Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  June 10, 2020

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

Absent: Amy Highstrom. Bonnie sat in for Amy.

Members of the public present: Scott F., Judi Anthony, Karen Tuttle.

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 called the meeting to order at 6:32 pm 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. Co-chair Wally Baker conducted the meeting from this point on.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Henry made a motion to approve the minutes from the 5/13/2020 meeting, and Debbie seconded. As there were no issues found with the minutes, a roll call vote was taken, with all members present voting to approve. Wally abstained since he had not attended that meeting.


Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report to the SCC members before the meeting. It reported that in May, SCC spent $100 in dues (ASLPT) and $144 in expenses for online meetings.  YTD expenses are $569 out of the  full year budget of $7,537.  (The May report did not yet reflect the 10% reduction requested by the town.) The balance in the Conservation Fund was $150,477.10 at month end and $2,771.08 was in the KHR fund.  The SCC Capital Reserve has a balance of approximately $50,299.  Wally asked for a vote to accept the report, and in a roll call vote, all members voted to accept it.


  • Letter from ASLPT thanking the SCC for its membership renewal donation of $100.
  • Letter from Jordan King, Owner of Hooper Hill Forestry in Wentworth, NH, asking the Town of Sutton to consider using his company for our forestry needs. It was decided that Bonnie would reply to him and let him know that we are keeping his letter on file for future consideration.
  • Letter from NHLakes offering speakers, LakeSmart guides, information about preventing invasive aquatic species infestations, and asking SCC to renew our membership for $100. A roll call vote was taken on whether to renew our membership, and all members voted in favor.
  • Email from Elly Phillips to Debbie Lang accepting the SCC’s proposed budget cuts. Debbie explained to Wally that we are deducting $500 from dues/conferences and $254 from Special Projects, amounting to a 10% reduction.
  • Letter from Gabe Roxby, Field Forester with SPNHF, informing the SCC of a timber harvest in the Black Mountain Forest that will affect the Lincoln Trail. Wally asked if anyone wanted to check on this, and Henry said the Forest Society has good forester supervision on this, and will keep a buffer between the trail and the logging. Don said they will be shutting the trail down for a day or two, and Wally asked if they should give us notice. Chuck said there was an article about it on the front page of the InterTown Record. He said he talked to someone from the Warner Conservation Commission. They had had some concerns about Brown Bat nesting in the area, and wanted the SPNHF to change the timeframe of the timber harvest. The SPNHF would not change the date but did agree to leave snags in place for nesting wildlife.
  • NHACC May 2020 eNews, with tips for virtual meetings, and info about several grant opportunities. Regarding virtual meetings, Wally wanted to know if we could meet next month in person someplace. Henry said since our meetings have to be accessible to the public, our only choices are remote meetings or Town Hall.
  • Email request from Elly Phillips for list of new conservation easements since 2016. No one present could think of any other than the ones Elly already knew about (Woodlot & Grange addition to Webb Crowell, and the O’Neil easement). Bonnie will get back to Elly on this, with help from Betsy Forsham if needed.
  • Kezar Lake sewage smell. Henry said the BOS asked if we knew anything about the bad smells being reported around the lake. They will look into it themselves. Wally said we have no enforcement power, anyway.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

Discussion of Wetlands Best Management Practice Techniques for Avoidance and Minimization manual, which can be found online at pointed out some highlights in the manual, which has excellent information on all aspects of interacting with wetlands, including lots of pictures and diagrams. Of particular interest is the chapter on “Bike paths, Footpaths, Trails and Boardwalks”, which we will want to consult before creating new trails. Henry reviewed the manual as well, and he asked Bonnie to put the hard copy in the SCC files at Town Hall. Wally suggested keeoing it handy for the next meeting.


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Wright, Blaisdell Hill Rd, 20 acres out of 38, T/L# 02-319-207,  Barry Wheeler, logger. Henry said Barry Wheeler is a neighbor. He thinks Bob Wright is a good steward of his land.
  • SPNHF, Mastin Rd, 70 acres out of 1016, T/L# 05-014-369,  Jeffrey Smith, forester.
  • and J. Magee, Roby Rd, 20 acres out of 28.2, T/L# 01-885-559,  Neil Butcher, logger. Adjacent to the Lane River. Don drove by and did not see any logging being done yet. Wally expressed concern about runoff into the river, and he asked if Sutton has a required buffer distance. Barb said she thought it was 50 feet.
  • Scott, Kearsarge Valley Road, 10 acres out of 67.6, T/L# 09-044-366, Jordan King, forester. Don said this parcel is bordered by New London, Wilmot, Cascade Brook, and the Caron parcel. He thinks it is already being logged, and that the logs are being taken out on the Wilmot side.
  • and S. Farley, Poor Farm Rd, 50 acres out of 59.9, T/L# 08-651-044, Anita Blakeman, forester. Don said there are several issues here. When skidding logs out onto a Class 5 or Class 6 town road, there is potential for road damage, and he wondered if a road bond should be requested. Wally said he would call Anita. The road needs to be left in its starting condition, or better.
  • Fischer-Anderson, Old Sutton Rd/Foothills Rd, 35 acres out of 64.8, T/L#s 02-830-262, 02-810-302, 02-844-231, Michelle Lemire, logger. Don hasn’t seen any signs of logging yet, when driving by on Rt 114. He suggested people keep an eye on it.


Old business

Status of USDA feral swine monitoring – Bonnie heard back from Korey Simmons of the USDA that trail cameras were placed on June 4th at the town wetlands, Maple Leaf, and King Hill Reservation. Korey said he will send us pictures when they take the cameras down.


Status of Horse Beach parking area — Wally said someone has dumped a load of gravel into the deepest “pond” in the parking lot. He talked to Adam Hurst, the road agent, about the plan for the parking lot, and Adam said there is no plan. He said none of the abutters want the runoff from the parking lot on their property. Wally suggested it be graded so that the runoff is evenly distributed among the abutters. He will attend this Monday’s BOS meeting and ask how we can have a maintenance agreement for the parking area with no plan.


Sundell Natural Area Review – Don visited the site and said the Japanese Knotweed is amazing. It is mind-boggling to think how to deal with it. He said he would ask Betsy Forsham who it was that they talked to at the state, several years ago. The knotweed is coming up out of the seams in the carpeting that is still there. There is poison ivy guarding the knotweed, and several fallen trees. The neighbors would like the area cleaned up, and fall would be the best time to do it. Don found out that it is Ron Menning who has been mowing the area around the sign. Henry asked about the size of the parcel. It is 3.8 acres, and there are no trails or lake frontage. Don said it is woods and knotweed. He said a family in North Sutton is doing an experiment with black plastic over knotweed, and it will be interesting to see the results. He said the SCC tried that several years ago near the middle school, but the effort was undermined by the highway department. Henry said we need to decide whether we really need to get rid of it, or do we care. Chuck said he and Henry are both too busy with other SCC projects to deal with this. Wally said he would take a look at it. Don is going to talk to Betsy and find out what to do, from DES or Forests & Lands or the UNH extension. Chuck said the extension has manuals on line about this. Wally asked if it can be taken to the dump to be burned, and Chuck said you are not supposed to transport it. Wally said it may be being spread when people use ditching material.


Update on parking area at junction of Hominy Pot Rd and Kezar St – Wally says this has the same issues as Horse Beach and needs to be graded.  It is apparently owned by Muster Field Farm but no one has done anything to it. He will bring this up at Monday’s BOS meeting. People are parking all over the place and the situation is urgent.


New Business

Kezar Lake Property Review – A sign is needed for the Kezar Lake Natural Area.


Smiley Grove water celery situation update Bonnie said she looked at the stream a couple of days ago. There is black plastic fencing around part of the stream because of the road work that was done there last week, but if you go past the fencing and look in the stream, there are some dense patches of water celery. She said she would try to get there in the next few days to pull some out, since it’s a dry spring and the stream may get too dry to do it soon.  She said the disposal is the hard part; what she did last year was lay the black plastic bags in the sun to cook, then spread the dead weeds on tarps to dry out, then either burn it or spread it in a dry field with no access to waterways. Someone asked about taking it to the dump, but Bonnie said it is soaked in water and mud and in no condition to be burned.


Establishing an SCC website – Henry gave a presentation of what he thought our website should offer. Bonnie asked if it should be an independent site or should hang off the town website, and Henry thought the latter would be fine. The question was whether this would allow for a multi-page site. Don said that with maps and links, etc. we would need multiple pages. Barb said she is all for this, and has actually sketched something out with her vision of what the site should look like. She suggested that a subcommittee be formed to handle this, and Debbie volunteered to be on it. Bonnie said she has access to the town website already and might be useful in the actual web site mechanics, so the subcommittee will consist of Barb, Debbie and Bonnie. Henry said this would be wonderful, and that people have been poring over our meeting minutes for info about hiking rules during Covid-19 and things like that. He said he would email his document to the members of the subcommittee.


Review of Sutton conservation properties to be monitored by Sutton – Henry projected a list on screen of all the properties we own. He said there is a PDF document that gives detailed info about each property, and what the responsibilities are for monitoring it, and he asked that someone go through the list and distill this information out to present at the next meeting. Don said that he would do this, and Wally said he would work with Don. Henry will send them the PDF. Don said he is the only person on the board who has ever been to the Settlers’ Oven, and he would like to take us all there to see it. Even if it has to be done with only 3 people at a time, he is willing to go as many times as it will take. We should all let him know if we are interested in going. He said the sign there should be replaced with one of Henry’s metal signs.


Review of Sutton lot T/L# 01-173-097 – Barb had sent us a map of the property, and she explained why she put this on the agenda. This is a 99 acre forested lot in East Sutton, with a town cemetery tucked in at the eastern border on East Sutton Rd. Our Strategic Plan map shows this parcel as containing a Forest Block, high habitat ranking, some wetlands, and some steep slopes. The climate change map shows it having regional flows, and it is ranked in the top 20% of properties that should be conserved (see pages 31 and 32 of the plan). The only downside of the property is some trash from long ago, north of the cemetery boundary. She would like us to look at the map, create a subcommittee and look for possible sources of funding to buy the property, such as LCHIP. Henry said there is another piece of interesting property for sale in town that is 129 acres, also with high priority habitat. He would like to move that we talk about land purchases in a private meeting, like an executive session, because of real estate market forces. In the NHACC handbook, section 2.2 allows for exceptions to public meetings for the purpose of land acquisition. The decisions must be made public in 72 hours unless there would be adverse effects. A public session would have to be held immediately afterward with a roll call vote to seal the minutes. Barb said, isn’t that just if you’re going to discuss prices? Can’t we just discuss whether the land meets the criteria in a public meeting? Henry said that we don’t want to disclose our interest. Wally said the minutes would have to be unsealed as soon as an offer was made. Henry added that they can remain sealed for as long as it takes us to negotiate. Chuck suggested having a subcommittee look at the 2 properties in a closed session, then have the private SCC meeting. But get all the info first. Henry thought this was good idea. Don said in the past the SCC has gone into a private session during a regular meeting and then come out. Henry said there is an electronic issue here; he doesn’t know how to create a separate room in GoToMeeting. The only way he knows how to do it is to create a new GoToMeeting session with a different ID number to keep it private. He said we need to act fast because real estate doesn’t sit around. Debbie asked if we should let Karen and Scott make remarks, and Henry said for them to go ahead. Karen Tuttle, the property owner, said they met informally with the Planning Board, presenting several drawings showing possible subdivision options. Henry asked about the sale price, and Judi, Karen’s realtor, said it was $325K. Debbie asked if there was any possibility of a hybrid sale, with some land for development and some for conservation, and Karen said she would be amenable to that. Judi asked what part of the land they were looking at for conservation. Debbie asked who the best person to contact for questions would be, and Judi said she would be, and she gave her phone numbers and email address. Wally said that a precedent to look at would be Maple Leaf, in which 2 lots were left out for conservation, with a tax benefit to the buyer. Judi and Karen thanked the commission. The subcommittee will consist of Barb, Henry and Debbie. Henry had a question; we help people pay to put their land under easement, but could we also help someone buy a piece of land under the condition that they would put it under easement? An advantage for the town is that someone else owns the land, so they would pay taxes on it, albeit minimal ones. Debbie thought we should talk to town counsel about this, and Henry said it is something for the subcommittee to think about.


Meeting time change – In a roll call vote, the members voted in favor of changing the meeting time from 6:00 to 6:30 for the summer.


Possible news article for local papers about insect extinction – Henry was hoping to discuss this with Amy, as it would not only be an educational opportunity, but would provide some publicity for the SCC.


Trail Maintenance and Development


Trails Advisory Committee Report

King Hill mowing – A Sutton resident and member of the RidgeRunners club had volunteered to do some mowing, but it looks like we don’t have anything for him to do right now, and Henry will let him know. Don is going to be mowing the walking paths (White Rabbit, etc) with his new tractor. Chuck volunteered to go up there while Don is mowing. The major mowing will be done by Dave Carey, and Chuck said we are on his schedule for late September.

Signage for Sutton conservation lands

Don will send out a list of all the signs (11), with photographs and info about what condition they’re in. Henry said the purpose of this effort is to establish consistent signage, and to add SCC’s name to the signs so that the public knows we are responsible. Don says not all the signs have SCC on them, and most need to be repainted. He has paint. Some routing needs to be done, and Henry will put this on a list of tasks for a work day. Henry showed us something he’s been posting at the Hominy Pot kiosk; it’s an illustrated list of flora and fauna published in Northern Woodlands magazine, under the heading “This Week in the Woods”. This is something that would be ideal to have on our website, as well. Chuck mentioned simple signs with symbols for hiking, birdwatching, etc. that we could purchase and post at the trailheads, showing the public what can be done on these properties. The trails advisory committee will come up with a proposal for this, with costs, etc.

Parking at Sutton Conservation Lands

Don spoke to Roger Wells about parking at the Hominy Pot entrance. Roger said that either inside or outside the gate would work, and 10 to 12 spaces should be possible. Parking inside the gate is more controllable and would be more efficient; parking outside the gate might be more scattered. Henry said it is extremely important to have good, well-maintained parking, but that this is going to be very expensive and could cost as much as $30,000. Even if we limited it to $10K, which account would the money come out of? The capital reserve fund requires town approval. That leaves the Conservation Fund. Wally said, regarding Hominy Pot, show him what we want, and he will get some estimates, so that we can have some cost figures to consider. Henry said we need to figure out a priority list and come up with a concrete proposal with amounts of money required and where it’s to come from. He said Maple Leaf, Penacook Path and Webb/Crowell also need work, and Wally said he would look at those. Henry said the parking lot at Enroth/Lefferts is useless.


Status of snow plowing arrangement for trailhead parking by Jerry Gagnon

Don has not talked to him yet.


Work Day scheduling

Henry wants to do this on Saturday, June 27th, at 9:00, but asked how we do this under Covid-19. Do we publicize it? There are 3 kiosks that need to be installed, and signs to be painted. Chuck asked how many people are needed to move the kiosks, and Henry said maybe two strong people. The roofs are heavy. Concrete needs to be mixed, and holes dug for the posts. A tractor with post hole digger would be very helpful, otherwise it will have to be done by hand.  Chuck said he is available for the 27th. Wally said he and Don can put in the posts, if they are shown where to do it, and they will put them in before the 27th. Wally will call Henry and Chuck to coordinate. The kiosks are for Webb/Crowell, Maple Leaf and Enroth/Lefferts. Don said digging holes on the Kezar St side of Enroth/Lefferts would be very difficult, as it is rocky, so he suggested the Rt 114 side. Unfortunately, there is no parking there. Henry said Webb/Crowell is the highest priority. The Eagle Scout is almost done building his ramp there. Henry and Wally will determine the locations of the posts. As for repainting the signs, Barb and Debbie volunteered to paint. Don thinks he has paint. The signs are brown with cream lettering. Someone asked if the signs could be painted in place, and Don said it is easier if they can be taken down, and allowed to dry under cover. Wally suggested that someone take the signs down and put them in a central place, where they can be picked up and painted on the 27th. Wally doesn’t think he can get his tractor into Webb/Crowell. Don thinks he can move one of the boulders with his tractor and get in there to do the posts. Wally and Henry will meet at Maple Leaf on the 27th.


Status of gravel placement over two KHR culverts – Wally and Chuck will coordinate next Tuesday to do this. Chuck said he cleared trees on the Penacook Path so it is all open now.




NH DOT Notification – Regarding the I-89 paving, Chuck has been trying to contact Meli Dube before submitting our list of mitigation priorities.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, July 8th, 2020, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary