Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

TOWN OF SUTTON

Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Present: Wally Baker, Co-Chair; Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Barbara Hoffman; Jane Williamson; Amy Highstrom and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Debbie Lang, Chuck Bolduc. Amy sat in for Debbie and Bonnie sat in for Chuck.

Members of the public present: Mike Daley

 

Call to order: Wally Baker called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m.

 

Previous Meeting’s Minutes: As there were no issues found with the minutes from the February 13th meeting, Don made a motion to approve them and Jane seconded. The minutes were approved unanimously.

 

Financial Report:

Bonnie presented the financial report from Debbie. As of the end of January, the Conservation Fund contained $122,177.64 and the KHR Fund contained $2,734.59. At year’s end, the Capital Reserve Land Fund contained $35,523.93. There is no town budget report as we have not yet had Town Meeting. Wally thinks that the LUCT money (around $24K) may have already been posted to the Conservation Fund. Bonnie will ask Debbie who should handle making payments such as membership renewals.

 

Correspondence:

  • Membership renewal notice from the SPNHF.
  • Winter 2019 issue of Forest Notes, magazine of the SPNHF. Feature article describing the quantity and economic benefits of town-owned land in NH.
  • Conservation News, newsletter of the Merrimack County Conservation District, with order form for tree, shrub and bulb sale.
  • Letter from the SCA New Hampshire AmeriCorps Program describing the various services that their group can provide to conservation organizations, including trail building and maintenance, environmental education, invasive species eradication, etc.
  • Notice from ASLPT about a snowshoe hike in Grantham on 3/9.
  • Easement monitoring reports from ASLPT for Enroth-Lefferts, King Hill Reservation, Maple Leaf Natural Area, the William Bean Quarry, and Russell Pond. ATV damage was reported in the Bean Quarry. Henry said we are dealing with it and will be putting up a gate in the spring. A tent was reported on the Maple Leaf land by Jane. She said the boundaries of Maple Leaf are wrong in the town’s AxisGIS map and she has reported this to ASLPT. Their own survey map is correct.

Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

  • Notice of Wetlands Permit Approval 2/14/2019 for P. Ezen. DES File #2018-03787, Route 114, T/L# 2-704,486. Don looked this up; it involves dredging the Blaisdell Lake Association’s boat launch.
  • Wetlands Permit for Janovitz, for construction of a common driveway to two single-family houses. The driveway crosses wetlands. Eaton Grange Road, T/L# 1-248,391. Henry asked Chuck to look at this, since the stormwater report we received was highly technical. Barb said it looked like the planning board just wants to know that we have been given the opportunity to look at the site. Amy asked if there are any experts that we can ask to look into matters like this, and Don said we don’t have the power that we used to. Henry said we can ask someone from the state (Doug Minor, Forests & Land), but he is stretched very thin. Bonnie asked how we should respond to the Planning Board, and Wally suggested sending an email to Roger Wells stating that we will contact the wetland scientist to do a site review after the snow melts.

 

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • None

 

New business

Private Property violations on Mountainside Drive Mike Daley of Mountainside Dr. came in to speak about various problems. He wants to know if the KHR trailhead can be plowed out in the winter, and is willing to help make that happen. With that parking lot unavailable, and the parking prohibition on Kings Hill Rd, large numbers of people are parking on Mountainside Dr, many from out of state. Besides the skiers and snowmobilers, hunters were heavily using the road, and were driving right up onto his property. He had to put boulders along it.  He doesn’t object to local people parking there. Someone suggested a “Parking for Sutton Residents Only” sign. Wally suggested that Mike talk to Elly about plowing the KHR lot, and she can bring it up with the road agent. He said once the BOS are made aware of an issue, they have to take care of it. Wally said the downside is, the more parking we provide, the more people will come. Mike also would like to know if snowmobiling can be limited in KHR, as people are driving snowmobiles in areas that don’t even lead anywhere. They come down the Lyon Brook trail and turn right, and some are cutting trees to open up the trails. Don said that only one trail is open to snowmobiles, and turning right off that trail is not allowed. He said we would talk to the local snowmobile club to see if they can communicate this message, and Mike said he would go to their next meeting and talk to them about it. Wally volunteered to go with him. Mike said that when the SCC had their last trail work day, trees were cut down that were on his property. Bonnie and Henry apologized, and Henry said he would take his sign down. He said he will clearly mark the edges where the private property is. At the end of the discussion, Barb asked what it was that we agreed to do. Dave will talk to Elly and the snowmobile club, and SCC will provide clearer trail markings and signage, making it plain that parking is not allowed on private property.

 

Saving Special Places conference – This will be held April 6th, in Alton. Wally, Don and Amy expressed interest in going. Wally suggested that people pick different sessions for greater coverage.

 

Workshop: Finding Mitigation Opportunities in Your Community – This will be held March 11th in Manchester. Barb pointed out that the ARM funds referenced here can be used to cover the costs of placing a conservation easement upon land, as we are doing with Rob O’Neil. She also explained that when a developer destroys a wetland, compensatory mitigation must be performed, and the developer will ask the town what its top ten priorities are for balancing out the effects of the wetlands destruction. In order to take advantage of this, we need to create a list of our top ten priorities. Henry said that if we are going to try to implement Dan’s strategic plan, then this list of mitigation priorities would be a good filter to overlay on it. Henry will try to fit this workshop into his schedule, and Barb said she will attend it. Bonnie said she can attend the first hour of it. Attendees will report back at the April meeting.

 

Preparation for Town Meeting

  • Capital Reserve Land Fund Change – Wally said that he and Don met with the select board and explained that we do not want $6,000 taken out of the land fund and put into a special projects non-capital reserve fund, and they were agreeable to this. The plan is that when article 9 comes up for a vote, the moderator will recognize Wally, and he will explain what our funds are and how we expend money from them. He will explain that changing the amount in article 9 to $7,000 and doing away with article 13 will have no net effect on taxation. We will still get $2300 for special projects. Wally thinks we should spend some of our money in the Conservation Fund on special projects, as well, to show the town that we are making good use of it. Don spoke about the two buildings at KHR that need to be demolished, a pump house and a valve house that are deteriorating and may constitute an attractive nuisance. We need to evaluate them. Wally said we should not take them down this year, as Henry already has projects planned that will take precedence. Don spoke about the importance of Current Use in preserving open space, and of providing public access to land.
  • Article 18 – Conservation Easement on Webb/Crowell — Amy agreed to make the motion at Town Meeting to accept the article. Don also said he would speak to it if needed, making the point that the fact that the town owns a piece of land does not mean that it is protected.
  • Article 19 – Winter Maintenance of a Portion of Kings Hill Rd – Bonnie asked if the SCC needs to speak to this article, and Wally said to let the BOS handle it. The deed for the property in question states that this road is not winter-maintained. If anyone asks about Maple Leaf parking they will be told that it has to be accessed by foot.
  • Displays for Town Meeting – Jane is working on this. She is going to display Dan’s map on an easel, and is going to display a blow up of the PDF from the Trust for Public Land about the return on investment from towns preserving open space. She has also designed a handout describing what the SCC does. Don suggested saying something about this being the 20th anniversary of the KHR acquisition, which really opened the door for more land preservation. Wally said he would get Jane some poster board and boards. Jane will set up the display before the potluck starts so people will be able to look at it while they’re snacking.

Wright’s Hill Road Cell Tower – Henry reported that there is a proposal to build a 200-foot high cell tower that will be visible for miles and will affect the local ambiance of the area, as well as destroying natural beauty, flora and fauna. However, he said the town really needs the cell service, and others agreed with him. Wally said the town can’t tell the property owner not to put up the tower; the only thing SCC has a say in is the screening around it. Some comments were made as to the difficulty of screening 200 feet up in the air.

Grants – Don had sent us out some info about grants available from the Division of Parks and Recreation, and he said he is trying to find out when they open up again. He said the Community Recreation grants can involve large sums of money, and he said this would be good to pursue if we want to create a trail accessible to disabled people. Henry said such a trail needs to have a destination, such as a scenic view, and Amy suggested that the destination could be a butterfly meadow. The members liked that idea.

Adjournment: There being no further business, Barb made a motion to adjourn, and Wally seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 8:56 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, April 10th, 2019, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary