Members Present: Members Absent:
Alicia Hennessey, Chairperson Alicia Harshfield
Hal Lynde, Selectman Representative (arrived late - 7:49 p.m.)
Paul McLaughlin (arrived late - 7:50 p.m.)
Debbie Waters, Alternate
Bob Yarmo (new member)
The Chairperson, Alicia Hennessey, called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. at the Pelham Town Hall on Wednesday, April 12, 2000. The Chairperson thanked the residents of Pelham for voting in the Conservation articles at the Town elections.
Alicia Hennessey welcomed new member, Bob Yarmo, and asked him to introduce himself. Mr. Yarmo stated that he had been a resident of Pelham for about 12 years and felt his engineering background would be helpful with his contribution as a member to the Committee.
Public Service of NH (PSNH) - Dredge and Fill Permit
Mr. David Plant, a Civil Engineer with Public Service of NH in the Transition Line Department appeared before the board, along with Elizabeth Bradshaw, an engineer with PSNH in the Distribution Engineering Department. Mr. Plant explained that they were present tonight to discuss the proposal to construct a transition line of 34,500 volts between a substation on Lawrence Road and Dracut Road in Hudson. This would involve construction of one wood pole transition structure at a wetland area in Pelham. Mr. Plant said that the total project included 6 1/2 miles of wood pole construction; of the 6 1/2 miles, 2000 feet was located in Pelham. He added that there was a point within the 2000 feet where the line changed direction at wetland area in the westerly corridor which has existed for 30 years.
Mr. Plant stated that the area in question currently was occupied by one 345,000 volt transition line owned by PSNH and one 450 kb line owned by New England Power. He assured the Committee that no new land rights were being acquired and that this was a straight forward project. Mr. Plant announced that PSNH was seeking approval to place one pole at the edge of the wetland by a fairly steep slope. Three wood poles would be needed with cross bracing. He further stated that two wood poles would be within the wetland and one on the banking resulting in a total disturbance of 6 - 8 square feet of wetland. Mr. Plant added that the work of drilling holes would be done from upland areas. Rick Cummings questioned whether there would be equipment on wetland areas. David Plant answered that there was an existing access road and two pieces of equipment would be brought in. Alicia Hennessey asked if the equipment to be used had been in other wetland areas, the concern being transference and Mr. Plant said no. He reiterated that there would be no crossing of wetland area. Debbie Waters queried if the wood poles are new or replacement poles and Mr. Plant said they were new poles being added. Bill Cookinham questioned if the wood poles were treated with creosol and was told the poles were laminated with a safe preservative.
Rick Cummings asked if there would be any effect from cable installation and Mr. Plant answered there would be no equipment involved. Debbie Waters asked how far down the poles would go and the PSNH engineer responded 7 - 7 1/2 feet. Debbie then asked about expected replacement of poles and the response was 50 years, with approximate 10 year inspections. Debbie Waters asked what was done with soil removed and Mr. Plant explained it was placed back around poles. Debbie inquired about the radius of disturbed soil and the response was a diameter of 3 1/2 feet for each pole. Ms. Waters asked the width of the pole and Mr. Plant said 8 1/4” in width but the poles were not round; mulch would be added. Bob Yarmo questioned
the need for pins and was told it was not likely. Mr. Yarmo asked about the square footage of disturbance to which Mr. Plant answered 6 - 8 square feet. Bob further inquired about an easement and Mr. Plant responded there was one. Bob Yarmo questioned whether agent orange or other herbicides were used and Mr. Plant explained that PSNH did not use those and had not for at least 13 years but instead used mechanical means such as sawing and cutting. Debbie Waters asked if vegetation would then be cut and Mr. Plant said yes, about every 5 - 6 years. Debbie asked how wetland area appeared and Mr. Plant answered basically as a beaver pond though he was uncertain about the type of vegetation. Alicia Hennessey confirmed that an application had been filed. Bob Yarmo asked what community was served by these transmission lines and was answered southern NH.
A Motion was made by Rick Cummings that the Commission approve this Dredge and Fill application under the extent of its’ authority. The Motion was seconded by Bill Cookinham. A vote was had. All in favor: Alicia Hennessey, Bill Cookinham, Debbie Waters, Rick Cummings, Bob Yarmo, Don Paquin. None opposed. None abstained. Vote 6-0-0. The Motion was passed.
Map 012, Lot 203, Mulberry Wood Estates, WCD crossing
Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors and James Gove of Gove Environmental Services presented to the Commission and Mr. Zohdi posted and distributed maps and environmental report. Peter Zohdi stated that he had been before the Planning Board on this subdivision, a site walk was had, and a request was made for the road to be moved from poorly drained soil area to take it out of WCD area totally by using reversed curves. He was now before the Commission with Mr. Gove and his client, Mr. Meisner, to ask for special permit for crossing of WCD at single and double driveways as well as another small area of WCD.
Jim Gove discussed the findings of his environmental impact report of February 2000 and referred to Commission members to page 4 which showed an aerial photo of wetland areas noted on the map. Mr. Gove pointed out the larger wetland areas and the uniform cover. He noted that the area had been heavily cut in the past for white pine and was now essentially an oak forest with noticeably smaller oaks within the approximate 28 acre parcel. Mr. Gove stated that there were areas of bedrock complexes and that the wetland areas were poorly and very poorly drained soils, noting no correlation to vernal pools. He added that the oak forest was relatively thick and heavily logged with some maple and smaller white pines which he felt would eventually take over again. Mr. Gove commented that the wetland areas were typical in terms of shrub and scrub components. He stated that Area B was most significant in size with open water habitat. Another relatively large portion was Area F consisting of huckleberry. Mr. Gove stated there were verified vernal pools in Areas D, G and H with egg masses found in areas B and F. Mr. Gove referred to the map on page 17 of his report which showed Prime Wetland areas to be outside of this subdivision and added that the map showed wetland conservation areas. Mr. Gove stated that there would always be some disruption of wildlife habitat with any development but that this subdivision was laid out to avoid as much wetland impact as possible. He felt that was successfully done and added that any adjacent impact was reviewed. Mr. Gove said that vernal pools will continue to function but there would likely be some loss of adjacent wildlife habitat. He cautioned that there would be no direct discharges of road to vernal pools.
Bob Yarmo asked if the water quality would change with the road construction. Mr. Gove said there was a temporary concern during construction in that proper erosion control management was very necessary, adding that 50 foot buffers were provided. Jim Gove stated that the permanent impact, once building was completed and stabilized, would lie in run-off from the road itself such as sand and salt which could degrade water quality of vernal pools. Bob Yarmo then asked if the road would change the quantity of the water. Mr. Gove answered that there was a relatively small catchment area and that it was close to ground water
table which he did not anticipate would change. He summarized that if done correctly, the quality and quantify of water would not change significantly.
Peter Zohdi explained that the road is not designed to be closed drainage system but rather will have roadside ditches with 4% or less grade on most of road with no curving, which reduces velocity of roadside ditches. He added that the calculations were in a report given to Planning Board. Bob Yarmo queried whether the grading of house lots had been determined and Mr. Zohdi responded that it had nothing to do with roadside ditches. Mr. Yarmo asked where the water would end up that goes into the ditches. Peter Zohdi said the road was designed with gravity calculations to go into ditches from individual lots (1 1/2 - 2 acres each). Bob Yarmo confirmed that the water ends up in wetland areas after being treated by ditch line. Mr. Zohdi explained that the road design had to meet town and state regulations but that his job did not include enforcement of construction. Mr. Yarmo again asked how individual lot grading was known and Peter Zohdi answered that a drainage study is done for entire subdivision but not on individual lots unless Planning asks for a site specific plan. Mr. Yarmo queried whether a house could be placed anywhere on the lot between two wetlands and Peter answered that zoning ordinances dictated fluctuation of house placement within each lot.
Bob Yarmo questioned that siltation was required for road but not individual lots and Mr. Zohdi said yes. Mr. Yarmo asked about the risk to wetland area during house construction to which Peter Zohdi responded that he had to obey decision of this board and comply with specifications in motion. Peter added that if any part of an order is not complied with by the developer, the Planning Director could issue a stop work order. Bob Yarmo asked what assurance was there for the neighborhood at the end of road with respect to flooding until the road was paved and if there was erosion control identified at end of road. Mr. Zohdi said yes there was. Mr. Yarmo asked if the erosion control for example on a driveway could be designated on the plan to which Mr. Zohdi replied absolutely; it can be put on a specification sheet. A discussion followed regarding septic designs in terms of distant leach fields and pumping. Peter Zohdi explained that any septic design, including one with pump, has to conform to state requirements. He added that there is sometimes a pump but that it would not be a problem in relation to wetlands. Bob Yarmo inquired whether there were areas on plan where pipe could cross wetland and Mr. Zohdi said there were none known but a permit would be sought if that occurred. Mr. Yarmo questioned a small area on map that was not designated as WCD and Peter Zohdi explained that it was not of the required size.
Alicia Hennessey asked about the wetland in Area H as to buffer zone and Mr. Gove answered that it was outside of WCD. Mr. Gove continued by saying that ideally a buffer would be 100 feet but that this could not be done in this subdivision and that there would be vernal pool disturbance. He added that 50 feet was maintained where possible. Paul McLaughlin asked what “where possible” means. Mr. Gove answered that a person has a right to develop their land as much as possible given the regulations of Pelham which called for 50 foot buffers. It would take a town vote to change that.
