Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Present: Henry Howell, Chair; Don Davis; Chuck Bolduc; Debbie Lang; Jim Morris; Lynn Wittman; Wally Baker and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Barbara Hoffman.

Members of the public present: Pat Tivnan, Melissa Ballinger.

Call to order: Chairman Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm.

Previous Meeting’s Minutes:  The minutes from the last meeting on October 12th were unanimously approved.

Financial Report:

Debbie sent out a financial report before the meeting. In October, $2,900 was spent on KHR mowing and $250 on NHACC dues. We have spent $6,459 year-to-date out of our budget of $7,612. Chuck said mowing at KHR is going to be a yearly expense of at least $2,500, but the trail user donations should help. The Conservation Fund had a balance of $180,464 at the end of October. The King Hill Fund had a balance of $2,067.32.  The Capital Reserve is at $57,581.34. The town’s yearly allocation to the Capital Reserve Fund for 2023 is being cut from $7,000 to $5,000.

Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

KHR Donation System – Chuck said no record has been found of the KHR fund having been established as a revolving fund. Jim has drafted a warrant article to ask the town to establish a revolving fund to use for donations, which would be received through a payment service and approved by the BOS for deposit on a quarterly basis. There was a discussion about whether the KHR or a new fund should be used, and whether the donations would be used to fund general trail maintenance. Chuck pointed out that it is important to associate the donations with a specific purpose, and since most of the donators would be KHR backcountry ski trail users, they would be expecting their donations to be used for the upkeep of the KHR ski trails. Henry said the simplest thing would be to have the fund just be for KHR, for now. Jim will update his warrant article to say that a new fund will be created and will be used specifically for mowing and maintenance of the KHR trails. Jim said in the interim before Town Meeting, the KHR fund will be used to test the donation system. Once we have the new fund established, the KHR fund will be closed out. Wally recommended that we have a public hearing on this warrant article before Town Meeting. This can be at our January meeting and needs to be noticed.


Review snowmobile agreement and trail maintenance – Henry read aloud the draft agreement that Barb had sent out, with some small updates from Chuck to correct the trail numbers and add an important culvert. Attached to the agreement letter is a map and a list of work items. Chuck made a motion that the SCC approve the agreement with the Sutton Ridgerunners Club as written, and Debbie seconded. The vote was unanimous. Henry will sign it and send it to Aaron Flewelling, the SRR president, and Chuck will notify Aaron that it is coming, so work can begin ASAP.


Appointment 7:15PM:  Glenn Pogust and Roger Wells of the Planning Board, to discuss revisions to the Cluster Ordinance

Glenn said the PB would like to address the issue of affordable housing, but since there is limited time before Town Meeting they decided that it would be most effective to first close the loopholes in the existing Cluster Ordinance and make it better, and then build on that to meet their other objectives. He said some of the changes of greatest interest to the SCC are to change the buffer around developments from 25 feet to 100, and to distinguish between open space for conservation and common land for recreation. Instead of a minimum amount of recreational land being required, a maximum value will be set for the amount of open space to be used for recreation. Open space over 25 acres will be placed under conservation easement when possible, and if no land trust will take it it will still be undeveloped, but owned by an association. Developers will be urged to come before the SCC and the Planning Board early in the process, and although we can’t require this, it would be to the developer’s advantage to get the feedback early, and we can give them construction advice. Town Counsel said the meetings with the SCC and PB should happen together. Roger said the PB will have greater design review power. Glenn said the purpose of the large buffers is to keep things hidden to preserve the rural character of the town. Henry said that global climate change will create population pressure as more people move to New England, so zoning and cluster development are particularly important.. Glenn said there is an estimated shortage of 10,000 housing units in this area in the next 10 years. He said this plan is a way to gain both housing and conservation land. Don asked whether the PB looks at abutting properties at all when someone comes to them with a proposal to develop a parcel of land. For example, wildlife corridors that extend across adjoining land could be blocked. Glenn said that is something that could be discussed in the joint meetings with the SCC and the PB. Roger said this is an attempt to improve an existing ordinance and not jump off the high dive. They are responding to people’s concerns from the Master Plan hearings. Glenn pointed out that this ordinance does not allow a developer to build more units than would be allowed under a conventional subdivision, but in the future, maybe this could be changed to allow them to build more units as long as some of them were designated senior housing, etc. In answer to a question from Henry, Glenn said that parcels that are too small to be placed under conservation easement can be protected via deed restrictions.


Old Business

Preparation for November 17th educational meeting – Henry passed out copies of the agenda for the meeting, along with a draft of potential discussion topics. He also designed a poster that he handed out to be distributed around the area. The meeting will consist of a presentation, followed by a discussion. Henry set up benches in Town Hall, and has obtained 50 copies of the brochures from U Mass to hand out at the meeting. The meeting has been advertised on WSCS radio, the Intertown Record’s calendar and Sutton Neighbors column, and through invitation to some interested woodlot owners. Henry asked some SCC members to arrive at 5:30 to help set up. Some members will need to help during the meeting to pass out materials, pass around a microphone, and read passages from the presentation screen. Lynn and Debbie are going to put up posters, and Bonnie will post the agenda to the town website and also post the list of resources compiled by Chuck on the SCC website.


  • NHACC October eNews, with news of the annual meeting and conference, news from other concoms, grant opportunities, stewardship volunteer training, announcement of a new program for controlling invasive species, Bioblitz resources, and more.
  • Email from Joanna Murphy with link to Xerces Society article about the ecological benefits of leaving fallen leaves in place.
  • Bonnie Hill’s InterTown Record ‘Letter to the Editor’ on clean air & water.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:37 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, December 14th, 2022, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary