Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  October 14, 2020

Present: Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Wally Baker, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Barbara Hoffman; Lynn Wittman and Bonnie Hill. Debbie Lang recused herself from the meeting and joined at 7:55.

Members of the public present: Richard Lovell, Ed Canane.

This meeting was held remotely via GoToMeeting due to the Covid-19 emergency. Chuck volunteered to be the contact person for members of the public having difficulties connecting, and gave his phone number.


Call to order: Henry Howell stated that the meeting was being held remotely because of Covid-19, and summarized the rules for conducting remote meetings. Every person attending identified him/herself by name, gave their location, and listed other people that were or might be present. Wally Baker called the meeting to order at 6:34 pm.



  • Email from Elly Phillips with budget worksheet and letter for determining the 2021 SCC budget.
  • Email from NHACC reminding us to register for the 50th Annual Meeting and Conference, which will be held Saturday, November 7th via Zoom.
  • Email from NHACC announcing upcoming Lunch and Learn Zoom sessions – “Getting them to Show Up” on October 14 and “Grant Writing for Conservation” on October 28th. Both at 12 noon. Barb registered for both of these and will send us all the links to the videos.
  • Email from Merrimack County Conservation District looking for feedback via an attached survey and a Local Working Group meeting on October 15.
  • NHACC September 2020 eNews, with info about grant and training opportunities.
  • Email from Betsy Forsham advising us to speak with ASLPT before changing the size of the Maple Leaf parking lot, as there is a size restriction in the deed. Henry responded to Betsy and told her we are not changing the size of the lot, but are doing some cleanup and putting down gravel.
  • Email from Gabe Roxby, SPNHF forester, saying that the Lincoln Trail/SRKG has been re-opened on weekends.
  • Email reply from Chris Kane informing us that the herbicide used at the Sundell Natural Area was “Rodeo”.
  • Newsletter from Merrimack County Conservation District, Summer 2020 issue.
  • Newsletter from the Sutton Historical Society, Summer 2020 issue.
  • Town and City, magazine of the NH Municipal Association, September/October issue.
  • Email from Elly Phillips asking what is going on with the Stevens lot (KLNA) regarding a kiosk and Porta-Potty. Lynn reported that the kiosk has been erected. Wally said that more discussion is needed regarding the Porta-Potty and this will be taken up again in the spring. Bonnie will respond to Elly.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

  • Cover letter and pictures received regarding a Wetlands Restoration Plan for J. Hastings and M. Gross of Shaker Rd, T/L#09-668-062.
  • Restoration Plan Approval letter from NHDES for J. Hastings and M. Gross of Shaker Rd, T/L#09-668-062, DES File number 2020-02531.
  • A copy of the application for a variance from the ZBA, a site plan, pictures, and an approved FEMA LOMA were received from R. Lovell of Roby Rd, T/L#01-890-282, for a project replacing a wooden bridge across the Lane River. Bonnie said there is a public hearing on October 21st on the variance request. Since the bridge is spanning over the wetlands and its supports will not be in the wetlands itself, no wetlands permit was required.



Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Confirmation of Complete Forestry Statutory Permit-by-Notification for S. Rossman, NHDES File Number 2020-02435, T/L #01-698-531 .
  • Issue regarding supplemental to 20-439-11: K. Fischer-Anderson, Old Sutton Rd/Foothills Rd, .25 acres out of .25, T/L# 02-895-218, Michelle Lemire, logger. Property card shows that this parcel is owned by the Town of Sutton. Bonnie contacted Elly Phillips, who explained that there was a disputed ownership for the parcel and that Fischer-Anderson established ownership through survey and deed. Records on the town website have not yet been updated to reflect this.


Old business

Report from Property Advisory Committee Barb said she had nothing new to report on the East Sutton front. There are a couple of people interested, but nothing has changed.


Status of Horse Beach Parking Lot Renovation – Wally said the parking lot has been filled in and graded. It needs to be left to settle and reviewed in the spring. He said people have started to park head-in on the KLNA land, driving over the old barrier. This will need to be addressed next year; we need to delineate the borders and stop the incursion. The problem is that there are just too many cars; they are parking all over the place. He said we need to do more grading in the area next to the boat launch lot, and a solution has to be found for more parking. But the more parking there is, the more cars there will be, so it really can never be solved.


Status of placing easements on town-owned properties – Bonnie wrote to Elly Phillips asking the questions that were raised in the last SCC meeting, and Elly asked town counsel’s opinion. Laura Spector-Morgan said “Retaining the property as conservation land constitutes “public use”, regardless of whether the property is “open” to the public.” And the value of the land would be based on its assessed value as a starting point. Elly suggested that the town simply hold on to the properties. Wally agreed with this, and polled the members of the SCC, who were all in agreement. Henry showed a map of where the parcels are. They are in a high quality habitat area, with a lot of wetlands.

7:00 – Appointment with Ed Canane regarding the placement of an agricultural easement on his land


Ed said he has agricultural land in different towns, some of which is in Sutton. He produces over 20,000 pounds of beef per year on the 36 acre Sutton parcel, which has lots of frontage, is open, has views, and is very attractive to developers. He is here to open a dialog about placing an agricultural easement on his land. He plans to sell it when the timing is right. Henry asked what the difference is between an agricultural easement and a conservation easement. Ed said the primary focus of an agricultural easement is the continuation of the production of food. It can also include conservation elements, such as not developing the land. Wally asked if there was anything that we could look to as a guideline – something to compare this to. Ed said we should look up the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), which is part of the USDA. The Agricultural Conservation Easements program (ACE) does exhaustive valuation of properties and offers a 50% cash contribution towards the easement. Chuck asked if Ed would continue to raise cattle with the easement, and Ed said if he gets the easement he would do so. Chuck asked if Ed had approached ASLPT. Ed said they don’t do agricultural easements. Their focus is on conserving the land, not on conserving the agricultural use, and they can’t guarantee that the land would be kept in production. Henry asked if he would consider a regular conservation easement, and Ed said he wouldn’t give an outright no, but his dream is that the land will always produce food. To Chuck’s question about whether there is a house on the land, Ed said no. Barb asked how many head of cattle, and Ed said the number is irrelevant; what is relevant is the number of pounds. The land’s carrying capacity is 15 to 20 800-900 pound animals. Henry asked if the easement would specify a certain type of agriculture, and Ed said human food. He said the farm land in Sutton is best suited to the grazing of ruminant animals. Don asked how many other farms in NH have agricultural easements. Ed said maybe 5 through the ACE program. Ed said he would like Sutton to be the ones monitoring the easement. He said to email him if we’d like to see the land. Lynn asked if NRCS gives advice, or money. Ed says they give money. Wally asked about a timeframe and Ed said he has no immediate plans to sell. Henry asked Ed if he would reach out to NRCS. Bonnie will send Ed the email address for SCC.

After Ed signed off, Henry said that one reason ASLPT doesn’t get involved in ag easements is that defining what agriculture is can be complex. He talked to Andy Deegan about it. SCC would need to monitor the land in perpetuity. Chuck pointed out that the NRCS pays for 50% of the value of the land, but we would be buying an easement, not the land itself. Barb said she would research whether we are authorized to do this by statute. Chuck said the land is in a lower-priority conservation area, but the conservation of agricultural land is one of our goals. Wally asked Bonnie to contact NRCS. Lynn offered to help.


Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report to the SCC members before the meeting. The budget has not yet been adjusted for the town-mandated 10% reduction. In the month of September, there were two charges to the administrative account.  The Special Projects line was charged $1,179.96 for materials Henry purchased.  And the Expense line was charged $500 for the appraisal of the East Sutton property. YTD expenses are: Secretarial services – $666 out of $1267 total budget; Dues/Conferences – $450 out of $1300 total; Expenses – $500 out of $800 total; Supplies – $0 out of $170 total; Special Projects – $1255 out of $4000 total. Total expenses YTD are $2871 out of a total budget of $7537. The September bank statement had not yet been received. $245 for the KLNA kiosk was reimbursed to the Special Projects fund by KLPA.

New Business

2021 Budget –The budget hearing is coming up. Henry displayed the 2021 budget that he sent out for review by the members. It is similar to the 2020 budget except for an increase in the Special Projects fund from $4000 to $5000. The proposed expenditures are all for improvements to the trail system. Henry said there will be other expenses such as snowplowing, and crushed gravel for the Maple Leaf parking lot. Debbie said she got an extra day to hand in the budget, and she will give it to Elly tomorrow, since members all approve.


Signage for the Wells conservation easement — Henry had two signs made, yellow on brown saying “No Motorized Vehicles”. Bonnie will install these on one of the Wells parcels – one at the entrance on Dodge Hill Rd and the other at the back property boundary where the ATVs are entering.


Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

Update on sign-making for our conservation lands – Henry said the sign-making has gone very well. Almost all the signs have had “Sutton Conservation Commission” added to them, and are very handsome. Henry has made a new sign for the Kezar Lake Natural Area, with the help of Chris, a student volunteer from KRHS. Tomorrow he and Chris will install the Town Wildlife Area sign, and on Sunday they will install the William Bean Quarry sign. Lynn has repainted all of the trail junction signs at KHR.  She is also going to help put up color-coded markers on the KHR trails. Henry asked where the Town Wetlands are, since he has a sign for it. Don told him it’s on the right side of 114 heading south, before Gile Pond Rd., and he said he has a metal post for the sign, since a wooden one will rot away. The sign needs to go about 8 feet into the wet area. Don said he has more blank signs if we need them.


Trail work and mowing on KHR trails – Chuck displayed a map of KHR showing where volunteer trail crews had removed downed trees from the edges of the trails and where the mowing was done. He said Dave Carey mowed White Rabbit, Walrus and the old triple chair trail, about 2/3 of the trails in the system. He said Dave suggested having a forester look at the property, and maybe do some selective logging, since trees are growing in at the sides of trails. Chuck contacted a couple of foresters, and one who works at Colby-Sawyer said he is willing to meet with Chuck to talk about doing some low-impact, selective cutting, which will help offset the costs of maintenance. Henry asked if there was a management plan for KHR. Chuck volunteered to look in the files and find the plan. Don said he remembers one issue that they talked about was how to get the logs out without causing damage. Henry said that even though Bean Quarry was logged in a responsible way, the resulting swathes are not what we would want for KHR. The kind of hand-cutting we would want is more expensive, and there are issues we need to look into a little more. Chuck asked if he should meet with a couple of foresters. Barb urged him to check the management plan first. Don suggested doing the logging in the winter, so the logs can be dragged down the ski slopes with less damage. He said one thing that happens when the trails grow in is that you lose the drainage.


Trailhead parking – Henry asked Wally if was going to get crushed stone for the Maple Leaf parking lot and Wally said he would do it next week. It will cost $300 and he needs a dry day to spread it. Henry said the SCC has a signed contract with Travis Perkins to work on the Hominy Pot parking lot. This work will need to be done before the end of the year to come out of the 2020 special projects fund. Wally asked if it includes cutting the trees, and Henry said yes. Chuck says the cost is $3000 and it includes 2 days’ labor to build a small retaining wall and lay down crushed stone. He said it should be done in the next few weeks.


Student volunteers — Henry said he is working with two KRHS students, Christopher Brahan and Matthew Ulrich, who are getting community service credit for the work. Chris has been helping with signs, and Matthew will be working with Chuck on maps.


Update on Japanese knotweed at Sundell Natural Area – Wally talked with the BOS regarding this, and the highway department will take the dead knotweed stalks to the dump for us. They need to be cut down by hand using loppers to avoid spreading the weed. We will have a work day on Sunday, November 8th at 10:00. We’ll stack it on tarps to be picked up and burned.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:33 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, November 11th, 2020, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary