TOWN OF PELHAM, N.H.

CONSERVATION COMMISSION MEETING

NOVEMBER 14, 2001

 

 

Members Present:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (NOT APPROVED)

Robert Yarmo, Chairman

Sanjay Kakkad, Vice Chairman

Sandy Kupcho (new member)

Frank Culbert (new member)

Mark Duquette

 

 

LOT SUBDIVISION:Map 8; Lot 20 & 22-9, Proposed 18 Lot Subdivision & Special

Permit application for wetland crossing for submission - Louise Gaudette, Old Gage Hill Road-South, Phase II.

 

Bob Yarmo:This is a proposed 18-lot subdivision and is the second time this case has come before this board.It was heard last month and Jim Goad and myself did a site walk a month ago.

 

Presenting this case is Wesley Aspinwall from Herbert Associates, Land Surveyor for this project.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:There have been a couple of changes since the last meeting with reference to the comments the board made the last time and comments made on the site walk.Herbert Associates, on behalf of their client is proposing a wetland crossing for Heather Lee Lane, a proposed road into parcel - 8-20.A wetlands crossing is being requested.There will be an impact in the WCD.At the last meeting there was quite a bit of talk about road design, underground drainage, frost line, ditch line, cross culvert drainage and overboard drainage.One of the goals that the Board had was to pretty much get the treatment swale out of the WCD area.The design was looked at again and weíve largely been able to accomplish that.Initially we had 3 or 4 swales.We have been able to move those out so that there is only a portion of a treatment swale that remains within the WCD - that is on lot 4.Itís approximately a quarter (1/4th) or a third (1/3rd) of the one hundred feet (100 ft) of the treatment swale and weíd like to keep within the WCD.On the rest of it weíve been able to get outside the treatment swale.There is also another treatment swale that weíve been able to move totally outside the WCD and put within the area of lot 8-20-13, which is on the easterly side of the wetland.We are retaining, for the most part, the catch basins required from an engineering point, short of drastically changing this and putting in ditch line drains along the whole thing.As I understand from our engineers that would require ditch line drainage and would likely require reducing the slope between station 7 and station 11.The road goes in at about 6% goes through a vertical curve and comes back out again at about 6%.If we were to change to the other type drainage, it would likely require raising the area to the height of the fill where the culvert crosses.It would also increase the height of the head walls or retaining

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walls on each side of the pavement.Itís our feeling and the engineerís feeling that, for safety reasons, itís not a good thing to do that.Presently I think it is a 5 or 6-foot high wall on each side of the culvert.One other change, there was discussion of increasing the no-cut zone along the power lines.The power lines go through on the westerly side and the back lot line of lots 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.Weíve added a 25-foot no cut zone on the backs of lots 4, 5 and 6.Also on lot #2 thereís a no cut zone that covers the whole length of the property along the power lines with an additional no cut zone. Thereís an existing wetland, a WCD along lots 6, 7, 8 and 9 and goes through lots 3 & 4.

 

Bob Yarmo:The original plan had 2 drain swales to the left side of the road, now one is to the right.One is on 8-20-13, and taken out of the WCD?

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Thatís right, but theyíre further down from catch basins 3 and 4.

 

Bob Yarmo:I think it has been changed for the worse.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:The original one was almost entirely within the WCD but thatís been changed, now about a quarter of that is in the WCD.

 

Bob Yarmo:Previously, we had 4 or 5 concerns.First, getting the drainage out of the WCD; studying ditch line drainage versus catch basin; getting rid of the curve and going into the ditch line.Are you telling me that canít be done?

 

Mr. Aspinwall:The engineers have looked at that and I think there has been some discussion with the Planning Board and CLD about the overall drainage on projects.In general, it could be designed either way. One concern that our engineer has, that if you look at stations 5 and 6, the roads coming down the slope at 6.88%(Sheet #12, road profile).That comes down into a 400-foot curve, and then it goes up at 6-Ĺ %, then up into a transitional curve.That allows us to strike a grade at station 8 Ĺ%- thatís is where the wetlands crossing is and weíre proposing a 20 to 50-foot, 24-inch RCP culvert that would cross under the road at that point with concrete headwalls.That allows us to support the road and make the impact on the wetlands area significantly less.If the side slopes can be eliminated we would be able to reduce it several hundred square feet in the actual wetlands area.This works out fine with the current design - to change ditch lines.Itís likely that we might well be required to raise the sag, to have flatter sag and a high fill at this point.It creates more problems - more massive retaining walls, higher slopes. Itís our feeling that itís much safer to not go to the higher slopes.If one were to fall off the edge Ė youíd rather fall 5 feet rather than 10 feet on one of these things.

 

Bob Yarmo:Wouldnít there be a guardrail there?

 

Mr. Aspinwall:That doesnít necessarily preclude dogs and kids from falling off one of these things.

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Bob Yarmo:I understand the need for curves and catch basins, but why do we have them there? They are eliminated everywhere else.Weíre trying to keep the flow of the wetlands the same as it is now; you do that by drainage calculations.Itís all collected in the catch basins, youíve increased the velocity and supposedly the quantity is the same.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:The runoff from the property should be the same or very close after the road is constructed.There should be a certain amount of retention within the subdivision so as not to increase the run-off from the neighboring property.

 

Bob Yarmo:It also applies to the wetlands area.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Part of the function of the wetlands is when the water comes in it is spread out over a wider area, decreases in velocity, a buffering, a flood protection aspect and to have it go into wetlands before it goes into a major river.

 

Bob Yarmo:My point is that we are trying to keep the water quantity the same in each wetland treated element Ė thatís the goal.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:We are not trying to keep water going into one wetland area and put it into another wetland area.Weíre not trying to enrich one wetland area at the expense of another wetland area.

 

Bob Yarmo:That is all pretty much one wetland.By catching all the water in the roadway into catch basins and then dumping it into the drain swale, then into the wetland, your increasing the velocity of the water getting there, correct?

 

Mr. Aspinwall:There is some increase of it on the pavement surface especially.Itís one of the things that the treatment swale does.It reduces the velocity of the water going back into the wetland.The treatment swales are 100-feet wide - theyíre almost dead flat on the bottom.There is a certain amount of retention within those treatment swales.

 

Bob Yarmo:The thought was that the wetlands would benefit, the environment would benefit if we went to just a natural drainage system, drainage of the road and trench drains or ditch line drainage that would flow naturally over the topography.That has two benefits:It keeps the flow of the water in a more natural state and it avoids the catch basins.Your plan increases the maintenance that the town would have to do on the catch basins by repairing them or replacing them at some point - same with the road and same with the curve.Once the catch basin is there, depends on the flow and how much material comes into them, they have to be cleaned out often.Some catch basins have to be cleaned out every year.That is a maintenance item for the town.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:On the other hand some town highway officials have felt that thereís more wear, cracking and trouble with pavement at the edge of roads, shoulders and pitch

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line, that the edge of the pavement is preserved better if there is curving and catch basins.There is a great diversity of opinion.Both engineers and highway maintenance supervisors prefer to deal with what the least maintenance is.They both have those kinds of issues.Also, there is the issue if you are cutting a road through a hill or high spot Ė you create a spot which will collect the water and have to direct the water away either with curbing or catch basins or with ditches.You have to make provisions to catch and divert water away down drainage easements.You donít want it crossing road surfaces and driveway surfaces where it could ice up and create problems in the winter.There are a number of situations that people have complained about with the townís drainage like water running across their private property.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:We have tried to deal with the treatment swale.It should meet the requirement of the Planning Board, CLD and Selectmen and will be a good road for the town.We have tried to minimize the wetland issue by virtue of these headwalls.

 

Bob Yarmo:We need drainage structures.I believe it could be reworked.I donít accept that it canít be done.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:I believe the Planning Board would be receptive to the idea of catch basins #1 and #2 and also at the very end of the cul-de-sac at lots # 7 and #8.

 

Bob Yarmo:We talked about the size and shape of the culvert.We changed the culvert to 36 inches.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Weíre proposing a 24-inch culvert.

 

Bob Yarmo:What we asked you to do is consider what benefit there would be to change the shape and the size of the culvert, given whatever habitat or creatures might want to use that corridor for crossing.The other issue that we had was increasing the buffer against the power lines; I guess youíve done that basically, and it abuts the wetlands anyway.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:We had some discussion about the culvert size - is there any benefit?A t 24-inch is significantly larger than whatís required for the size of the watershed above.

 

Bob Yarmo:I think the bigger concern was the water velocity and volume; it was more about making it a functional pathway from A to B for wildlife.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Thatís a possible function of culverts but has not been traditionally done.A lot of animals can get through a 24Ē culvert; a medium size dog could get through one pretty easily and certainly an otter or anything like that.I donít know when it comes to larger animals.If there were more than one large animal going through at a time theyíd probably get in a fight in the middle. Mr. (Jim) Gove may have the answer to that.

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Mr. Jim Goad of Gove Environmental:Thereís an abutter mentioned and the state forest is one parcel of land from this.This is tax map lot 7-1.Carolyn Law mentioned to me at the Planning Board meeting that she had provided access.I donít remember the exact terminology Ė whether it was to provide access or she gave a piece of property to an abutter or that they could connect to the state forest.†† This probably should be looked into, as the Planning Board might want to keep, or have, at the end of the cul-de-sac, some kind of right-of-way to get to that easement to get to the state forest.The location is thought to be across the southern line.The roadway does give direct access to parcel 7-1.There is legal access provided at the easterly end of parcel 7-1, and south.

 

Mr. Gove:One of the things that came up on the site walk was looking further beyond the existing site, 7-1.The wetlands goes right along the edge of the stone wall and then comes to an end and starts to curve back.Itís a fairly extensive wetland area.The right-of-way goes into 7-1 and goes in at a right angle and will have minimal impact on the edge.When you move in a westerly direction the wetland gets much wetter as it goes down and becomes part of the wetland that goes underneath the power lines.It goes along the edge, along the stonewall.There is an easement thatís directed at the right spot to provide a crossing and has minimal wetland impact.Another question was regarding a different stream, circular culverts, and squish culverts Ė it provides more benefit.An otter or a fox would be going over the top.Migration would be things like turtles and salamanders.This particular area almost has a drainage divide that curves.A wider culvert has more benefit from the standpoint of providing a wider access for salamanders or turtles to move up through.You would find big snappers working their way up these narrow drainage areas looking for places to lay their eggs.

 

PUBLIC INPUT:

 

Alicia Hennessey, 71 Dutton Road:Question Ė is the protection that you are going to give by the power line 25-feet?Ē

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Yes, proposed are additional strips on several of these lots, including 25 feet adjacent to, and parallel to, the power line easement.It connects to areas where a WCD exists and are larger no-cut zones.

 

Mr. Gove:For the record, in speaking with Peter (Zhodi) today, he had no problem at all in terms of making all of the WCDís and the no cut buffers. This would connect to the no-cut buffers.

 

Alicia Hennessey:In some spots it would be greater than 25-feet?

 

Mr. Gove:Yes, the actual buffer will be closest to the 25-ft then back out, and basically follow the WCD off the property.Some places have 25-ft and other places along the corridor will be 200-ft. The buffer to the edge of the power line goes from 100 to 200-ft.

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The narrowest will be 25-feet additional no-cut, because of the configuration of the wetlands and a no-cut WCD, there is over 200-ft.

 

Alicia Hennessey:The main concern is that this is a major wildlife corridor in the town, if not the number one wildlife corridor.The animals travel along the power lines and they do need the cover.They are not going to come down the power lines because they get cut.The concern is with the 25-ft; this is only 8-yards.It doesnít give the animals much protection when theyíre traveling.Another concern is that property owners may cut trees in their own yards and then it becomes completely open.She asked if there was any way that the 25-ft buffer could be increased.

 

Mr. Gove: The client has instructed to offer the 25-ft.The Commission may wish to make some other suggestions to the Planning Board that might suggest a better alternative solution to this.

 

Alicia Hennessey:There are moose and deer in this area, and essentially 8-yards for protection from one area to the other area is not enough.I suggest it be increased, that there be a no-cut zone.That is your number one wildlife corridor.If there is no protection there, it is going to get fragmented.

 

Bob Yarmo:We are talking about lot 8-20-3, the back line, 8-20-4, and 8-20-5 and increasing that buffer.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Lot 3 is pretty much within the large WCD area.I think weíre talking about lot 8-20-2, and a portion of 4, part of 5 and a portion of 6. There are some of these in existing wetlands. Configuration and WCD take up quite a bit of usable space as a lot.To go more than 25-feet would be detrimental to people whom eventually live on the lot.

 

Bob Yarmo:How many feet on lot 8-20-5 from the house to the 25-foot no cut zone?

I donít agree with the argument that it would be detrimental because there is a house lot right next to it that abuts the WCD thatís 25 feet away.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:The lots are all different they have different assets and values, just as the people buying lots have different values.Some people prefer having a wetlands and having the WCD area within their lot.There needs to be a reasonable amount of land for people to have back yards and front yards.

 

Bob Yarmo:On the next lot, 8-20-3, there is no backyard and there is no space that abuts WCD.I donít buy your argument.On lot 8-20-2 it is 400-ft from the corner of the house to the edge of the proposed 25-foot no cut zone.On 8-20-3 thereís 10-feet to the WCD.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:Lot 3 is clearly in the wet area and takes up a good portion of the lot space.The WCD takes up a great portion of the lot.Itís the nature of the lot.

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Bob Yarmo:If you go to lot 8-20-2 there is a natural buffer, thereís a natural break right where the stone wall is.It would be my recommendation to increase that no-cut zone to the edge of the stone wall.Alicia is right, a 25-foot buffer is insignificant.

 

BACK TO THE BOARD:

 

Mr. Gove:We still have an issue regarding the actual wetland crossing, whether or not we could go for an expedited application, or whether we should go for a standard application.I want to clarify whether or not we had done sufficient drainage designs, and we could go with an expedited application, or whether we should file for a standard one?

 

Bob Yarmo:The only reason why you would apply for an expedited application is if it were under one thousand, eight hundred (1,800) square feet.Is there any possibility an issue could be brought up about the culvert shape or the culvert size?

 

Mr. Gove:It is certainly a benefit to the client to go with an expedited permit because of the speed of the permit process.If the other issues could be resolved, i.e., shape of the culvert, whatever the width of the buffer ends up; there will probably be an issue with the Planning Board.Would the Commission feel comfortable with an expedited permit if the other issues are resolved or can a compromise be made?

 

Bob Yarmo:We need to iron out a couple of issues.There is no problem with an expedited permit.A 25-foot buffer along the power line is a nice gesture, but impractical.

 

Mr. Gove:I donít have a problem going back to the engineer and asking them to explore the idea of a different shape culvert.Whether itís a 36-inch squashed down or a 24-inch squashed down, basically the issue is the shape itís really not the size.With regard to the buffer, Iíd like to hear your thoughts on what youíd think would be an acceptable buffer.

 

Bob Yarmo:I think there is a lot adjacent to the power line where there is almost a natural break - a stone wall or the grade.

 

Jim Gove:The first lot is lot 8-20-2 and comes down to a triangular section.The rest of the lots all have a big buffer because of the wetlands and the next lots are 4, 5 and 6.It picks up again on lot 6.The rest are pretty well set back from the power line.

 

Bob Yarmo:You could increase that entire line 50-feet and not significantly affect any of those lots.

 

Mr. Gove:You are suggesting that it be the same width as weíd have to the WCD, so it would be like the WCD width from the edge of the power line.Lot 3 is really not an issue.Lot 3 has a big wide buffer already within the wetland.WCD is pushed out over 50 to 100-feet away.

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Bob Yarmo:I would say you could increase it to 50-ft without affecting any lots.

 

Jim Gove:I will bring this back to the client to make this 50-ft and talk to the engineer about the culvert to see if we can come up with some kind of an oblong culvert so that it will be more environmentally friendly.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:I donít think there is a problem with using an electrical culvert or a squashed culvert.We may be near minimum height and would not like to have a culvert more than 24 inches.The culvert must meet town and CLD specifications.There is no problem with proposing an electrical culvert or a squashed culvert, but there may be issues about the use of a box culvert or a rectangular one.

 

Wes Aspinwall:If we can get a box electrical culvert I would think it would be practical so long as thereís a standard one that we could buy that would meet townís standards.

 

Bob Yarmo:On the other side of the lot, 8-20, are there wetlands?You have the drainage swale that picks up catch basins.The sub-station is on the other side of the stonewall.It is already cleared.

 

Mr. Gove:There are some trees around it and someone else owns it.

 

Bob Yarmo:I was going to propose that the no-cut zone follow that rock wall, then go to 50-feet on lot 8-20, then a no-cut zone following the rock wall until it gets to the wetlands.On the other side of the wetlands we just take that out to 50-feet as it seems to be a natural break.

 

Jim Gove:I think we have to talk to our client.Mr. Zohdi was asked to explain.

 

Peter Zohdi of Herbert Associates:We donít have any problems with most of the area. The ďKĒ area on the map is 4,000 square feet for a nature area.According to state statue we have to show a 4-K area.It canít be 50-ft., as it would cut into the 4-K area.There is no problem to put the 25-feet along lot 20 except that we have to put in treatment soil.We are joining the no-cut zone around the buffer area.There is no problem on 8-20-3.However, when you get to lot 8-20-4, if I put that 50-feet it will cut into my 4-K area that means I canít do it.The reality is no one is going to put in a 4,000 sq. ft. septic system.I have to submit it that way to the state that I canít get a 4-K area.I can go to 50-ft. on lots 8-20-5 and 8-20-6.It really doesnít make much difference for no-cut zone, itís a minor detail but we have to get our approval from the state.If we cannot get approval from the state we are going to lose 1,2, 3 lots and that is not acceptable to our client.

 

Bob Yarmo:There is only one 4-K area thatís affected by increasing lot 4?Can you work around that one?I donít think anyone is going to clear on the other side of the wall.

 

 

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Peter Zohdi:I can do that.Nobody wants to see the power lines.I donít think I could give you 25-feet along that first lot because of the house and the 4-K area on lot 20, 25-ft. and 50-ft.When you come to lot 2 it could go along the boundary of the power lines; we could give 50-feet.No problem with lot 3.On lot 4, 25-feet, we are in the 4-K area.Referring to lot 5, there is no problem with the 50-feet.

 

Bob Yarmo:You are going to get the culvert shape, increase the buffer, and propose the increased buffer.

 

Peter Zohdi:What is the pleasure of the Board in reference to the culvert shape?

 

Bob Yarmo:We donít know what is available.Mr. Gove stated the wider the better but not necessarily height-wise, and whatever is specified.

 

Mr. Aspinwall:We can do it if we can get a 24-inch or 36-inch electrical culvert or something of that sort.

 

Peter Zohdi:Iíd rather that you put a box culvert in.A box culvert makes more sense because itís readily available and itís tough.If that works for the Board it works for our client.We need less than a 15-inch culvert there.If we put a 24-inch culvert in we thought that was something workable with Conservation.If the Board wants a box culvert weíll propose a box culvert.

 

Bob Yarmo:I donít think itís unreasonable, if you can get back to me to tell me what your client thinks about these things.

 

Peter Zohdi:I think my client will go forward with the size of the culvert. With the buffer zone, we donít have a problem.Thereís no question with the buffer zone.We maintain a 24-inch culvert is oversized.If a box culvert is required we will provide it.

 

Bob Yarmo:So whatís practical, thatís the question Ė 24 inches high or 36 inches wide.

 

Peter Zohdi:I would appreciate if the Board would agree with a 24 by 24.

 

Bob Yarmo:That is not any wider than the other culvert.The other culvert was 24-inches.

 

Peter Zohdi:The more that you put on the box culvert the more expensive it gets and the more work it is.I donít want to go any higher.We donít want to raise the road because it requires headwalls.It becomes a safety issue.If you want to go 24-inch high and 10-inch wide, weíd be glad to do that.

 

 

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Bob Yarmo:24-inches high and 30-inch wide.

 

Peter Zohdi:Weíll be glad to do that.

 

Jim Gove:I guess the only question is, if we can make those revisions, would it be acceptable for us to re-do our application and have the Chairman sign it, or do we have to wait until the next meeting.

 

Bob Yarmo:I can sign it.Iíll drop it off here provided it is all right with the Board.

 

Peter Zohdi:Can you pole the Board tonight?

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:

 

Alicia Hennessey, 71 Dutton Road:There was a discussion at the site walk to protect the buffer zone, there might be a conservation easement instead of just leaving it up to the individual landowner to get a little more protection from one landowner to another landowner.

 

Bob Yarmo:I will make that recommendation to the Planning Board and let the Planning Board deal with the easements.

 

Alicia Hennessey:You donít necessarily want easements along the back lots because they are critical lots - just to get some protection.

 

Bob Yarmo:I assume you are going to put up signs relative to no-cut, no disturbance.The signs need to be located or we need to reconstruct them.

 

Peter Zohdi:We are in agreement with what the Commission is ordering us to do. The client has to post a bond for all that.If there are any problems, the bond can be pulled.

 

Bob Yarmo:That concludes map eight, lot 20 & 22-9 Ė Louise Gaudette, Old Gage Hill Road.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Respectfully submitted,

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Glennie Edwards

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Recording Secretary

 

Transcribed from VCR Tape

(Minutes completed 10/15/2002)