Members Present: Members Absent:
Paul McLaughlin, Chairperson Alicia Harshfield, Alternate
Hal Lynde, Selectmen Rep.
A meeting of the Pelham Conservation Commission was held upstairs at the Town Hall on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. The Chairperson, Paul McLaughlin, called the meeting to order at 7:44 p.m.
Map 7, Lots 153, 155, 157, 156, 166
Map 7, Lots 154, 167, 168, Economou Drive
The Chairperson, Paul McLaughlin, explained that the board would convene downstairs at the Town Hall to accommodate an interested abutter who was not physically able to attend in the upstairs conference room. Mr. McLaughlin advised the public that anyone who was similarly disabled should contact the Board a few days in advance of a meeting and accommodations could be arranged or prepared.
A proposal for two buildable lots at the end of Economou Drive was presented by Joseph Maynard of Benchmark Engineering, Inc. in Londonderry, NH and Attorney David Groff in Pelham on behalf of their clients. It was explained that three lots (154, 167, 168) would be combined to make one large parcel, owned by David Tokanel and an additional adjacent five lots (153, 155, 156, 157, 166) combined to create one parcel, owned by Maria Koumides. A wetland crossing would be necessary for the proposed common 16 foot driveway to be constructed over an existing gravel path. The homes, leach fields and wells for each of the two new lots would be outside the buffer zone. A proposed turnaround at the end of Economou Drive and cistern were noted on the plan, as requested by the Planning Board and Fire Chief.
Bill Cookinham asked if the proposed house located at the corner of one lot could be moved forward. Joseph Maynard responded that it was not able to be moved as there is an approximate 6 foot hump in the lot and it would be necessary to cut into WCD if the home were located more centrally. This was the only logical possibility for placement. Paul McLaughlin asked about the drainage and Mr. Maynard answered that there was a miniscule run-off from existing construction (1970’s). Any drainage would go to existing wetlands. Bill Cookinham questioned the use of hay bales and silt fencing along the driveway and Mr. Maynard said they would be placed. David Groff explained that his clients were proposing the least restrictive access. The Planning Board required site specific plan. The deeds will refer to the conditions and restrictions to inform future owners. Bill Cookinham asked for signs to be posted and Mr. Maynard agreed. Attorney Groff stated that the Fire Chief required a 16 foot driveway from the road, narrowing to 12 feet after the division, to which Tokanel agreed. Bob Yarmo said that a site walk by board members would be necessary and stated his concern about building these homes without encroaching on WCD. Bill Cookinham asked if the existing path was 16 feet wide and Mr. Maynard replied it was 10 - 12 feet presently. Mr. Cookinham noted that the impact appeared to be on one side of the driveway only. Joe Maynard offered that the driveway could be pitched to one side to assist with drainage. Bob Yarmo stated that high and dry lands had value to wetlands and asked how the wetlands would be affected if it were built upon.
An abutter, Arthur Demers of 8 Economou Drive, addressed the board stating that he was not against the builder. His concern was regarding the water; he had fought a subdivision in back of this property 7 years ago for the same reason. Mr. Demers explained that construction in that area had resulted in the cost of a $6500 artesian well on his own property. He would like to see a pipeline put in across the driveway to help
with drainage and water problems. Another abutter, James Cosgro of 5 Economou Drive, was present to express the same concerns. Mr. Demers also remarked that he believed the 50 foot turnaround shown on plan was within wetland area and asked board members to view that on the site walk. The Chairperson stated that a site walk would take place on the coming Saturday. He added that the present developer could
not be held responsible for any earlier development problems but that the concerns stated needed to be addressed.
David Tokanel said he planned to set the foundations for the homes on top of the ground. Bob Yarmo said that a study of water drainage, rate and quantity may be needed. Joe Maynard questioned whether that was needed only in new subdivisions but Mr. Yarmo said the same situation applied. Mr. Maynard said that the only solution then might be a detention pond. Bill Cookinham reiterated that he would like to see the house set in the corner moved. Attorney Groff answered that the Conservation Commission had no jurisdiction over that. He said the only reason his clients were before the board was to obtain approval on the wetland crossing at the driveway. Town zoning requirements have been met. Hal Lynde said that there were two differing opinions and suggested a site walk be completed as the first step. He further suggested that the involved parties speak with Don Foss, Highway Dept., who had been working in the area.
The meeting reconvened at 8:32 p.m. upstairs and the Chairperson asked Attorney Groff to summarize the discussion that had taken place downstairs. He asked that nothing new be added at this time. David Groff explained that he represented both applicants who sought to combine lots and create two adjacent buildable house lots on Economou Drive. He explained that they sought a waiver on WCD driveway crossing and reiterated that the plan had been presented to the Planning Board and all zoning requirements had been met. There would be no change in existing drainage. Mr. Groff stated that a site walk would take place as agreed by the board members. Board members repeated some of their questions and concerns discussed earlier. Hal Lynde questioned whether driveway could be reconfigured since it was not centered in the less than 100 foot span of land shown on plan. Bill Cookinham said he would like to know if a pipe existed on Theodore Drive in that area. The Chairperson stated that the applicants should take great care not to worsen the existing water conditions in that area which was the concern of the abutters present.
Map 4, Lot 137-5, Mammoth Road
Valley Hill Land Development, LLC
Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors in Windham, NH presented before the board. Mr. Zohdi stated that the plan had been previously presented to the Conservation Commission and that board members Paul McLaughlin and Bob Yarmo had walked the site on more than one occasion. The plan went before the Planning Board earlier in the week and three options were given: (1) Bring road up to connect with Holstein Drive; (2) original plan showing new road off Mammoth connecting with extension of Longview Drive; (3) place cul-de-sacs at end of Longview Drive extension and new road. Mr. Zohdi asked for input from the board on which alternative was preferred and stated that wetland crossings would be requested accordingly. An environmental impact study has been presented. Planning Board will be doing a site walk this Saturday on this proposed 30 lot, 80 acre subdivision.
Mr. Zohdi explained that on the second plan (referred to as Plan B), a new road would connect to Holstein Drive and a cul-de-sac would be placed at the end of Longview Drive extension. There would be no impact to wetland area except for a temporary water line (cut of 18-20 feet width, 5 feet depth) needed to extend from new road over wetlands up to cul-de-sac at Longview. Water line was needed to put in community water supply from Pennichuck Water Co. Mr. Zohdi added that the cul-de-sac at the end of Longview would eventually be a connected road. Paul McLaughlin asked what the board would object to with the first plan in Mr. Zohdi’s opinion. Peter answered that a large wetland area would be impacted with the first plan (referred to as Plan A). Bob Yarmo said it seemed obvious that the minimal impact would be seen with Plan B and that the Planning Board concerns would be met. Mr. Zohdi stated that the owner had no objections
to Plan B. Mr. Yarmo suggested the board send a letter of recommendation for Plan B but added that a new lot configuration would be needed. Peter Zohdi stated that there would be one lot having wetland impact at the point of driveway crossing. Bob Yarmo questioned the term temporary in regards to water line and Mr. Zohdi explained that the line would be permanent but wetlands could be restored. He added that if the board did not agree to water line, wells could be placed on the lots but that the developer would like to bring community water to the new subdivision. Paul McLaughlin asked that precautions be taken for erosion
control should the water line be brought through wetland area. Mr. Zohdi said he can present the details to the board at a later date as to how it would be done. Bill Cookinham concurred that Plan B was the best option. Peter Zohdi again stated that Planning would walk the site and that a traffic study would be done.
Alicia Hennessey of 71 Dutton Road, a former board member in the public audience, asked Peter Zohdi to point out the trail that the developer agreed to give to the Town. Peter did so and stated that the Planning Board had asked whether a gravel parking area could be placed at the base of this property, across from Muldoon Park. An assessment will be given to the Conservation Commission. The trails would be specified as walking trails only (no ORV’s allowed). Another resident, Paul Steck of 146 Jeremy Hill Road, asked the board whether a blanket approval was in place if they recommended Plan B or whether concerns would be noted. Paul McLaughlin answered that it would not be a blanket approval. The Town wants connecting roads which is why Plan A was developed originally but a substantial wetland area would be impacted which could be avoided with Plan B.
Bill Cookinham asked how many lots would be on the road connecting to Holstein Drive and Mr. Zohdi answered 12. Bob Yarmo stated that there were a lot of other issues to be addressed and that the board was presently recommending which plan was preferred for road lay-out. Peter Zohdi said he understood and would be presenting before the board again. He explained that adjacent to this property was the Hinds property which his surveyors were now working on. Longview Drive cul-de-sac would eventually connect to Valley View Road.
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham to recommend Plan B to the Planning
Board. The motion was seconded by Bob Yarmo. All in favor: Paul
McLaughlin, Bill Cookinham, Bob Yarmo. Vote: 3-0-0. The motion is passed.
Peter Zohdi marked each plan in blue, one with the letter “A” and the second plan being recommended with the letter “B” and asked the Chairperson to sign the plans for identification and clarification. Paul McLaughlin signed both plans and asked the secretary to send the letter of recommendation to Planning.
Hal Lynde asked Jim Gove of Gove Environmental Services in Exeter, New Hampshire which plan he viewed as having less impact to wetlands. Jim Gove stated that the environmental impact study presented at the last Conservation meeting was done by a consultant from Turtle Pond Enterprises, Kathleen Surowiec. He added that Gove Environmental supported her study. Mr. Gove said that Plan B avoided wet areas as well as the need to cut through steep slope area to Longview Drive extension. Plan B has a shorter length of road and no steep cut so it was preferred. There was less erosion potential.
Map 6, Lot 4-140 and Lot 4-140-3, Old Orchard Estates
Mountain Orchard Development, LLC
Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors in Windham, New Hampshire presented to the board a proposed subdivision plan. Mr. Zohdi stated that Paul McLaughlin and Bob Yarmo had walked the site with him last week and that the board had been given copies of the plan. He noted that there appeared to be no major concern from the board and that the applicant would be asking for a few driveway crossings at Lots 15, 14 and 13. The road goes through WCD but there is no other choice for placement. These driveways could be
bridged and not go through wetland but the road cannot be moved due to grading and grade. This subdivision proposes 35 lots to be developed over a four year period (10 per year allowed by Town).
Paul McLaughlin stated his concern about drainage to properties off site and any potential change in adequate water supplies for their wells. He also noted a concern regarding the crossing of streams. Peter Zohdi responded that there would be underground drainage and stated that he believed abutters would be glad to experience less water. He stated that adjustments could be made on the amount of drainage, keeping it the same as prior to development. A detention pond and treatment swale will be added at base of
development. Bob Yarmo notes his concern that water flow to wetland will be changed. Peter Zohdi states that this can be corrected and that a drainage study had been done. Wetlands on site will not have any change in drainage. Bob Yarmo states further concern about drainage from this site going into Prime wetland area. Mr. Zohdi suggests that Bob request Dr. Richardson from the Wetland Bureau in Concord view the site regarding any adjacency issue. He adds that there was no adjacency issue with existing homes in the area. Peter explains that the purpose of the detention pond is to keep pre- and post- development drainage the same. There would be a culvert under the road just above location of detention pond. Mr. Zohdi offered to send Bob Yarmo a copy of the drainage study.
Hal Lynde addressed Peter Zohdi about what the board was being asked to do tonight. Mr. Zohdi stated that he was seeking approval of plan but could return to board after drainage study was reviewed. Bob Yarmo asked Peter to point out the driveway crossings on the plan again. Mr. Zohdi complied and stated that the first driveway at Lot 15 could be reconfigured but the second one at Lot 14 could not be. There would be no effect at Lot 13 but the road crosses WCD. Hal Lynde pointed out that there would be no impact to Lots 15 and 14 if they were not developed. Peter agreed but said that the least minimal impact was being proposed. Bob Yarmo said that during the site walk, he saw no way to move roadway. He asked if WCD was encroached by road, how is adequate protection given. Peter Zohdi responded that he would look at it again, speak with Jim Gove, and come back with proposal.
Jim Gove said he needed to view the area further but that typically buffer plantings would be placed to make the area as dense as possible in order that wildlife have no visual to development, noting that noise was not as great an issue. Bob Yarmo says that without a buffer, the wetland is useless and Mr. Gove responds that the functional value is reduced. Hal Lynde asks if there would be more water flow to wetlands with 35 lots being developed. Peter Zohdi answers that this is calculated and is the reason for the detention pond. Hal asks if that is assessed as part of the development process and Peter answers yes. The flow rate is reduced by 4 - 5 treatment swales and the quantity of water is handled by the detention pond. The drainage study takes all of that into consideration.
Hal Lynde asks what the impact of these large developments would be on the other side of Jeremy Hill where considerable wildlife exists. Jim Gove answers that any time there is a development certain species will move out, others will adapt and new ones will come in. He states that this is a diverse wildlife habitat area due to existing apple orchard, such as deer and moose. The reality is that much will change but buffers help as well as lessening any cuts into steep slopes. Bob Yarmo asks whether the board should be looking at all three developments together for one master environmental impact study. Peter Zohdi responds that there are three different developers involved in three separate but adjacent subdivisions. Jim Gove says that a master report might be done eventually but that it must be done in sections now. Hal Lynde asks for clarification and identification of roads on plan and Mr. Zohdi complies. Mr. Steck, from Jeremy Hill Road, asks if driveways or roads are in wetland areas. Bob Yarmo answers both. Mr. Steck asks why it was designed that way originally. Peter Zohdi answers that when roads are developed, geometric lines are sought and we look for minimum impact to lay road. This is the least minimum impact.
Bob Yarmo comments that two major developments next to Jeremy Hill forest were presented tonight and Hinds property is located in the middle. He reiterates that he would like a master environmental report and Peter Zohdi answers that he is not prepared to do that. Separate environmental reports have been completed and complying with a request for a master report would delay matters at least five months. Bob Yarmo
states that he believes it is worth requesting cooperation of three developers for this report to provide a wildlife corridor to Jeremy Hill forest. Peter Zohdi states that the forest is not very close to these developments. He respectfully declines this request, adding that it will delay two developers. Bob Yarmo persists, stating that there are Prime wetlands involved as well as the forest and that one preliminary master report should be done. Mr. Zohdi answers no again. Paul McLaughlin states that when questions are raised by the members of this board, we would like these concerns addressed. Peter explains that these three developers are not friendly and will not agree. He adds that his clients did what they were suppose to do and board can choose to deny project. Bob Yarmo offers to act as intermediary and Peter offers to give him
the phone numbers of the developers to which Mr. Yarmo agrees. Hal Lynde suggests that perhaps the Town should require some assessment of this situation. He states that there are legitimate concerns with something this large.
Paul McLaughlin states that these two developers whose plans are presented at this meeting have a common goal for their plans to be approved by this board so they can move forward. They can find a way to agree on the request made given their mutual interest; namely, money. The Chairperson comments that no action will be taken on this plan tonight and that the board had previously agreed to not begin any new hearings after 10 p.m. He asks whether the last hearing on the agenda could be heard at next meeting. A short discussion of that property followed:
Map 8, Lot 27, off Old Gage Hill Rd.
A site walk of this property was made by Peter Zohdi and two board members, Paul McLaughlin and Bob Yarmo, last Saturday. Peter Zohdi says that he advised his client not to touch the property with respect to any clean-up and added that they would be happy to clean the area under the supervision of any board members. Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Yarmo explain that there was much debris on the property, including a hole where a Volkswagen may be buried and that there is a question of soil contamination from other materials. Hal Lynde will contact the Health Inspector, Roland Soucy, the following day and ask him to walk the site and give his recommendations. Bob Yarmo says he would like Jim Gove to view the property and make recommendations as well. Peter says he will request this of Jim Gove (not present). Mr. Zohdi asks if a clean-up should begin or wait for a vote from this board. Hal Lynde responds that it is beyond the scope of the Conservation Commission to determine if wetlands are contaminated. Bob Yarmo agrees adding that is why Mr. Gove and Mr. Soucy’s input is necessary. Mr. Yarmo will email Hal his concerns and observations gathered on the site walk.
Paul McLaughlin states that he would like to review and approve minutes as first order of business on the October 11, 2000 meeting and the board agrees. Bob Yarmo asks Hal Lynde to address the letter written by Yarde Metals at an earlier date, accusing the Conservation Commission of extortion. Hal answers that he will try to have that done by the week-end. Peter Zohdi asks to have Gaudet property, Valley Hill and Mountain Orchard placed first on the next agenda and the Chairperson agrees. There being no further business to come before the board:
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham to adjourn. The motion was
seconded by Bob Yarmo. All in favor. Vote is 3-0-0. The motion
The meeting was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.
Kathleen A. Carr,
Recording Secretary Approved: