Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

Sutton Conservation Commission (SCC)

DRAFT Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Present: Henry Howell, Chair; Don Davis; Debbie Lang; Joanna Murphy; Lynn Wittman; Yvonne Howard and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Chuck Bolduc; Jim Morris.

Call to order: Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:32 pm.

Previous Meeting’s Minutes: The minutes from the last meeting on May 8th were unanimously approved.

Financial Report:

We had no expenditures for May. Here are the TD Bank account balances as of the end of May:

  • Conservation Fund: $226,537.23 (sum of all sub-accounts)
    • Conservation Fund Unrestricted: $211,346.60
    • Sievert King Hill Gift: $15,087.05
    • Donation Holding Account: $103.58
  • Capital Reserve: $79,649.59
  • Non-Capital Reserve: $1,000.00

Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

Update on the KHR donation system – no report.

Update on KHR Putnam Trail renovation – Henry said the Kezar Lake Running Club has done a lot of trimming, and they are looking to get planks for bridges across some wet areas. He said the Putnam Bridge is in good shape, but the access needs to be made easier, and he would like to see this done as a Trail Day project. He asked the members to come up with other projects for a Trail Day. Joanna said she walked at Webb/Crowell and encountered some downed trees, including a large one right near the entrance. She is planning to go back with her friend and cut whatever she can without a chainsaw.

New Facebook group for trail volunteers – Henry said this needs more publicity, and he will send out an email to his whole mailing list.

KHR Penacook Path culvert rebuild/replacement – Henry said he will check with the town highway department to see if they have a large used culvert that we could appropriate.

Chainsaw authorization for volunteers – Henry said the best and simplest thing he has found is a course given by SPNHF. He has gone through it himself, and it is the one they require for their own volunteers. It is given twice a year. Primex offers all manner of training courses, and they would come here to do it, but that would be expensive. Anita Blakeman suggested Henry call Cherri Birch at the NHTOA about training courses. Joanna suggested Renaissance Tree, but Henry said he wants something more official.

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues

  • J and E Maynard, Baker Rd, T/L# 07-175-479, 3 acres out of 15.36, Neil Butcher, logger.
  • M Vickery, Eaton Grange Rd, T/L# 03-983-475, 45 acres out of 67.2.
  • Greatwoods, LLC, Eaton Grange Rd, T/L# 01-120-477, 6 acres out of 52 . Bonnie said the intents are not being received in a timely manner. The latter two were never received; she gleaned the info above from the BOS agendas.


Wetlands Review


Appointment 7:00 : Anita Blakeman to discuss monitoring Intents to Cut

Anita introduced herself as a professional forester who has served as the Town’s Timber Tax Monitor since 1996. She receives the Intents to Cut and looks at them before they go to the BOS. For our information, she printed out the RSAs governing timber tax law, as well as other info pertaining to timber prices and how stumpage value is determined. Timber taxes go into the General Fund. A cut cannot be held up for more than 15 days. She herself has no enforcement capacity. Henry pointed out that we could notify DES during those 15 days if we knew there were extensive wetlands on the site. A Supplemental Intent to Cut must be filed if more than 25% of the volume of timber is cut. Recently 125 acres of Girl Scouts land was logged, and way more volume was cut than was specified. In this case Doomage can be assessed, which is a penalty of twice the amount of the normal tax. Anita uses her experience and knowledge to figure the correct timber taxes, which is challenging because while timber prices change weekly, the State only updates its data twice a year. She said that thinning trees and creating openings in the forest canopy is good for wildlife; you just have to be careful not to degrade water quality in the process. She was on the SCC many years ago and urged that the weevily white pines in the Town Forest be clear cut to allow regeneration of the forest, but it was not done. She recommends creating a true Town Forest designation, as this would allow the SCC to make forestry decisions independently of the BOS. She pointed out that when we replace the culvert in KHR, we will need to get Town permission as well as a DES permit. Joanna asked if we should have a designated person on the SCC to go out with Anita when she checks a logging site. Anita said she only checks the site when she has been alerted about a complaint, usually from an abutter. She said she hasn’t actually seen any big problems in Sutton.

Appointment 7:20: Jenn McCourt to discuss Funnel Development ordinance

Jenn is educating various groups around town about a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that she is hoping to get on the town warrant next spring as a petitioned article. She handed out the proposed language for the article, as well as maps showing the areas around the Town’s lakes and ponds that would be affected. The object is to prevent funnel development, which is the development of a large parcel of land with a small shoreline frontage, in such a way that the shoreline access would be distributed among a large number of property owners and lead to overuse. There are examples of this all over the state. The ordinance would not affect what people can do to their property currently. The purpose is to protect water quality and rural atmosphere. Henry asked what she would like the commission to do. She asked for suggestions of other groups to talk to. The KLPA annual meeting, North Sutton Improvement Society, and the transfer station were suggested. Henry asked if Town Counsel has been consulted on the legality of this, and Jenn said that with a petitioned article, you get what you get, and the town cannot change it, though they can make refinements to the language later on.

New Business

Community Power – Don attended the hearing on this and gave us copies of the handout from the presentation. He said Merrimack County is ready to opt in, and once that happens (this summer), anyone in the county can take part, regardless of whether their town opts in. The group will bid on bulk energy and share the savings. Some people at the hearing were afraid that people who get their energy from alternate source such as solar would lose the benefits of net metering. But if the town decides to opt in (the decision is up to the BOS), those people can choose to opt out. Another possible scenario is that the town can choose to have the town buildings in the community power group, but not the town as a whole. Joanna pointed out that people can choose various options for buying cleaner power, which are priced accordingly. Don was concerned that Selectman McManus made a remark about the BOS choosing to put solar panels on town-owned land. Don said that the SCC is responsible for taking care of town land. Henry pointed out that there is other town land such as the highway department buildings that are perfectly suited for solar panels. Joanna suggested getting on the BOS agenda to talk about this.

Mount Sunapee parking expansion – Bonnie forwarded to the members the letter from Friends of Mt Sunapee detailing Vail’s plan to expand the parking area at the ski resort by cutting five and a half acres of forest and eliminating seven thousand square feet of wetlands. In addition, they have refused to fix septic lagoons that are leaking into the Lake Sunapee watershed. She wrote a letter of protest to the Commissioner of NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the members voted to send it on behalf of the SCC.

Turtle sign disappearance – At least two signs are missing (and maybe three) from Penacook Rd and Gile Pond Road. We have heard about several turtle rescues.

Old Business

Settlers Oven – Don gave a tour to members of the Sutton Historical Society. He would like to find the master copy of the original sign and have a new metal sign made for the Oven.

Update on Stockwell property donation – The Stockwells are still waiting for their surveyor.

Dog waste at KHR’s Hominy Pot Trail and Penacook Path – tabled until next month.

5 year review of SCC Strategic Plan – Regarding Forest Blocks, Bonnie said that our Plan shows these as blocks of land delineated by travelled roadways, large water bodies, and non-forest land uses. So they are not necessarily unfragmented blocks, as they contain houses, lawns, etc. She was supposed to speak about whether Forest Block data and Steep Slope data needs to be updated, but she had a hard time finding where this data comes from. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), released new National Land Cover Database (NLCD) products in 2021, but she is not sure whether this is the data that Dan Sundquist used in his 2018 analysis. It looks like he got his data from The Nature Conservancy. She said it appears that GIS expertise is necessary to get information from these databases into map and table form that is suitable for our strategic plan. She said Chuck reported that he is looking into data sources, and perhaps he will be able to enlighten us. Debbie said she asked Chuck if it would be difficult to present the co-occurrance data with and without the subjective weighting from the Delphi process, and he said that would not be a problem. Joanna spoke briefly about NHWAP Habitat Condition. She said the Forest Society’s newest Wildlife Action Plan (due in 2025) has maps and charts with a focus on Species of Greatest Concern. Upcoming reports will be from Yvonne on wetlands, Joanna on aquifers, and Don on good water sources.

Update on Kezar Lake rain garden – Ernie and Sondra Brake bought new plants and planted them in the raised beds at Horse Beach. Henry would like to get labels for the various plants.

Update on discussion with student Kai Castillo’s report on KHR – Don spoke to Kai on the phone.



  • Email exchange with town admin and town clerk regarding oaths of office for SCC members.
  • Email from town admin regarding appreciation cookout for Sutton employees and board members on July 13th.
  • Email exchange between Henry Howell and Joanne Lord regarding notice of Intents to Cut for SCC.
  • Email from Town Clerk asking a representative of SCC to come in and talk about old SCC files. Bonnie will do this.
  • Letters from ASLPT and NHLakes requesting membership renewal. These will go out next week.
  • Packet from ASLPT containing easement monitoring reports for the following town-owned properties: Russell Pond, Bean Quarry, Enroth/Lefferts, Webb/Crowell, KHR sections 1 through 4, and Maple Leaf. An issue was raised regarding the Russell Pond property, which has a driveway encroachment. This property has recently changed hands, and ASLPT would like to know if the Town has been able to get an acknowledgment of the encroachment from the current neighboring landowner. Henry said he would look at the driveway.
  • Packet from ASLPT with easement monitoring reports for the following conserved properties: Emerson/Brand lots 1 and 2, Enroth, O’Neil, and Putnam.
  • Lakeside, current issue of the NHLakes magazine.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary