yarmo inquires about other conservation land within these parcels. Katie Surowiec answers that there is, indicating page 2 of the set of plans being reviewed. Alicia Harshfield asks about the location of the gas line relative to this site and Peter Zohdi answers that it is much further north and does not extend through this development.
Jim Gove addresses the board relative to the question of an adjacency issue, stating that he had contacted Dr. Frank Richardson of the Wetlands Bureau and had met with him last week to review plans along with Steve Haight of Edward Herbert Surveyors. Mr. Gove states that Dr. Richardson’s office initially did not have the letter of inquiry from Conservation Commission but that it was later found (misfile). Jim Gove stated that Dr. Richardson believes there is no adjacency issue and would either call or write the Chair of Conservation with this information. Alicia Harshfield asks if Dr. Richardson offered any comments. Jim Gove says that Dr. Richardson reviewed the plans and drainage study and felt there was no impact to Prime wetlands. Bob Yarmo asked how this differed from Yarde Metals property and Mr. Gove answered that the Prime wetland area was in much closer proximity at that parcel.
Hal Lynde requested that Katie Surowiec elaborate on wildlife report concerning the amphibians and she complied. Bob Yarmo queried about the steep slope areas near wetlands and the possibility of increasing the buffer. Ms. Surowiec reiterated that the homes would be placed close to the road on the lots and away from the steep slope areas which she felt would remain intact.
Jim Gove indicated the slopes and buffer areas on the map presented. He stated that placing longer driveways at Lots 9 and 10 would result in cutting through more forest areas. Mr. Gove explained that there would be a WCD impact with the road and that the proposed driveways on these lots were within 50 and 75 feet, resulting in a clustered impact. He stated that the alternative driveway placements from Holstein Drive would break up forest zone and create more of an impact on the wildlife. Jim Gove restated that the road connections were mandated by the Planning Board and that the road was laid out to minimize any impact. Given the location of the road, 200’ frontage for each lot is required which resulted in the design of these lots.
Bob Yarmo asked if plantings could be put in along WCD where the bridges would be constructed. Jim Gove answered that his recommendation would be to place a 50/50 mix of birch and aspen saplings (2-3 feet, 10 feet at center) to provide some habitat along with ground cover for erosion control. He noted that there were site specific requirements on the plan for hydroseeding. Alicia Harshfield inquired about a proposal to protect the WCD no cut zone on plan during construction. Jim Gove answered that orange construction fencing could be placed along any WCD areas and Mr. Zohdi offered that the developer would comply with posting of signs as well. Alicia Harshfield asked if Mr. Zohdi had the authority to state that the developer would be amenable to this and he answered yes. Mr. Zohdi stated that the developer was not present but his attorney, William Mason, was present on his behalf at this time.
Hal Lynde questioned the location of the home on Lot 34, stating that it was necessary to cross WCD to get to the house which was placed at edge of buffer zone and would not allow for lawn placement outside WCD. He added that in the point of view of this board, it would be an untenable lot. Peter Zohdi agreed that it was not the best design and stated that the house could be moved back 50 feet. Hal Lynde asked about Lot 7 access location and Mr. Zohdi responded that it would remain as plan indicated. Mr. Lynde said that Lot 17 also would not allow for much yard area without encroaching on WCD. Mr. Zohdi agreed and said the location of that home could also be moved closer to front of lot, adding that he had to take in consideration of septic design for location of homes. Alicia Harshfield stated that the board wanted the developer to understand that positioning a home along WCD did not protect integrity of the buffer. Peter responded that the developer would follow any restrictions noted on plan. Hal Lynde indicated that Lot 18 also showed a home at edge of WCD area and Mr. Zohdi said it could be moved behind septic system. Peter stated that whatever conditions were given in a motion made by the board, would go on recorded plan. Alicia Harshfield asked that WCD no cut zone wording be included in plan and Mr. Zohdi agreed.
