Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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

Absent: Chuck Bolduc. Bonnie sat in for Chuck.

Members of the public present: Nancy Brazier


Call to order: Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Amy made a motion to approve the minutes from the March 6th meeting and Don seconded. Bonnie had some corrections to report from Betsy Forsham regarding the cell tower discussion, which overstated the height and visibility of the tower, as well as its likely effect on wildlife. The amended minutes were approved unanimously.


Financial Report:

Debbie reported that the LUCT payments have been made to the town, with $17,520 on its way to the Conservation Fund, and another $8,850 awaiting payment by the property owner. Lorri Himes thought the SCC needed to vote to accept the funds, but Don said that is not true. The Conservation Admin fund started with $5,568, and $157 has been spent. The KHR Fund contains $2,737.49. The Land Capital Reserve Fund contains $35,524 but will have an additional $7,000 deposited as appropriated at Town Meeting. The Conservation Fund contains $122,307.41.

Don and Barb reported some corrections to the RSA citations in Don’s spreadsheet of fund information. Under Conservation Admin, Don said that 35:11 should be 35:1, and Barb said that 36-A:4-a should be

36-A:5,I. Under Conservation Fund, Barb thought 36-A:4-a should be 36-A:4. Don said that he included 36-A:4-a because it allows us to spend money in another town, for example, to buy land to protect a drinking water supply. Barb asked if the RSAs cited were about spending the money, as well as acquiring it, and Don said yes. He said Black Mtn and Bowers are the two examples where we used the fund to help buy land in other towns. For Bowers, we also used the Land Capital Reserve Fund. Don suggests that we use the Conservation Fund for easements and the Land CRF for land purchases, because of how these are presented to the town. Use of the Land CRF requires a vote at Town Meeting, while use of the CF only requires a hearing. Easement purchases can be time-sensitive, and people can be less supportive of purchasing easements than of purchasing actual land. He said the RSA cited under KHR pertains to accepting money from an outside source.



  • SRKG Spring 2019 Newsletter with notice of Annual Meeting on March 31st.
  • Flyer from Solarize Kearsarge announcing Kickoff on April 13th at Colby Sawyer, 10 to 11:30.
  • Email from Elly Phillips regarding mandatory Harassment Training for all town volunteers.

Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

  • Chuck was not present to report on the Janovitz site, but Henry thinks he did do a site visit. He will ask Chuck for a report via email. Debbie pointed out that we need to sign off before the Planning Board hearing on April 23rd. Bonnie reported that Jeff Evans has offered his services to SCC if we need a wetlands scientist regarding this or any future matters. His phone number was noted.
  • Barb reported on the DES wetlands rules changes. In response to comments, the DES changed the proposed rule so that an applicant needs to get the signoff of their town’s CC before submitting to DES. DES will have 2 days to decide if a permit by notification is complete, then 5 days to review it for compliance with the substantive requirements. Expedited permits require the CC to sign off, as well. The proposed list of PBN projects has been modified to exclude some of the more invasive projects. These amended rules will now go to JLCAR for approval on April 26th. Barb will check to see if they are expecting any opposition and will let us know if our support is needed. She also reported that House Bill 682, regarding an increase in DES fees to give them more resources for providing oversight, has passed in the NH House and is currently in the Senate. It doubles the amount of the fees but does not provide a COLA-type annual increase.


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Gallup and J. Torro, T/L# 1-136,386, Stevens Brook Rd, 10 of 14.2 acres, Michael Ball, logger. Barb observed that this has already been cut.


Old business


Henry thanked Don on behalf of the commission for his written history of the SCC. He said as a historian, Don rivals Jack Noon. Don said he has a correction to the document – the term Conservation Fund should not appear in the earlier graphs, since that fund didn’t start until 1988. Before that time, there was just a savings account.

Henry also thanked Jane, Don and Wally for the wonderful display they put together for Town Meeting. He said it was the only display and many people stopped to look at it.


New business


Report on the Mitigation Opportunities workshop Barb showed us the interactive aquatic resource mapper on the DES website, and drilled down to Sutton. She had planned to project it on a screen but there were technical difficulties with the projector.  The resource mapper shows phenomena such as frequent flooding, trout streams, floodplains, water crossings, etc. Henry said we can use it to look up intents to cut to see if there is wetlands involvement. He said it also shows culverts and provides information about them. Barb suggests that we include the road agent in the list of entities (Planning Board, etc.) with whom we want to discuss the Strategic Action Plan. Taking our Action Plan, and looking at the resource mapper, we can generate a list of our top ten high priority areas. The first reason to do this is to inform developers what we want to have done as mitigation projects, and the second reason is that when the ARM program is ready to give out funds, we can apply for a grant to do a project from the list. Wally said that the town has a plan in place for every culvert, from working with FEMA. Box culverts are the preferred thing now, since they can withstand heavier loads. This is what was done on Hominy Pot Road last year. The road agent has certain culverts designated to be replaced every year, and there is FEMA money for this. Don gave an example of a culvert that was blocking 10 miles of trout stream and was replaced using an ARM grant.

Barb proposes that we put together a subcommittee of 3 people to generate the list of our top ten areas. Three is more nimble than 9, and because it is less than a quorum, it is exempt from Right to Know laws. Amy asked if there were any other town bodies involved in the same work, so that there is duplication of effort, and the answer was no. She asked if the prioritized items were to be specific areas, and Henry said they could be, or they could be things like culverts, or a wildlife corridor, or a cedar swamp. He said the thing to do is pick out hotspots, and then prioritize them: wildlife vs. water, etc. He suggested starting by looking at the summary at the end of Dan’s Strategic Plan. Wally is interested and said he would like to focus on any water sources, such as natural streams. Don will also join Wally and Barb on the subcommittee. Henry asked Barb to email him if the subcommittee is ready to give a report at the next SCC meeting. He said this will give us focus.


Butterfly Garden Strategies – Amy wants to get a date set for her presentation, which should be 1 to 2 hours long. She had a couple of ideas for the venue – one would be a wine and cheese event at a business in New London, and the other would be a presentation at Town Hall. Henry said he sees no harm in mentioning a private business that sells the relevant plants and products. Wally agreed, but said that all such businesses should be included. Amy said there are very few businesses that sell the relevant plants. It’s not just the nectar-producing plants that are important; the host plants are the real base for a pollinator garden, and these are weedy and esoteric, like pussytoes. Each species of butterfly requires a specific plant. Businesses could be asked if they want to set up a table. Henry and Wally both felt that the SCC should sponsor the event. Henry said it should be very popular, and we will want to advertise. Barb cautioned that we need to make clear that this is an educational program and not an endorsement of any business. Henry asked if Amy has ad copy. Don said he would help her make posters, and Jane said she has some good graphics. Henry heard about a website for making posters and he will look it up. It was decided to hold the event on Thursday, July 18th at 6:30, at Town Hall. Jane will clear it with Elly. Jane and Don will handle advertising. Amy said that butterflies are at the highest level of sensitivity in an ecosystem.


Vernal Pool Walk – Jane looked into what is required for this, and we need nets and a leader. Betsy Forsham suggested Dave Anderson or Jeff Evans. Jane will contact Dave. Henry would like to have the vernal pool at KHR classified as “official”, but there are school kids working on that. He said Dave might know of another vernal pool. Bonnie said there seems to be a possible one at Webb/Crowell. The walk would be done sometime in May.


Harassment Training Workshop – Bonnie passed out copies of the town’s Policy Against Harassment. Everyone needs to attend one of the mandatory workshops and return a signed copy of the policy to Elly. Bonnie collected contact information from the SCC members as requested by Elly.


SCC Properties


KLNA and Horse Beach – Nancy Brazier came to the meeting to talk about Horse Beach issues. She is managing the Lake Host program this year and would like to have a kiosk built so that the lake hosts have a place to sit that is sheltered. She would also like the parking lot to be fixed so that it doesn’t collect water. Wally said he thinks the town should pay for the parking lot to be fixed. He will talk to Elly about getting some truckloads of gravel in there to create a grade toward the back of the lot for runoff. He would like to have head-in parking along the road, but the speed limit would need to be lowered, and he will talk to Ricia about it. As for the kiosk, he said we need to figure out the size, see if we need excavation, etc, and we need to vote on whether to let the NSIS build a kiosk on our property. Jane suggested having the three organizations (SCC, NSIS and KLPA) share the kiosk, which would contain educational materials. The current one has KLPA and invasive weed info. All 3 orgs are represented in SCC – Don for the NSIS, Jane for the KLPA. Wally suggested 6 by 6 for the size, with an open front and sides. He said the first thing to do is fix the parking lot, though. The kiosk would be at the corner of the existing lot, right by the telephone pole. Bonnie asked if it might be a good idea to make the kiosk portable, so it could be taken down in winter. Nancy said one of their host candidates has offered to draw up a plan. Wally said why don’t we get that plan and then figure the location. Nancy said they will know by the 19th how much money they will get for the lake host program and can proceed after that. Jane said crushed gravel is actually considered an impervious surface, so we may need a French drain under the parking lot. We should have an engineer look at it, since there are wetlands next to it. Barb said we should check our map for the location of wetlands.


Trail Maintenance and Development

Current Projects – Henry is working with the high school and they are enthused about incorporating all levels of classes to work on trail-related issues this fall. This spring, they are building three kiosks, which will be placed at Maple Leaf, Webb/Crowell, and Lefferts. They will also be doing trail-clearing work this spring. Henry will meet again with them soon. Don said that Nature Groupies might work with high school groups, and he thinks they would have tools. Henry will look into this.

Budget for Trail Projects – Henry would like to buy some pressure treated 2 by 10s to use for making 8 or 9 bog bridges over the wet areas of the trails. He needs $336 for the lumber and $122 for concrete mix for the gate at the Bean Quarry. Wally said he has some granite that could be used in place of the 4 by 4 cross pieces for the bog bridges. Don suggested using hemlock trees for the lumber; they could be milled into planks at Rob O’Neil’s sawmill. Wally said for the Bean Quarry gate, 4-inch lally columns might be the cheapest and sturdiest option. Debbie made a motion to allow $500 for trail-related expenses to be taken from the Special Projects fund in our town budget. Wally seconded and the vote was unanimous.

KHR 20th Anniversary – Don had proposed that we hold one or more events this summer commemorating this, but Henry suggested we wait for the 25th anniversary, since by then we will have kiosks and highly-developed trails. He said the school kids are planning to build a suspension bridge over a big gully on the Lyon Brook trail. Jane said we should have been consulted about this, as some of us like this trail the way it is and don’t think it requires any more structures. Wally suggested a site walk, and Henry said there would be one April 18th at 2:15. Jane said we need to have a philosophical discussion about what our relationship to nature should be. Henry said we will have a discussion on the goals of our trails system, but there is not currently time and we need to table the issue until next time.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, May 8th, 2019, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary