Members Present:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Members Absent:
Alicia Hennessey, Chairperson††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Don Paquin
Rick Cummings (left 9:05 p.m.)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Alicia Harshfield ††††††††
Paul McLaughlin (arrived 9:40 p.m.)
Debbie Waters, Alternate (left 9:45 p.m.)
Bill Cookinham (arrived 8:00 p.m.; left 9:20 p.m.)
Hal Lynde, Selectmen Rep. (arrived 9:10 p.m.; left 9:40 p.m.)
A meeting of the Conservation Commission was held upstairs at the Town Hall in Pelham on Wednesday, April 26, 2000 and called to order at 7:09 p.m. by Alicia Hennessey, Chairperson, who opened the meeting with the first hearing:
Hearing:† ML -3-138, Bush Hill Road
Peter Zohdi of Edward Herbert Surveyors in Windham, NH presented before the board and distributed maps for this proposed 5 lot subdivision on Bush Hill Road, requesting WCD crossing for a double driveway.† Environmental scientist James Gove, Attorney William Mason and Mr. Zohdiís client were also present.† Mr. Zohdi explained that there were 4 buildable lots and one 10 acre lot designated as Lot 3-138 Mother Lot, so-called, to be deeded to the Town.† Mr. Zohdi had site specifications and noted that he had met with Planning Director, Vincent Messina, today.† Hay bales will be placed along with staking out of septic system.† All lots comply with zoning and subdivision regulations, including 50í setback for WCD.† A site walk was done with Planning and some Conservation members, per Zohdi.
Peter Zohdi presented a FEMA flood plan for the board to review and he stated that the flood zone does not affect these buildable lots.† He distributed a drainage study which had been done at the request of Conservation Commission.† Mr. Zohdi stated pre- and post-development does not change.† He pointed out a watershed area shown on last page of study.† Peter Zohdi said that he was complying with what was asked by Conservation to date.† He added that all conditions will be added to final plan before going to Planning for approval, and such conditions would appear on any building permit issued.
Alicia Hennessey inquired if the parcel being deeded to town was open water area (part of wetland) and Peter answered yes, offering further details be given by Mr. Gove.† Debbie Waters asked if houses were to be site specific.† Peter Zohdi answered yes, if approved tonight, but asked for some latitude since the sizes of homes were not known at this point.†
Debbie Waters asked Peter Zohdi to give the distance for each lot from proposed house to WCD.† Peter noted that each had septic 50 feet from WCD and distances from house to WCD were as follows:† Lot 1 - 60 feet; Lot 2 - 40 feet; Lot 3 - 20 feet; Lot 4 - 20 feet.† He explained that these were estimates.†
Alicia Hennessey asked where old logging road was in the parcel being deeded to town and Peter pointed it out on the map.† The Chairperson inquired about another piece of land to be deeded to town that had been discussed on site walk and Mr. Zohdi responded that this would be done, if possible.† Peter Zohdi stated that he realized Conservation preferred the lots to be as square as possible which could be done with last two lots but first two lots could not be further adjusted.† Debbie Waters asked if the front portion could be included as a no cut area and Mr. Zohdi responded yes, since there was only to be driveway crossing there.† Alicia Hennessey asked about width of proposed driveway and Peter responded that it would be 12 feet for two homes.† Ms. Hennessey questioned a culvert and Mr. Zohdi said one would be put under the driveway as designed and approved by engineer.†
Bob Yarmo questioned whether flood zone affected these house lots and Peter Zohdi answered that it did not.† Mr. Yarmo further inquired about driveway area and Mr. Zohdi pointed out on the map that the edge of flood plan did not meet edge of driveway.† Rick Cummings asked if each side of driveway abutted very poorly drained soils and Peter said yes.† Bob Yarmo asked if crossing was not considered a wetland because it was cleared or logged years ago, or whether it was a naturally occurring break in wetland.† He asked if it changed status of wetland.† Jim Gove answered that a road had been placed there years ago and had been built up above wetland edge; the road brought it high enough to support wetland.† Debbie Waters confirmed that this was now to be position of driveway and Mr. Gove answered affirmatively.†
Bob Yarmo asked how far above flood plan is the driveway.† Peter Zohdi answered that FEMA did not have study but only graphics; no benchmark.† Bob confirmed that the question could then not be answered and Peter agreed.† FEMA had done limited study in area.† Mr. Yarmo asked if the condition of driveway in 100 year flood category was known and Mr. Zohdi explained that the FEMA map showed 100 and 500 year plan.† He added that the rules in Pelham said the foundation has to be above flood land.† Mr. Yarmo asked why a dredge and fill permit were not required.† Peter Zohdi stated that it was because a soil scientist would certify that it is not in wetland.† Mr. Yarmo asked if elevation of driveway could not be determined.† Mr. Zohdi said design would be sent back to Conservation and added that he needed direction about how the board wanted it constructed.†
Jim Gove explained that the jurisdiction of wetlands was determined by three things:† hydric soil, dominate wetland vegetation and evidence of wetland hydrology.† He added that this area did not have those characteristics.† Mr. Gove said the State of NH did not have setback requirements but if adjacent to Prime Wetlands, State must be notified and dredge and fill permit sought.† Bob Yarmo questioned how adjacent was defined and Mr. Gove answered generally about 100 feet.† He gave explanation for designation of Prime Wetlands.† Mr. Yarmo stated his problem with wetland crossing was that there was water on both sides of road presently.† Mr. Gove agreed but reiterated that it was not a wetland.† Mr. Yarmo pointed out that there was no driveway design on plan and Mr. Zohdi explained again that he needs direction from Conservation on this matter.† He added that he wanted 12 feet and that it will be placed with no impact to wetland.† Mr. Zohdi stated that there
was existing approval for one driveway on one house lot.† Alicia Hennessey asked when that was approved and Mr. Zohdi provided notice of approval from DES to his client.†
Bob Yarmo pointed out that the board did not have enough information for a recommendation.† Mr. Zohdi stated that board would then not approve plan tonight but added that he had given Conservation what he had.† Mr. Yarmo asked what the slope of the road would be and Mr. Zohdi said it was simple engineering with culvert in the middle.† Mr. Yarmo stated his concern with driveway elements such as sand and salt running off into wetlands.† Mr. Zohdi answered that he did not believe it was common practice to put salt on a driveway.† Alicia Hennessey sought to clarify what was being deeded to town as agreed upon at the site walk.† Peter Zohdi indicated on the map which areas could be deeded.†
The Chairperson then opened the discussion up to the public in attendance.† Dick Anderson of 110 Bush Hill Road addressed the board saying that his wifeís family had owned this land for years though they had resided there only the past 2 1/2 years or so.† Mr. Anderson stated that the road being discussed had at one time gone from Bush Hill Road to Jeremy Hill Road.† He believed no wetland vegetation could be found due to the equipment traffic in area and that portions of the driveway were under water.† Mr. Anderson added he could not dispute fill since he did not know soil type.† Mr. Anderson said he would prefer no homes be built but understood owner had a right to develop land.† He added that Conservation had a right to deny permit if wetlands were involved.†
Resident Dick Anderson asked the board to consider that the land in question supported a great deal of wildlife, including birds and amphibians.† He stated that the wetland was a primary contributory to Gumpus Pond so that whatever goes into the wetland will affect residents around the pond.† Should Conservation grant permit, Mr. Anderson said he would like no cut zones marked and added that the plan did not show how driveway was affected.† Debbie Waters asked Mr. Anderson what he had observed by the road area being discussed and he responded that there had been a logging operation there 2 - 3 years ago.† Peter Zohdi interjected that he had no problem marking no cut areas on plan.
Steve Doherty of 105 Bush Hill Road addressed the board next and asked if Conservation could make the 50 foot requirement into a 75 foot one.† Alicia Hennessey asked Peter Zohdi if there were room to do that.† Mr. Zohdi responded that 70 feet was possible for Lots 1 and 2, 60 feet for Lot 3 and 70 feet for Lot 4.† Mr. Doherty added his concern about lawn chemicals going into the wetlands from these buildable lots and, therefore, into the pond.† Alicia Hennessey stated that chemicals were not suppose to be used near wetlands.†
Nathan Sprague of 16 Valley View Road then addressed the board stating that he would like to see Conservation take the most land possible for the Town as he felt it would be better protected.† He added that he had seen all trees cut in his area across the marsh.† Alicia Hennessey stated that the board did work at obtaining land for Town to preserve.
Connie Evans next approached the board stating that she lived on Gumpus Pond and would therefore be affected by this development.† She noted that the pond already had a high salt level due to salting of Bush Hill Road which was a steep road.† Mrs. Evans stated her concerns about run-off and impact to wetlands and pond as there were some rare and endangered species in the area.† She explained that she had worked on Open Space Committee in the past and learned that this whole area would meet the criteria for Prime Wetlands, also connecting to Hudson.† Mrs. Evans read a portion of two reports regarding the natural resources of this area along with concern for wildlife and vernal pools.† She said that Conservation had a right to deny the wetland crossing and she felt it should be denied due to the considerable impact involved.†
Debbie Waters asked Jim Gove if he could give board an idea of when fill was done for driveway in past.† Mr. Gove advised that it was likely done prior to date of FEMA map and that the jurisdiction began in 1970.† Ms. Waters asked if he could comment on wetland impact and Mr. Gove said there would certainly be an impact on wildlife habitat but that no extensive study had been done.† Mr. Gove added that septics work if designed correctly and that very poorly drained soils were involved causing a localized impact.† He stated that nothing absorbed salt.† Mr. Gove believed there would be impact to wetlands and pond but that the owner had a right to subdivide and develop the property.† Debbie Waters asked if Jim felt the impact on wildlife habitat would be greater by uplands or at wetlands.† Mr. Gove said he felt the greatest impact would be on area beyond edge of Lot 4.† Alicia Hennessey asked Mr. Gove if that area were deeded to town, would it be more protected and he responded yes, it would help.
Rick Cummings asked about the potential for vernal pools and Jim Gove responded that no extensive study had been done but he felt potential was there as with any open water area.† Debbie Waters asked Peter Zohdi if driveway for Lots 3 and 4 is diverging in WCD, could it be a no cut area before diversion and Peter said yes but he would need width.† Ms. Waters asked if driveway could be moved closer to lot line and Peter answered affirmatively.
Connie Evans spoke asking about septic design to be resubmitted that was discussed on site walk and Peter Zohdi indicated he was still in agreement with that.† Debbie Waters asked about testing done and Mr. Zohdi answered it was in process.†
The Chairperson, Alicia Hennessey, stated that 3 out of the 5 board members present had not been on site walk and should attend to that since this was a significant property.† She inquired whether those members could do the site walk.† Debbie Waters stated that she could and would be ready to vote after that.† Peter Zohdi reminded the board that he was scheduled to go before Planning Board the following Monday, May 1, 2000 and would like something from Conservation tonight.† Mr. Zohdi stated he would like to be present at site walk if possible.† It was decided the site walk would occur Sunday, April 30th, at 7:30 a.m., with Bill Cookinham and Rick Cummings in agreement.†
Attorney William Mason, on behalf of the applicant, addressed the board and stated that they would like to narrow the issues since the Planning Board approval was scheduled for Monday evening.† He added that they welcomed input but would appreciate consensus from board tonight on this particular plan with issues to be maximized or minimized.† Mr. Mason stated that they had no problem with members attending site walk and that the approval could be subject to that and vote taken after site walk.† He reiterated that something constructive was needed from the board at this meeting.
Bob Yarmo said that the driveway needed to be designed and that Herbert Surveyors should make recommendations to the board on that matter to minimize impact.† He would also ask for erosion control on each house lot and not just the septic.† Mr. Yarmo added that the developerís track record was not very good to date and he would like notes on plan regarding hay bales around loam piles.† Mr. Yarmo asked if there would be any blasting on site and Peter Zohdi responded that he did not believe so.† Bob Yarmo asked about utilities and Mr. Zohdi answered that they were above ground.†
Rick Cummings then read his notes on requirements and concerns gathered from this meeting as follows:† site specific erosion plans for each lot, wetland protection with hay bales and silt fences, loam stockpiles surrounded by silt fences and hay, no stump dumps, 50 ft. WCD signs before and after construction, storing of heavy equipment in central location overnight, appearance before board again if homes on plan were moved closer than 15 ft. to wetlands, Lots 3 and 4 hourglass portion closest to road be a no cut area with signs, all WCDís be no cut-no disturbance areas and that noted on deed, conservation to receive driveway design, extend town deeded land to edge of very poorly drained soil on Lots 1 and 2, conservation letter to Planning to strongly word odd shape lots are very important, signs by WCD at driveway, Lots 1 and 2 have 70 ft. to WCD from home, 60 ft. on Lot 3 and 70 ft. on Lot 4, minimal cutting on all house lots, driveway to be kept joined as long as possible before branching out.† Peter Zohdi took these notes to add to plan.† Bob Yarmo added that he would like note on area between Lot 2 and driveway to be restored from excavation damage done.† Debbie Waterís earlier notes to be added as well.†
Bob Yarmo queried whether vote was being postponed until site walk this week-end.† Peter Zohdi stated that he would like a vote tonight even if it were subject to site walk.† He added that his client was in agreement on all conditions and asked that the site walk be for board members only.† Debbie Waters noted that it was much different to view property on paper v. at the site and reiterated that she would be prepared to vote after walk.† Alicia Hennessey stated there would be 5 members at the walk and a vote would be had.† Attorney Mason sought to confirm this in order that the results of Conservation decision would be finalized prior to Planning Board approval Monday night and Ms. Hennessey agreed.† Rick Anderson stated that the members were welcome at his property at time of site walk.†
Alicia Hennessey and Debbie Waters spoke to the issue of this site walk being posted, therefore a hearing and open to the public.† Attorney Bill Mason stated that the purpose of this site walk was to have other board members view property and vote.† He added that
there had been a previous site walk to which general public was invited and that although this was public hearing, it was private property.† Mr. Mason asked that the site walk be restricted to board members only.† Debbie Waters suggested that any residents with concerns or questions could meet with the board after the site walk on the public way.† Hal Lynde confirmed that if the board was convened, the public needed to be able to attend.
Connie Evans asked to address the board again regarding her conversation with Planning Director, Vincent Messina.† Mr. Messina had indicated to her that no environmental impact study had been ordered and Mrs. Evans asked if it could still be done at this time.† She inquired whether Conservation could recommend to Planning that it be done.† Alicia Hennessey stated she was not certain but would find out.† Attorney Mason spoke to the issue of environmental studies and stated that he did not find it appropriate to ask for it now, just prior to Planning Board approval.† Connie Evans questioned whether two Conservation hearings were required and the Chairperson answered it was usually just one.† Alicia Hennessey thanked the public for their input.
It was agreed that the next item on the agenda regarding a discussion on Yard Metals would be postponed.
Hearing:† ML 1 - 57, at 9 Mammoth Road
James Gove of Gove Environmental Services presented this proposed 6 lot subdivision to the board regarding a dredge and fill permit.† Alicia Hennessey spoke to the need to do a site walk for this property along with the next hearing on Willow St. property to determine a date for that purpose.† Mr. Gove noted he was not available this Sunday and the Chairperson discussed with him the 40 day limit.† The 40 days began the date state received intervention letter.† The board and Mr. Gove agreed to do the two site walks in question on Saturday, April 29th, at 8 a.m.† Debbie Waters was not available but would make the site walks on her own at a later time, as agreed.†
Jim Gove presented maps on this 605 square foot wetland impact area on Jones Farm Road off Mammoth Road (owned by Barbara Whittaker), noting that it was a 6 lot subdivision.† He stated that an application for special permit had not yet been filed and that this discussion was directed to the dredge and fill impact.† Mr. Gove pointed out areas for members to view during the upcoming site walk on the map.† Alicia Hennessey inquired about the adjacent town owned land and Mr. Gove indicated itsí position on the map.† Jim Gove stated that the existing drainage was now on town land.† Hal Lynde asked if Mr. Gove was aware of earlier proposals discussed on this property with the town and Jim responded he was not.† Alicia Hennessey asked if it were a seasonal stream and Mr. Gove answered yes.† Ms. Hennessey asked further about the amount of water in spring and Mr. Gove responded it was a good flow, indicating that the packets he distributed would have photos.† He said the new road was atop of an existing woods road with a cut channel.† Hal Lynde inquired about the grade of the road but Mr. Gove said that was not his area.† Alicia Hennessey asked if the detention pond was forested and Jim answered yes.† Bob Yarmo questioned the purpose of a
detention area.† Jim Gove stated that the downstream rate of release does not exceed pre-existing one.† Hal Lynde asked about flow and vegetation with Mr. Gove giving some explanation of systems put in to slow the flow.† The board thanked Jim Gove for his presentation and moved to the final hearing.
Hearing:† ML 7 - 143, 43 Willow Street
James Gove made a short presentation to the board regarding this existing one lot home which was to be divided into two lots where a dredge and fill permit would be sought.† Mr. Gove noted that there was an existing mobile home on the one lot and that it was a pretty wet area overall.† The property was owned by Kim Neskey of Willow Street.† Another home would be built on the second lot after subdivision.† Debbie Waters asked if the wetland crossing were the driveway crossing and Mr. Gove responded that it was.† There would be a 1400 square foot dredge and fill area with wetland impact.† Alicia Hennessey asked if the driveway would be 12 feet and Mr. Gove said it would be 10 feet.† The Chairperson confirmed that Mr. Gove would be before them again for WCD and Mr. Gove agreed.† It was agreed that this property would be included on the site walk scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, beginning at 8 a.m. at the previously discussed Mammoth Road location and that the site walk would be done in conjunction with Planning Board.† Again, Debbie Waters would do a site walk of this property on her own at a later time and contact Ms. Neskey about that.†
Bob Yarmo asked another question on the previous Whittaker property discussed regarding what happened to the water in winter with a retention area.† Jim Gove stated that it was set up as a detention area and a discussion about detention v. retention areas followed.† The Chairperson again thanked Jim Gove for his presentation.
A motion was made by Paul McLaughlin to adjourn.† The motion was seconded by Bob Yarmo.† All in favor:† Bob Yarmo, Alicia Hennessey, Paul McLaughlin.† Vote is 3-0-0. Motion is passed.
The meeting adjourned at 9:54 p.m.
Kathleen A. Carr,
Recording Secretary† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Approved:†