Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

Pillsbury Memorial Town Hall
93 Main Street Sutton Mills, NH
Sutton Mills, NH 03221
Board of Selectman
March 26, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.


The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m.  Present at the meeting was William I. Curless, Chair; Dane Headley, Selectman; Robert Wright, Jr., Selectman; Robert DeFelice, Budget Committee Chair; Beverly Gagnon, Annie Gagnon, Tom Paul, Linda Preston, Bob Preston, Charlie Ash, Joe Stone, Michael Couitt, Edwin Fowler, James Duris, E Walker, Maria Caccavo Bishop



At 6:00 p.m. Selectman Curless opened the public hearing pursuant to RSA 215-C:31, to consider the adoption of regulations to permit snowmobiles to travel along the Town’s right-of-way across North Road on Gile Road and onto Davis Court and across Rt. 114 onto Smiley Grove.


Tom Paul, Ridgerunner President, explained the purpose of the request which was to connect the trail system for South Sutton residents.  The Ridgerunners propose to continue across North Road on Gile Road staying on the right-hand side of the road.  The trail would continue across Davis Court staying on the right side of the road in order to get to the Vernondale.  Once he snowmobiles get to the Vernondale, they would access the trail which would allow them to go in various directions.


There was a general discussion regarding the speed limit, enforcement of penalties and who would benefit from any fines collected.    Mr. Paul stated that the Ridgerunners endorsed the speed limit of 15 mph in order to reduce noise level and for safety reasons.  Emily Gagnon inquired about of visibility and expressed concerns regarding safety.  Mr. Paul stated that snowmobiles would stay to the right of the road, off the abutters properties, but within the Town’s right-of-way.


Selectman Curless asked who would designate trail closures and was advised that the trailmaster would.  Mr. Preston discussed the requirements for closing trails.  Mr. Defelice added that trail closures are also posted on the website.  Selectman Headley asked whether the traffic would go in both directions and was advised that was the case.  Selectman Wright emphasized the penalty portion of the ordinance.   Mr. DeFelice expressed safety concerns and felt that an increased police presence would be helpful.  Selectman Curless asked whether the trails closed at a certain time and was advised that when trails are open, it is 24/7.


Maria Bishop spoke of the rural nature of the community and the natural setting.  She recognized that snowmobiling is a part of the local culture and that the Ridgerunners do a great deal for the community in terms of community service.  Ms. Bishop spoke of the high traffic because of the proximity of Vernondales, Smiley Grove and Horse Beach and expressed concern about a higher volume of traffic being introduced into a primarily residential area.  Joe Stone, North Sutton, clarified that this was not a main corridor, it was just a spur to connect with South Sutton.  Mr. Stone advised that he lived off a main corridor of the trail, and it was rare that snowmobiles were riding after 11:00 p.m.  Ms. Bishop said that on the weekends snowmobilers are zooming away at 11:00 at night.


Mike Couitt, Trailmaster for the Lake Sunapee Snowmobile club, discussed the speed limit usually being set at 20 mph, because it is difficult to engage the snowmobiles at lower speeds.  Mr. Couitt added that in the winter most people have their windows closed so are not disturbed by the noise.  He added that there were many Class VI roads that were used with permission of the Selectmen in Sunapee, Bradford and Newbury.  Mr. Couitt advised that snowmobilers don’t really like to travel on roads, because of wear to their undercarriages.    Mr. Couitt identified various areas where the State has given permission to cross 103 and 114 without issues despite the high volume of traffic.


Mr. Paul introduced a letter from Randall Morse that was read into the record by Selectman Curless.  “I’d like to speak out in favor of adoption of regulations that would allow snowmobiles to travel along the Town’s right-of-way on Gile Road, across North Road into Davis Court and across Route 114 into Smiley Grove.  If these regulations are not passed, myself and others will be forced to trailer our snowmobiles and find parking adjacent to the Sutton trail system.  I apologize for not being able to appear in person for this meeting, but prior commitments have forced me to miss it.”


Ms. Bishop observed that the area of Smiley Grove is also used for the enjoyment of outdoor recreational activities such as cross country skiing on the lake and walking around the lake. Ms. Bishop indicated that the noise is very loud already and to increase the frequency and volume of riders conflicts with the enjoyment of other winter activities in that area.  Mr. Couitt responded that snowmobilers need to be educated about the residential areas.  Snowmobile clubs share their trail system with horseback riders, cross country skiers, snow-shoers dogsledders dogwalkers etc.   Snowmobilers slow down for those uses.  The snowmobile clubs consider the trails are for a multi-use purpose, adding that people can get along.


Annie Gagnon felt that motorcycles were worse than snowmobiles and that there were more motorcycles than snowmobiles.


James Duris said that he opened up his property on Newbury Road for snowmobilers to gain access to the trail system.  He felt that this sounds like a similar situation.  Mr. Duris said that he has not had one issue on his property.  He does not hear any noise.  No one goes up it except the people on his street who used it for access.
Selectman Curless thanked everyone for their input and advised that the Board would continue the matter at their next regularly scheduled meeting and sought written comments which could be submitted between now and Monday, April 2, at 1:00 P.M.  The Board will deliberate and decide on the matter at their next regularly scheduled meeting.


Robert Wright, Jr., Selectman made a motion to approve the minutes from March 19 as corrected.  Dane Headley seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a vote of 3-0.  The minutes from March 19, 2018 were approved as corrected the word “eighteen” on the second page, fourth paragraph was changed to “nine.”



The Board reviewed and approved the following manifests:

PAYROLL MANIFEST:   $   16,003.33

VENDOR MANIFEST:     $ 163,815.48



The Board made the following appointments:

Planning Board:

Roger Wells for a term until March 2021

Jim Lowe for a term until March 2021

Zoning Board of Adjustment:

Ed Canane for a term until 2021

Betsy Forsham for a term until 2021

Conservation Commission:

Donald Davis for a term until 2021

Barbara Hoffman as alternate for a term until 2021

Chris Ashton for a term until 2021


The Board approved an All Veterans Exemption for George Wattendorf, , 02-723-456

The Board approved a Current Use Application, Ryan and Tracy Mingarelli for 24.58 acres out of 31.8

The Board reviewed a Zoning Complaint regarding boundary encroachment from Thomas Denniston, 09-286-280.  The Town will call and issue a cease and desist order for 09-292-268, Dag Lidbeck et al.

The Board issued a letter to the DMV naming Carol Merullo as Sutton’s Motor Vehicle Agent.



At 4:33 p.m. Robert Wright, Jr., made a motion to enter into Non public session under RSA 91-A:3, II(c)  Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation  of any person, other than a member of this board, unless such person requests an open meeting.   Dane Headley seconded the motion.   The Board was polled with Selectman Curless, Selectman Headley and Selectman Wright voting in the affirmative.  Public session resumed at 4:44.


The minutes from the non-public session were not sealed.  During nonpublic session the Board discussed continuing concerns raised by citizens regarding the conduct of the Conservation Commission public informational meeting that was conducted on February 15, 2018 and considered whether further action should be taken regarding that public meeting.   Selectman Wright moved that an additional letter should be sent to the Conservation Commission, with the correspondence the Board of Selectmen have received regarding the public hearing enclosed.  Selectman Headley seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a unanimous affirmative vote.



The Board noted the following items of correspondence:

LSPA re:  public meeting/water resource protection in the Sunapee Watershed

DOT Red List Bridges Report



Selectman Wright reported on research regarding RSA 41:33 relating to voters present at Town Meeting regarding the salary of the Town Clerk/Tax Collector who can be compensated by either fees or salary.  Further observing that there was no requirement to offer benefits.  The term can also be changed by the legislative body and/or the Town Clerk.  Selectman Wright discussed the benefit package that was also associated with the Clerk/Tax Collector’s salary.  The timeframe for the salary was discussed was it 11 weeks at the previous Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s salary and $32,000 for the remainder of the year.  Selectman Headley felt that anyone who signs up to run should be given an idea of what the salary should be.  The salary requirements for the Town Clerk were reviewed.  The legislative body determines the salary for the Town Clerk.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Elly Phillips

Town Administrator