Town of Pelham, NH

Pelham Conservation Commission

Minutes – Meeting of February 14, 2001



Members Present:                                                   Members Absent:

Robert Yarmo, Chairperson                                         Alicia Harshfield, Alternate

Harold Lynde, Selectmen Rep.                                     William Cookinham

Brenda Jensen



A regularly scheduled meeting of the Pelham Conservation Commission was held on Wednesday, February 14, 2001 at the Pelham Town Hall.  The Chairperson, Robert Yarmo, called the meeting to order at 7:42 p.m.


The Chairperson stated that the 16 lot subdivision on Dutton Road would be postponed until the next meeting, as requested.  As there was no representative present for the 2 lot subdivision on Dutton Road, the board would proceed to the third item on the agenda.





Map 9, Lot 136-2, SDK Holdings, LLC

May Lane, proposed 12 lot subdivision


Mr. Jim Gove of Gove Environmental Services appeared together with Mr. Wesley Aspenwall, Surveyor regarding this 17.8 acre parcel and 12 lot subdivision.  Mr. Gove reviewed an environmental report.  He noted that the parcel was predominantly wooded with one open field, partly wetlands, partly uplands and near a river.  There is one isolated wetland area near Simpson Road, which drains south fed by a culvert across the road.  The area also contains some sand and gravel deposits.  There is a potential vernal pool.  Red oak and white pine are found in upland area.  The parcel is not adjacent to any prime wetlands but adjacent to town owned property and near Muldoon Park.  Mr. Gove noted that the 50 foot WCD was in place to protect wetland areas.  He suggested that Lot 9-136-48 be added for protection as a conservation easement.  Mr. Gove reviewed a few other matters discussed at earlier Planning Board meeting, stating that these were planning issues.


Wesley Aspenwall stated that this development was an extension of May Lane where 8 lots were located with the remaining 4 lots having frontage on Simpson Road.  He added that it had not been presented to Conservation Commission because there were neither wetland or WCD crossings nor impacts.  He explained that if the new zoning is approved, a drainage easement between Lots 47 and 48 would create a minor impact within the WCD for drainage treatment swale.  No wetland permit was involved.  Mr. Aspenwall said that if new zoning passed in March, WCD will expand to new limits.  If not, the plan would stay the same except that an area in back of Lots 47 and 48 will have widened to no cut zone.


The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, asked whether there was a proposal to extend WCD or to construct an easement.  Wesley Aspenwall answered that he understood the WCD would be widened.  Mr. Yarmo stated that Jim Gove had spoke of an easement.  Mr. Gove responded that an easement was the recommendation.  Hal Lynde asked if the setback for WCD would be 100 feet under proposed new zoning and Mr. Aspenwall answered yes.  Mr. Gove returned to state that the owner wanted a deed restriction to show WCD as no cut zone and not a conservation easement.  Mr. Aspenwall reviewed other plans showing road grades and house locations.  Bob Yarmo asked if the water drained to a detention area and Mr. Aspenwall said yes, adding that there was a ditch along both sides of road and that a drainage study had been done. 


Bob Yarmo asked whether Beaver Brook was a fourth order stream and Mr. Gove replied that it was south of this location and not subject to shoreline protection.  He explained the setback requirements.  The Chairperson opened the discussion to the public.


Alicia Hennessey of Dutton Road asked if there would be signage for the no cut zone and Mr. Gove answered yes, adding that the suggestion appeared in his report.


Bob Yarmo addressed his concern regarding the location of the house on Lot 9-136-48, saying that perhaps a site specific would be appropriate for this lot as well as Lot 9-126-40.  Jim Gove said a silt fence would be maintained for erosion control and that the land was fairly flat.  Hal Lynde asked if the house on Lot 48 could be closer to the front and Mr. Yarmo asked about the length of the driveway.  Wes Aspenwall answered 250 feet for the driveway and that it was possible to build closer to frontage of lot.  He added that the septic has to be a distance from the detention area.  Lot 48 is 2.7 acres.  Mr. Lynde reiterated the Chair’s recommendation that the lot should be made site specific. 


The Chairperson asked if a site walk had been done and Mr. Gove answered not by him.  Mr. Yarmo explained another concern he had regarding water draining to Beaver Brook from slope of road.  Wesley Aspenwall answered that the water would drain over land and vegetation.  There was a discussion about supplementing existing vegetation.  Jim Gove said that dense grass cover would be best treatment with an erosion control mat until the grass was established.  Mr. Aspenwall added that it would be inspected by CLD.


Bob Yarmo asked if there was any objection to Lots 40 and 48 being site specific.  Peter Zohdi, of Edward Herbert Surveyors, answered that his client did not want to do site specific and was complying with zoning regulations.  The Chairperson stated that this had been mentioned at Planning Board meeting and would provide assurance.  Mr. Zohdi replied that the owner had a right to put home where he wanted as long as he was meeting requirements.  Bob Yarmo said that a recommendation could be made to Planning and Mr. Zohdi responded that he hoped that would not be done. 

Hal Lynde explained that site specific would provide protection so that the home would not be too close to WCD boundary.  Peter Zohdi replied that client was complying with current zoning and that a site specific would require him to return to land boards to change location of house.  The Chairperson stated that wherever the home was located, it would be his recommendation to have the lot site specific.  Hal Lynde further noted that the site specific recommendation by the board was to avoid the homeowner encroaching on WCD if house was too close to that area.  Peter Zohdi answered that a site specific was not good for anyone involved.  Bob Yarmo asked if there was 75 feet between edge of wetlands and house shown on Lot 48 and Mr. Zohdi answered yes.  Wesley Aspenwall stated that it would have to be moved 5 feet, given new zoning.


Peter Zohdi stated that the proposed plan was submitted before new zoning takes place.  He added that he and his client did not have to appear here tonight as nothing was being asked of the Conservation board.  He instructed the board to send a letter to Planning Board to approve or disapprove plan.  Mr. Zohdi was shouting and angry in his response.  The Chairperson told Mr. Zohdi that he would not allow him to lecture the board and stated that Planning had requested Mr. Zohdi to appear before Conservation.  Mr. Zohdi answered that Planning had not done that and had no jurisdiction to do so.  He shouted that the board had delayed the subdivision for 30 days and that the plan should not be in front of Conservation.  Bob Yarmo replied that the Town Planner had asked that this hearing be placed on agenda and that the board had not viewed any plans or reports previously.  He further explained that Planning had asked the board to review it and for Mr. Zohdi to appear. 


The Chairperson stated that Mr. Zohdi’s behavior was disrespectful and inappropriate.  Mr. Zohdi responded that it was not disrespectful and that Mr. Mendes (owner) had suffered a delay, which cost him money.  He stated again that the plan did not have to be presented, as there were no conservation issues.  He reiterated that it was unfair to Mr. Mendes to be delayed and that the Planning Director had sent the plan to Conservation previously.  Bob Yarmo said that Conservation does not comment on a plan without a presentation and that a phone call may have served to clarify issues ahead of time.  Peter Zohdi responded that he had been away and that his client was not willing to change the plan or agree to site specific. 


Hal Lynde spoke to say that this incident had been upsetting.  He explained that former Conservation members had resigned due to badgering and threats.  Mr. Lynde cautioned that respect should be given on both sides in spite of differences of opinion.  He said that if the Planning Board requested recommendations of Conservation, that the board would offer those in the best interest of the Town.  Mr. Lynde stated that this was difficult to do with lectures and badgering.  He added that there might be disagreements but that each person must respect the other’s opinion.


A Motion was made by Hal Lynde for the commision to send a letter to Planning Board to include the following:  Conservation has reviewed the plans; there were no areas to cause major concerns; the recommendations made in the environmental report are appropriate and should be implemented; Lot 48 should be extended for more contiguous wildlife corridor, 140 feet from iron stake at northerly section of lot by Beaver Brook; the board has concerns regarding water flow from end of cul-de-sac to Beaver Brook which Planning should review to assure an area of stable treatment is in place.  The Motion was seconded by Brenda Jensen.  A vote was had.  All in favor:  Hal Lynde, Brenda Jensen, Bob Yarmo.  None opposed nor abstained.  Vote is 3-0-0.  The motion passes.



Map 10, Lot 10-2, Dutton Road, proposed 2 lot subdivision

Benchmark Engineering, Inc. – Conceptual Review


A representative from Benchmark Engineering addressed the board regarding this 9+ acre parcel, which is zoned residential and owned by two families, Smith and Romeo.  It was purchased for the purpose of being divided into two lots, with a home on each lot.  There is a significant amount of wetland on the property.  The plan has been presented to the Planning Board.  A 900 foot driveway would be needed to get to the second lot.  There is 2,000 square feet of wetland impact on each proposed lot.  There would be a need to construct a culvert and cross over wetlands.  The engineer stated that he was introducing the plan for his clients to obtain input from the board.  There is a sizable excavation pond and poorly drained wetlands.


The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, asked the engineer to explain drainage flow as it relates to Little Island Pond.  Jack _____________ responded that it flows away from the pond.  Mr. Yarmo asked which way the lot sloped.  The engineer showed the high ground and slope on map and the wetland areas marked.  Hal Lynde asked if the parcel was now a single lot and the reply was affirmative.  Mr. Lynde asked if one acre of non-wetland area was needed for each parcel and Jack answered that he had that.  Mr. Yarmo asked if the high and dry area closest to Dutton Road was large enough for the house.  Jack responded that it was not if new zoning was passed.  Hal Lynde inquired about the location of leach field and the engineer answered it was 125 feet away from wetland.  He added that the soil conditions appear suitable. 


Bob Yarmo stated that a site walk would be needed when Planning Board accepts plan.  He asked if one or two dredge and fill permits were needed.  Jack replied that there were two locations, approximately 2,000 feet for each.  Hal Lynde asked if wetland area would need fill and was answered yes.  Mr. Lynde stated that the need for a wetland crossing was being created by the subdivision.  Bob Yarmo questioned whether there was another access but Jack responded there was not.  Mr. Yarmo inquired if bridging had been considered and Jack answered that they could look into that but it would be costly.  The Chairperson opened the discussion to the public.


Caroline Owens of 122 Dutton Road addressed the board stating that she was an abutter and concerned about the pond and quality of water.  Her concerns included septic waste, lawn chemicals, contamination from driveway, silt from dredge and fill, diversion of stream regarding current flow.  Mrs. Owens said she would like the board to consider a site walk after the snow was melted, a drainage study, temporary or permanent erosion control plan, strict no cut zone in wetlands buffer and no salt requirement for driveway.  The board thanked Mrs. Owens for her input.


Richard Romeo, a co-owner of the property, addressed the board.  He stated that the map did not do justice to the parcel, adding that the land did not slope that much.  He said that a site walk would show that.


Ron Smith, another co-owner of the property, explained that the soil scientist believed the wetlands had been ditched and that the water did move through except for a small area.  Hal Lynde responded that he did not have a positive reaction looking at the plan but that the board would accompany Planning on a site walk.  Mr. Smith stated that there was a 9 to 10 foot pitch from front to back of property as well as from right to left.  He said it was high and dry for a good portion of the year and that they had been looking at the property for about 16 months. 


The engineer from Benchmark asked the board for recommendations.  Bob Yarmo responded that they would have to see the site first.  Since this was an informal presentation, it would not be appropriate to make recommendations at this time.  He added that the boards’ concerns would include those that Mrs. Owens spoke about.  The board would prefer no WCD crossing, if possible.  The engineer asked if a site walk could be scheduled.  Bob Yarmo answered that after Planning took jurisdiction, the Conservation board would attend a site walk scheduled by Planning.  The engineer stated that he would need to file for dredge and fill permit and understood that it would be hard to view the property with the snow.  Hal Lynde asked if it could be done without a wetland crossing but Jack responded that there was no alternative.  He added that this plan showed the minimal impact after alternatives were reviewed and discussed.


Ron Smith, owner, explained that the Planning Board Director had requested that they appear before Conservation.  He would call him next to be able to proceed with plans.  Mr. Smith stated that he understood a site walk was needed.  He added that the area was high and dry but met criteria for wetlands due to soil conditions and vegetation.  There is a two foot section where the water actually runs through.



Map 3, Lot 101, Tenney Road proposed 7 lot subdivision

Cecile B. Gauthier Revocable Trust


Attorney Phillip Currier addressed the board as the attorney representing the trust which owned this property, together with Peter Zohdi from Edward Herbert Surveyors.  Mr. Currier explained that they had been to Planning Board and were appearing before Conservation to answer any questions or concerns.  The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, asked about the conservation easement or donation of land to the Town involved in this subdivision.  Peter Zohdi designated the location of the area on the map.  Hal Lynde asked about the location of the wetlands and Mr. Zohdi stated that Jim Gove had flagged the wetlands.  He added that all subdivision and zoning requirements were in compliance.  Mr. Zohdi stated that there was no WCD or wetland impact.


Hal Lynde asked if the cul-de-sac could be made smaller or moved forward for more margin of design on the two back lots (Lots 16 and 17).  Peter Zohdi responded that the Planning Board had authority to direct that if it was the boards’ recommendation.  Mr. Lynde inquired if the cul-de-sac was most necessary for plowing.  Mr. Gauthier, heir and developer, answered that the Fire Chief required the cul-de-sac for turns.  Peter Zohdi explained that the cul-de-sac had a 62 foot radius but that paved area is only 50 feet.  Hal Lynde noted that continuing on to Independent Drive would result in wetland crossing. 


Mr. Gauthier suggested that they could request a waiver from Planning, similar to Hickory Hill Road, if there was a recommendation to do so.  Hal Lynde asked if approvals were needed and Mr. Zohdi answered no.  Mr. Lynde stated that his only concern for comment to Planning Board would be the two back lots.  He added that the board would like to have the cul-de-sac less intrusive into that area for more frontage.  Mr. Gauthier responded that there could be less paving, but frontage could not be provided.  Hal Lynde stated that he understood compliance but asked if something could be done to make configuration better from conservation and town cost point of view.


Peter Zohdi stated that Conservation could make a recommendation to Planning Board to have a hammerhead built instead of the cul-de-sac.  Bob Yarmo said that from an environmental viewpoint, the best solution would be to shorten the cul-de-sac to a hammerhead.  Peter Zohdi explained that this had been done at Shepard Road and what used to be the end of Harley Drive. 


A Motion was made by Hal Lynde for the board to send a letter to Planning Board to include the following:  Conservation has reviewed the plan and sees no area needing Conservation approval; the board would like to see if additional protection buffer can be added to last two lots and potential drainage into wetlands in two ways – the board recommends the cul-de-sac be changed to hammerhead to result in less paving and more depth between lot frontage and WCD on last two lots; recommendation that paving be done with minimal run-off and drainage to wetland areas; alternately, if hammerhead is not accepted, it is recommended that the cul-de-sac not have entire diameter paved – center portion should be grassed for absorption area to road run-off.


Bob Yarmo inquired about WCD design stickers on the plan and Mr. Gauthier said he believed they were on the plan that Planning Board had.  Mr. Yarmo said that if there were no objection, he would like to see that added.  Mr. Gauthier said that they can do that where the homes will be located.  The board returned to the motion on the floor.


The motion was seconded by Bob Yarmo.  A vote was had.  All in favor:  Brenda Jensen, Bob Yarmo, Hal Lynde.  None opposed or abstained.  The vote is 3-0-0.  The motion passes.


There being no further business to come before the board,


A Motion was made by Hal Lynde to adjourn.  Bob Yarmo seconded the motion.  All in favor:  Brenda Jensen, Bob Yarmo, Hal Lynde.  None opposed.  The vote is 3-0-0.  The motion passes.



The meeting was adjourned at 10:08 p.m.






Transcribed from videotape by,



Kathleen A. Carr,

Recording Secretary





                                                                   APPROVED:   Not approved