Town of Pelham, NH

Pelham Conservation Commission

6 Main Street

Pelham, NH 03076-3723

 

 

MEETING OF DECEMBER 10, 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

Shirley Wakefield (Alternate)

 

 

Chairman Robert Yarmo brought the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Tallant Road Bridge – Dredge & Fill Permit (Repairs)

 

The dredge and fill is in the water, in the buffer and on the banking of Beaver Brook.  This is a standard Dredge and Fill.  There are no changes to make the channel wider.

MOTION:  (Sanjay Kakkad/Paul Gagnon) To sign dredge and fill permit.

VOTE:  6-0 to approve

 

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

Builder David Mendes

 

This case was already heard and suggestions were given to Dave Brouillet of Edward Herbert Associates about reducing the number of homes to lessen the impact on the wetlands. Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Brouillet if the plan before the Commission has any changes or anything new?  Mr. Brouillet said he conferred with the developer and the developer has agreed to reduce the number of house lots from five (5) to four (4) as suggested by Conservation.  Initially, Mr. Brouillet came before the Conservation Commission with a plan for five (5) house lots and with the intention of connectivity from Irene Drive to Thomas Avenue.  The Conservation Commission has a problem with the wetlands crossing.  This plan shows an extension off Irene Drive with a 300-ft cul-de-sac.  Mr. Brouillet says that the lots are oversized and now contain 11, 8, 81/2 and 1 ½ acres respectively.   Mr. Brouillet asks that the Conservation Commission submit a letter to the Planning Board stating that this plan is acceptable. Mr. Yarmo says there were three (3) issues of concern and recommendations made to the Planning Board, i.e., have the house lots site specific or have the building envelope site specific to help with the placement of the homes.  Also, there was the cul-de-sac length and third to request some level of protection, either deed restrictions or Conservation easements.  Mr. Brouillet contends that because of the over-sized lots that it is not a “big deal” concerning deed restrictions, and or Conservation easements.  Mr. Brouillet says there will be a minimum impact at the beginning.  Jim Gove, Gove Environmental, states that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) shows a vernal pool off site.  He says that the EIA made suggestions that have been met by this new layout.  They include:  the use of filter or mulch berms rather than silt fence as it is more effective for erosion control.  The product has long, woody and stringy mulch and is an excellent product.  Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Gove if the mulch berm is used for erosion control during the construction process.  Mr. Gove answered yes and that it seals beautifully.

 

PUBLIC INPUT:  None.

 

MOTION:  (Mr. Gagnon/Mr. Duquette) to accept new plan with a positive recommendation to the Planning Board, Conservation Commission would accept responsibility if easements were placed on the land, ask for site specific of the houses and approve the dredge and fill for the wetlands crossing.

 

VOTE 6-0 to approve.

 

Map 30, Lot 11-93, Cormier & Saurman Building, LLC, Proposed 15-Unit Elderly Housing off Dutton Road

 

Members Paul Gagnon and Shirley Wakefield stepped down for reasons of conflict of interest.

 

The environmental report has been received.  Mr. Yarmo asks Dave Brouillet if there is anything new re: the environmental report.  Mr. Brouillet said the last time he was before the Commission that there wasn’t a quorum.  Mr. Jim Gove, Gove Environmental of Stratham, NH went over the high points of the environmental impact assessment.  He says Craig Wood was given the report for presentation to the Planning Board.  Mr. Gove says from the standpoint of the landscape issue, that this parcel lies to the south of Little Island Pond.  In terms of the actual wetland that is out there, there is a wetland in the southern portion of the site.  It has a mix of poor and very poorly drained soils in the wetlands.  Mr. Gove points out the areas that are classified and very poorly drained soils.  Mr. Gove says there are a number of trails passing through this site and that there are trails on the easterly portion of land that is owned by the town and is thought to have an easement of some type of conservation document.  Mr. Gove references swales in the upper portion area and says they are moderately well drained places.  He says that water flows in a sideways fashion over the hardpan which is 3-4-ft down under the swales.  Mr. Gove reports that the closest prime wetland is over 2000-ft away.  In terms of land with special significance in town, this is not one of the contiguous lots or large contiguous forested tracks even though it is next to some conservation land.  In terms of topography it has D slopes and C slopes and are relatively flat with a 3% to an 8% grade that slopes down an 8% to 15% slope.  There are no steep slopes on this particular site says Mr. Gove.  Mr. Gove indicated on the map where there is a red maple swamp, a potential vernal pool in the springtime, high bush blueberries and swamp azaleas and no endangered wildlife.  Mr. Gove says the only time that he can prove that there is a vernal pool is if there is vernal pool activity and it would be in the springtime.  Adjacent to this site is a 23-acre conservation site/land and appears to have a fair amount of recreational activity in it when visited by Mr. Gove.  Mr. Gove says there is a potential impact to habitats and wildlife that are going to occur on this site.  There is a certain amount of fragmentation because of the openness of tree canopies.  Some animals will migrate from this site to the 23-acre conservation area.  Mr. Gove says that, as much of the forested area around the vernal pools should be maintained as much as possible.

 

Mr. Gove says that the concerns about the sedimentation going into the pond don’t seem to have a lot of backup data associated with it. He said, “We fully expect there will be appropriate sedimentation erosion control that will be maintained.  Our suggestions include no-cut zones, etc.”  He states that as long as the BMP (Best Management Practices) are followed he does not see this as a detriment to Little Island Pond.

 

It is the recommendation of Mr. Gove’s firm to plant trees (as the plan indicates), have a cutting plan; retain, identify and maintain large oaks, maintain stone walls as much as possible and structural elements to have 50-ft set backs. He also suggests a mulch berm in place of silt fencing, a minimum of clearing and Cape Cod style curbing.

 

Dave Brouillet says one of the recommendations of Conservation was to have a protection buffer.  This site is 9.85 acres.  Mr. Brouillet says according to the town’s regulations for minimum land area for an elderly housing project is 5 acres and that they are well above that.  He relates the comparison to single family housing impact versus the 15-unit proposal that is much less.  Mr. Brouillet says the actual impact in the WCD is approximately 11,000-sq.ft. which is less than 2% of the total wetland area.  Mr. Brouillet says that he has provided a plan that meets the regulations and has gone beyond that and have provided additional conservation area, and have accepted the recommendations of Gove’s office re: the tree line and keeping it to a minimum and adding 60 trees but not sure how many will be lost for the road.

 

Mr. Brouillet said that his client doesn’t want to get political in terms of why this particular project should or should not get approved.  He says the politics has already been taken care of by the selectmen and that they tried to negotiate with Little Island Pond Watershed Association.  Mr. Brouillet asks that Conservation reconsider their letter so as to allow for access to usable portion of the land, which is in the regulations.

Mr. Yarmo says that Conservation has never seen any road, by any developer, where 40% or more of the road is in the WCD, and that there is no public benefit, there is no connectivity, no transportation issues and for the sole purpose of accessing this land and increasing the density for this use.  Mr. Brouillet does not agree with Mr. Yarmo’s statement.  He says the reason why he is there is for a special exception granted and the regulations is to allow for somebody to access their usable portion of their land.  Mr. Brouilett says he believes that the town has two legal opinions that basically say the same thing.

 

Member Marc Duquette questions the amount of WCD impact stated on “an as drawn” impact, but when we look at the design you have maximized the use of the high and dry land but if you take a look at the buildings, we find it hard to believe that you can build those units without encroaching and into the WCD and impacting additional WCD in addition to your as drawn number.

 

Mr. Brouillet said one of the first comments that had been received from T.F. Moran who is the new engineer for the town was a concern of the proximity of the buildings to the WCD.  We revised the plan said Mr. Brouillet.

 

Mr. Yarmo addressed Mr. Gove and questioned the forested block statement and said that he didn’t think it was accurate.  He thinks it is accurate if you look at the natural resources inventory but the natural resources inventory didn’t consider the parcels across the street from this, which is 130 acres of forested block then you go across the power line and there is additional acreage said Mr. Yarmo.  Mr. Yarmo also asked about the vernal pools that were pointed out on the plan.  Mr. Gove said that the information had been taken from aerial photos and that it was consistent with the areas that are poorly drained.  The fact that it has a foot of standing water during the wettest time of the year does have the potential for a vernal pool. He also stated that the one (vernal pool) that would be most impacted would be the one where the drive is or where road comes in. 

 

PUBLIC INPUT:  Alicia Hennessey, Dutton Road.  She would like to see a 50-ft buffer around the vernal pools.

 

Shirley Wakefield, abutter, 38 South Shore Drive is concerned about the road going over the wetland.  She states that the builders own the property to the east and asks why the road couldn’t be moved down in order to keep it out of the pool.

 

Mr. Brouillet said that that had been looked at and that the builders do own the front portion, which is the same area as the wetland impact.  He explained that they had tried to make it safe for fire trucks, etc., but it was not feasible because there needs to be proper radius’s on the curves.  Also, they had tried for an 18-ft. road and the Fire Chief said it needs to be wider so that the fire apparatus can pass each other on the road.  Mr. Brouillet also explained that the Fire Chief  requested an emergency access, that it’s required by the town, and that is another impact to the wetlands conservation district  That has been done says Mr. Brouillet.  If we didn’t have to do that it might have been reduced from 40% to 30%.   Mr. Brouillet states that this plan has been before the town since May, that they have gone through 3 sets of reviews by the town engineer, have provided an environmental impact assessment and feel they have complied and addressed all the comments we have received to date.

 

Shirley Wakefield asked about the drive.  She is still concerned with the density of the piece of property.  She says the high and dry land that is being developed is very little.  She asked if there was a possibility of having only one (1) building rather than two (2), that it would eliminate some of the density.  It would relieve some of the pressure on the septic system and the problem with widening on the road.

 

Mr. Brouillet says that that could be discussed with his client, but to keep in mind that there is 9.8 acres and of that there is 1-½ acres of wetland.  In terms of wetlands, that leaves over 8 acres – he does not see the problem of density.  Mr. Brouillet spoke of the density nearest the pond and argued that his client has the right to develop his land.  Mr. Yarmo said we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past and that it is not a healthy situation around the pond.

 

Holly Saurman, Scenic View Drive.  She would like the record to reflect that this is not a road, that it is a driveway, that it meets all the current zoning under the guidelines of the town of Pelham for senior housing, and that there is a need for elderly housing.  She asked if the Conservation members if they had read the impact study from cover to cover before they came to the meeting tonight.  Mrs. Saurman noted that Mr. Gagnon and Mrs. Wakefield had stepped down and questioned the remainder of the members sitting whether anyone else was or have ever been a member of the Little Island Pond Association.  The answer was no.

 

BACK TO THE BOARD: Mr. Yarmo asked members if they wanted to reconsider the letter that had been sent to the Planning Board and whether or not to consider a conservation easement or deed restriction on the back portion or to be the steward of this area.  Member Deborah Scott referred to page 62 of the report that states that half of the parcel would be impacted during construction.

 

Member Marc Duquette had questions about no cutting, landscaping and whether this was a revised drawing and how are we sure that this is the map.  Mr. Brouillet says the plan being shown has already been submitted to the town.  Jim Gove says what’s being suggested is a condition that approval and construction and are different than what you typically see on other subdivisions.  Mr. Gove said our client is prepared to stake, flag and maintain in the field all through construction and that the area of concern never gets disturbed.  This is different than merely saying no cutting inside the WCD says Mr. Gove.  Mr. Yarmo said Conservation is concerned about the WCD, the road impact, but the wetland is only as good as the buffer around it.  He referred to page 65 of the impact assessment and said it is recommended that there be a 100-ft buffer.  Mr. Gove responded by saying there are several areas that have been met with the 100-ft buffer.  Mr. Brouillet says the curved roadway will eliminate sheets of storm water that collects on the roadway from going into the wetlands by going into the treatment swale.  Mr. Yarmo says that treatment swales do not work very well in the winter.

 

Sanjah Kakkad is not in favor of reconsidering the letter.  Marc Duquette says that some of the changes made do elevate some of the buffer impact but it doesn’t change the configuration of the road, that the road going through that buffer does not change his recommendation.  Deborah Scott said she stays with the original recommendations sent to the Planning Board.

 

MOTION:  (Deborah Scott/Sanjay Kakkad) To stand by the original recommendation sent to the Planning Board.  VOTE  4-0 to support the original letter.

 

 

9:08:  Mr. Gagnon and Mrs. Wakefield return to their seats on the board.

 

Map 39; Lot 6-179 – 128 Realty Corporation, 9 Lot Subdivision off Mammoth Road

There are no plans yet, and no environmental impact report.  Mr. Brouillet said the plans should be ready by next week.

 

Mr. Brouillet and Mr. Lewis Burgess represent this 9-lot subdivision and explain exactly where this parcel is.  Gumpus Pond Brook traverses through this parcel in the middle, therefore there is a lot of wetland area.  This case came before the Planning Board and a site walk was done.  There is a need for one (1) wetland crossing.  A conceptual plan was submitted last spring.

 

Mr. Gove said that a wetlands delineation and environmental impact assessment has been done.  There is a perennial spring on the parcel that flows south.  There are other intermittent springs in the area.  The original concept was not going to be conducive because it would require 3 different culvert crossings and this would be a nightmare to the town.  Also, there would be three (3) different stream disruptions.  Mr. Gove says that there is less “muck” where the crossing is proposed, and to have the crossing further down you are dealing with from 16” to 48” + muck and the further south you go it gets deeper and deeper.  A stable base is needed for road construction.  Mrs. Wakefield asks what would keep that road from washing out during a storm, as it’s a floodplain brook.  Mr. Brouillet says that a 20-ft wide by 5-ft high culvert is to be installed.  Mr. Brouillet explains about the 100-yr flood plain and says that whatever you add (for fill), you must also take the same amount out so that the fluid storage will remain the same. During the construction there will have to be some impact on the wetland by the use of temporary culverts.  Mr. Gove explained how a flood plain works.  Mr. Brouillet explained that the dam down in Dracut, MA actually controls the water flow and may be the reason it backs up.  Mr. Yarmo said when they did an unofficial site walk that they actually crossed over 2 wetlands.  Mr. Gagnon expressed his concern about the road going over the WCD, that it displaces the critters, etc., and suggested relocation of a couple of the homes, possibly eliminating lot #9.  It was suggested that a small piece of land owned by people across the street be looked into, if they would sell, as it would give them more flexibility.  These people are not interested in selling (name is Jarosky).  The Conservation Board will do a site walk with the Planning Board as there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed on lot 8 and 6 says Mr. Yarmo.  Mr. Gove says they will be coming back before the Commission because of a dredge and fill and other mitigations they can offer.

 

Mr. Yarmo says that Conservation can make a comment to the Planning Board about the impact on the wetlands.  Although the crossing is not at the narrowest point, it is per square footage.  The Conservation Commission took no vote, and will re-visit this pending information available.

 

MINUTES -   Approved minutes of 10/15/03 (Sanjay Kakkad/Shirley Wakefield)

VOTE:  6-0 to approve as amended.

 

OLD BUSINESS:  None

 

MOTION TO ADJOURN:  Meeting adjourned at 10:05 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

 

                                                                        Glennie M. Edwards

                                                                        Recording Secretary