Hal Lynde asked if a waiver was required to have development approved and Mr. Zohdi explained that he was before the Commission to ask for special permit, no waiver being needed. Mr. Lynde queried whether a waiver would be required if a cul-de-sac were involved and Mr. Zohdi said yes. There was a discussion about a second Phase and cul-de-sac with Mr. Zohdi stating this would be up to the Planning Board to decide. Hal Lynde asked if there were any concern with drainage off sloping at back of lots and Mr. Zohdi responded that there was overflow but not enough to make a wetland. Jim Gove added that the areas are held up by bedrock and that it has its’ own catchment areas. A short discussion followed of Article K changes which took place 8 - 9 years ago.
Paul McLaughlin stated that the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board see great plans and receive great assurances when presentations are made but that in reality, results seen are very different. He added that Pelham’s enforcement of plans and specifications was not overly vigorous to date and asked Mr. Zohdi and Mr. Gove to assist in this matter with their plans. Peter Zohdi said that an specifications made in a motion by the Conservation Commission would be complied with and agreed that enforcement was
necessary. Mr. Zohdi added that he felt Mr. Messina, Planning Director, was very much on top of this situation currently and would continue to make progress with enforcement. He observed that stop orders were not welcomed by builders and developers as they caused delays and too much expense. Bob Yarmo stated that if the plans were followed and development properly managed, he felt the wetlands would be protected but would add a few specific notes to plan.
Alicia Hennessey questioned Peter Zohdi about performance bonds. Mr. Zohdi responded that Pelham did in fact require performance bonds before construction began and that, in fact, he believed the Town of Pelham to be the toughest in the state in regards to these bonds. He explained that the bond allowed the Town to obtain the money and correct any problem if necessary. Debbie Waters commented that the performance bond only related to road construction but Mr. Zohdi said that was incorrect and that it covered all aspects and specifications of plan filed. He added that his client had an impeccable reputation. The Chairperson offered that this question was not directed at Mr. Zohdi or his client personally but rather was brought about due to recent problems with other developments, adding that the Commission wanted to be assured that the specifications would be carried out. Bill Cookinham stated that the Town needs enforcement so that problems would not be repeated in another development.
Debbie Waters asked Jim Gove if he could point out the manmade wetland areas noted in his report and Mr. Gove did so on the map posted on board. Debbie asked what Jim had observed on site in these quarries. Mr. Gove said they were very small areas with thick vegetation, not very accessible, and that he had observed no dumping of any kind there presently. A discussion followed about the absence of wetland connected streams above ground and movement and adaptability of wildlife habitat. Peter Zohdi added that the road had nowhere else to go and that a no cut zone could be specified.
Alicia Hennessey asked about the double driveway and Peter Zohdi answered 8 1/2 - 9 feet was requested per driveway where a permit was needed for WCD crossing. Alicia Hennessey asked if it could be a single driveway and Mr. Zohdi explained that two were needed for safety reasons and ease of neighbors in terms of having to share one.
Debbie Waters addressed Peter Zohdi about the environmental report from Mr. Gove recommending a no cut, no disturbance WCD area and inquired about the developer complying. Mr. Zohdi did not understand the question and Jim Gove explained further. Peter Zohdi responded that yes, it would be specified on plan. Debbie Waters asked how Mr. Zohdi would mark the plan and Mr. Zohdi commented that it would be marked out in the field as well as on the plan. Bob Yarmo confirmed with Peter that the builder would know the specifications if both field and plan were marked properly and Mr. Zohdi agreed. Debbie Waters asked further what the plan would say exactly and Peter Zohdi said it would be filed at the Registry of Deeds with an attached note outlining Conservation Commission specifications.
Bob Yarmo inquired if the builder expected to retain all the lots to build upon himself or sell any of them off and if so whether another builder or homeowner would need to comply with restrictions and specifications. Peter Zohdi answered that as of a few weeks ago, this would now be accomplished since the Planning Board had all records on a computer. When a building permit was sought by anyone, the computer would be checked and reveal any specifications or restrictions on any individual lot.
Don Paquin asked if any flow between the two wetlands would be affected by the driveway crossing and Peter answered no. Mr. Paquin asked if in a 100 year flood plan, this driveway would be under water and Mr. Zohdi responded it would not. Debbie Waters asked Mr.. Zohdi if his client was willing to consider walking trail discussed at earlier meeting. Peter Zohdi responded that when they got to the camp lot area, his client would work with the Conservation Commission in this regard. Debbie Waters questioned if it were possible to have no cut in small triangular area on map and Mr. Zohdi responded it was no problem.
Hal Lynde asked whether the manmade areas would be treated as wetlands and Mr. Gove responded in the affirmative. Mr. Lynde congratulated the engineers on a resulting 20 lots in this 28 acre subdivision and
asked if the driveway skirting the WCD area was allowed. Peter Zohdi explained that was the basis of a special permit being sought at this meeting, adding that zoning allows for special permits and no waiver was being sought. Mr. Lynde queried whether this could be considered a two phase project. Mr. Zohdi responded that if a partial permit was granted it would cost the developer $30,000 to put in cul-de-sac. Hal Lynde noted that it was now a dead end road now. Peter Zohdi offered that it was a two phase project as far as ten lots being built upon this year and ten the following year but that the plan was to complete the entire road now over a 3 month period. Alicia Hennessey inquired if it were the same developer and Mr. Meisner responded that he had an agreement to purchase the land in Phase Two. Peter Zohdi added that his client would be in Town for 4 years and that all lots in this subdivision comply with zoning and subdivision requirements, having been reviewed by Planning Board member. Alicia Hennessey asked about future direction of road which Peter Zohdi illustrated on the posted map.
The Chairperson opened the discussion to the public. Doris Cvinar asked Jim Gove how the blasting needed might affect the vernal pools. Mr. Gove pointed out the three pool with egg masses (where wood frogs had lain eggs) and noted how unusual it was to find this given the type of wetlands involved. Ms. Cvinar questioned the wetlands being disconnected and Mr. Gove responded that everything was connected underground but on the surface was separate with each wetland having a different water elevation. He added that it was unlikely there would be other vernal pools created since the elevation of water in those areas was too low. Ms. Cvinar asked again about blasting near wetlands and Peter Zohdi answered that a survey for blasting had to be done in advance, adding that there would be no impact on wetlands. Emily Skolfield, abutter, asked if blasting was likely to change bedrock and therefore change water. Jim Gove responded that may happen only if there was huge bedrock blasting associated with road. Peter Zohdi offered that Maine Blasting was involved and would be seeking permit and complying with its’ requirements.
Debbie Waters asked Peter Zohdi what was being done with street trees and Mr. Zohdi answered that they had to be taken out in accordance with rules. Alicia Hennessey asked about the last lot on the far left (as shown on plan) as to how extensive was the wetland that extended into adjacent property. Peter Zohdi commented that his surveying crew had picked up on that wet area. Jim Gove explained where it could be seen on the aerial photo shown earlier. Bob Yarmo asked if next Phase would cross that wetland area and Peter Zohdi answered no, illustrating where the road would continue. Hal Lynde inquired about the size of the next phase and Mr. Zohdi stated they anticipated 20 - 22 lots in the 42 acres in Phase Two. Mr. Lynde queried about open space and Peter Zohdi responded that Planning was working on this. Don Paquin asked about the last two lots as to zoning allowing for the placement of driveways where shown. Mr. Zohdi responded that yes, the driveways were allowed along property line.
Doris Cvinar commented that she had spoken with Peter Zohdi about the large wetland area adjacent to the White property and suggested finding road system to access larger lots resulting in less disturbance to wetlands. Peter Zohdi commented that the driveway was in the best possible position. Ms. Cvinar spoke of concern for access to next phase and the town land at end of Doreen Drive. Alicia Hennessey asked when this matter would go to Planning Board next and Mr. Zohdi responded as soon as the Commission approved it. An unnamed resident questioned septic designs and regulations differing between homeowners and contractors but Mr. Zohdi explained they both had to abide by same zoning. Ms. Skolfield asked where the cul-de-sac might be placed if the Commission did not approve this plan and Peter Zohdi stated it would be up to his client but they would work with the board and that their proposal was permissible within zoning regulations. Ms. Skolfield also queried effect of drought over last few years to wetland areas. Jim Gove explained that they looked at long-term conditions; 1 - 2 years drought would have no impact.
Peter Zohdi and the members of Commission discussed a few previously noted conditions. At this time, Rick Cummings read the list of conditions he’d made note of as follows: Add to plans proper erosion controls around vernal pools in form of two lines of silt fences and hay bales, site specific erosion control for all driveway crossings, individual septic designs must comply, site specific erosion control for all building within each lot has WCD in property, WCD signs on metal posts staked every 50 feet before construction begins, hay bales and silt fences around all stock piles of loam, all heavy equipment stored
nightly in common location, stock piles of loam stored no less than 100 feet away from all vernal pools, 100 foot radius around wells, WCD no cut - no disturbance zone, 75 feet no cuts around vernal pools on Lots 12-203-14, 17, 12, 11 and 10, all driveways in WCD be 8 feet wide except for double driveway, Lot 12-203-12 extending WCD no cut zone (triangular piece).
Hal Lynde stated he was trying to see the benefit to the Town in granting of these waivers on 4 - 5 lots. Peter Zohdi responded that it was not waivers but rather special permits being sought as is the right of the owner. Mr. Lynde asked what was the criteria for granting the permits and Mr. Zohdi instructed him that it was in the zoning. Debbie Waters added that there was no criteria. Mr. Zohdi emphasized that the owner had to right to get full use of property.
Don Paquin asked if someone could give definition of WCD and how it applies to zoning. Debbie Waters offered that zoning sets forth reasons why WCD is there and that the Commission would be asking Planning if WCD could be further defined. Jim Gove added that at the state level there was no buffer to wetlands except to Prime Wetland areas and that various towns had different criteria. He added that the protection of wetlands has been upheld in the court but lesser legal aspects were in place regarding buffers. Mr. Gove stated that the Commission had to weigh buffer issue with owner’s right to develop property and that this was the purpose of the special permits.
Rick Cummings asked Peter Zohdi if the 14 conditions named were acceptable and Mr. Zohdi said yes. Debbie Waters said that she would like to add two conditions: the developer minimize cutting on the lots during construction and that there be no further WCD driveway crossings. Hal Lynde questioned Mr. Zohdi as to whether these conditions would be incorporated in final plan to which Peter responded affirmatively. Mr. Zohdi added that the conditions set forth by this Commission are placed on plan prior to Planning Board review and approval.
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham to approve the plan with the 16 conditions set forth. (Rick Cummings read the conditions again and Peter Zohdi stated that he and developer agreed.) Rick Cummings seconded the Motion. A vote was had. All in favor: Alicia Hennessey, Bill Cookinham, Rick Cummings, Bob Yarmo. Paul McLaughlin and Don Paquin opposed. Debbie Waters abstained on the basis of being an abutter. Vote: 4-2-1. Motion passed.
Green Meadow Estates, Dredge and Fill permit
Mark Jacobs of Plaistow, NH presented as the Senior Wetland Scientist of Wetland Preservation, Inc. and thanked the board for allowing this hearing tonight given the lateness of the hour. Alicia Hennessey asked when he had to appear before Planning Board and Mr. Jacobs answered Monday night (April 17). Mark Jacobs introduced the project engineer, Michael Granger, and the owner/developer from Merrimack Valley Homes. Mr. Jacobs stated that they were seeking a Dredge and Fill permit having last been before this Commission in December, 1999. He added that the proposal was for a 10 lot subdivision of single family homes and was a two phase project. Mr... Jacobs explained that Phase I was for 10 lots and that the Planning Board required a through road from Wyndridge Circle ending in a cul-de-sac to Green Meadow Drive which also ends in a cul-de-sac. The plans were posted showing wetland areas. Mr. Jacobs stated that the project involved four wetland impact areas. Area A was the largest at 13,049 square feet; Area B being 700 square feet; Area C had 67 linear feet of stream and 1,750 square feet of vegetated wetland area; Area D had 20 feet of culvert intermittent stream for common driveway access for Lots 1 and 4. Mr. Jacobs added that the Planning Board wished to remain Wyndridge Circle to Green Meadow Drive.
Rick Cummings asked why these crossings could not be bridged as opposed to dredge and fill applications. Mark Jacobs responded that it was an obscure stream and felt a bridge was not warranted as well as being expensive. He added that in one area there was nothing to bridge. Mr. Jacobs stated that between Areas C and D, there was 87 feet of intermittent linear stream to be culvert to provide access to otherwise buildable areas. He noted that the existing drainage patterns would be maintained.
Alicia Hennessey queried whether the land directly to the left of this subdivision was open space and Mark Jacobs explained that it was the back of three lots on Scenic View Drive. He explained that Phase II would be in that direction and showed the Commission a conceptual plan. Mr. Jacobs said that a right of way would be left to Cutter and Tamposi properties. Mark explained that his client was constrained by the right of way left from earlier developing and added that they would not be directing future access to properties towards wetlands. Hal Lynde commented that this was a future lesson for the Town and other developments; the board agreed. Debbie Waters asked if there would be same number of lots if the through road was not in place and Mark Jacobs answered it was more of a geometry issue than an engineering one.
Rick Cummings asked if this property was first presented with a cul-de-sac and Michael Granger explained that it was, off Green Meadow Drive. It was changed after access to lot was obtained and after discussion with Planning Board. Mr. Cummings asked further why Area A could not be bridged since it was the largest dredge and fill the board had seen to date. Mark Jacobs responded that the site characteristics and topography did not lend itself to a bridge and that there was not elevation needed to do so. Rick Cummings then asked if it was economics and Mr. Jacobs said bridging would result in more indirect and less direct but still an impact to wetlands. Alicia Hennessey asked if there was still access to upper Phase with access to Wyndridge and Mr. Jacobs stated that they were trying not to lengthen the cul-de-sac. The Chairperson then asked about wetlands above this Phase and Mr. Jacobs stated there were some small areas.
Bill Cookinham observed that the driveway on Lot 2 was very close to WCD area but Mr. Jacobs did not believe so. Alicia Hennessey added that the Prime Wetlands were close and asked Mr. Jacobs to point the location out on the map. Mark Jacobs referred the board to aerial photos and answered it was about 1,000 feet, as the crow flies, to Prime area or in actuality about 1200 feet to Prime Wetland No. 5. Rick Cummings asked what impact the dredge and fill would have on Prime Wetland. Mr. Jacobs stated it could have some but that with erosion control management none was anticipated. Bill Cookinham questioned a culvert under road between Lots 1 and 2 and Mr. Jacobs explained it was an equalizer culvert. Mr. Cookinham then asked about drainage easement off Lots 3 and 5 and where that water would go. Mark Jacobs responded that it would run off road and that natural buffers were in place though filter strips would also be used to slow down the flow. Bill asked if the water would go into Lot 2 and Mark showed the flow expected on the posted maps.
Hal Lynde asked about the depth of the dredge and fill and Mark Jacobs answered approximately 6”. Mr. Lynde also questioned what made the areas wetlands. Mr. Jacobs responded that it was the hydrology and that there was ground water and intermittent stream flow. He added that it was shallow with no defining flow. Alicia Hennessey asked about the 5 acre lot shown and Mr. Jacobs explained that it would be left alone for environmental reasons, being bordered on three sides by wetlands. The Chairperson asked if any thought had been given to deeding it to the town. She added that it would give additional protection to Prime Wetlands if it were not built upon. Mark Jacobs said that it may be needed for future access and that a conservation easement may be sought. He added that the issue could be revisited with Phase II.
Bob Yarmo asked where Phase II might connect and Mark Jacobs answered another cul-de-sac off Green Meadow Drive. Mr. Jacobs said there had been no alternative to impacting wetlands but that they tried to minimize that as much as possible. Bob Yarmo queried whether it would eventually connect to Scenic View Drive and Mr. Jacobs stated that Scenic View was about 800 feet away. Mr. Yarmo asked what conservation easement would do and Mr. Jacobs responded that it would provide a right of way as well as insure migration route for wildlife habitat. Bill Cookinham sought to clarify that the 200 feet shown in Lot 1 would be conservation easement and Mr. Jacobs said yes. Debbie Waters asked about the acreage in
Phase II and Mr. Granger responded it was larger in terms of 3 - 5 acre lots. Alicia Hennessey queried whether it could be requested of developer that one acre be retained for house lot with the remaining acreage donated as open space or deed to Town as conservation land. She added that the homeowner would have the assurance that nothing would be built up behind them.
Debbie Waters commented that since the areas A, D and F were so large, the donation to the Town should be more sizable and in Phase II the donation should be as much as possible. Mark Jacobs said that it will be considered. Debbie Waters added that in her opinion what Mr. Jacobs offered was not enough given what he was asking town to absorb with permits sought. Mr. Jacobs reiterated that they worked to create as minimal an impact as possible. Ms. Waters answered she realized that but that the Commission had to look at the impact to the Town and stated that this was the largest seen. Mark Jacobs responded that there was minor impact involved under NH Wetland Bureau rules. Debbie replied that Pelham was on its way to full build out and they did not have the luxury of making mistakes. Mr. Jacobs reiterated that this land was only access to property. Debbie Waters replied yes but these are oversized lots, that the owners would not likely use the back of the lots and that the Town would benefit if placed permanently into protection, as an offset to what was being asked of Town.
Debbie Waters continued by saying she felt the property would be enhanced if the owner knew the adjacent property would not be built upon and it was more valuable as a conservation area. Mark Jacobs replied that we are talking about owner paying taxes on land with conservation easement and that he did not believe that was looked upon favorably by homeowner. Debbie Waters noted that the homeowner receives a tax break on conservation land. Mr. Jacobs said it had to be more than 10 acres was needed for current use. Hal Lynde stated he believed a conservation easement entitled the owner to a significantly lower assessed land value for the land in the easement. Mark Jacobs noted that his experience has been that most towns fight abatements. Mr. Lynde reiterated that he believed the statute provided for lower assessment. Hal Lynde added that in areas with steep slope, Planning required more acreage so that giving one acre to landowner may not be feasible in Phase II.
Bob Yarmo questioned whether calculations were complete and Mr. Granger responded that CLD was nearly finished. Mr. Yarmo asked whether quality or quantity of water would be affected and Mr. Jacobs replied that the drainage has to be retained. Bob asked why erosion control was not submitted with this plan and Mr. Jacobs said erosion control was shown in impact areas. Mr. Yarmo asked if this would come back before the Commission again. Mark Jacobs responded that they had been before the board in December to present the plan, changes were made and they had returned tonight with hopes of approval. Hal Lynde sought to confirm that if no other WCDs were involved, Mr. Jacobs would not return before this board. Mr. Jacobs said it was unlikely on Phase II. A short discussion followed about the minimizing of wetland impact under present circumstances. Mr. Jacobs commented that his client should not be punished for what was not done properly 20 years ago. Hal Lynde again questioned the conservation easement in Phase II and Mr. Jacobs agreed that this issue could be revisited with Phase II.
Hal Lynde sought to confirm what was being asked of the board tonight. Mark Jacobs spoke of three options the board had, oversimplified as follows: Commission could write letter to Planning Board and NH Wetland Bureau saying they believed developer did their best given the circumstances; Commission could write letter stating they did not take a position one way or another; Commission could write letter saying they did not approve or approved with conditions. Mr. Jacobs added that they would like to get the most positive letter possible while recognizing that the 13,000 square foot impact in Area A was the largest the board had seen. He asked the board to keep in mind that the developer was handcuffed by current right of way and the requirement of Planning Board to connect the two roads. Again he stated that they had designed the project to have as minimal an impact as possible. Hal Lynde asked about condition of wet area and Mr. Jacobs explained that wetlands ran the gambit. He added that the during the site walk at Area D, for example, no water could be seen but it still qualified as a wetland.
Paul McLaughlin noted that the hour was late and suggested voting on each crossing individually and asked how board felt about continuing this until next Wednesday. Mark Jacobs reminded the board that he had to appear before Planning next Monday evening, April 17th. Mr. McLaughlin then suggested the board might meet early Monday evening before Planning. Hal Lynde suggested the board take a poll to ascertain where members stood on each area. Rick Cummings again read the list of conditions. Bill Cookinham stated he would like 75 feet to WCD where possible. Mark Jacobs responded he did not believe that possible. Alicia Hennessey asked if it were possible on any of the lots. Mr. McLaughlin said it could be discussed further Monday evening. Debbie Waters stated she would like to add that Mr. Jacobs and developer return before Conservation on Phase II to discuss conservation easement. Alicia Hennessey said she would like to get the State’s input on effect to Prime Wetlands from Area A. Hal Lynde again suggested a yes or no vote to each area and Mr. Jacobs reiterated that they were trying to please Conservation and Planning. He added that the Wetland Bureau has approved plans where Planning requires a through road even as it causes wetland impact.
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham to approve the plan before the Commission on the conditions read by Rick Cummings and additional input from Debbie Waters, requiring the engineer and developer to appear before the Commission prior to Phase II construction.
Voting on the motion was interrupted for further discussion. Paul McLaughlin offered a friendly amendment as follows: Some way be found to reduce the size of largest Dredge and Fill, being Area A. He added that if there were any way to do this, he would like to see that accomplished. Mark Jacobs responded that there was a way; it had been discussed. Mr. Jacobs explained it would involve a retaining wall straight up and down much like the Hoover Dam. He said this may eliminate a few thousand square feet of impact but building the dam would prohibit wildlife migration. Rick Cummings again asked whether a bridge was completely out of the question and Mr. Jacobs felt it was. At this point, Paul McLaughlin seconded the motion made by Bill Cookinham and asked Rick Cummings to read the conditions once more.
The conditions outlined by Mr. Cummings and agreed upon by the Commission were as follows: No stump dump*; silt fence and hay bales around wood stock piles; all stock piles 100 feet away from wetlands which would be 50 feet away from WCD; site specific septic tank design for lots that abut the WCD; site specific erosion control plans for all building lots that abut the WCD; heavy equipment stored overnight at a central location; WCD will be no cut-no disturbance zone; WCD signs every 50 feet before construction; absolute minimal cutting throughout development; signs for conservation easement if any; another required meeting prior to Phase II.
Mark Jacobs stated that the owner has been flexible and now must wonder how much is enough. He felt the owner had been generous and will keep open mind on Phase II. Bill Cookinham stated that there was a lot of impact involved. Paul McLaughlin instructed Mr. Jacobs to bring up any questions or concerns at this time. Mark Jacobs asked Mr. Cummings to elaborate on the condition of no stump dump. Rick Cummings answered it meant no stump dumps. Hal Lynde suggested grinding the stumps. Mark Jacobs questioned whether stumps could be buried on individual lots from those lots as is allowed in other towns. Alicia Hennessey asked if it were possible to grind the stumps but Mr. Jacobs responded it would be an enormous expense to grind and/or remove all stumps from the development. Bob Yarmo questioned how the stumps deteriorated and Mr. Jacobs answered very slowly. *After some further discussion, the board agreed to amend the condition of no stump dump to instead read that all stumps removed from the road would be removed from the site.
Paul McLaughlin asked Mr. Jacobs if he was authorized to accept the conditions and Mr. Jacobs answered he believed so. The Chairperson brought the discussion back to Bill’s motion and Hal Lynde sought to clarify that the board wanted a motion on voting on dredge and fill permit for each area separately. Alicia Hennessey said that would be her wish and that she was not in favor of permit for Area A. Paul McLaughlin
cautioned that the board did not have the right to set up a Catch-22 situation. Mark Jacobs advised that the Commission could talk with Planning but again requested that the Commission not punish his client because Planning was requiring a through road. Hal Lynde asked if they could divide the voting on Areas A, B, C and D with conditions read applying to each area.
Don Paquin asked to clarify the difference between WCD crossing and Dredge and Fill permit. Mark Jacobs answered that he was requesting direct impact to wetlands from the State and that the WCD is a local jurisdiction only, to be approved by Conservation Commission.
Paul McLaughlin stated that for discussion purposes only,
A Motion was made by Paul McLaughlin to divide the question in that the Commission will first consider wetland crossings B, C and D with conditions previously set forth. Rick Cummings seconded the Motion.
At this point, the voting was interrupted with a discussion of previous motion made by Bill Cookinham which Bill then decided to withdraw. A short discussion with Mr. Lynde evolved and Mr. Cookinham decided to table his motion at this time. Don Paquin asked if Area A was more sensitive or just larger or a different quality of wetland. Alicia Hennessey answered that the water from Area A flowed into the Prime Wetland area. Don asked if she was sure and the Chairperson answered affirmatively, adding that Mr. Jacobs had said so and she then asked Mr. Jacobs again. Mark Jacobs responded that it started as a stream, gets into the wetland, disappears and then reappears. He added that Federal government regulates surface water and they had decided surface water constituted wetlands. Mr. Jacobs said that in that area, the stream is not being impacted directly. Alicia Hennessey explained to Mr. Paquin that her concern was mostly the size of Area A being over 13,000 square feet. The board returned to vote on previous motion.
A vote was had. All in favor: Alicia Hennessey, Paul McLaughlin, Debbie Waters, Bill Cookinham, Don Paquin, Rick Cummings. None opposed. Bob Yarmo abstained. Vote is 6-0-1. Motion is passed.
A Motion was made by Paul McLaughlin to approve wetland crossings B, C and D. Bill Cookinham seconded the Motion. All in favor: Alicia Hennessey, Paul McLaughlin, Rick Cummings, Bill Cookinham, Don Paquin. None opposed. Debbie Waters and Bob Yarmo abstained. Vote is 5-0-2. Motion is passed.
A Motion was made by Paul McLaughlin to accept wetland crossing A with the same conditions previously stated. Bill Cookinham seconded the motion.
At this point, Hal Lynde suggested a friendly amendment that the design of the roadway be such that it does not impede flow of water as it exists. Mark Jacobs explained that it would not be necessary and Mr. Lynde subsequently withdrew his suggestion. The voting resumed as follows:
A vote was had on the above motion. All in favor: Paul McLaughlin, Bill Cookinham. All opposed: Alicia Hennessey, Rick Cummings, Don Paquin. Bob Yarmo and Debbie Waters abstained. Vote is 2-3-2. Motion fails.
The Chairperson questioned Paul McLaughlin on his vote and he responded with a yes. Hal Lynde questioned Don Paquin on his vote and Mr. Paquin responded he voted for it. Alicia Hennessey asked Don
Paquin if he had voted for the dredge and fill and Don replied yes. Mr. Paquin initially voted opposed. Alicia Hennessey questioned Rick Cummings’ vote and he stated he had voted opposed.
Recount of votes as follows: All in favor: Bill Cookinham, Paul McLaughlin, Don Paquin. All opposed: Alicia Hennessey, Rick Cummings. Abstaining: Debbie Waters and Bob Yarmo. Vote is amended and corrected to 3-2-2. Motion passes.
Paul McLaughlin asked Mark Jacobs if the board sent a letter to Planning saying that they had a problem with the size of the wetland crossing and were greatly disturbed by it with the preference being an access through non-wetland area, would he have a problem with that. Mr. McLaughlin also asked if this would result in his client incurring great additional cost. Mr. Jacobs responded that it would call for a massive redesign of project and would result in additional expense to client. He added that he understood the problem the board had with the size of Area A as was stated in a letter from the Chairperson to Planning Board at an earlier date. Mr. Jacobs felt Planning needed to hear that so future rights of way would not be directed at wetlands. Alicia Hennessey said the board appreciated Mr. Jacob’s efforts for minimal impact.
Hal Lynde suggested that the board write a letter to Planning Board to do that expeditiously citing a case before Conservation where this situation should not have been allowed and asking Planning to put developers on notice in the future. Mr. Lynde believed this would be a first step and later should be made a requirement. Paul McLaughlin stated that he did not like in some ways what he did tonight but ethically he felt it was wrong to tell an applicant to do the opposite of what Planning Board had told them to do. Don Paquin asked if Planning Board was aware of this and Mr. Jacobs responded they had been made aware of it last December and by the letter sent from Conservation Commission.
Alicia Hennessey asked the board to approve the minutes from February and March. Paul McLaughlin began a motion to accept and approve these minutes but Rick Cummings stated that changes or corrections were needed. It was agreed to postpone this until the next meeting.
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham to adjourn. Rick Cummings seconded the motion. All in favor: Rick Cummings, Paul McLaughlin, Don Paquin, Bob Yarmo, Debbie Waters, Alicia Hennessey, Bill Cookinham. None opposed. Vote is 7-0-0. The Motion is passed.
The meeting adjourned at 12:24 a.m.
Recording Secretary (from video tape of meeting)
Approved: May 10, 2000