TOWN OF PELHAM

CONSERVATION COMMISSION MEETING

FEBRUARY 9, 2000

 

 

Members Present:                                             Members Absent:

Alicia Symonovit Hennessey - Chairperson                                 Don Paquin

Debbie Waters - Alternate                                                        Alicia Harshfield

Rick Cummings                                                                          William McDevitt, Selectmen    

Bill Cookinham

Paul McLaughlin

 

The chairperson, Alicia Symonovit, called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.

 

Discussion

Alicia Symonovit began discussion regarding Article 21, sponsored by the Conservation Committee and approved by the Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee.

 

Debbie Waters stated that Article 21 was heard at the Town Deliberative Session last night (February 8, 2000), which was the next step in the process.  She noted that the process had started several years ago and many people were to be thanked who had lent support along the way.  The commission would like to thank the Board of Selectmen, the Budget Committee, Taxpayers Association of Pelham, Planning Board and all those who will vote for the article to pass.  Debbie Waters believed it would be successful and urged people to come out and vote for the critical need to put land aside for open space and passive recreation.

 

Alicia Symonovit stated that Article 21 will mean acquiring conservation land for present and future generations, for those who do not want to have their land developed and sell at a reduced value.  Last year there was a $50,000 cap on it and the Budget Committee voted to remove the cap so that 75% is realized for whatever is collected in the land use change tax.  She urged people to talk about it and get out to vote so this article will pass.

 

Paul McLaughlin added that a no vote on this article would eventually cost the taxpayers a substantial amount of money because land that is not set aside and is built on will bring in homes and children resulting in greater school costs. 

 

Alicia Symonovit spoke on the Prime Wetland Study noting four candidates hopefully to be designated as prime wetlands: Little Island Pond, St. Patrick’s Convent School, Sherburne Road Bog and Sherburne Road Emergent.  The Planning Board is recommending these four be designated as prime wetlands.  The town has 7 areas designated as prime wetlands currently.  She stated that the studies show the educational value in setting aside prime wetlands and urged everyone to vote yes on these articles.  She noted that Alicia Harshfield had brought in students from UNH for a report and study on this issue and that the students did an excellent job.

 

Paul McLaughlin informed everyone that a copy of the UNH report can be obtained from the Planning


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Board office in the Town Hall.  Alicia Symomovit explained that the report explained why these areas are classified as prime.

 

Hearings

 

Map 6, Lot 10, Elston Estates, 133 Marsh Road

 

Alicia Symonovit opened discussion on the proposed seven lot subdivision on Marsh Road with the detention pond located in the WCD. 

 

Doug Lees of Dana Perkins Engineering presented plans to the committee, indicating that a site walk was made last Saturday.  He noted that the location of the proposed detention pond was one of the better wooded sections.  He explained that alternatives were looked at prior to requesting detention pond.  Doug Lees indicated a 110' site where he was looking to place a treatment swale and stated some culverts might be sited above beaver dams.  He stated that he needed more information to propose a solution but more tests had been done and that the proposed the house on location be moved further from WCD.  Doug Lees indicated he was at this meeting prior to Planning Board meeting and had met with CLD.  He is asking the committee for a letter for the Planning Board to state that if an alternative cannot be found, they would be able to accept the detention pond.  He emphasized that he would do everything possible to avoid putting in the pond which would distract from the visual aspect of the lot. 

 

Alicia Symonovit asked Doug Lees to explain about the water offsite in that area.  Doug Lees indicated on the plan where other areas of water were located on the lots.  He showed the location of the culverts on a field sheet. 

 

Debbie Waters asked what are the factors remaining before a decision can be made on the treatment swale.  Doug Lees indicates he needs to upsize the culvert, maintain peak flow, and speak with CLD and Planning Board.  Debbie Waters asks what objections Planning Board may have and Doug Lees responds that it would be downstream drainage problem.  He was working to alleviate that with the beaver dam creating the difficulty.  Debbie Waters inquires about the configuration of the treatment swale.  Doug Lees states approximately 1%.  She thanks Doug Lees for his work in configuring to place house further away from the WCD and efforts for treatment swale before it goes to detention pond.  Doug Lees will await decision from CLD.  Debbie Waters confirms that if Doug Lees is successful there would be no impact on WCD and asks whether Planning Board will require site specific on house.  Doug Lees does not know at this point.  Debbie Waters asks about the back section of that lot and Doug Lees assumes it will remain the same. 

 

Rick Cummings seeks to confirm that Doug Lees is present to request a positive letter from the committee stating that he will use detention pond only if a successful alternative cannot be found.  Doug Lees agrees.  Debbie Waters states that she would like the decision also on some of the offsite upgrade. 

 


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In relation to offsite work, Paul McLaughlin asks if this would require the consent of the property owner.  Doug Lees responds that this is in the roadway and would require consent of road agent.  Alicia Symonovit notes that the Planning Board would be concerned about the distance of detention pond.  Debbie Waters asks whether this would be hazardous to have pond on the property. Doug Lees notes it will only be 2-3 feet deep.  Alicia Symonovit asks for motion.

 

Rick Cummings makes a MOTION that the committee write a positive letter regarding the detention pond under the stipulation that there is absolutely no way to put in this other configuration, being the treatment swale.  Bill Cookinham seconds the motion.  VOTE: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Richard Cummings, Debbie Waters, Bill Cookinham (4-0-1).  Paul McLaughlin abstains. Motion passes.

 

Debbie Waters states that she would like to recommend site specific on the lot with the house from the Planning Board and have this added to the letter, emphasizing the goal achieved with Doug Lee’s configuring to keep house away from the WCD.  All agreed.

 

Alicia Symonovit asks if the public has any input on this particular property.  Reporter from Lowell Sun inquires about hearing on Tennessee Gas Pipeline.  Alicia Symonovit informs her that there was a paperwork delay and it will be heard next month. 

 

Map 4, Lot 137, Mammoth Road, River College property

 

Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors presents plans on this approximate 90 acre subdivision, showing the existing drainage area and a proposal to cross the ditch line.  He is before the committee tonight because they are crossing WCD location with first division of lots and in need of access permit.  If a problem develops with existing drainage area and consequent culvert, a bridge can be placed over it.  No dredge and fill permit is being sought.  He indicates Lots 3 and 4 to be on the plan.  Peter Zohdi states that he is going to Planning Board for approval of 4 lots (one having been previously approved).  He would like conservation committee input before subdividing back land, noting center line of roads have been staked.   Peter Zohdi recommends a site walk to obtain input and notes that he has preliminary projection of remainder of subdivision. 

 

Alicia Symonovit requests to view preliminary plan which Peter Zohdi places on board and indicates a possible connection to be made with the existing Holstein Drive, which Planning Board would like.  He points out lot with existing house that has been approved and where they would like to place road.  The project encompasses 35 lots in the Rivier College parcel.  Peter Zohdi states that a connection will be made with Pennichuck Water Co.  There may be one or two more crossings over wetlands.  Peter Zohdi indicates the old Hinds and Valley Hill Orchard properties behind Rivier College parcel. 

 

Debbie Waters asks if New England Forestry is an abutter; Peter Zohdi responds yes.  Bill Cookinham notes that he has read of a possible walking/hiking trail through this property.  Peter Zohdi indicates he is not aware of this but states that his client, Eric Nickerson, is very willing to work with Conservation Committee as he has done previously in Windham.  Client is not opposed to trails


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for the benefit of public if it does not interfere with lots.  He states that Jim Gove is working on the soil and he has requested Tim Zelonis to put an excavator on property next Monday.    The committee agrees that they would like to focus on back land and trails.  Peter Zohdi notes that it is less expensive for client and easier for all to work on this together from the beginning.  Some discussion is had regarding convenient day for preliminary site walk.  It is agreed the walk will take place on Sunday, March 5, 2000 at 7:30 a.m., meeting first at Town Hall.  Debbie Waters requests that a representative of Parks and Recreation join them to view possible trail areas.  She will make that request at February 21st board meeting she will be attending.  Paul McLaughlin inquires about snow cover and Peter Zohdi states that it was previously flagged.  Peter Zohdi adds that there will be another opportunity for site walk when plan is submitted on Phase II.

 

Bill Cookinham asks if trail can come down to Mammoth Road with Peter Zohdi responding this can be done with 200 ft. frontage.   Peter Zohdi states that he needs the committee’s support and preliminary approval tonight, subject to site walk.  He wants to work cooperatively with his client, Planning Board and this Conservation Committee. 

 

Peter Zohdi inquires about site walk for Phase I with Planning Board and Conservation Committee.   Alicia Symonovit believes it is Saturday, February 19.  Peter Zohdi asks for preliminary approval tonight subject to site walk.  He notes that some members can be present at time designated and others may walk it at their convenience and call in vote to chairperson, achieving a quorum of 4.  Bill Cookinham states that only one call-in can be accepted. 

 

Debbie Waters inquires about 50 foot roadway to come and Peter Zohdi indicates location on plan, adding each of two driveways will be about 10 feet wide.  She asks what will be cleared out for WCD.  Peter Zohdi says approximately 30 feet.  Peter Zohdi adds that a crew will stake lot line but not driveway near utility pole; wetlands are flagged.  Paul McLaughlin inquires what specifically will they be looking at on site.  Peter Zohdi indicates Lots 4-137-5 and 4-137-4 on plan which will stay with the committee and Planning Board.

 

Paul McLaughlin inquires about owner trespass and Peter Zohdi states that this is not a problem.  Paul McLaughlin moves that the committee tentatively approve WCD crossings subject to site walk, with three members.  Debbie Waters agrees and adds that the committee members need to make an effort for enough people to walk site, noting that there is 30 feet of impact.  Bill Cookinham notes that there must be a total of four and Rick Cummings agrees after stating discomfort with only three and the need for a quorum.  Peter Zohdi adds that any board member can call him with advance notice to walk site with him/her. 

 

Bill Cookinham makes a MOTION to approve this plan, being Lots 4-137-5 and 4-137-4, and vote onsite with input from a quorum of four members, whether they be present or communicate their vote to chairperson prior to March 6, 2000 site walk.  Rick Cummings seconds the motion.  VOTE: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Paul McLaughlin, Rick Cummings, Debbie Waters, Bill Cookinham (5-0-0).  Motion passes.

 


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Alicia Symonovit asks about the back lots of 3 or 4 acres, including some steep areas.  Peter Zohdi indicates the 50 foot roadway on plan and approximately where the lots are located on what was  the Munson property.  He states that he understands from Jim Gove that the committee would like some kind of trail system.  Trails can be put in back of lots or where agreed by his client who is amenable to this.  He notes that his client may deed the trail areas to the town so that liability would not be his if an injury were to occur.  Alicia Symonovit asks if it can be made a conservation easement.  Peter Zohdi says decisions can be made at time of site walk and again that client is willing to work with town.  He notes that the committee can inquire about client’s reputation through Town of Windham.  The committee thanks Peter Zohdi for his presentation.

 

Map 6, Lot 185, Irene Drive

 

Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors presented a plan and gave history of the property, stating that his client would like to put in the second phase of this subdivision.  Planning Board had asked for Honey Lane road connection to Noela Avenue which was done and site walk was agreed upon.  No dredge and fill permit is required.  He is before the committee tonight since road will go through WCD; two crossings are necessary.  If the road is continued to Noela, there is another area.  A copy of the Gove study was distributed; Mr. Gove was not present as he was away on vacation.  This is a 20 lot subdivision with lots ranging from 1 to 22 acres. 

 

Paul McLaughlin states that Plan A is on the board now and asks how much encroachment into the WCD would there be with Plan B if Plan A is not used.  Peter Zohdi says there would be a 6,000 square foot difference between the two.  Paul McLaughlin asks for clarification.  Peter Zohdi states that Plan A has 6,000 square foot more than Plan B.  Paul McLaughlin confirms that by closing the loop, there would be less encroachment into the WCD.  His client, Thomas Mahoney, will go with either plan and Planning Board likes Plan B.  Plan A was drafted because Planning Board told Peter Zohdi a few years ago not to return without a road connection.  Client will hopefully get same number of lots with either plan. 

 

Debbie Waters states that Jim Gove was not in favor of connecting Honey Lane when he came before the committee.  Peter Zohdi agrees and adds that he spoke with Gove about it.  He shows on the plan where the most valuable wetlands would be.  Debbie Waters asks to be shown where the frontage is for the 22 acre lot and location of house. 

 

Alicia Symonovit asks whether a portion of the 22 acre lot can be donated to the Town.  Peter Zohdi responds that they would consider deeding an approximate 10 acres as dedication to conservation.  He has discussed this with his client.  Debbie Waters asks Peter Zohdi to remind his client that if he makes a donation, it comes off his income tax.  Alicia Symonovit asks Peter Zohdi to point out the approximate 10 acres on plan.   Peter Zohdi indicates existing conservation land behind these lots.  Debbie Waters asks about an L-shaped piece that remains and Peter Zohdi says he will speak to his client about it.  He will let the committee know on February 19th when they next meet for site walk.  Peter Zohdi offers copies of studies, such as traffic and drainage, if needed. 

 

Alicia Symonovit inquires about the Black Gum species of tree in the area being endangered.  Peter


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Zohdi is not certain but says Mr. Gove should be present at next meeting.  She inquires if wetlands can be added to donated land, noting they would be a great educational tool.  Peter Zohdi asks for motion and site walk on February 19.  He asks for approval of Plan A with recommendation to Planning Board of Plan B, subject to site walk.  Peter Zohdi adds that it must be approved or not before the March meeting of Planning Board even if agenda is full.  Peter Zohdi notes that his general understanding from the Planning Board is that Plan B might be workable.

 

Debbie Waters states that Mr. Gove not recommending the road connection weighs a lot with her.  She has a problem going against what expert environmentalist believes.  Paul McLaughlin suggests a motion to approve subject to site walk with no less than four members viewing the area.  The committee could accept Plan A but would see closing of loop as less damaging to wetlands. 

 

Rick Cummings makes a MOTION that the committee postpone voting on this plan until the site walk and sending a letter to Planning Board stating that Conservation Committee does not support Plan A for environmental reasons.  Bill Cookinham seconds the motion.  VOTE: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Rick Cummings, Bill Cookinham, Paul McLaughlin, Debbie Waters (5-0-0).  Motion passes.

 

Rick Cummings makes a second MOTION that the committee will vote on Plan B, subject to site walk.  Paul McLaughlin seconds the motion.  VOTE: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Debbie Waters, Paul McLaughlin, Bill Cookinham, Rick Cummings (5-0-0).  Motion passes.

 

Peter Zohdi requests that the committee leave the door open in fairness to his client.  Debbie Waters states that if Planning Board rejects Plan B, the Conservation Committee will reconvene.  Paul McLaughlin suggests that Plan A with Mr. Zohdi be placed on next agenda if this should be the result.  Peter Zohdi adds that he wants to get input from Fire Chief and he would appreciate any of this board speaking to Fire Chief as well.  Peter Zohdi states that he appreciates any help with this and requests speedy process of one driveway on Hillcrest Lane for WCD crossing.  Owner is anxious to build on lot which has been on record for 20 years.   The committee agrees on site walk at end of day on February 19.   The committee thanks Peter Zohdi for his presentation. 

 

MINUTES APPROVAL, November and December

 

Rick Cummings makes a MOTION to accept the November 10, 1999 minutes of the Conservation Committee Meeting.  Bill Cookinham seconds the motion.  VOTE: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Debbie Waters, Rick Cummings, Bill Cookinham (4-0-1).  Paul McLaughlin abstains.  Motion passes.

 

Rick Cummings makes a MOTION to accept the December 8, 1999 minutes of the Conservation Committee Meeting.  Bill Cookinham seconds the motion.  VOTE: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Debbie Waters, Rick Cummings, Bill Cookinham (4-0-1). 


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Paul McLaughlin abstains.  Motion passes.

 

Discussion (continues)

 

Rick Cummings states that the Conservation Committee has been awarded a $7,000 grant by the Department of Environmental Services of New Hampshire on a ground water study for educational purposes to identify the areas of significant drinking water which will require protection and areas of potential contamination of the drinking water.  Pennichuck Water Co. has given its’ support to this grant and what it might be used for.  A standard letter needs to be sent to the school district and the Planning Board for their support as well.  Rick Cummings will confirm that he is on the next agenda for Planning Board to discuss the grant. 

 

Paul McLaughlin suggests that Rick Cummings contact the superintendent to determine whom to contact for school approval and to notify the Board of Selectmen.  Rick Cummings says he will notify Bill McDevitt tomorrow.  Debbie Waters asks how it will interface with the school and Rick Cummings responds that their support is needed since it is an educational endeavor.  Debbie Waters inquires as to who would do the evaluation.  Rick Cummings states that there will be $7,000 and 240 volunteer hours.  A qualified person or persons can be hired.  Debbie Waters states they under state law, evaluating water quality should be done every 5 years.  Rick Cummings notes that he will gather more information and details this week.  Debbie Waters remarks that the last study was done in 1988 so it is possible the town is not in compliance with state law. 

 

Alicia Symonovit asks if there are further questions or comments on projects to come in the year 2000.  Debbie Waters states she will stay with open space and if Article 21 passes, they will be very busy with projects waiting.  Paul McLaughlin asks about wetland ordinance.  Alicia Symonovit responded that there had not been enough public hearings for it to be brought before the voters this year.  She notes further that the prime wetlands articles are on the ballot and recommended by the Planning Board.  She hopes further studies will be done with UNH with other identified wetlands.  Paul McLaughlin requests that the committee send a letter to the President of UNH to express thanks.  Bill Cookinham states that he will continue to do work on trails and possibly roads.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Paul McLaughlin makes a MOTION to adjourn.  Bill Cookingham seconds the motion.  VOTED: All in favor - Alicia Symonovit, Debbie Waters, Bill Cookinham, Rick Cummings, Paul McLaughlin (5-0-0).  Motion passes.

 

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

 

Minutes recorded by,

 

Kathleen A. Carr

Recording Secretary                                                                 Approved: May 10, 2000