Paul Steck, a resident from Jeremy Hill Road addressed the board stating that he understood that two driveway locations may be changed to keep out of buffer zone which would then result in further cutting of forest areas. He concluded that once property was privately owned, there was no guarantee it would stay forested. Mr. Steck believes it is important to create a wildlife corridor in the overall picture of these three or eventual four developments as wildlife will also need access to Jeremy Hill Forest. He stated that there was a subdivision regulation (674:36) which said that open spaces of adequate proportions may be provided and asked the board to make this suggestion to Planning Board.
As an alternative to proposed driveways on Lots 9 and 10, Peter Zohdi suggested that a no building or no cut zone restriction can be added to plan within 75 feet of back property line. The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, proposed that no cut zone be added to plan for upper lots which abut forest and the steep slope areas. Mr. Zohdi agrees to a 200 foot no cut zone from stone wall. Alicia Harshfield states that regarding Lots 9 and 10, neither driveway access is a good option nor the location of homes which encroach on wildlife corridor. Peter suggests moving home closer to lot line in Lot 10 but needs 10 foot width minimum for driveway. Mrs. Harshfield inquires about alternate configurations to lots. Mr. Zohdi explains he must comply with 30,000 square feet and driveway access to avoid retaining wall. Hal Lynde asked if conservation easement is another option to 200 foot no cut zone restriction. Peter answers that either can be done and put on recorded plan which will in turn be explained to homeowners; restrictions will be referenced on deeds.
Alicia Harshfield says that she would like the board to deal with Lots 9 and 10 in a separate motion from the remainder of the subdivision. Hal Lynde asks what specific approval is needed from the board. Peter Zohdi responds that he needs approval from board tonight to allow bridges, road and driveways as shown on plan to go through WCD; no wetland impact. Alicia clarifies that Planning Board needs letter of acceptance from this board regarding two road crossings and driveway crossings. Mr. Lynde asks how many driveways are crossing WCD. Excluding Lots 9 and 10, Mr. Zohdi answers that Lots 34, 29 and 18 have WCD crossings. Alicia Harshfield inquires whether driveways will be constructed so water flows away from the buffer and Peter answers that they can be sloped 1/2% other way or a curving can be put on side near WCD. Peter explains that the house on Lot 9 is not too close to wetland but home on Lot 10 can be moved to be 80-90 feet away from wetland.
Hal Lynde asks about the location of the bridges and Peter Zohdi answers that one is on Holstein Drive extension with the other on proposed Meadow View Road. Mr. Lynde reviewed the conditions the board would seek in giving approval.
A Motion was made by Hal Lynde that the board accept the construction of the roads as proposed with crossings of WCD and two precast concrete bridges, to allow proposed driveways on Lots 18, 29 and 34 with WCD crossings, subject to the following conditions: At area of disturbance along wetlands, there will be plantings of 2-3 ft. saplings of gray birch and aspens--10 feet on center; houses on Lots 34 and 18 will be moved back a minimum of 50 feet from edge of WCD; house on Lot 17 be moved forward a minimum of 25 feet from WCD; back portions of Lots 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34 will have a 200 foot no cut zone restriction from stone wall; Lots 19, 20, 21 and 22 will have a no cut zone 100 feet from back of lot lines; Lots 25, 26, 27 and 28 will have a minimum 50 feet no cut zone from edge of WCD; recorded plan will specify no cut zones in WCD areas; conservation markers will be implemented; driveways on Lots 18, 29 and 34 will slope away from WCD. The approval and conditions in this motion exclude Lots 9 and 10.
Bill Cookinham seconds the motion. All in favor: Hal Lynde, Brenda Jensen, Bill Cookinham, Bob Yarmo, Alicia Harshfield. None opposed. None abstained. Vote is 5-0-0. The motion passes.
A Motion is made by Hal Lynde to accept the driveway crossings for Lots 9 and 10 with 12 x 12 foot precast concrete bridges to span wetlands. Bill Cookinham seconds the motion.
Further discussion ensues. Bill Cookinham asks about moving the home on Lot 10 to be a greater distance from the wetlands and if one joint bridge can be constructed for both driveways. Peter Zohdi answers that the home can be moved and one bridge constructed. Hal Lynde asks how the laying in of water lines will impact wetlands. Mr. Zohdi explains that it is done with horizontal board and cut outside wetlands. Brenda Jensen confirms that there will be no wells on lots and Peter agrees, adding that water will be supplied by Pennichunk Water Co. Mr. Cookinham asks if motion can be amended regarding the one bridge and the Chairperson responds that a vote will be taken on motion on the floor first to approve crossings for driveways on Lots 9 and 10.
All in favor: Hal Lynde. All opposed: Bill Cookinham, Bob Yarmo, Alicia Harshfield, Brenda Jensen. None abstained. Vote is 1-4-0. The motion fails.
A Motion is made by Bill Cookinham to accept Lots 9 and 10 with one joint bridged driveway crossing. Brenda Jensen seconds the motion.
A discussion follows with Hal Lynde asking if this could be brought back before the board in the future if it were not approved at this meeting. William Mason, Attorney for the developer, addresses the board and explains that Lots 9 and 10 have been approved by the Planning Board. He adds that his client is seeking an advisory opinion from Conservation Commission on best access for these lots. Attorney Mason states that his client would like to accommodate this board but is not willing to give up two approved lots which comply with zoning and subdivision regulations. Mr. Mason says that one joint driveway access would be acceptable to client. Peter Zohdi comments that a 20 foot bridge for both driveways can be designed which would result in less WCD impact; each driveway must be 8 feet in width minimum.
Hal Lynde suggests that the board return to revisit this discussion at another meeting. Peter Zohdi requests approval subject to revisiting the board with site specific and individual driveway design on these two lots. Brenda Jensen notes that there would be less disturbance with one bridge and Bill Cookinham agrees.
The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, clarifies that there is a motion on the floor which was seconded by Brenda Jensen and asks for a vote.
All in favor: Bill Cookinham, Brenda Jensen. Any opposed: Hal Lynde, Alicia Harshfield. Abstained: Bob Yarmo. Vote is 2-2-1. The motion fails.
A Motion is made by Hal Lynde to table further action on Lots 9 and 10 until the next Conservation meeting. Bill Cookinham seconds the motion. All in favor: Alicia Harshfield, Bob Yarmo, Brenda Jensen, Bill Cookinham, Hal Lynde. None opposed. None abstained. Vote is 5-0-0. The motion passes.
Peter Zohdi asks if another meeting can be planned this month and the board agrees to Wednesday, November 29, 2000. Jim Gove asks if it would be worthwhile revisiting these two lots and the board agrees. They will meet with Mr. Gove and Mr. Zohdi at the Town Hall this coming Saturday at 8 a.m. and do a site walk of Lots 9 and 10.
Bob Yarmo asks the persons present on behalf of Pelham Track 2001 if their presentation can be done at the next meeting since the hour is late. Chris Paquin asks if they will be first on agenda but Mr. Yarmo explains that the board will have to continue first with the Valley Hill Development parcel under discussion.
Map 6, Lot 4-140 and Lot 4-140-3,
Old Orchard Estates
Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors in Windham, NH presents this subdivision at Valley Hill Road which he notes was viewed at a site walk by Conservation at an earlier date. Mr. Zohdi explains that there are some crossings of WCD at beginning of subdivision but no wetland crossings. There will be two driveways with bridges needed at Lots 14 and 15. Pennichunk Water Co. will supply water; no wells. Alicia Harshfield asks if this plan was approved by Planning Board. Peter Zohdi responds that it has not but Planning has taken jurisdiction.
Bob Yarmo inquires about maintaining same water supply to wetlands at bottom of parcel, pre- and post- development. Peter Zohdi states that a cross culvert can be put in; basins and treatment swale are set up. Bob Yarmo reconfirms, for the record, that Dr. Richardson does not believe there is an adjacency issue and Jim Gove responds affirmatively. He adds that Mr. Yarmo can confirm this with Dr. Richardson via the direct phone line Gove provided. Mr. Yarmo indicates that he will do so.
Katie Surowiec of Turtle Pond Enterprises states that the environmental study had been done and offers to review the wildlife impact. She explains that this is an agricultural orchard so wildlife can change if it becomes forested. There are some forest areas currently with many varied species along the edges of forest areas and orchard. Buffer area is a wildlife corridor leading out across road to Prime wetland. Jim Gove restates that if the orchard ceases, property may revert to forest area. He adds that there are no steep slopes or large contiguous wetland areas. A seepage area that goes toward Prime wetland is being protected. Mr. Gove recommends that at the beginning of the road there be plantings of gray birch and aspen along with hydroseeding (same as discussed with Valley Hill Development parcel). Bob Yarmo queries about endangered species and Ms. Surowiec responds that there are none known. Alicia Harshfield asks if the two driveways are the only crossings and Peter Zohdi responds yes, along with the road. Mrs. Harshfield asks if Jonathan Road connects with Valley Hill Road; Mr. Zohdi responds affirmatively adding that there is no
connection to Baldwin Hill Road. Hal Lynde asks how many lots are involved and Peter answers 36. Alicia Harshfield inquires about open space in the project and Mr. Zohdi states there is not. He adds that this may change at a later date if open space ordinance is passed next March by the Town. Mr. Zohdi also explains that the developer can only build on ten lots per year per Town ordinance.
The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, seeks to confirm that the WCD impact in this development is at the road and Lots 14 and 15. Peter Zohdi agrees and says that it will go before Planning Board the first Monday in December. He would like approval of this board before that time so developer can move ahead. Some further discussion followed about the combined three parcel environmental study, with Jim Gove stating that the corridor will probably be more obvious on Peterson property given what was seen at the back of this parcel. The Peterson property has similar steep slopes in the back but is not yet planned out for development. Katie Surowiec added that a travel corridor cannot fix all impact as it is not used by all species. Some remain in their small habitats. She noted that some towns do resource inventory through state in advance for identification purposes.
Bob Yarmo asks if there are any changes in downstream water flow. Peter Zohdi answers that there will be a detention pond across from Valley Hill Road which will go to treatment swale. There is an existing culvert which will pick up all water coming down; that is not being changed. Mr. Yarmo asked if any of the old apple orchard was being preserved and Mr. Gove responded that it would be up to the individual landowner to do so if they chose to. Bob Yarmo asked what will happen with existing farming road. Jim Gove responds that it goes along edge of wetland and this is where he would suggest slope stabilization mix and having area reforested as discussed.
A Motion is made by Hal Lynde to approve Jonathan Road crossing through WCD with the following conditions: Slope mitigation be required between stations 0 and 500 by planting 2 - 3 foot saplings of gray birch and aspen, 10 feet on center; that wetlands be identified with Conservation markers; that WCD no cut zone be indicated on the recorded plan.
Paul Steck of Jeremy Hill Road addressed the board again to say that he wished more specifics were available to address a continuing wildlife corridor and asked that the board suggest same state law to provide open space to Planning as he noted earlier. Hal Lynde commented that he hoped the open space ordinance would be passed by the Town to effect further development next year, noting that it was a win-win situation for both the Town and the developer. Peter Zohdi agreed. Alicia Harshfield asked if there was any proposal for pedestrian easements or trails. Mr. Zohdi responded that he could relay any board suggestions for this to his client. Alicia Harshfield asks that the board revisit discussion of Lots 14 and 15 at next meeting. The Chairperson redirects the board to the motion on the floor.
Bill Cookinham seconds the motion. All in favor: Alicia Harshfield, Brenda Jensen, Bob Yarmo, Hal Lynde, Bill Cookinham. Vote is 5-0-0, none opposed or abstained. The motion passes.
A Motion is made by Hal Lynde to adjourn. Seconded by Alicia Harshfield. All in favor. Vote is 5-0-0. The motion passes.
The meeting is adjourned at 11:45 p.m.
Kathleen A. Carr, APPROVED: November 29, 2000