Town of Pelham, NH

Pelham Conservation Commission

6 Main Street

Pelham, NH 03076-3723

 

 

MEETING OF NOVEMBER 12, 2003                    APPROVED 1/14/2004

 

Members Present                                                         Absent

Bob Yarmo, Chairman                                    Frank Culbert

Marc Duquette                                                 Bill McDevitt, Selectmen Rep.

Paul Gagnon

Sanjay Kakkad

Deborah Scott

Amy Breault (Alternate)

Shirley Wakefield (Alternate)

Wil D’Andrea, Planning Director

 

Chairman Robert Yarmo brought the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.

 

Chairman Yarmo welcomed Wil D’Andrea, the town’s new Planning Director to his first Conservation meeting.

 

Map 34, Lot 6-206 – Proposed 5-lot Subdivision, extension of Irene Drive

Builder David Mendes

 

A site walk was done with the Planning Board.  There was an informal discussion about an environmental report.

 

Dave Brouillet of Edward Herbert Associates represents this 5-lot sub-division on Irene Drive and is proposing connectivity to Thomas Avenue.  He says that the Planning Board is suggesting connectivity.  There was also talk about doing a cul-de-sac at the Planning Board meeting.  Jim Gove of Gove Environmental is in the process of doing the environmental impact study for the town.

 

Bob Yarmo commented on the wetlands crossings.  He had requested site-specific plans and a conceptual design to include driveways, etc.  The Planning Board wants site specific to also include septic systems.

 

Mr. Brouillet says the home owners have had no input yet, re: site specific.

 

Deborah Scott asks if the plan addresses the length of the road.

 

Jim Gove has studied the road and suggests that a cul-de-sac would be better.

 

Bob Yarmo comments about the value of the wetlands, that the lots are oversized and maybe there could be some deed restrictions, including some being deeded to the town, as it would add a layer of protection.  DES has the final word.

 

Jim Gove will include a report with the application when it is sent to DES.

 

Paul Gagnon feels that this is a reasonable compromise – 4 homes.  That the length of the road would be reduced to 700-ft, it would increase the buffer, no connectivity and that a cul-de-sac reduces the length of the proposed road.

 

Jim Gove says he doesn’t have the authority to negotiate recommendations to the planning board and the builder.

 

Marc Duquette said to avoid the crossing, eliminate (lot #2) – the fifth house, and with a 200-ft cul-de-sac you could get 4 homes.

 

Paul Gagnon suggests that maybe lot #2 could be deeded to town, as it is prime wetlands. It would also take in part of lot #3.

 

PUBLIC INPUT:

 

Donald Crossley, 14 South Shore Drive, wants to know who monitors “no cut zone” – that there is no long-term monitoring and to give it to the town.

 

Member Deborah Scott asks about the assessment and whether there are any deed restrictions.  She recommends that there should be a clause of “no fertilizers used and to educate the homeowner”.

 

Lisa Garerro, 1 Thomas Avenue would like to see a cul-de-sac and that it would be ideal to let the town take it over.

 

{Jim Greenwood came into the meeting and advised Conservation members that the operator of the cameras had not pushed the recorder button, therefore any presentations prior to 8:08 p.m. were not recorded}

 

Julia (Steed) Mawson, 17 South Shore Drive has her concerns about impacting the wetlands.  She is concerned about the connectivity and suggests that the Conservation Commission help educate the Planning Board.

 

BACK TO THE BOARD:

 

Bob Yarmo says he wants to send a message to the Planning Board requesting site specific as recommended by members Marc Duquette and Deborah Scott about mitigating for 4-lots, and to give a negative or positive response to the wetlands crossing.  He said the best level of protection is to have it town-owned, and then the homeowner would be educated as to where his property line is.

 

Member Sanjay Kakkad said the crossing would be detrimental to the wetland, as there are migrating species, unusual vegetation, and that his is a very large flooded wetlands.  He is not in favor of crossing the wetlands.

 

Dave Brouillet says there could be a conservation easement or become part of a lot. Houses can be specific on the lot, that there is a building envelope in place. There are also zoning restrictions, slope restrictions, wetland setbacks, and septic system layouts. Mr. Brouillet asks the board exactly where they are going with this and whether conservation wants the 15,000-sq.ft.which is also in the regulations.

 

Mr. Yarmo refers to lot #2 and says that with15,000-sq.ft.there is a lot of area in there.  He would like to be sure, since this back lot is so environmentally sensitive, that the homeowner and builder don’t decide to tuck it up against the conservation land.  That is why he is asking for site specific.  That is my goal.  I want the houses away from the environmentally sensitive areas.  Mr.Yarmo says all the houses are surrounded by wetlands.

 

Mr. Duquette would like to see where all the houses would lie because of the shape of the land. Marc agrees with Mr. Yarmo that Conservation should ask for that.

 

Mr. Gagnon says he would like to modify the recommendation a little as he has walked it.  He says the only one he thinks that might apply is the lot referenced to by chairman Yarmo.  The first 4 lots that are down by Irene Drive are pretty much fetal areas and are not near vernal pools, etc.  His recommendation would be the lot that is furthest north. It would be his recommendation that it not be there.   

 

Mr. Brouillett responded with: “Which they are entitled to do”.  He asks if Conservation is asking for a buffer greater than the 15,000 buffers and whether he has to come back before the Board for approval if the homeowner wants the house moved 10-ft away from the site specific plan?

 

Mr. Yarmo asks if the board will support his recommendation to the Planning Board and asks for members input on the crossing itself.  Mr. Duquette says he agrees with Sanjay and Paul about doing whatever they can to avoid the crossing. He also agrees to offset the crossing that the 5th house be eliminated.  He feels this is the best approach and would like the Planning Board to pursue that.

 

Amy Breault would also like to see the crossing eliminated and go along with the 4-house proposal.

 

Mr. Gagnon recommends Lot #2 be taken off the plan and possibly deeded to the town as conservation land.  Mr. Brouillett said he would have to consult with his client and agrees that this area is a drainage corridor.

 

Mr. Yarmo said that one of the recommendations to the Planning Board would be to consider 4-lots and not 5 to mitigate the issue of connectivity which is a safety issue. The other issue is to provide an additional level of protection of the sensitive environmental areas and that the back portion of lots 3 and 4 and lot 6-206, as shown on plan, become town-owned or conservation easements. 

 

MOTION (Yarmo/Gagnon) To send negative comments to Planning Board -  to consider 4 lots, not 5, to mitigate the issue of connectivity.  To ask for site specifics to the lots and ask that the back portion of lots 3 and 4 and lot 6-206 become either town ownership or have conservation easements/deed restrictions

 

VOTE 6-0  In favor of the motion

 

Amy Brault asks how a study can be done to qualify it for a prime wetland.  Mr. Yarmo said that would be a separate issue and we would have to find the money to study it and then the town would have to vote on it.

 

M30 – Lot 11-93 – Cormier & Saurman Building LLC– Proposed 15 Unit Elderly Housing – Smith Road (off Dutton Road)

 

Member Paul Gagnon excuses himself from the board as he says although he is not an abutter he lives 2 houses down from the proposed 15 unit elderly housing; that it would be a conflict of interest to comment on this.

 

Dave Brouillet, Herbert Associates, represents this case.  This is a 65+ elderly housing unit and includes a maintenance building.  He informs that an environmental impact assessment is not completed yet.  There was some question as to who was doing the study.  There has been a site walk done on this plan.  Mr. Brouillet says the wetlands impact is small, 492-sq.ft and 273-sq.ft.  There will be a series of catch basins installed.  The blue area on the plan indicates the conservation area.  The orange area signifies very poorly drained soils.

 

Jim Gove of Gove Environmental, Stratham, NH says that the environmental impact access is not complete, however, he makes reference to the protection of a vernal pool. Once the report is done he will meet with the owners to see if a larger buffer can be considered.  He has already met with the owners and they are receptive to that possibility – this is a wildlife habitat area. Concerning the replacement of the leach field, sould it be necessary, Mr. Gove says that almost 100% of the time the state would have you  repair in place”.  To do otherwise, you would have to reconstruct the site, taking of trees, etc.  The state would rather you do a repair in place.

 

Bob Yarmo asks about the septic system that will be installed.  Mr. Brouillet says that all of the units will go into one leach field area.  There will be a pump chamber that will pump up to the leach-field .   Mr. Yarmo asks what about a replacement area for the septic system, in other words an alternate area.  He says if the leach field failed that he would need a dredge and fill to cross over the wetlands.  Mr. Brouillet acknowledged with a yes.  Mr. Yarmo asks if there is any open space, that he is looking for anything to mitigate the crossing of the wetland?  Mr. Brouillet says there is about 84% of build able space that is open area.  Mr. Yarmo said that a majority of the road is in the WCD and that Smith Road is already in WCD.  Smith road is a gated emergency access.  Access could be from Smith Road and avoid crossing wetlands.  Some of the members have done a site walk on this parcel.

 

PUBLIC INPUT:

 

Kevin Jarvis, 21 South Shore Drive did a site walk with the Planning Board.  We had only gone in 50-ft and there are water issues.  The edge of the wetland is only 10-ft from the driveway towards the edge of a pond and that was the driest month of the year he says.

 

Donald Crossley, 14 South Shore Drive questions if this is dry build able land?  Answer was 350,000 sq.ft. (8 acres).  Mr. Crossley says the figures change every time it comes before a board, that there is more swamp land than dry land and makes reference to “rubber rules”.  Mr. Yarmo interrupted Mr. Crossley and said that we don’t need comments like that.  Mr. Crossley says they are really squeezing the buildings in there.

 

Mr. Gove said just to let you know, the wetlands delineation was checked by Mark West.  When he reviewed the plan he actually decreased the amount of wetlands that were on the site and that it was flagged more conservatively.

 

Julia Steed-Mawson, 17 South Shore Drive.  She is an abutter and a member of the Little Island Pond Watershed Association.  They have a great concern for what she termed “for this fragile nature”.  She asked that people in the audience who are concerned about this project to raise their hands.  There were 9 to 10 people who raised their hand.  She continued to say there are many environmental issues: to maintain the quality and quantity of water that flows into Little Island Pond so it is kept in a healthy state, that the water flows west to east and lighting pollution is going to be substantial and will impact the wildlife. She and others have witnessed the wildlife crossing in this area.  This project abuts the conservation land.  The conservation land has a wildlife corridor on it. Ms. Mawson says the density of use for these 15 units is going to be very high.  She has already seen the impact of the water flow from the development that has already taken place above her home.  I’m concerned about my well and septic as well as Mr. Jarvis she says.   Ms. Mawson reports there is mitigation in process relative to an oil spill in the year 2000 that is near her home and below the proposed 15-unit house.  The Haz-Mat team was involved with this accident.  She is also concerned about mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile Virus and could be more of a problem for the elderly and young people.  Another concern of the construction of this site is snow removal and where is the snow going to be stockpiled.  She says cars out on the roadways bring in salt on their cars and this gets melted into the wetlands and eventually into the pond’s water.  She received three (3) calls from residents in the Armand Drive area who had asked her if she could smell a septic odor.

 

Daniel Downs, 20 South Shore Drive expressed concern with the construction that took place on the parcel that the Conservation purchased.  Her concerns is that this is a steep slope and all the run-off comes down the hill into people’s yards and then into the pond.  The paving of the 15-unit area and chemicals to treat the landscape is a real concern for property owners at the pond.  It is making her real nervous with the septic systems and the wells.

 

Lisa LaFontaine, 18 South Shore Drive is also downhill from this property and she has the same concerns as Ms. Downs.  She says that the run-offs from this steep slope runs right into her backyard as it is now.

 

Dave Brouillet says there will be one (1) treatment swale – 130’ long in the WCD, and a retention pond with a culvert for the paved area.  There will be a treatment swale and there will be no additional run-off from this property, only what is running off presently.  The culvert will help slow down the run-off that is presently there.  There are some mitigation issues that can be considered.  Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Brouillet to walk him through the plan so he can understand where the water goes from the parking area.

 

Kevin Jarvis says that to take a walk in that area right now is much different than when he did the site walk – that there are many small ponds and wetlands.  This is putting just that much more water into an already saturated area.  He says the bottom line is that the run-off is going to run into his back yard “and he doesn’t want it”.  The run-off is coming down the hill at a 27% grade into his back yard and into the pond.  Two years ago, at a one family home, there was about a 200-ft of swimming area that was contaminated by a faulty septic system.

 

Bob Yarmo says what he is hearing is testimony of the residents on whether this parcel can sustain 15 units from an environmental stand-point, given it’s adjacency to Little Island Pond.

 

Ms. Julia Steed-Mawson says to look at the bigger picture, that the conservation land that was purchased got the support of the town, resident’s donations, etc.  The construction of this 15-unit development will not enhance the conservation land which is designated for passive recreation for the public.

 

Peter Bager, 21-A Wood Road said his property abuts Little Island Pond.  He is an active member of the Little Island Pond Association and over the years there has been a real concern about the water quality.  The association started testing the waters in the mid 1980’s.  They had linked up with the University of NH over 3 years ago to establish a base line for the water quality.  He was active with the state and the Pelham Conservation when they performed tests of the water.  He says the quality of water is dependent on this impervious land.

 

Julia Steed-Mawson says it is hard to visualize this piece of land on a set of “flat plans”.  Also, WCD is a no cut zone.  This is a narrow piece of land and with the trees being removed it is detrimental to the health of the wetlands.  In the warmer months the (?) species are negatively impacted on the habitat.

 

Donald Crossley says if this is in the WCD, then there should be no cutting of trees. Mr. Yarmo responded that the developer would need a waiver.  Mr. Crossley said if there are laws to not cut why are waivers given out.  Mr. Yarmo referred the question to Planning Director Wil who responded that “that is the way the laws are written”. Mr. Yarmo said it has to do with one being able to use their property.

 

BACK TO THE BOARD:

 

Mr. Yarmo:  We need to comment on the special permit for the WCD crossing and summarize whatever else we have to the Planning Board.  I don’t think the impact to the wetlands is a big deal.  I do think the impact to the WCD is significant.  The Conservation Commission has never seen a project where almost half the road is in the WCD.  I also share some of the abutters comment about the ability of this lot to sustain this project given that the Conservation Commission/Town of Pelham spent $150,000 in trying to preserve an adjacent parcel that was environmentally valuable.  He continued to say it is Conservation’s responsibility to comment on the special permit and to express our concerns about the impact on the watershed that we think this might have. Also, we don’t have the environmental report.

 

Sanjay Kakkad agrees with Bob about the road being in the WCD and that salt and oil runoffs would impact the wetlands and eventually into the pond water.

 

Marc Duquette concurs with the WCD impact – it is significant in his estimation.  He’s concerned with the density of the units.  He says if you look at the dry land space, I cannot imagine that this property can go in there without impact on the wetlands during construction or during normal use afterwards. I can’t believe there won’t be any impact due to the proximity of the wetlands.

 

Deborah Scott agrees about the impact on the WCD and the fact that the town of Pelham recently purchased abutting land and what the impact will be on that land.

 

Jim Gove, Gove Environmental Services, Stratham, NH says the environmental study should be done in the next couple of weeks.

 

Bob Yarmo requests comments to the Planning Board and motion to that affect.

 

MOTION:    (Deborah Scott/Marc Duquette)  To send negative recommendation to the Planning Board to allow a special permit for WCD crossing, and to express our concern that we don’t think this project is environmentally sound.

 

Dave Brouillet asked that before Conservation makes that recommendation, before finalizing that letter, could Conservation wait for the environmental study?  He said he would like to come back and show some improvements now that he’s heard the concerns and look at the environmental assessment.

 

Mr. Yarmo said, “We can certainly revisit it”.  We do have environmental concerns whether the wetlands can sustain this project.  Sanjah asks if another plan comes in and comes before the Commission can we send comments on them.  The answer was yes, it’s always good to get new information.  Mr. Yarmo does not think the WCD impact area is going to change. We’re concerned about the sustainability in the effects of the watershed to Little Island Pond.

 

Map 7, Lot 4-185, Geoffrey and Nora Detellis, Benoit Avenue – Dredge & Fill –

Rocky Hill Road Subdivision

 

Luke Hurley of Gove Environmental Services, Stratham, NH explains that this project is for an 803-sq.ft.driveway crossing, across a forested …….wetlands.  It is pretty thickly forested, and it’s pretty dark.  The water in the wetlands travels from the east to the west and is a seasonal wetland.  It’s not a vernal pool.  There will have to be a special exception for the WCD crossing as well.  There are two driveways that run parallel.

 

Mr. Yarmo asks Mr. Hurley if he can speak to the minimization and the least impact?

He also asks why the crossing wouldn’t be at the narrowest point.

 

Mr. Hurley – It’s the least impact due to the way the topography of the whole site and the way the cul-de-sac is laid out.  We’re proposing a 25-ft, 18”culvert which will allow the water to flow from the east to the west.  Dave Brouillet says where it’s coming in there are some grade issues.  Another thing that we are asking for is direction from the Planning Board.  Instead of having two driveways, having just one shared driveway.  This would lessen the amount of impervious area.  The crossing won’t change significantly because we need to provide enough of a crossing for state passage.

 

Mr. Yarmo asks the location of the houses.  Mr. Hurley says this is a 4-lot subdivision; there are two houses (on the right) and these will access the two lots up on the hill.  Mr. Yarmo asked how long the driveway was and was told it is 2000-ft. and that it is all downhill and that the grade is 10%.  Mr. Hurley said that “they” had planned the driveway so as to be suitable for fire apparatus, etc.  Mr. Yarmo questioned about a note on the plan that refers to conservation land.  Reference is made about 18 acres deeded to Pelham – Mr. Yarmo says that it already is deeded to the town.  Mr. Hurley is not sure about the accuracy of that statement or its legality.  Mr. Yarmo says he doesn’t have a big issue with the wetland crossing and that it is probably a minimal impact.  The concern is that the plans are inadequate as environmental protection because of the issue of all the cuts and fills for the 2000-ft driveway, that there will be an awful lot of clearing.  Mr. Yarmo also states that there will probably be some blasting, to which Mr. Hurley says we are trying to minimize any kind of blasting to get the driveway in.  Mr. Yarmo is concerned about the erosion control on a temporary and permanent basis – there are no provisions on the plan for that, also the drainage is an issue.  This wetland does connect to a prime wetland.  A site walk has not been done yet.  Another concern is that the treatment swale is in the WCD.  Mr. Brouillet responded by saying that that is an allowed usage in the WCD.  Mr. Yarmo says yes, but we object to it especially when it could be put outside the WCD.  He suggests that the swale be moved outside of lot 4-185 to minimize the effect on the WCD. Mr. Brouillet agreed that that could be done.  Mr. Bouillet says again, “It’s my understanding that you wouldn’t need a special permit”.  No comments have been received from the engineers.  Mr. Hurley indicated he had read them and there were several issues.  Mr. Brouillet says that the issues are the same as what Mr. Yarmo had expressed, that they wanted more information about the driveway details and more clarity on the plans.  There was some question about the status of the extension and they will be forwarding a complete engineering analysis.  Mr. Yarmo says there is a dredge and fill application here – we can sign it, approve it and send it on.  Mr. Yarmo asks if it were premature to sign the dredge and fill permit.  Mr. Brouillet says it will have the same impact even with moving the treatment swales.  Mr. Yarmo said the Planning Board might deny the two lots on the hill for whatever reason.  Mr. Brouillet says they have been active in reviewing the plan with the town engineer and the fire chief – that the fire chief’s comment was to try to make this a shared driveway to minimize the impact.  We have also looked at minimizing the radius of the cul-de-sac, putting in a green island to minimize the impervious surface.  Also, they can put in silt fencing and hay bales and look at some treatment for the driveways. Mr. Yarmo again reminds Mr. Brouillet that the erosion and sediment control measures aren’t adequate.  He states further that when they have the tree clearing workers cutting, that they go right up the hill and when we have an August rain storm there is going to be 3” in two minutes and that it will wash out that hill.  We saw it on Richardson’s farm and on Jeremy Hill.  If those two lots are going to be constructed up on the hill, it would be nice to see the construction sequencing erosion control plans that occur on a preventative basis.  Mr. Brouillet says that there is a new EPA permit that is required that conservation has to identify as an erosion control plan.  There has to be monitoring, etc.  Mr. Brouillet says they base there plans on the rules that the town gives and we expect that the town would believe that when we are presenting the plan that it will be constructed according to the rules.  We can’t make an assumption that everything is going to go wrong from the beginning.  Mr. Yarmo says he is looking for some sequencing plan for erosion control during construction.  Mr. Brouillet says the reason for the shared driveway is to minimize the erosion that by having the two driveways the slopes runs from 10 to 14%.

 

Shirley Wakefield asks about the leach bed area, and was it going to be pumped up-hill.  Mr. Brouillet said yes and that it was fairly standard even for that slope.  There shouldn’t be a high volume as this is residential and wouldn’t require anything significant, that it is not uncommon.  This parcel is 8 ½ acres and is suitable he says

 

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC:      

 

Shirley Wakefield:  She has questions about the well.  She thought the radius of the well had to stand alone, that you couldn’t have any buildings or any road going through it.  Mr. Yarmo answered, no; it just needs to be 75-ft from the septic.

 

Geoffrey Detellis, 24 Roosevelt Avenue, Hudson, NH – owner of property.  Mr. Detellis is asking for a recommendation for the common driveway.  He’s planning to live on top of the hill and doesn’t want a clear cut.  He prefers a common driveway, as there will be a minimal impact on the WCD impact on the bottom.  He has a recommendation from the fire chief for the 10% slope driveway.  He explained that the “topo” does not really go up that high in reference to the septic being pumped up the hill, that it actually comes up and goes around and estimates that it is only 6 or 8 feet.

 

Member Marc Duquette shares Bob’s concern about minimizing the erosion and the wetlands aren’t that much of a concern for him because the crossing is at a relatively narrow point.  The driveway is crossing at almost the narrowest point.

 

Member Sanjay Kakkad asks about the seasonal intermittent stream and whether there is going to be a culvert installed.  Answer, yes.

 

Mr. Yarmo asked about an open bottom culvert and if it lends itself to habitat and wildlife issues versus a round PVC.  Mr. Brouillet says it is his understanding that he is there for the dredge and fill application and that it is entirely independent of anything else.  Beyond this application it is entirely up to the Planning Board he says.  Mr. Yarmo says that if Planning Board denies 2 lots, there will not be a need for the dredge and fill.

 

Mr. Gove:  The dredge and fill is always contingent upon all other local, state and federal permits.  If the Planning Board does not allow the subdivision or changes the subdivision, then the dredge and fill is voided.

 

BACK TO BOARD:

 

MOTION:  (Sanjay Kakkad/Shirley Wakefield)  Send comments to the Planning Board to request:  #1 sedimentation and erosion control sequencing plan during construction, #2 single driveway recommendation versus two, #3 move treatment swale out of the WCD

 

Vote:  5 – 0 in favor.  To sign the dredge and fill permit contingent upon the motion  

 

Map 9, Lot 145:  Pelham Fish & Game, 100 Simpson Mill Rd, Dredge & Fill Application

 

Mr. Yarmo:  There was a dredge and fill application submitted to Conservation.  A brief summary:  Dr. Richardson called Mr. Yarmo last summer on a Thursday afternoon to see if he could meet with him at this location on Friday to review the intent of the Fish and Game who were proposing a shooting range that is 600-yds long.  What he got from Dr. Richardson and DES was that Pelham Fish and Game Club went in there and cleared 12 acres of this site.  In doing so they cleared wetlands and did cuts and fills for the shooting range.  What we reviewed was the areas of disturbance that was approximately 2-acres of wetlands without a wetland permit.  The project proposes to impact 19,500-sq. ft. of wetlands and creating 62,000 ????.  Before us is an “after the fact” dredge and fill application.  Initially there was a plan to do some mitigation.  We need to act on this dredge and fill application says Mr. Yarmo.  One of the things we can do is to intervene.  What that means is:  The Court Administrative Rules, Chapter WT100 through WT700:  (this is basically the NH Wetlands Rules and Regulations).  According to RSA 482a-11, it gives the Conservation Commission the ability to intervene.  A municipal conservation commission that intends to investigate the notice received, the department shall suspend the action of such notices and shall not make a decision on the notice until on a major project nor hold a hearing until the major project until it has received and acknowledged receipt or written report from such Conservation Commission or until 40 days has passed.  What this allows Conservation to do is to stop DES from acting on this permit until we can comment on it.  Mr. Yarmo suggests that Conservation should intervene, stop the process and ask the Wetlands consultant to come down here and have Pelham Fish and Game Club explain what is happening.  The environmental consultant is Shoyer Environmental Consultants from Bow, NH.  Initially, the Pelham Fish and Game Club hired a wetlands consultant when we had walked the site.

 

Mr. Gagnon comments:  “The Pelham Fish and Game Club cleared 12 acres of land, then they got their hands slapped and then they hired these wetlands consultants who then put a plan together?”

 

Mr. Yarmo explained what he thought happened:  The Fish and Game Club (PFGC) decided to do this project and were doing it themselves.  My opinion is that there were some huge out-croppings of ledge out there and therefore was a major blasting operation.  Again, this is my opinion, they couldn’t find a blaster to come in and blast that ledge because of the wetlands violations.  They cleared and filled and disturbed wetlands on the site.  The blasters did not want to be associated with that.  The blasters are going to have a net worth and they don’t want to be exposed to the liability with the state for the fines in doing this.  There may well be fines to the PFGC for this.  When PFGC couldn’t get anyone to blast they basically stopped the project until they could get the wetlands issue resolved.  They hired a wetlands scientist who could came down and meet with DES and explain the problems and issues. Mr. Yarmo said that’s when he got a call and got involved to go take a look at it.  If there was no blasting, I believe that would have been a done deal – the wetlands would have been filled and no one would ever know.  It would also be interesting if they paid a timber tax for clearing 12 acres he says.

 

Mr. Kakkad asked if “Right now is it out of our hands?”  The answer was no.  Mr. Yarmo explained that DES has a certain amount of time to act on this dredge and fill – they either approve or deny it. With us intervening, it stops that process until we get some more information.  We can do a site walk.  We can explain what we want them to do.  We may want mitigation; there may be other issues.  Mr. Yarmo asks if everyone is okay with intervening?  The answer was yes.

 

PUBLIC INPUT:

 

Mary Ellen Kolodziej, 113 Robinson Lane, Pelham:  We are close abutters to the Fish and Game Club.  She states that she does not believe the Pelham Fish and Game have been good environmental neighbors.  As recently as last August (of last year), they broke down a beaver dam that had been in existence for 25 years.  The dam supported wildlife, blue herons and moose and geese.  She believed they did this in trying to dry up the natural flow of water through there.  She says she called the state fish and game and asked if that were legal for them to do this without a permit and was told that it was okay.   She didn’t do anything beyond that after hearing their response.  That wetland backed up onto her property.  This was a very large pond that the beavers had that the fish and game club broke down.  Mr. Yarmo says he believes that DES would be interested in that information.  Mrs. Kolodziej said they brought in a trencher and broke it down.  They have disturbed this large wetland.  Mr. Yarmo said that that is illegal to do.  Mrs. Kolodjiej was confused as to why she got this answer that it was okay.  Mr. Yarmo said it’s because the fish and game were doing it.  He advised Mrs. Kolodziej that she should have called DES.  Mr. Yarmo says Conservation will have the wetlands scientist come down and she will have the opportunity to make that statement and hopefully can indicate where that beaver dam was and we can bring that issue up to the state as well.

 

Another member of the audience, name unknown, says he abuts Pelham, Windham and Salem.  He said the place where they filled up is part of the Canobie Lake Watershed.  Part of my property is swamp he says and when route 93 is expanded they are going to take that property – there are 9 acres there.  This is also detrimental to the wells in the area and depends on that water system he says.  He also says that he has taken a bullet hole out of his house – a .06 cal., and the neighbor next door has a bullet in his garage door.  A little further down from his property, they were standing in the driveway and a bullet came right into the property.  This is a dangerous situation he says.  Every Sunday morning there is someone open-firing with automatic weapons – it’s either a .30 cal. Or a BAR, you can’t sleep.  He says that this group of people is out of control now.  He says they don’t care about anything, that people are coming in from Boston and Quincy, Lowell, etc.

 

Mr. Yarmo said he doesn’t know if PFGC ever got approval of this and felt that they may have to come back before the Planning Board.  He had informed Clay Mitchell about this.  I don’t know what his thoughts were on this.  They are also looking to use another access road which is also part of the dredge and fill action that they took.  We are requesting that the wetlands scientist come down and give us an explanation.  There will probably be a site walk with the state again and you are welcome to join us says Mr. Yarmo.  The man said he is interested in going on this site walk and would like to be notified.  Mr. Yarmo said for him to keep abreast of the Conservation agenda and when it comes back onto the agenda for him to come to the meeting.

 

Conservation members present agreed that Pelham Conservation should intervene in this process.

 

OLD BUSINESS:  None

 

OTHER:  Question to recording secretary if meeting minutes are up-to-date?  She responded that the tape had gotten caught in the machine again, that it had been fixed, and all reports will be up-to-date as there is just a short section to be transcribed.

 

MOTION TO ADJOURN:  Meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

 

                                                                        Glennie M. Edwards

                                                                        Recording Secretary