Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  September 9, 2020

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

Absent: Wally Baker, Co-Chair.

Members of the public present: Lynn Wittman.

This meeting was held remotely via GoToMeeting due to the Covid-19 emergency. Debbie volunteered to be the contact person for members of the public having difficulties connecting, and gave her 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. He welcomed Lynn Wittman. 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 6:38 pm.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Debbie made a motion to approve the minutes from the 8/12/2020 meeting, and Barb seconded. No one had any issues with the minutes, and they were approved unanimously.


Welcome Lynn Wittman to the SCC: Henry proposed that Lynn be made an alternate member of the SCC, with Bonnie taking Amy Highstrom’s place as a regular member. The roll call vote was unanimously in favor. Henry will contact Elly about getting Lynn sworn in.


Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report to the SCC members before the meeting. It reported that in August, the only activity in the operating account was the removal of $144 in the expense category for the GoToMeeting fee.  The town is putting all the Covid-related expenses in one place as they will be covered by funds from the CARES act.  The budget has not yet been adjusted for the town-mandated 10% reduction. YTD expenses are: Secretarial services – $666 out of $1267 total budget; Dues/Conferences – $450 out of 1350 total; Expenses – $0 out of $800 total; Supplies – $0 out of $170 total; Special Projects – $75 out of $4000 total. Total expenses YTD are $1191 out of a total budget of $7537. The August bank statement had not yet been received. Henry said he is about to submit a bill for trail-related materials of about $1000. Barb said she submitted a bill for $500 from the property appraiser. Henry said this should come out of the Conservation Fund. Bonnie suggested taking it from the Expenses account in the admin budget instead.  Chuck said we will need to pay for mowing soon. He had an estimate from Dave Carey of $1500 for a full day’s work by 2 men, to mow about 2/3 of the KHR fields. Chuck suggested splitting the cost between the KHR fund and the Conservation Fund. He is trying to look into Fish & Game grant money for it, but hasn’t yet gotten a call back. He will persist. Don said that the SCC got habitat grant money from a different source one year, that covered the cost of the use of a Brontosaurus, near the Felch trail. This created some habitat and increased food sources for deer.


  • Email from Gabe Roxby, forester with SPNHF, regarding lack of water in the unnamed stream in front of  A Sutton resident (and abutter) reported to Elly that the stream had gone dry for the first time in 30 years. No road work had been done in the area, according to Adam Hurst. Bonnie wrote to Mr. Roxby, who said the streams impacted by the Black Mountain timber harvest are in a different watershed, and that best practices have been strictly observed to avoid blocking streams. Henry said that the problem is that the KRHS maintenance department has cut down all the trees along that stream, and it is now too hot for brook trout to survive there.
  • NHACC August 2020 eNews, with info about grant opportunities. Bonnie said that all SCC members should be receiving this newsletter, and she will notify the NHACC about Lynn Wittman’s appointment to the commission so that she can be added to their mailing list.
  • Email from Lynn Wittman with plans and picture of a proposed kiosk at Horse Beach parking area.
  • Email from Barbara Hoffman containing appraisal report for a property in Sutton. The members agreed that it seemed to be a fair and detailed appraisal.
  • Email from NHACC announcing that their 50th Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, November 7th via Zoom.
  • Email from NHACC announcing upcoming Lunch and Learn Zoom sessions, on drinking water protection, grant writing, etc.
  • Email from Barbara Hoffman with attached draft of letter of support for ARM fund request by the Warner Conservation Commission. A letter was sent to Fish & Game with Henry’s signature.
  • Email from Betsy Forsham responding to inquiry about recommended foresters. She advised using the list from ASLPT.
  • Email from Betsy Forsham providing clarification regarding the wording of sign for town land on Wadleigh Hill Rd. It can’t legally be called a “Town Forest” as there is no active management plan.
  • Email from Debbie Lang, providing link to video of “Trails for People and Wildlife” webinar from NH Fish & Game.
  • Email from Gabe Roxby announcing that part of the SRKG’s Lincoln Trail will be closed during weekdays for 2 to 4 weeks due to the timber harvest. It’s the part between the access road and the junction with the spur trail to the flagpole. Signs will be posted tomorrow.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:



Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Supplemental to 20-439-11: K. Fischer-Anderson, Old Sutton Rd/Foothills Rd, .25 acres out of .25, T/L# 02-895-218, Michelle Lemire, logger. Property card shows that this parcel is owned by the Town of Sutton. Bonnie will contact Elly Phillips to find out the story.


Old business

Report from Property Advisory CommitteeHenry reported that the Pratt property has been purchased by a Sutton family for the purpose of conservation. They intend to hire a forester to create a management plan, and intend to get farmers to farm the cleared fields, perhaps in partnership with Sweet Beet. As for the other property of interest, Barb said she had nothing new to report. Her calls to the realtor have not been returned. Debbie asked if any of the neighbors were interested in purchasing the land. Barb said there are 2 or 3 neighbors who may be interested in contributing if the SCC makes an offer. Chuck asked if the appraisal was done on the entire parcel or with some lots split off for houses. Barb said it was on the entire parcel. She would like to talk to the realtor about splitting off the land. She said the problem with splitting the parcel is that the costs of doing so, for the survey and other expenses, would be $30,000. There are wetlands in the back that cannot be built upon. After she talks to the realtor, Barb plans to talk to Andy Deegan of ASLPT. Chuck pointed out that there is not much incentive for the owner to split the land up, considering the cost. Barb said the SCC could offer to help with the cost, if we could get the remaining 88 acres at a good price. Debbie asked about access to the land if it were split up, and Barb said there is a third lot north of the cemetery that would provide access.


Review of Sutton Conservation Properties to be monitored by Sutton – Henry said we need to figure out which of our properties we have monitoring obligations on. Don said the only ones we have an obligation on are the three Wells lots, off Dodge Hill Rd. Bonnie said she has been monitoring the three lots over the course of the summer and has refreshed the paint on the boundary markers and added flagging where needed. She has taken pictures of the boundary markers and just needs to write up a report. The only incursion is the ATV usage which was mentioned last month. Bonnie suggested we post some signs that say “No Motorized Vehicles” or “No ATVs, Dirt Bikes or Snowmobiles”. Barb will check the easement deed at Town Hall to verify that it forbids ATV use. Don said we have a secondary interest in two properties, Emerson and Bower (aka Kearsarge Gore Farm), but are not responsible for monitoring them unless the primary easement holders fail.


Report on Japanese Knotweed Treatment at Sundell Natural Area – Don reported on Wally’s behalf. Doug Cygan of DES sprayed the chemical on the knotweed and it is showing signs of dying. The recommendation is that next year we mow the knotweed down early in the season and mow a path around the patch before spraying again. This will enable the chemical to get into the roots. It will take two or three years before the knotweed is eradicated. Henry said this will be a good test. Bonnie wanted to know what the name of the chemical is. [She asked Chris Kane after the meeting – it is Rodeo.]


Status of Horse Beach Parking Lot Renovation – Don said Wally has talked with a couple of different people and he has marked the proposed sites of both the kiosk and the Porta-John with stakes. Lynn asked is it was OK with us to have all three groups (SCC, NSIS and KLPA) use the kiosk? It would be mostly for educational materials related to loons, the lake walk, etc. No one objected. Lynn is trying to find out if permission is needed from DES, as it was for the one at Elkins. Barb didn’t think it would be necessary, and Don said the one at Elkins is closer to the water. Henry asked if we need a gravel walkway around the kiosk for access to it, and Lynn said yes. She said NSIS has the area around their kiosk mowed, and she will ask them if they would mow ours. She’d like to see the KLNA frontage mowed, and is willing to help if Henry would lend his brush-hog. She is interested in taking on the rain garden project and getting people to help with it. Chuck said the rain garden was proposed as a way to deal with the issue of parking lot runoff.  Lynn said there will be a KLPA meeting in October. Henry said he will get together with Lynn to discuss the brush-hogging and the rain garden, as he has a wealth of information on rain gardens. He said he has made a carved wooden sign for KLNA.


Status of placing easements on town-owned properties – Bonnie wrote to Elly Phillips regarding this a couple of months ago, and Elly said she thought it would need to go before Town Meeting. She included Laura Spector-Morgan, town counsel, on the email chain. Laura said:

“Yes, RS A80:80, V requires a vote of town meeting to retain tax deeded property for public use. And beyond that, in light of the court’s recent holding that towns may not retain excess proceeds from the sale of tax deeded property even after 3 years, I am guessing that the court’s next holding would be that if the town decides to keep the property for public use, it has to pay the former owner the value of the property, less the amount of back taxes and interest it is owed. ”

Bonnie said she did not know how the value of the land would be determined. The assessed values are very high. The three properties are shown below with info from the property cards:


T/L 04-194-375                       4 acres             assessed $16,200         sold 2014 for $1972

T/L 04-207-389           2 acres             assessed $34,400         sold 2016 for $4152

T/L 04-212-391           3 acres             assessed $34,500         sold 2013 for $0


Debbie asked if this would only pertain to public use, and what if we put an easement on the land and did not allow public access? Barb said we cannot legally place easements on town-owned land; it would need to be done by ASLPT or some such entity. Debbie said ASLPT does have easements on land that does not allow public access.

