Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  December 9, 2020

Present: Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Chuck Bolduc; Debbie Lang; Barbara Hoffman; Lynn Wittman and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Wally Baker. Lynn sat in for Wally.

Members of the public present: Susan Lewis and Steve Gunnerson.

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. Henry called the meeting to order at 6:34 pm.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Henry made a motion to approve the minutes from the 11/11/2020 meeting, and someone seconded. No one had any issues with the minutes, and they were approved by roll call vote, with Barb abstaining since she was not present.

Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report to the SCC members before the meeting. In the month of November, the following items were charged to the administrative account: $299.52 for Secretarial; $35 and $100 for Dues (NHACC for Henry and donation to Sutton Historical Society, respectively); $100 for Expenses (GIS software); $3870.04 for Special Projects (for majority of the Perkins bill and half of KHR mowing, which was booked in error). In addition to accounting for the 10% reduction, there was some confusion about what money was to be charged from where, but Lorri Himes has straightened this all out. Adjustments have already been booked in December to:

1)  pay for part of the mowing from the Conservation Fund rather than the SCC Admin account

2)  ensure that we have spent all but 10% of the budgeted Admin funds in 2020.  The SCC Admin account will be left with $754 unspent, 10% of the original 2020 budget of $7,537, as requested by the town.

(At year end the special projects line will be over budget, but other categories will be under budget.  The net will be a balance left of $754.)

The November balance in the Conservation Fund was $151,979.30 and King Hill was $2,773.86.  The Capital Reserve was $50,299.

At the town budget committee meeting, the SCC asked for $4000 for Special Projects, with the amounts in all other categories the same as 2020.


  • Email from Elly Phillips forwarding an invitation from Bill Chaisson, Land Use clerk of Wilmot, to do a perambulation of the boundary between Sutton and Wilmot. Bonnie agreed to represent Sutton.
  • Email from Lorri Himes with invoice for 2021 dues of $100 from ASLPT. The members decided to wait and pay this in January, as the 2020 budget has been spent.
  • Letter from Lorri Himes with copy of settlement for Debbie Lang’s refund of LUCT, asking permission from SCC to withdraw $2670.00 from the Conservation Fund to cover this. Henry gave this permission.
  • Emails from Elly Phillips regarding tax-deeded lots that the SCC was interested in retaining. An abutting property owner has asked to buy one of the properties (T/L# 4-212-391).
  • NHACC November 2020 eNews newsletter with info about Fish & Game’s Small Grants program for improving wildlife habitat, and a Wetlands Restoration Grants program. Chuck said that Betsy had applied for the small grants in the past, to be used for KHR mowing. Enough time has passed so that we are eligible for them again, and he is going to look into it for next year.
  • Hard copy of the NHACC’s Handbook for NH Municipal Conservation Commissions.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

  • None


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • T. Hibbard, North Rd, 220 out of 262.7 acres, T/L #03-470-314, Eric Oxman, forester. There are wetlands in center of this parcel, but at least there is a forester involved.
  • D. Stafford, North Rd, 12 out of 32.8 acres, T/L #03-113-102, Brian Caron, logger. Stevens Brook flows through this narrow parcel, with significant wetlands throughout. Don said there is not much forested land here. Henry said he would notify the landowner about the wetlands concern.
  • R and M. Cloutier, Shadow Hill Rd, 10 out of 50 acres, T/L #05-698-411, Robert Cloutier, logger. Don said there is a conservation easement on this parcel. The owner has a firewood business and logs it every year, and Don thinks he meets the terms of the easement.


Old business

Report from Property Advisory Committee Barb said the East Sutton property has been sold to a developer, and that surveying and preliminary work is already being done. It is zoned for 2-acre lots, and there is a potential for 3 houses at the front of the parcel. Possibly the land in the back will be left alone. Barb said she would keep an eye on it.

SPNHF plaque Henry suggested that this plaque, which was given to the SCC in recognition for 25 years of Forest Society membership, be displayed at Town Hall with a descriptive title beneath it. Members thought that the entrance to Town Hall, near the map of conservation lands, seemed a good place. Bonnie will write up a title and get the plaque hung up when Town Hall opens again.


New Business

Tax-deeded property Susan Lewis and Steve Gunnerson attended the meeting to talk about the tax-deeded parcel T/L# 4-212-391. Henry explained that this is a parcel on Meetinghouse Hill Rd. that is adjacent to wetlands and the Lane River. Out of concern for its potential development, the SCC asked the town to set it aside as possible conservation land. Ms. Lewis said it is a 3-acre parcel and unbuildable.  She said the parcel abuts their property and that they have asked the town about purchasing it for ten years, with no response. They would like to have it for privacy, as a buffer, and to prevent it from being developed.  In response to Henry’s question about a conservation easement, she said she would need to find out more information about that. Henry said we are interested in an easement because of the river frontage. He said we partner with ASLPT and try to help with the costs of the survey, stewardship and legal documents. Barb asked if it was a large enough property to warrant the effort, and Henry said yes.  Debbie suggested that Ms. Lewis contact Debbie Stanley of ASLPT for more information, and Barb pointed out that there is also a lot of info on the ASLPT website.  Ms. Lewis asked if we would let them simply buy the lot and keep it in current use. Henry said the concern is for what might happen in the future; if their two lots were combined, then the new piece might become buildable. Ms. Lewis said that she couldn’t see that happening, and that Jeff Evans told them the lot is not buildable. Debbie asked if there had been a recent survey, and Ms. Lewis said maybe in 2010 when it was last sold. Debbie said that that would cut down the costs of an easement. Barb said maybe the town has this survey, since they are the owner. Chuck said he thought allowing the purchase would be a good first step in protecting the land. Henry called for a vote as to whether the SCC supports the purchase of T/L #4-212-391 in South Sutton by Susan Lewis and Stephen Gunnerson. The members all voted yes, by roll call vote. Bonnie will contact Elly to let her know, and Debbie will notify the planning board.


SCC’s contribution to Sutton 2020 Town ReportElly sent a letter informing us that this is due January 8th and should be no more than 2 pages long. It is a historical record. Henry said the list of 2020 accomplishments that he brought to the budget meeting would be a good starting point. We had a group photo taken but many members were absent. Bonnie said she would enlist Donna Catanzaro’s help in PhotoShopping a composite picture. Members should email pictures of themselves to Bonnie, and Chuck will send her the group photo. Barb volunteered to write the 2020 report.


SCC Website – Henry urged everyone to submit pictures, relevant news and interesting conservation-related articles and issues, and to send them to Bonnie. He is going to add information to the kiosks with direct links to the Conservation Commission’s part of the town website ( and/or He said we have an opportunity here to make a really cool website. He suggested having monthly conservation-related themes such as “Saving the Monarch Butterfly” or “Why do we mow the KHR Fields?” Chuck said we can put hiking trail maps on there when the GIS work is done. Don suggested asking people to send in their wildlife sightings so they can be posted on the website.


Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

Update on sign-making for our conservation lands – Henry made 12 more signs and delivered them to Debbie, Lynn and Bonnie to be painted. He will pick them up when they are finished. Don said he has a long metal post that would be good for the Town Wetlands sign, since trees tend to rot out in that location.

Snow plowing for trailhead parking: (A) KHR Hominy Pot, (B) KHR Maple Leaf,  (C) Webb/Crowell –

  • KHR Hominy Pot – Chuck talked to Travis Perkins and he said he would put us on the budget option, so he won’t plow less than 3 inches or do multiple plows per storm.
  • Maple Leaf – Chuck talked to Craig Angeli about plowing up to the Maple Leaf lot. Although he is willing to do it, his insurance plan does not allow people to be on that road in the winter. The road is considered private in winter, public in summer. In the deed, it is classified as a Cottage Lane. Henry said it looks like we need to go back to the drawing board and ask the town to take responsibility for that road. When this was discussed at Town Meeting, the argument was that there was no public benefit, but Chuck said there is a lot of public benefit. Henry said that road won’t be plowed this winter, but this needs to be reviewed next year, now that Maple Leaf is being established as an important trail. Chuck said the way he left it with Mr. Angeli was to tell him not to worry about doing the plowing. He said he might talk to Adam Hurst about it.
  • Webb/Crowell – Henry talked to Mike McManus about plowing it and it looked like a possibility. Henry offered a small stipend.

Upgrade of Maple Leaf parking with crushed stone & terrace-step up to kiosk – Henry said 3 tons of crushed stone have been deposited there and need to be spread around. Don said Wally went up there to do it, but there were cars in the parking lot. It was suggested that tape be put across the entrance, but Chuck pointed out that people need to turn around there, since the barricade is up on King’s Hill Rd. Henry said the kiosk is up on a slope and hard to access, so he has built a platform to go under it. When the stone is filled in, it will provide a terraced step up to the kiosk.

Location of wildlife management areas at KHR – Henry asked if anyone knew where they were, but no one did, not even Don. He said he knows there are butterfly areas there.

Henry’s review of KHR – Mountainside Community boundaries – Henry said there was a misunderstanding of where the eastern boundary with Mountainside is. He walked the boundary line with Glen Pogust, who, besides being an easement monitor for KHR, is the head of the Mountainside association. Some SCC signs on the trail were stolen and one of the neighbors had erroneously placed a No Trespassing sign on the Nichols trail. Glen talked to the man and then he and Henry moved the sign. It turns out the Nichols trail goes through Mountainside property for 200 feet. Don said that the SCC requested access to the property for the purpose of putting the trail there, and Frank Stewart, the original owner of the property, gave that permission. Henry said that must be recorded on the property owner’s deed, and he will take a look at it. He is going to speak at the Mountainside annual meeting, and will also speak to the snowmobile club. Henry is going to replace the stolen signs. Chuck said he saw red flagging recently put up at the top of Walrus and other mowed trails that looked like it was about 200 feet over the line into our property. Don said there should be a pin in the middle of the trail with a yellow plastic cap. Henry will take a look.

Logging of KHR – Chuck sent out reports today from the two foresters he’s been talking to. Leo Maslan wrote up a summary of an implementation plan for sections 6 and 8. Eric Oxman sent a longer report containing a woodlot evaluation and an estimate based on section 5, which he walked with Chuck. Bonnie asked about access to section 5, as the report from the UNH Cooperative Extension said the access was poor. Chuck said the access would be from the Nichols trail, and the trail would be opened up. He said it might also be possible that a deal could be made with an abutting property owner to gain shorter access. Chuck said the foresters did not charge for the reports. He suggested we ask them to join a meeting with us in order to answer questions. Barb asked if whoever we selected to do the logging would update the 2005 forest management plan, and Chuck said yes. In order to save expense, we could just ask for an update with new specific details about just the section we were going to log. He said even though our plan is more than 10 years old, we can update it – we don’t need a whole new one. Debbie commented on how professional Eric’s report was, and asked Chuck if he had a preference between the two. Chuck said both are good, and disclosed that Eric is a personal friend and therefore he must abstain from making a recommendation. He said Leo has experience working with New London Conservation Commission and is savvy about outreach, meetings, etc. Bonnie said Leo is on the list of ASLPT approved foresters, and wondered if Eric was. Chuck did not know. Henry asked everyone to read the proposals before the next meeting and be prepared to vote, and to discuss the manner in which we want to do the logging, if we do it. Barb asked what the arguments are against doing the logging. She said it seems that forest management is required by the conservation easement. Henry said aesthetics and the resulting slash are the major negatives. Lynn pointed out that this is a relatively short-term problem. Chuck said that forest management can include the stuff we already do, such as mowing the KHR fields for habitat. Don informed us that any money resulting from a harvest would not go towards the betterment of KHR, but would be directed into the town’s general fund. For this reason we should consider the timing of the operation, as it could generate good will when needed. Chuck said he’d like to know more about this, since in New London the money from timber harvests goes to the NLCC. Don said that when SCC bought the Bean Quarry, it was logged shortly thereafter and the money put into the general fund. This was done in part to gain support for taking that land off the tax rolls. Debbie said not all towns give their LUCT money to the CC, as Sutton does. Barb said we would need to get the approval of ASLPT, and they would also be concerned with aesthetics. Chuck said that they are not overly restrictive, as long as a forest management plan is in place. He said we will also need to talk with the BOS before proceeding. He said he has put in a lot of work on this so far, and there will be a lot more work to do if we proceed. Henry said we will need to divide up the work to take some of the burden from Chuck. Chuck said before we meet again he will walk section 5 with Leo to get his ideas.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:36 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, January 13th, 2021, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary