Town of Pelham, NH

Pelham Conservation Commission

Minutes – Meeting of May 9, 2001



Members Present:                                                     Members Absent:

Robert Yarmo, Chairperson                                         William McDevitt, BOS rep.

Brenda Jensen

Sanjay Kakkad

Ronald Bourque


A meeting of the Pelham Conservation Commission was held on Wednesday, May 9, 2001 at the Pelham Town Hall.  The Chairperson, Robert Yarmo, called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.



Conservation Subcommittee Report – Groundwater Project


Former Conservation member, Rick Cummings, addressed the Board regarding the $7,000 grant from Department of Environmental Services for survey of town’s current environment on groundwater, potential hazards and developing a plan to protect water resources.  Mr. Cummings explained that the project had been approved by the Board of Selectmen and presented to the School Board as well as the Planning Board.  He added that a future committee should be formed to implement results, headed by a Conservation member.  Comprehensive Environment, Inc. (CEI) was hired to complete a report and recommendations.  Tyler Phillips of CEI presented results. 


Mr. Phillips summarized the report, using a slide presentation.  He reviewed what is groundwater and its’ relation to soil and bedrock.  Mr. Phillips explained Pelham’s most important features for groundwater were potable water, baseflow to streams and wetlands, transmissivity and zoning.  Areas in Pelham with highest transmissivity are located near main commercial areas and are highly recoverable.  Pelham’s groundwater is relatively vulnerable due to locations.  Contamination does travel rapidly into groundwater.  The types of uses and density affect any risk.


Mr. Phillips stated that the priorities for Pelham involved three main factors:  potential to contaminate based on use activities, likelihood due to density of use and opportunity for improvement.  He noted that recycling junkyards are a potential contaminant source as there is generally a history due to handling of complex products (cars).  Hazardous waste contaminants are another potential contaminant source due to volumes and types.  Septic systems are another source due to failures and neglect.  Public education is important. 


The recommendations are to set one long-term goal, set yearly short-term goals and agree on 2 – 3 objectives to obtain yearly goals.  These recommendations are meant as a future guide to the committee, which is to be formed.  Mr. Phillips stated that a priority might be to identify junkyards, which are not licensed, to improve licensing checklist and to offer ways to improve operations.  Regarding hazardous waste materials, an inventory should be developed, mailings sent out and follow up site visits planned.  An inspection program for floor drains is important.  Press releases for businesses and homeowners are recommended (samples are given in report).  A hazardous waste collection day could be scheduled.  Seminars could be hosted for the public on maintaining septic systems and using less pesticides and/or fertilizers.  Education materials are an effective measure in protecting groundwater.  A suggestion was made to connect with NRPC for hazardous waste collection schedules and sites.  Homeowners need to understand they might contaminate their own wells.  It is recommended that at point of sale for older homes, a septic system inspection be required.  Mr. Phillips stated that he would recommend starting with education before moving to regulation.


Recommended strategies would be to start with educating the public; also committee formation to determine strengths and interests and to set reasonable objectives.  Funding sources should be pursued such as municipal funds and grants.  Materials should be obtained for distribution and speakers contacted.  Mr. Phillips indicated that he would be willing to assist the new committee and assist in filing grants, which are generally due in November.  Chairperson Bob Yarmo added that volunteers were needed and would be welcomed.  The Board discussed updating a conservation website to include information on this report.  The Board thanked Mr. Cummings and Mr. Phillips for their work and presentation.



Abbott Bridge, Old Bridge St. No.


Pelham resident Anne Hargreaves addressed the Board regarding the dedication for the Abbott Bridge with historical marker, which would be presented on Memorial Day.  Mrs. Hargreaves stated that an easement had been granted by Citizens Bank, owner of adjacent property.  She believes it was in 1997 that the bank widened its’ driveway and appeared before the Conservation Committee.  A stipulation was made at that time to plant trees; four trees were planted by an existing tree.  Mrs. Hargreaves stated that there was an approximate 30-foot lawn area from drive to undergrowth by the brook and bridge.  Citizens Bank agreed that the historical marker could be placed on its’ property with an extension of the easement.  It was suggested that a bench be placed by the marker.  Driving over the bridge does not allow for a viewing of its’ arches.  The bank is agreeable to a placement of a bench, which would provide anyone with a clear view.  The bench would be placed by the end of the driveway. 


Mrs. Hargreaves requested that the Board allow for the undergrowth to be pruned in order that a clear sight line is maintained.  She indicated that it could be done once a year with the assistance of the highway department.  Mr. Hargreaves will obtain formal easement from Mr. Hamilton of Citizens Bank for the extension of easement to allow for historical marker and bench.  She added that state funds had allowed for the restoration of the bridge.  The Board unanimously agreed to allow pruning of the undergrowth to maintain a clear line of view to the bridge, as needed.  Mrs. Hargreaves thanked the Board.



Map 4, Lot 137, Valley Hill Land Development, LLC


Chairperson Bob Yarmo asked for clarification of this presentation in terms of a revision to improve wetland crossing as stated on agenda.  Jim Gove, of Gove Environmental Services, responded and presented the plans.  Mr. Gove explained that the original presentation last year had involved a WCD crossing and bridges.  He added that the Lot number was 4-137 and the property in question was Tax Map Lots 13 and 14 on Meadow View Road, off Mammoth Road.  Meadow View Road extends from Mammoth Road to Longview Circle and also connects with Holstein Drive.  The plan has been reviewed by Planning Board. 


Mr. Gove stated that the wetland areas impacted would be two crossings of a seasonal stream, which flows from the north to the south and east.  The first crossing is 1,710 square feet and the second is 990 square feet; both crossings have retaining walls to reduce wetland impact.  Mr. Gove explained that a minimum impact expedited permit was being sought at this time given the total impact for two wetland crossings of 2,700 square feet.  This meets the standard criteria for application, which Jim reviewed.


The Chairperson, Bob Yarmo, asked why this request for dredge and fill was now being made after the original recommendation for two bridges.  Jim Gove responded that there were two reasons or concerns;  one was economics and the other was a resistance by the Town to place bridges in the development.  He agreed with Mr. Yarmo that the bridges would still be the most minimal impact.  Mr. Gove explained where state and town jurisdictions fall in relation to bridge concepts and culverts.  Bob Yarmo confirmed with Jim Gove that the permit would contain stipulations for when and how the work could be done.  Jim explained that he needed the signature of the Chair on the application before he would file it with the state. 


The contractor stated that the suggestion to pursue minimal impact came from the Planning Director as an alternative to the cost of bridges.  Jim Gove added that the town was concerned about future financial burden of bridges.  Ron Bourque asked Jim Gove to reiterate the second concern relating to this permit request.  Mr. Gove responded that the initial cost of bridges belonged to the developer but any long-term costs then belonged to the Town.  Brenda Jensen noted that the culverts still had to be maintained.  Mr. Gove answered that the cost for maintaining and/or replacement would be far less with a culvert than a bridge.


Bob Yarmo stated that the bridges were proposed originally because of the time factor involved with obtaining dredge and fill permits, which at that time were up to about 8 months.  He questioned how there could now be criteria in place for the expedited permit.  Jim Gove explained that the original plan had been changed during planning process.  Two lots and two crossings were eliminated, reducing the area of impact to less than 3,000 feet.  He added that an expedited dredge and fill could be obtained in thirty days.  The culvert would be 15 inches, which is standard. 


Sanjay Kakkad asked what protective measures would be taken to protect the wetland area when culvert was placed.  Jim Gove answered that the permit would require orange construction fencing and silt fencing placed for erosion control. 


The Board discussed a site walk.  Bob Yarmo will contact Mr. Gove to schedule one as soon as possible given the time factors involved.  Jim Gove thanked the board and would wait to hear from them on a site walk date and time.



Map 13 – 39, Young Crossing Rd. – Special Permit


Bob Yarmo explained that the board was being asked by the Planning Director to review this request for a special permit.  There was an existing home on the property.  The request for special exception would involve installing three culverts to access high and dry land at the rear of the lot along with a possible eventual dredge and fill permit.  Three wetland crossings would be created.  Mr. Yarmo was not certain of the purpose of the access to the high and dry land.  After some discussion, the Board agreed to send a letter to Planning stating that they could not approve these crossings given the lack of information at this time.



Election of Officers


Chairperson Bob Yarmo asked that the Board move forward to the election of officers for the Conservation Committee.


A Motion was made by Brenda Jensen to nominate and appoint Bob Yarmo as Chairperson of the Pelham Conservation Committee.  Ron Bourque seconded the motion.  All were in favor.  The motion passes.


A Motion was made by Ron Bourque to nominate and appoint Sanjay Kakkad as Vice-Chairperson of the Pelham Conservation Committee.  Bob Yarmo seconded the motion.  All were in favor.  The motion passes.


A Motion was made by Bob Yarmo to nominate and appoint Brenda Jensen as Secretary of the Pelham Conservation Committee.  Ron Bourque seconded the motion.  All were in favor.  The motion passes.



Project Updates


Bob Yarmo explained that there was an ongoing road salt project, which currently involved himself and former Conservation member Alicia Harshfield.  He added that other volunteers were needed and welcomed. 


A Motion was made by Brenda Jensen that the Board shall appoint Alicia Harshfield as subcommittee chairperson for the road salt project.  Sanjay Kakkad seconded the motion.  All were in favor.  The motion passes. 


Bob Yarmo informed the Board that an invitation by letter had been received from the League of Women Voters in Pelham regarding a Community Profile meeting at the Senior Center on May 14, 2001 at 7 p.m.  He asked for a volunteer from the board to attend the meeting.  Ron Bourque agreed to attend.


Pelham resident Sean Scanzani briefly addressed the Board to explain that the Community Profile Project was being presented to bring town residents together in an effort to brainstorm the direction of the town for the next five years.  The Board thanked Mr. Scanzani for his input. 


The Board discussed the approval of minutes from April 11, 2001.  Ron Bourque asked for an amendment on page 3, paragraph 1 relating to his question regarding TGP easements.  (No motion was made to approve as amended).


The Chairperson stated that he would like to continue in a non-public session with the board for some background and discussion on board related issues.  There being no further business to come before the board:


A Motion was made by Brenda Jensen to adjourn the meeting.  Sanjay Kakkad seconded the motion.  All in favor.  The motion passes.



The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.




Transcribed from videotape by,



Kathleen A. Carr

(Temporary) Recording Secretary