Chuck asked if these conditions would also apply if the town sold the property.  Bonnie said she would ask Elly about the amount of the back taxes on the parcels, how their values would be determined, and what Elly’s advice would be on how to proceed from here.


New Business


Request from Warner River Local Advisory Committee – Debbie relayed a request from Pete Savickas of WRLAC, which has been tasked by LSR 2967 with monitoring all development within a ¼ mile buffer around the Warner River. They need to be notified of any type of wetlands permit application or notification submitted to NHDES on or after December 15, 2019.  This applies to the 5 towns along the river, and there is no mechanism in place for doing this yet. To help with this, WRLAC would like a data layer to be added to the town’s GIS property maps showing the buffer, so that those planning projects will be able to see when they are within the buffer. This will be used by the Planning Board, ZBA, the BOS, and the SCC. Pete has talked to Elly about it and she said this would cost money. Debbie said the SCC had voted to give the WRLAC $130 towards the placement of designated river signs, but it turned out that there was no place those signs could be placed. She suggested we put that money instead towards the costs of the GIS layer. The alternative is to wait until April or May when the town would cover the cost. Henry said this is something we should support. Debbie said she will get an estimate of what the cost of the layer would be, and we can vote on it at another meeting.




News article regarding Webb/Crowell Eagle Scout Ramp – Henry showed us the article that he wrote that was published in the InterTown Record. He said he did it to publicize the SCC.


SCC Website – Henry urged us to publicize the SCC any way we can, and that one way is to make use of our website to post articles and pictures. He plans to add information to the website about rain gardens and how to make them. Lynn suggested holding a workshop when we build our rain garden at KLNA.


Trail Maintenance and Development


Trails Advisory Committee Report

Update on sign-making for our conservation lands – Henry has finished routing all the wording on all the new signs and painting them. He will deliver them to the Town Hall porch tomorrow to be picked up by Barb, Debbie and Bonnie, who will paint the letters. Lynn asked if we needed help, and Henry enlisted her to pick up Amy’s task of painting the red lettering on the signs for the trails at KHR. Henry will make her a map showing the signs’ locations. Henry will get the Bean Quarry and Town Wetlands signs from Don and will paint them, too.

Kiosks – Henry, Don, Wally and Chuck will install the kiosk at Maple Leaf on Saturday, Sept. 19th. Henry said this one is very important, as it will inform people how to get to Penacook Path from there.

NHDOT response to King Hill Reservation link trail near I-89 – Since the residents of Mountainside have not been receptive to letting people walk through that property, NHDOT was approached about letting us create a trail in the state’s corridor next to I-89, for about 1000 feet. They need us to provide a formal analysis of the trail, including a map with contour lines. They want to know who would be liable, who would use it, have the abutters been notified, etc. Henry will work on answering these questions, and he said we need a professionally designed trail. He said this will make a beautiful loop for hiking, going by the cellar holes with the historical plaques with info provided by Amy. He said the area will need to be cleaned up.

Fallen trees on KHR trails – These are on Penacook-Walrus, upper White Rabbit, and the north end of Nichols. Chuck suggested working on these the day they install the kiosk at Maple Leaf.

Hominy Pot parking – Chuck said he and Travis Perkins looked at the parking lot to determine the easiest and least expensive solution to increase the parking capacity. Travis gave a rough estimate of $3000 for a couple of days of work with equipment, labor and materials to build a small retaining wall and add to the parking area. Travis suggested using parking bumpers to designate parking spots, but these were not included in the estimate. It was discussed whether we need a second estimate, or if there are town requirements for obtaining bids. Chuck will ask Elly what the requirements are for getting bids on a project.  It was agreed that we would like to get the project done this season because this parking area is our best access to the King Hill Reservation in winter, which is a season when many people enjoy this land. In response to a suggestion from Barb, Henry made a motion that the SCC hire Travis Perkins to improve the Hominy Pot Rd parking lot at KHR, subject to requirements from the town.  Chuck seconded, and the roll call vote was unanimously in favor. Henry said he thinks it is well worth the money, and the question is, where should the money come from? The members agreed that money should not be taken from the Conservation Fund until the Special Projects fund is exhausted. Debbie noted that the Special Projects fund will be reduced by $500 once the 10% budget cuts go through. Bonnie pointed out that we still have money in our other town budget accounts, such as Expenses, that could be used.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:48 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, October 14th, 2020, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary