Town of Pelham, NH

Pelham Conservation Commission

6 Main Street

Pelham, NH 03076-3723

 

MEETING OF FEBRUARY 20, 2002              (NOT APPROVED)

 

Members Present:                      

Bob Yarmo, Chairman

Frank Culbert

Sanjay Kakkad

Sandy Kupcho

Christian Montminy

 

Meeting brought to order by Chairman Bob Yarmo at 7:32 p.m. at the Town Hall.

 

HEARINGS:

 

Island Pond Neighborhood Group, Re: Use of Conservation Funds for the Purchase of Land Owned by Maurice Picard, Map 30-36, Lots 11-25

 

Mr. Yarmo reports that there have been several meetings with the neighborhood group and the Conservation Commission is being asked if they would formally recommend or formally provide some correspondence to the Board of Selectmen to approve monies from Conservation funds for acquiring a piece of property.

 

Mr. Yarmo offers the following presentation:  Benchmark Engineering has presented a plan to the Planning Board and to the Conservation Commission, that Conservation has done site walks and has sent a letter to Department of Environmental Services on our thoughts of the appropriateness of dredge and fills permits on this property.  Since then there has been a group of people in the neighborhood, around Island Pond, that has decided to propose an offer to the developer to limit the construction of a proposed subdivision to 7 or 8 lots, whatever he can get within a road length of 1000 feet, and consider eliminating about 7 lots.  The “Island Pond Neighborhood Group” (IPNG) have committed to raising funds to put toward the purchase of this land in conjunction with Conservation Funds.  This was talked about at the meeting on February 13th.  The question is whether the Conservation Commission wants to support this joint effort.

 

Board member Christian Montminy asked how much money is currently in the fund, and are there any other projects that might have to be considered first?  There is about $300,000 in the fund, of which $100,000 has been committed to another project that hasn’t closed yet; there are no other pending purchases says Chairman Yarmo.  The Conservation Fund is funded by 75% of the current use tax.  This occurs when a developer comes in to develop a piece of property and the land is taken out of current use tax status.  The developer must pay the town the difference of the current use status and

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the new status, i.e. by developing the land. (Example: If the value of the lot is $80 or $90 thousand dollars, that tax bill is $8,000.00 of which the Conservation Commission receives 75%.).  Mr. Yarmo reports that the Conservation fund is growing. It’s estimated that there are about 400 lots to be approved in the near future, most of which are in current use.  When that happens the amount of money that will get allotted to Conservation should be substantial.  The property that is being discussed has a lot going for it with regard to conservation purposes according to a Mr. Yarmo.  It’s critical to the watershed of Little Island Pond and the numbers that are being talked about with the developer will be comparable to other lands that Conservation have acquired or going to acquire.  There are no other opportunities right now, and there may or may not be other opportunities.  The Conservation monies do not get thrown into the general fund, it carries over from year to year and stays in the Conservation Commission account for the purpose of purchasing land, etc.  The Commission is not approving this transaction this evening.  There has to be very specifics that we (the town) are getting, “x” amount of acres for “x” amount of dollars.  Mr. Yarmo wants to get a formal consensus of the Board if they want to send a letter to the developer and to the Island Pond Neighborhood Group saying that Conservation will support the next step if the developer is in agreement to our numbers.  There still needs to be approval from the selectmen.  Its felt that the selectmen will accept this knowing what the process is and what has occurred previously.

 

Sandy Kupcho says this is a great idea and supports contacting the developer.

 

Mr. Yarmo says that this is the first time that a neighborhood group has done something like this and feels this could go a long way to preserving open space within the town.

 

PUBLIC INPUT:

 

Julia Steed Mauson, resident of 17 South Shore Drive:  I am not an abutter but I do live on Little Island Pond.  She says that Mr. Yarmo’s comments about this possibly being a model for the future is something that we were actually hoping for.  We are looking at ways of basically working on a partnership between the developer, the builder, the landowner, neighbors, Conservation Commission and the town.  This is not just for our property but hopefully this would be a model that could then be applied to other parts of the town as well.  Particularly, we know there are open lands around the lake itself that does have development potential.  This is but one piece of a larger story that could protect the watershed and ultimately better health of the pond and wetlands that are in it. 

 

The proposal that was presented to the Conservation Commission and Planning Board originally called for 17 lots.  That has been diminished to 14, which in some ways is certainly a step in the right direction if we’re thinking about trying to mitigate cumulative impacts on development.  Ms. Steed asks the Commission to not offer favorable written comment to the 14-lot development as it still does have substantial impact on the wetlands themselves.

 

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Mr. Yarmo comments on the funds as being anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 dollars to meet what the abutters are going to come up with. In order to formalize our commitment to the developer and the neighborhood group, we need to come up with a letter.  The letter should say that we support the use of Conservation Funds in acquiring a portion of the development, along with funds from the Little Island Pond Neighborhood Group.  There are other issues that need to be resolved before that can be executed.  This transaction needs the Commission’s vote on whether to approve or disapprove sending a letter to the Board of Selectmen.  The Conservation Commission must be in full support on the use of those funds says Mr. Yarmo.

 

Board member Sanjay Kakkad asks where the Planning Board stands with these plans right now?  Mr. Yarmo:  It hasn’t been approved; there are some issues still pending with DES.  A couple of issues that are up for the Planning Board is the length of the road.  What is being proposed now is a 2,000-foot road with a cul-de-sac.

 

FORMAL VOTE IN SENDING A LETTER:  Mr. Montminy, agree; Mr. Kakkad, agree; Ms. Kupcho, agree; Mr. Culbert, Agree; Mr. Yarmo, agree.  (5-0)

 

Mr. Yarmo:  We’ll be sending a letter to the design team and will also copy the Little Island Pond Neighborhood Group when that happens.  We’ll see where it goes from there.

 

Ross Sargeant, Dutton Road, Zoning Board of Adjustment Case #2216

Map 29, Lot 7-14-22

 

Presenting the case is Wes Aspinwal, land surveyor of Herbert Associates.  A septic design has been done for a proposed 3-bedroom house, the proposed well and septic system.  At the back part of the lot, about 15 feet behind the house, is entirely wetlands.  A 50-ft WCD around it would look like what is shown up on the board.  The graphics that Mr. Aspinwal refers to is not on the individual plans that Board members were looking at.  The septic system that is proposed is outside the 50-ft setback.  The leach bed actually meets the state and town requirements from the setback from the wetland.  Town requirements is 75-feet from the hydro B and the leach bed meets that says Mr. Aspinwal.  The septic tank and pug chamber are more than 50-feet which meets the state and town requirements.  The encroaching element is the house, along with some relative grading for the driveway.

 

This case has already gone to the Board of Adjustment for a variance as the house is within the WCD.  This came about as a result of a proposed subdivision of this land years ago, in 1981.  There has been a lot of record since that time, taxes and individual lots.  It is unsure how long Mr. Sargeant has owned the property, and he would like to build a house on it.  The plan is nearly as function-able as possible, but does require a variance with WCD regulations.  There is a hardship as there is no other way to deal with this, without having the house encroaching on WCD.  This parcel was approved by the

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Planning Board as a sub division in 1981 and is recorded in the County of Registry of Deeds.  It’s been conveyed several times since the original subdivision was done.  The edge of the wetland was delineated by Mr. Gove of Gove Environmental Services and was present to answer questions.  Both the house and the driveway are closer than 50-feet of the wetlands.  Back then there were different standards, and that is how wetlands were delineated in 1981.  The man that owns this would like to build a home on it, and it was approved as a building lot says Mr. Aspinwal.

 

Mr. Yarmo:  The Zoning Board heard this case and has requested Conservation’s input.  The entire house is within the WCD.  Mr. Yarmo questions the statement that there is no other place that this house can go on this lot?  The septic system has to be certain dimensions away from the hydra B’s soils in the wetlands.  Mr. Aspinwal says that the house could be turned to another position, but it will still be within WCD.  Mr. Yarmo asks why the house couldn’t be moved forward, away from the WCD?  Mr. Aspinwal says the area where the leach bed and fill is takes up the entire area outside the WCD.  Mr. Aspinwal states that the entire house and driveway are in the WCD and admits that the lot is a tough case.  If the owner is denied the variance, he’s denied any meaningful use of the land.  Mr. Yarmo asks if this parcel is close to any other wetlands?  Mr. Gove responded with, no, it isn’t.  He states that there was a culvert put in which basically flows (in this direction).  He believes what may have happened in 1981, and it’s only an assumption, is the original delineation on this site was probably set where hydra A was and feels that the culvert contributes to the area of hydra B soils.  Mr. Gove says that if one should go back, he believes that it was being called wetlands in 1981.   Mr. Gove said that probably the lot looked better in 1981 then it does today if you apply today’s standards for wetland delineation.  He also believes that the land has become wetter over time because of a culvert on Dutton Road that is pushing the water in that direction.

 

Mr. Yarmo asks if the slope of the lot contributes to making the lot worse.  Mr. Gove says that if the lot is approved, there should be a great deal of energy placed on it for erosion and sediment control.  Mr.Yarmo, in trying to understand this case says, “This whole WCD area is going to be cleared for the house”?  Mr. Gove says it would be his expectation that you would have a fair portion of the WCD cleared, as the homeowner would want some lawn area.  Also, the distance between the well and septic system must be 75-feet, and you will also have a truck in there to drill for water.  Mr. Yarmo says, basically the wetlands get cleared and the wetlands become the back yard.  Wouldn’t this kind of fall into the category of “Buyer beware”?  Mr. Aspinwal says if you and I were out there shopping for house lots, I don’t think you or I would buy this lot.  Mr. Aspinwal says the parcel has been accepted as a house lot and has been taxed as a house lot.

 

Mr. Yarmo said in reference to a variance, that it would come under the category of “special exception”.  He further states that he’s heard over and over again that the buffer is very important to the wetlands, and by compromising the buffer, you compromise the wetland.  Mr. Gove stated there is no question, that that is absolutely accurate.  Mr. Gove says the only saving grace is that the more valuable wetland is located in the rear, in the

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more heavily wooded area.  There hasn’t been any erosion control and there wouldn’t be any problem in putting in silt fences, hay bales and those kinds of things.  That could be part of your recommendation, or part of the conditions the Board of Adjustment may eventually add if they approve this.  The primary issue is keeping the leach bed an adequate distance off the wetlands.

 

Mr. Yarmo said you have to go to the ZBA anyway, why wouldn’t you move the house as much as you could and apply for a variance for the setback, instead of the variance for the WCD.  Mr. Aspinwal says setback from the road?  If I go closer to the road I won’t have space to put a turn around in.  Right now it is 46-feet from the property line.  A turnaround would require at least a 15-foot radius.  Mr. Yarmo explains that the Conservation Commission needs to send the ZBA our covenants on this plan.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:

 

Linda Costa, Campbell Road off Dutton Road asks how many acres is this parcel and how much is dry land.  Mr. Yarmo answers the lot is 1.69 acres, 73,796 square feet. There doesn’t appear to be much dry land.  Ms. Costa: I say no, positively not if it doesn’t have at least half of it as dry land they shouldn’t even put up a house, I’m sorry, go find some other land.  That’s our water system says Ms. Costa.

 

BROUGHT BACK TO THE BOARD FOR COMMENTS:

 

Mr. Montminy wants to know the degree of the slope, it’s indicated that it is very steep.  Jim Gove said his estimate while he was out there walking is either a high B or a low C slope, which translates to a percentage of between 8% and 15% slopes.  Jim Gove said he walked the property in mid fall.  Mr. Yarmo reminds Mr. Gove that the Conservation Commission is here for the environment, that the discussion about the owner’s property rights and that sort of thing is up to the ZBA, that we are hear to recommend or not recommend, solely on the environment.  Mr. Yarmo states that he doesn’t think this parcel can sustain construction because of the slopes and a livable habitat for a household without significant compromise to the environment.  Mr. Aspinwal says the house could be moved about 5 feet, maybe more, but won’t be able to conform to WCD regulations.

 

Mr. Yarmo says he doesn’t believe that it is the owner’s right to the substantial economic benefit of his property at the expense of the environment.  He believes that is what is happening here.  Mr. Kakkad feels that this proposed house is much too close and on the WCD – there is no buffer zone.

 

Mr. Aspinwal says the house itself and the driveway is proposed within the normal buffer zone.  The leach bed, the septic part of it, which is always the primary concern, does meet town and state standards, with the town being more restrictive.  He feels that it does offer adequate protection to the septic system.

 

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Mr. Yarmo says he thinks that if Conservation Commission sends a positive recommendation and comes up with an alternative, even probably mitigates some of the ____?_______in the WCD, it establishes a horrific precedence for the Conservation Commission.  Mr. Aspinwal argues that this piece of property was approved in 1981, and that should be honored.  Mr. Yarmo says that in the year 2002 we have also learned the value of the wetlands to our society and the public in general.  Mr. Yarmo and Mr. Kakkad concurs that a negative message must be sent to ZBA, that #1 we don’t think it’s sustainable for the construction portion of it, and #2, it’s not sustainable because of the general use of it, that the environment should not be compromised.  Mr. Aspinwall says that the Conservation Commission is absolutely right in that they don’t have to take into consideration the “owner’s rights” with regard to the environment.  His only concern is that the ZBA has to take into account those rights, and offers the suggestion that if the ZBA chooses to take that into account and go with a positive motion on this, should there also be recommendations from the Conservation Commission to at least, somewhat, mitigate the affects of this house, i.e., by moving it closer to the road, have appropriate silt fence, etc.

 

Mr. Aspinwal confers with Jim Gove and says if we move the house lot to the left, closer to the existing culvert, that it would minimize the effect on the wetlands.  Mr. Gove says his view as he looks at the whole lot, the way it is laid out, that if the house was shifted and a minimal buffer was placed on (this) 20-feet, a no-cut zone, and where the construction was going to take place, and a double sil-ta-tion fence put in, those would be some factors that would help alleviate some impact on the wetlands.  Mr. Yarmo suggest that the house be turned 90 degrees and move it closer to the road.  The house would not be parallel to Dutton Road it would be 90 degrees to Dutton Road.  By moving the house the backyard becomes the drainage easement.  The house must be 30-feet from the road and says to apply for a variance to possibly get it to 25-feet.  Make the backyard to the least valuable portions of the wetlands and create a buffer on the east side of the house suggests Mr. Yarmo.  Mr. Aspinwal says that he believes the Board of Adjustment would not support a variance to move 5-feet closer to the road.  Mr. Yarmo:  We can make that recommendation to the ZBA, to move the building 5 feet closer to the road.  In that way it will be protecting the wetlands.  Mr. Gove says that there could be a deed restriction placed on this.  Mr. Aspinwall says the aesthetics are not as important as the protection of the environment and the zoning issues.

 

Mr. Yarmo:  If there is no motion we send a negative comment to the ZBA regarding compromising the environment for a special exception to allow construction of this house lot.  Should it be required, and that they allow the construction, we can make the suggestion that the house lot be moved closer to the road, even if it requires an additional variance to create more of an area for protection to the WCD.  Mr. Yarmo asks if the applicant would be willing to provide a conservation easement on the wetlands?  Mr. Aspinwal says he would have to talk to the owners and would recommend that they do that.  The conservation easement would protect the existing forested area.  Mr. Gove said that the only question he would have is would the Conservation Commission be willing

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to accept a conservation easement with the road.  There has to be a grantor and a grantee to accept the easement for a deed restriction says Mr. Gove.  A deed restriction is not as strong as a conservation easement.  Mr. Yarmo:  We would accept a conservation easement, but we can also change our minds.

 

Does the Conservation Commission want to make a negative recommendation to the ZBA regarding the construction of this house?  Should the lot be approved, we are going to stipulate provisions that we just recommended.  Mr. Kakkad agrees with this stipulation.  He asked about inserting language that the lot owner not be able to use any fertilizers because it is on WCD.  Mr. Yarmo:  We can include a recommendation that only environmentally sensitive fertilizers be used.  Mr. Montminy asks if the recommendation includes that the house be turned to a 90 degrees angle, or could the house be left the way it is and have it further away?  It would increase the footage from the back of the house.  Mr. Yarmo:  The reason for keeping the back of the house to the less sensitive wetlands is because of the propensity to clear the back of the house for a backyard.

 

Sandy Kupcho:  If we send the negative comment to the Zoning Board, are we going to wait for them to say okay we’re going to go ahead and do it.  Are we then going to say wait a minute we want to look at this again?  I don’t want to give them a negative message, I would rather say no and wait and see what they say.  I think they would be more likely to do it if we give them an alternative.  Mr. Yarmo:  The ZBA will have the plan in front of them.  Certainly they are considering different things than we are.  Mr. Kakkad asks if this goes back to the ZBA or does it go back to the Planning Board?  Answer was no, it does not go back to Planning Board.  Mr. Kakkad says he cannot agree with the relocation of the house, that in all the time that he has seen plans come before the Board he has never seen a house be completely in the WCD.

 

MOTION:  To send a negative recommendation.  Should this be approved Conservation would like not to comment on the means and methods of constructing the house for environmental concerns. (Yarmo/Kakkad)

 

VOTE:  5-0

 

OTHER BUSINESS:  Mr. Yarmo asks for some information re:  Holstein Drive from both Mr. Gove and Herbert Associates.  The request is that he be given a stamped plan.

 

HEARINGS:

 

Allen Cady, map 14, Lot 3-166-23, Proposed One (1) Lot Subdivision

 

Peter Stoddard, of Bedford Designs Assoc., presented the case.  He has a state and town approved septic design for this lot on Plower Road for a proposed 4-bedroom single-family residence.  The house and the leach field are entirely out of the WCD.  A special

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permit for the driveway to be within the WCD needs to go to the Planning Board.  The proposed plan shows an existing woods road or logging road that has been there for a number of years.  The proposal is to use the existing road and just upgrade it into a gravel driveway to access the house.  The UCL plan shows the sediment control silt fence, there would be no clearing involved in the WCD.  There would be no trees to be taken down.

 

Mr. Yarmo comments about this being an existing driveway to a piece of high and dry land in the back.  What is being asked of the Planning Board is the use of the present road that is encroaching on the WCD for the use of the driveway.  There are four culverts going across the driveway.  Mr. Stoddard says the lot owner got this approved in 1987 and that no dredge and fill permits were not required. The two culverts toward the middle from Plower Road were already installed at the time and appeared to have been in existence for quite some time on the logging road.  There are no wetlands connected to those three culverts.  The lot owner just wanted to maintain the logging road and probably a couple of the culverts were/are not necessary.  The second culvert, it appears, have been the result of a man-made trench.  The third culvert in (on the plan) is attached to a wetland.  These culverts appear to have been in for a number of years because they are not homeowner type installed culverts.   They are 12-inch metal culverts that appear to have been professionally installed – probably done by a logging operation a number of years back.

 

Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Stoddard if he sees the grade of the driveway changing up or down?  Mr. Stoddard says no, that it is pretty consistent, but that the materials will be brought in to come up to driveway standards, maybe 6-inches of gravel.  Mr. Yarmo says the Board has the option of doing a site walk. The Commission will get a conclusion at the site walk if we have a quorum and will get some correspondence to the Planning Board.  Next PB meeting is March 4, 2002.  Question about the 3rd culvert, when it was put in.  Mr. Gove had done a site walk and he is trying to determine that also, and looking at some of the trees, especially where it was trenched, to try to determine when that trench was put in as probably the culvert was put in at the same time – possibly in the 30-year range.  A site walk will be done on Saturday.

 

Stone Post Village, Spring Street, Map 12, Lots 41 & 43

Proposed 12 Lot Sub Division

 

Mr. Yarmo questions if this is the first Stone Post Village, or is this the second?  Mr. Farwell of Peteco and Cormier says that there are two things going on:  Phase 1 with issues about the dam within the conservation land and Phase II.  When they tried to deed land to the town, the town said they would like to have the dam registered.  Peteco and Cormier went to the state and they said okay but you have to put some riffraff on the dam to protect it from erosion.  We were going for a permit to put in some rock riffraff for a minimum impact expedited application and as part of that we need Conservation to sign the application.  During Phase I, because there was Conservation land involved, the Planning Board wanted input from the Conservation Commission, and it’s expected that

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they will want the same thing for phase II says Mr. Farwell.  We’re not impacting the WCD; we’re donating a little more conservation land, just mostly for access.  You can see on Mulberry Road, lots 6 and 7, there is going to be a little conservation strip so people can have access to the Spring Street conservation area.  At the end of Sunset Rock Road there is another little small conservation area, just a walking area to it.

 

Mr. Yarmo reiterates Mr. Farwell’s request that he is there for the signature of the Conservation Commission for a minimal impact dredge and fill application for the work on the dam.  Correct says Mr. Farwell it is required by the State of New Hampshire.  When we want to do the upgrades to the dam we have to go before the wetlands bureau for a minimum impact application.  We are going to rock lime 50-feet of it and going to fill in the actual dam structure with concrete.  There are a few trees along the crest of the dam that will have to be removed, a little more fill will have to be brought up to raise the other two sections to ensure that the water flows through the spillway area also.

 

Mr. Farwell says once he gets the applications signed he will then have to go to the Town Clerk.  Mr. Yarmo says there needs to be five (5) copies signed.  The town may accept copies of the original said Mr. Farwell.  Mr. Yarmo asks the Commission members if they have any objection in signing this dredge and fill application.  Answers were “no”.

 

Mr. Yarmo has questions about the conservation easements on Phase II that hasn’t been brought before the Commission as yet?  Mr. Farwell says that this case didn’t get heard as scheduled and is now on the agenda for March 4th.   There are existing wetlands off Matthew Drive – page 15 of 19, and gives a good overall view – look at lot 4, there is a little finger of wetlands that creeps into lot 4.  Currently it would drain onto Sunset Rock Road and just go through “our” drainage system, rather than have that water go through the system with clean water from the existing wetlands, we will route it around the project.

 

Mr. Yarmo:  Phase II conservation easements are only extensions off Mulberry and Sunset Rock and into a portion of lot 8 and 9.  Mr. Farwell says yes, that is in order to get to the large Spring Street conservation area.

 

 PUBLIC INPUT:

 

Raymond Brown, 3 Matthew Drive:  I distributed a packet to the chairman of the board and the Conservation Commission in regards to sensitive areas regarding the wetlands and the wildlife ego systems.  It’s his understanding that there is a conservation easement of 45-feet, and another one between two lots (#7 and 9).  Topographically, this is a very aggressive slope down to the pond that has been deemed by the state as pretty much a wildlife corridor of sorts.  His concern is above lot 3 and 4 where there is a wetland that drains down to feed this corridor along with a lot of other water that runs down.  There is a house above this that creates more water; it is going into that wet area that is being given back to the town.  Mr. Farwell says there should be no increase in run-off.  Mr.

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Brown says the plan to re-route waters, as explained earlier, is not in keeping with the natural characteristics of the way the water will come off the hill to feed “this”.  If the homeowner of lot 4 makes any changes to his lot, it could potentially make the front of Mr. Brown’s lot wet, or more wet than it actually is.  He has a wetland area at the front of his house.  He said the Commission should look at this plan more carefully, so as to just gain an extra lot.  He says he realizes that it is total utilization of the space, and it’s dollars and cents to the developer.  However, he says, with as much wetlands throughout this area, and the wetlands that are going to be given as an easement to the town, this 45-foot strip and whole corridor is a detriment to this area.  Mr. Yarmo feels that this is more of a Planning Board issue than a concern of the Conservation Commission.  It’s suggested that a site walk be done on this.  Mr. Yarmo agrees and says Conservation can comment to the Planning Board on what our recommendation is as far as this whole conservation easement area.  The Planning Board has not done a site walk on this area as yet.  Phase II, along with Harris’ land, and along with the land above it, which is Hart, Jordan & White need this to connect to town property.  This area needs to be looked at as a master plan for this whole area since it’s very rich with wildlife.

 

Mr. Yarmo agrees and says one environmental report should be made to the Planning Board for this parcel and the adjacent parcels to be developed that recognizes the natural resources of the area and suggest what is preservable or not able to be preserved.  After the site walk we can submit our concerns to the Planning Board about the environmental issues of the adjacent properties.  The environmental reports that were submitted to Conservation on Phase II are not much good says Mr. Yarmo, as they don’t identify natural resources that should be preserved or what the features are in this area.  Mr. Brown asks if it is possible to get a second opinion of the inventory of the wildlife in this area.  This year there has been 20% less rainfall than in the past 10-15 years.  Anything that is dry right now will totally change when the wetter seasons come upon us again.

 

Mr. Yarmo scheduled a site walk for Saturday morning, and to meet at the cul-de-sac on Matthew Drive.

 

Bedford Designs, Map 13, Lot 167-9

 

(It is unknown what the status of this case is – see message written in bold below – it was to be heard later in the evening.  Does any Board member have a recollection of this case?) 9:34 p.m.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

Trail Committee Formation

 

Mr. Yarmo recites the RSA relative to natural resources, i.e., wetlands and open spaces.  The Conservation Commission Authority is given per RSA 36-a:  “The Conservation Commission is established for the proper utilization in protection of the natural resources

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and for the protection of the watershed resources of the city or town.  The Conservation Commission is the steward of open space conservation land and the proper utilization of open spaces.”

 

Mr. Yarmo says part of the authority of the Commission is that they may appoint such clerks or other employees or sub committees as it may deem necessary in order to achieve that.  As part of the Envision Pelham Program certain folks have come forward to try to organize a group to explore hiking trails, or whatever trails.  Mr. Yarmo invites Mary-Jo Palermo-Kirsch of Sawmill Road and Ellen __?______, Mammoth Road to the table to express their concerns.  Ms. Palermo-Kirsch explains that out of the Envision group a project came to life to increase the use of the existing recreation facilities and existing hiking trails in Pelham.  They are asking for help from Conservation to have the trails identified with head-markers and to have maps so that the trails could be used more.  She said that about half the persons who attended these meetings didn’t know where the hiking trails were.

 

Mr. Yarmo: I think the trails committee idea falls under the Conservation Commission.  There is a group in town that is already involved in establishing trails.  It’s unknown if they have been sanctioned by the selectmen or not or how it works.

 

Raymond Brunelle, Pelham, says he has some information.  Currently, there’s a gentleman by the name of Bob Lamoreau who is an ex-president of the Border Rider’s Snowmobile Club of Pelham.  He is currently working with the Board of Selectmen to be either the president or head up the group of the Trails Committee.  The trail is somewhat existent through the efforts of the order Riders with snowmobile trails, mountain bikes, trail bikes, and hiking trails, says Mr. Brunelle.  Mr. Brunelle spoke with Mr. Lamoreau as recent as tonight and reports that it is in the works to start that.  There is some paperwork that needs to be worked on.  The committee is to be totally assembled through the Board of Selectmen at some point here.  Mr. Brunell says the timing is perfect for the Conservation Commission to become a part of this.  Pelham is actually one of the last southern N.H. towns to actually have an active snowmobile club that grooms the trails in the winter and for other types of recreation.  A great deal of the trails is being eroded by the construction of developments.  There hasn’t been any precedence through Conservation to talk about possible land usage easements on other person’s properties for trails.  Examples such as Windham, Raymond, and other towns, trails interlink and eventually go to Lake Winnepausaukee.  The trails are still there, but the development in the town in its growth has eroded that faster than a committee can assemble to actually go to the Planning Board and work with Conservation to work with the developers, to ask for a 45 or 100 foot strip as an easement that’ll be utilized by the town as a means of recreation.  Mr. Lamoreau says that the town is behind the “8-ball” in addressing this issue; he hopes to be taking an active part in the trails committee, and that there are people ready to get involved with this.

 

 

Conservation Commission – February 20, 2002                                             Page 12

 

Mr. Yarmo:  I feel that this should fall under the preview of the Conservation because Conservation basically works for the Planning Department.  The Planning Department should be involved in that trails committee also.

 

Note:  The recording (VCR Tape) of this meeting ended at 9:34 p.m. while the Commission was still is session.  It’s unknown if there are minutes that are pertinent to Conservation’s records that have been impaired by this sudden abrupt ending.

 

                                                            Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                    Glennie Edwards

Recording Secretary

 

Transcribing taken from VCR tape

Completed 9/4/02