Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Present: Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Wally Baker, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Barbara Hoffman; Chuck Bolduc; Debbie Lang; Amy Highstrom and Bonnie Hill.

Members of the public present: Pete Savickas, Roger Wells, Glenn Pogust, Peter Stanley.

Call to order: Wally Baker called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m.

Appointment 6:30 Pete Savickas representing the Warner River Local Advisory Committee

Pete explained that in 2018 the Warner River became a Designated River. The 5 towns fronting on the river are Sutton, Warner, Bradford, Hopkinton and Webster. Pete is one of three members of the committee representing Sutton, along with Bob Wright and Andy Jeffrey. The organization is just getting started and has just come up with a logo, which Pete showed us. WRLAC had a booth at the Warner Fall Foliage Festival and focused on garnering awareness for their river survey, which will help in the development of the Warner River Corridor Management Plan. Some issues that have come up in the survey are water quality monitoring, education, and riverbank cleanup. The survey is still open through the end of January. Pete said that although Sutton does not have much river frontage, its two lakes, ponds and the Lane River are all part of its watershed. Because of DES rules changes taking effect on December 15th, the role of WRLAC is going to change from one of advisement to one of enforcement, regarding wetlands permitting. Permits within the river corridor (one quarter mile on both sides of the river) will now require a mandatory signoff by the WRLAC. This is under RSA 483, regarding Designated Rivers, which are those with outstanding natural and cultural resources. Wally asked about penalties, such as fines, for those not getting the signoff, and Pete said that was outside of their area of responsibility. Chuck asked if the protected buffer extended to tributaries, and Pete said no, just the river itself, but Sutton could be involved in water quality monitoring. Pete said the committee is allowed signage promoting the visibility and awareness of the protected river and interest for recreation, etc. He said the signs will be seen as a positive thing that will help offset some of the negative impression of the permit enforcement. He passed around pictures of existing signs, as examples. The signs would be placed along Rt. 103 and Roby Road, facing both east and west, and would cost $165. The committee has no funding for the signs. Henry asked about the costs of installing them, and it sounded like this would be done by the highway department. Henry asked if Pete would like the SCC to contribute money for the signage, and the answer was yes. Barb asked about the approval process and whether SCC would be taking on any additional responsibilities, and the answer was no. Henry made a motion to provide $165 to the WRLAC for signage, and Chuck seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor. Pete said he would keep the SCC abreast of progress.

Appointment 7:00: Sutton Planning Board members Roger Wells and Glenn Pogust, Land Use Coordinator Peter Stanley

Roger said that he read the SCC’s Strategic Action Plan and was favorably impressed. He said the PB has embarked upon updating the Sutton Master Plan by next year, and they are soliciting citizen input from all types of organizations within the town. When the Master Plan was last updated, in 2005, a questionnaire was sent out to the citizens, but there was very little response. The three questions they are asking are:

  • Regarding the town, what is most precious to you?
  • What is of most concern?
  • What should we be doing that we aren’t doing?

The PB’s answers for the first question were: rural beauty, friendliness, and small historic villages. For the second: increasing taxes, environmental protection, and maintaining infrastructure. For the third: encouraging land use that expands the tax base, and encouraging open space.

Some answers that the SCC members gave to the first question were: clean surface and ground water, wildlife, public recreation, things that link one to the past, such as stone walls, cellar holes, and dirt roads, good school system, and being a safe place to live.

The SCC answered the second question with: losing open space, wildlife habitat that is unprotected, loss of aquifers (only 5% are protected), losing residents, unwise use of our natural resources, water contamination by septic systems, invasive species, ATV use in natural habitats, places in town with only one way to access other places, such as South Newbury Road. And for the third question, the SCC listed protecting the aquifers, cluster zoning, a fund to help homeowners maintain their homes so they aren’t forced to move away, road upgrades, lack of businesses, ways to ease the tax burden, cell phone access and fiber optic cable, an Economic Development Commission to look into availability of grants, etc. Amy asked about community solar arrays, for example on the roof of the town garage. Barb said Warner is a good example of this. Roger said we need to think about what the incentives are for solar. Henry said solar arrays can be leased, at lower cost, and we need a committee to study energy efficiency in the town, and weatherization. Henry asked if preservation of open space conflicts with lowering taxes, and Roger said not necessarily. Roger said that we need to think about what incentives we can create that would help the things happen that we want to happen, i.e. the things in our Strategic Plan. Peter Stanley said an example is the conflict between preserving agricultural soils and development. The places with good agricultural soils happen to be the same places where people want to build, since they are flat and accessible. He said that with climate change and the desertification of the west, arable land in the east will become more valuable. Roger asked, how do you incentivize people to come out here and farm, if you want to preserve agricultural land?  Henry said we are incentivizing people to put their land under easements by offering them help with the costs of doing so. Roger suggested that we do research to see what kinds of things have been done in other states to get people to conserve their land. Wally said he would like the town to look into getting Sutton to pay a smaller portion of the school tax. Peter said Sutton’s current zoning discourages expansion of the tax base. A zoning change could allow businesses like doctor’s offices in the rural villages. Roger asked, how do we protect the historical nature of our buildings and villages while allowing them to change? Roger was given Barb, Don and Wally as contacts to receive his further comments on the Strategic Action Plan. He said the plan does not define “protection”, and there is more to consider than just open space, period.

Financial Report:

Debbie reported that $310 was spent in November, and we have almost $3800 left in the town budget. Henry spoke to Elly about encumbering the money for the Bean Quarry Gate installation. She did not want us to do that, but said that since we have a contract, that will serve as an invoice, and a check for $1700 will be cut for the contractor. Henry said he spoke to Rob O’Neil on the phone. Rob never received any money from us towards his conservation easement expenses. He gave Henry copies of his receipts and invoices, which Henry passed around. The expenses totaled $10,685.04, not including the $5,000 stewardship fee to ASLPT that we already paid them on Rob’s behalf. Henry wanted the SCC to pay this total amount to Rob. Barb said that under the law, we are allowed to spend money on an interest in real property. We already agreed to pay $10,000 towards the easement costs, and she doesn’t think we can go above that amount without a public hearing. Debbie said she will ask Lorri to make a payment to Rob O’Neil of $5,000 out of the Conservation Fund. All expense reports must be in to Lorri by December 26th. Wally talked to a tree guy about clearing the trails, but he said he was too busy. Wally will try him again, though. Henry talked about historical signage for the trails and said signs would cost between $50 and $89 apiece. Amy said she would compose some text for cellar hole signs for KHR, so that these can be ordered before the deadline. Don said we should use aluminum engraved signs, as the embossed signs might be stolen. Henry may purchase sheathing and cedar shingles to repair the roof of the kiosk on the Hominy Pot trail at KHR. Chuck bought a GIS license for his computer and will submit the bill. The members agreed to have $2549.45 deducted from the Conservation Fund to reimburse the town for the Cormier LUCT payment which has not been paid and was credited to us by mistake. Bonnie will write a letter to the town treasurer requesting her to move the money.


  • Memo from Elly Phillips about Town Report submissions, which are due January 10th.
  • Letter from SPNHF Conservation Easement Steward Emily Landry regarding the monitoring of Partridge LT-DR, a town-owned deed-restricted property. She stated that no activities were observed that conflict with the terms of the deed restriction.
  • Lakeside, a quarterly publication of NH Lakes, fall 2019 issue. Articles on the LakeSmart program, lake advocacy in the state house, young conservation leaders, and more.

Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

NHDOT “Top Ten” list for ARM grants re: I-89 repaving – Chuck handed out copies of his draft list of aquatic mitigation priorities. Under the “Land Protection” category he listed the $99K parcel for sale on Russell Pond, as well as a parcel on Roby Rd that abuts the Lane River. Under “Infrastructure Improvements” he listed out 8 culvert projects. Most are of interest to the Sutton road agent and/or NH Fish & Game. One involves an access road repair and riparian restoration in King Hill Reservation.  Under “Stream and Riverbank Restoration”, he listed restoration on the Horse Beach property on Kezar Lake, as this is conservation land which is surrounded by water and wetlands and is highly visible to the community. This would include the planting of native species and installation of an informational kiosk. Henry asked whether, if the $99K land parcel was too expensive, we could perhaps get a grant for half the cost and pay half ourselves, but Chuck did not know if this was possible. He said there is not a lot of info available on what has been done in the past. Barb asked if DES needs to approve of the list for DOT, and Chuck said no. Henry asked if we need to have a price specified for each item, and Chuck said no. Other than the real estate parcels, there is no way that we can really know the costs. Wally said we can assume that each culvert replacement would cost at least $2000. Wally gave Chuck a sketch he made of what he thought could be done at Kezar Lake, with granite posts, native plantings, and a rain garden. He said the costs could be somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000. Henry said the plants for the rain garden at the high school had cost around $1,000. Don said that we should be keeping LCHIP grants in mind, and that we would need to have someone attend the training session in April. Two people can be sent from each organization. He said we are also eligible for moose plate grants. There was a discussion about the culverts. Chuck said the Aquatic Mitigation Mapper in DES has culvert info, and 40 layers of data. It includes the hazard mitigation map. The culvert on Camp Kemah Rd is not on the official list, but Henry has observed it washing sediment into Blaisdell Lake, so it was left on the Top Ten list. It was decided to remove the culvert on Eaton Grange Rd, in order to get the list down to ten items. Henry made a motion that the Sutton Aquatic Mitigation Priority List, as modified by the SCC on December 11th, 2019, be submitted to NHDOT. Wally seconded, and the vote was unanimously in favor. Chuck will write up the ARM list with the changes we discussed, and send it out to the SCC for review for a few days before he sends it to the DOT. Chuck was commended by the members on the great job he did getting this list put together.

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Hansen, T/L# 09-277-017, Baker Road, 2 acres out of 4, Daniel Earley, logger.
  • M. Kidder, T/L# 09-212-415, Mountain Rd, Baker Road, 20 acres out of 42.4, W. Brooks Weathers, logger. Since there are extensive wetlands on the property, a call will be made to the landowner.

Old business

Horse Beach parking issues –  KLNA, KLPA & NSIS update – Wally said a maintenance agreement has been drafted and we will be voting on it at Town Meeting.

New Business

Meeting time change – The members decided to change the time of the monthly meetings from 6:30 to 6:00, and see how that goes. It may be changed back for the summer.

Report on SCC for Town Report – Barb volunteered to write this. Henry and Amy will send her some pictures to include.

Trail Maintenance and Development

Boardwalk at Webb/Crowell —Matthew Churchwell of the Eagle Scouts has reported that the fundraising is almost complete, and the concrete footings are in place. He will hold off building until late spring because of the snow. The easement monitor will note in her report to ASLPT that this construction was approved by the SCC.


Henry was contacted by Jean LaChance, who is concerned that the wild roses along the road by Kezar Lake are getting decimated by the snowplows. The highway department has had some personnel changes. Adam Hurst asked the plow driver to slow down in that area. Wally said he would get back to Jean.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:56 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, January 8th, 2020, at 6:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary