TOWN OF PELHAM, N.H.

CONSERVATION COMMISSION MEETING

6 MAIN STREET

PELHAM, NH 03076-3723

 

 

MEETING OF October 9, 2002                 NOT APPROVED

 

 

Members Present:

 

Robert Yarmo, Chairman

Sanja Kakkard, Vice Chairman

Christian Montminy

Sandy Kupcho

Frank Culbert

Marc Duquette.

 

Meeting called to order by Robert Yarmo at 7:29 p.m.

 

HEARING:  Natural Resources Inventory for Adoption

 

The Natural Resources Planning Commission (NRPC) report was discussed.  Members felt it was an excellent report, long overdue but they had some information that they felt was inaccurate.  The issue was the accuracy of the percentage of protected acreage.  It was believed that the document was taken from “the best available resources”that NRPC had.

 

MOTION:  (Frank Culbert/Sanja Kakkard) To accept the draft dated 8/23/02 with changes voiced on accuracy of Pelham’s protected acreage (Page 5, Table 3).

VOTED UNANIMOUS TO ACCEPT.

 

(Next item taken out of order)

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Charles Zolkos, 201 Mammoth Road, Pelham, came before the Commission to get concurrence to muck out a pond behind the Zolkos property at the corner of Mammoth and Bush Hill Road. It is about a 40 by 60 foot pond.  He wants to excavate it out and increase it 4 or 5 feet deeper.  He states that the 4-5 feet is to increase the water fill, blaming the construction of so many homes in the area that have decreased the level of the water table. Right now it is muck on one side and completely dry on the other side.  Mr. Zolkos says that the condition of it now is just a breeding ground for mosquitoes. There are no culverts for inlets or outlets and the only water that comes in now is what comes down the road from Bush Hill Road.  Mr. Duquette asked if it were a man-made or natural pond as the state has different requirements for each.  Mr. Yarmo is quite sure that

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it is a farmer’s pond because of the topography of the land, and the fact that it appears to be so circular.  It was probably dug for the purpose of supplying water for the cattle that was once part of this property. Mr. Yarmo feels that Mr. Zolkos should file a minimal impact expedited dredge and fill permit.  This type of permit only requires an explanation of the work to be done and maybe he should take a picture of the site.  The actual application is online and Mr. Yarmo will assist Mr. Zolkos in acquiring the form.  The web site that offers the application is listed under “www.des.state.nh.us/wetlands/”.  The application would be submitted with the Commission’s recommendation as there needs to be a signature affixed to it.

 

LTA Standards for Municipalities

 

This is a Stewardship Program for conservation properties and is before the Commission for adoption.

 

LTA stands for Land Trust Alliance.  LTA developed a Stewardship Program for the preservation of conservation lands.  The Stewardship Program covers site inspections, checking for resources on the site and making sure it is not being abused.  It’s also required of the LCHIP grants.  The Little Island Pond Watershed folks that are trying to raise funds for the purchase of the Picard property are applying for the LCHIP Grant.  The Stewardship Program needs to be adopted by the Conservation Commission to act as a supporting document in their applying for the grant.   The town of Pelham does not have any such Stewardship Program presently.  Overseers of the LCHIP Grant want insurance on who will be the Stewards of Pelham’s conservation lands.  NRPC is recommending that we come up with a standard and they will help us write one.  In the absence of writing one up the Commission can vote to adopt this document(s), a standard, and implement it. The Conservation Commission is free to add to it or alter it to Pelham’s needs.  Other assets in implementing the Stewardship Program will aid the Commission with legal advice, legal funding and determining property boundaries, etc.

 

MOTION:  (Sanjay Kakkad/Frank Culbert) To accept LTA Standards.

VOTE 6-0 – Unanimous to Adopt.

 

Map 14; Lot 3-88-3 – Priscilla Way – Brian Soucy, Dredge & Fill Application (After the Fact)

 

Gove Environmental Services requested that this be put on the agenda.  This is a Wetlands Bureau Minimum Impact Dredge & Fill Application – after the fact.  This concerns the Brian Soucy driveway crossing on Priscilla Way where there is a bridge, dated 9/12/2002.  This was a house lot and the plans called for a bridge to be installed over the wetlands so as not to impact the wetlands during construction.  The choice was to get a dredge and fill permit and put in a culvert or do a bridge.  The developer proposed to Conservation and the Planning Board to put in a bridge, and that was

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accepted.  In the process of putting in the bridge, the bridge construction sequence of events or procedure was going to be:  build the abutment on one side, then build the abutment on the other side – staying out of the wetlands – and then drop the pre-cast bridge over the wetlands.  In doing this the wetlands would not be affected.  What happened, according to Mr. Yarmo’s belief, was that this was done with a disregard for the whole streambed.  The developer excavated the whole streambed, put in a piece of drainage pipe and diverted the water around the work area.  Basically, they dredged and filled the stream, built the abutments in the wetlands on both sides and then put the bridge in and then pulled the pipe out.  A neighbor filed a complaint.  The complaint generated this “after the fact” minimum dredge and fill.  What is being asked of Pelham Conservation Commission by Gove Environmental Services is that we comment on this “after the fact” dredge and fill to DES.  The choices of responding to DES are:  1) – Send a positive recommendation or, 2) Send a negative recommendation.  Question from member Frank Culbert “send a positive or negative recommendation for something that has already been done?”  DES relies on Conservation Commission to supply them with information as to what happened.  They have seen the results.  They saw photographs and saw the complaint and said the developer needs a dredge and fill permit. Conservation needs to communicate to DES on what happened.  Mr. Yarmo stated, “In my opinion it was a blatant disregard for any of the wetlands ordinance or good construction practices”.  A negative response with a bit of a history on it may result in the developer, Brian Soucy, to be issued a fine based on the Commission’s comments.

 

The reason that a bridge was proposed in the first place was that dredge and fill permits were running anywhere from eight (8) to nine (9) months to turn-a-round.   They decided that they would rather have the flexibility of building a lot when they wanted to therefore not applying for a dredge and fill permit.  In effect they were saying “I’m going to do the bridge and not affect the wetlands.”  Mr. Yarmo said they, in fact, had more of an impact on the wetlands than by doing a dredge and fill with the pipe.  It was a blatant disregard for the proper procedures in putting this bridge in like they did.

 

MOTION:  (Frank Culbert/ Marc Duquette) For the Pelham Conservation Commission to send a negative response to DES to this “after the fact” dredge and fill application with a bit of the history on it.

 

VOTE:  Unanimous vote to send negative response to DES. (6-0)

 

OLD BUSINESS:

 

MOTION TO ACCEPT THE CONSERVATION MEETING MINUTES: March 13, 2002, July 10, 2002 and August 7, 2002.  (Frank Culbert/Sanjay Kakkad).  Voted unanimously to accept. (6-0)

 

 

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Update on the Picard property.  The developer and the Conservation Commission have signed the purchase and sale agreement.  It’s expected to close with the landowner this week.  The developer is planning to bring the plan to the Planning Department and the Planning Board meeting in November.  The plan will show a 6-lot development and the conservation land. The Little Island Pond Watershed Association are applying for the LCHIP grant, and they have a person willing to loan them the remainder of the money at 0% should they need it.

 

CONSERVATION PROJECTS:  The Natural Resources Inventory and the maps are now available and the maps were laminated for presentation at Old Home Day.  There needs to be concentration in getting a conservation plan put together.  This will probably require some help from someone at the state level, possibly Mark West can help.  Between the Master Plan that the Planning Board approved and the Natural Resources Inventory that we have and the mapping that we have, we pretty much have the tools we need to document a conservation plan.  We need to find out what our final goal is.  We need to verify what conservation lands we already have.  It may be difficult says Mr. Yarmo and we may have to hire someone to do that for us.  Over the past year or two there have been many developments that have given us conservation land and we don’t have great records on them.  We don’t have copies of the deeds.  Deb Waters could not be at this meeting tonight, but suggests that we schedule another meeting to have someone come in and talk to us about the process in doing this.  This would be a work session.

 

Another issue is whether the Conservation Commission wants to put together, for submission for the voters, a bond issue to buy more property.  There is the item of current use properties, which when sold; we acquire 75% of the current use tax exchange.  Many surrounding towns have raised money for this purpose.  The Commission needs to identify it’s priorities in order to make a presentation for the voters.  Until then, it may be premature to do this.  The “school of thought” is to raise as much money for conservation land as you raise for schools, as conservation land does not add to our schools.  A work session needs to be scheduled.

 

REPORT ON OLD HOME DAY:  It was felt that the literature that was handed out at OHD went over great.  Sandy Kupcho was complimented on the brochure that she put together.  There were several people who signed up to help the Conservation Commission on future needs.  Mr. Montminy thanked the Conservation secretary for acquiring “a great spot on the OHD grounds”.

 

Mr. Montminy brought to the attention of the board the Natural Resources Inventory Chapter, page 8 where it states if Conservation needs help that there are resources that we could utilize.  There are a few projects that we can use help on that have been brought out by the University of NH.  It is assistance programs: Community Development Outreach Programs (CDLP), where students are utilized for all academic majors in places of

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consulting firms for 2 to 4 students.  They work with communities and non-profit organizations for an entire academic year.  The cost is not that much.  UNH has helped in the past with the wetlands studies; they did a lot of footwork for that.

 

Mr. Duquette:  Brought to the Board’s attention the recommendations for an  Open Space Trails System Plan” on page 2 of the report.  The message board had a posting last week that there was a trail committee forming.  The meeting is scheduled at Raymond Park.  The information in the report talks about forming a permanent trails committee.  Conservation might consider sharing maps and other information with this new committee that is forming.  It’s believed that the committee is an outreach of the Parks and Recreation Department.  Someone from Conservation should either be on the committee or be a liaison so that the plans can be coordinated.  All of the Conservation lands need to be documented.  According to the RSA’s the Commission has the ability to acquire trails says Mr. Yarmo.

 

Mr. Duquette presented hard copies of the water testing results (3 pages), taken at Harris Pond, Little Island Pond, Long Pond and Gumpus Pond.  The process and procedure was explained with regard to testing and was to include three rounds.  Only two tests were done.  It got too cold, too late, and too busy and it was September.  Testing is not done outside of the warmer season.  The handouts provided showed where the tests were taken and the results of the tests.  A major problem exists at Woekel Circle Inlet – the appearance looks like iron leaking into the pond. The dates of the tests were June 19 and August 6.  Long Pond was the only pond that didn’t have undesirable readings.  The results of these tests have been made available to the Little Inland Pond Association, Long Pond to the Parks and Recreation Department and Gumpus Pond Association.  No report was given to anyone for Harris Pond.  It’s been recommended that there be different metal testing be done at the Woekel Circle Inlet.  The additional testing will be done in the spring.  Mr. Yarmo says that the Little Island Pond Association has some responsibility to do this testing.  Both Little Island Pond Association and Gumpus Pond Association have funds to do this additional testing.  A copy of this report will be sent to NRPC, attn: Betsy.  They need to have a copy for their records so that they can have a baseline.  Mr. Montminy says he can get this water testing results on the Conservation’s web site.  Victor, Chairman of the Planning Board said if the Conservation Commission has their own link, they are to take total control of it.

 

The Road Salt Proposal will be taken up with the town manager says Mr. Yarmo.  The Ground Water Protection program needs to be addressed also – it could be a volunteer.

 

MOTION TO ADJOURN (Sanjah Kakkad, Christian Montminy.  Adjourned at 8:36.

 

                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                    Glennie Edwards

                                                                                    Recording Secretary