Members Present: Members Absent:
Paul McLaughlin, Chairperson None
Alicia Harshfield, Alternate
Bill Cookinham, Vice Chairperson
Hal Lynde, Selectman Representative (arrived 10:20 p.m.)
A meeting of the Conservation Commission was held upstairs at the Town Hall in Pelham, NH on Wednesday, July 12, 2000 and called back to order by Chairperson, Paul McLaughlin, at 7:58 p.m. The first part of the meeting had been held at a site walk of the new elementary school property off Marsh Road, regarding a Dredge and Fill application.
New Elementary School Property:
Brad Mezquita of Appledore Engineering in Portsmouth, NH presented to the board regarding a Dredge and Fill permit on the new elementary school property. Mr. Mezquita explained that there would be an access drive through the existing ball field behind Pelham Memorial School, a parking area in front and future expansion for ball field and track. The wetland discussed is located in the parking area and would be filled. A new detention/retention pond would be constructed in the back of the property with any excess discharge from Pelham Memorial School being directed through an overflow pipe.
The Chairperson, Paul McLaughlin, inquired about the amount of land involved and Mr. Mezquita responded that it was 10,900 square feet. Alicia Harshfield asked about the amount of impervious surface. Brad Mezquita answered that there was a total of 295,000 square feet, or 6+ acres, including parking, building, sidewalks, field and track. Alicia asked whether there was a need to go to the State for a project this size and where the septic would be located. Mr. Mezquita answered yes, that a site specific was needed, and that the septic would either be located in center of track or under the ball field. Alicia Harshfield questioned whether the road would be gravel or paved and how it would be maintained in the winter. Mr. Mezquita explained that it would be a paved road but he was not certain about winter maintenance beyond there being a need to plow the road.
Bob Yarmo questioned the limit of disturbance line being shown on the plan and Brad Mezquita responded that there were a few methods used to determine this. Mr. Yarmo added that the plan showed a disturbance line to include the field and Mr. Mezquita said that was correct. Bob Yarmo inquired about the benefit of not clearing the field and Mr. Mezquita explained it was mostly financial. Mr. Yarmo then asked if there was any value in the timber on the lot and Brad Mezquita answered that there were mostly pines, which had some value but not a high value. Bob Yarmo queried whether it might be cleared for free in exchange for the price of the timber and Mr. Mezquita responded that this was a question for construction. Mr. Yarmo asked if there was any reason why there was no decision on location of septic. Mr. Mezquita answered that the test pits were being done the next day and added that his choice was under the ball field.
Bob Yarmo asked whether the design team had explored any alternatives to current infiltration system being proposed and Brad Mezquita answered that the matter had been discussed with Jim Gove. Both Mr. Gove and Mr. Mezquita said alternatives had been discussed with Mr. Gove explaining that two issues were involved: one was size, this proposal being smaller and therefore less disruptive and two, the depth of the water table. He concluded that it was a trade-off. Bob Yarmo inquired whether only 2 feet more was needed and Mr. Gove explained that a minimum of 6 feet was needed for a four bay system. Mr. Yarmo asked how wide and long and Mr. Gove responded that it depended on the amount of water. He added that it would be a two-fold increase in size with this four bay system. Bill Cookinham asked if there were two fields on the plan and Jim Gove answered yes, one being an overlapping soccer field.
Alicia Harshfield inquired how much tree area was being cleared for the additional baseball field and Bob Yarmo asked if the space needed could be created by rotating the ball field. Brad Mezquita explained that the ball field was of specific design and needed to be in the position shown on plan for various reasons. Bill Cookinham asked whether there could be a no cut zone between proposed ball field and track. Mr. Mezquita answered there could be. Alicia Harshfield queried how much area would need to be cut if there were no ball field and Mr. Mezquita answered about 2 - 2 1/2 acres. Paul McLaughlin asked if the board was looking at a Dredge and Fill application with 5.0 and Mr. Gove answered yes. The Chairperson stated that the board would ask that the absolute minimum be cut as is necessary for the septic system at this time. Mr. McLaughlin added that he understood the applicant would like to clear for the road, parking and fields at this time for financial reasons and for convenience. Jim Gove stated that no mitigation was involved.
A Motion was made by Alicia Harshfield to send a letter to the Wetlands
Bureau stating that the questions regarding Dredge and Fill had been
answered and that there were no additional concerns with respect to this
wetland. Bill Cookinham seconded the motion. All in favor. None opposed
nor abstained. Vote is 4-0-0. The motion passes.
Bob Yarmo said that he would like to see additional protection on banking with plantings or ground cover. Jim Gove answers that the tree canopy will be maintained but additional plantings can be made to enhance the banking. Alicia Harshfield stated concern over increase level of noise and activity near wetland and how they might better protect it. Brad Mezquita pointed out that there were existing trails there which the school wanted to keep in place for continued use. Alicia asked what kind of buffer was left, asking Mr. Gove for proposals. Mr. Gove suggested bringing in pines and evergreens, noting that the primary activity in the area would be early spring into fall. He felt wildlife was more sensitive to visual intrusion so that plantings would prove the most helpful. Bob Yarmo asked if the wetland side of the retention/detention area will stay as is and Mr. Gove answered yes, more or less. Bob asked if there would be benefit to plantings along side of paths as well and Mr. Gove said he did not know. Bill Cookinham said the paths had maintained their width and asked what would keep the fill being put in from draining. Mr. Mezquita answered grass and silt fence.
Paul McLaughlin then asked if there were any questions of the public and Mrs. Gail Plouffe addressed the board stating that she was the Chairperson of the Forestry Committee. Mrs. Plouffe said that she agreed with Mr. Gove’s comments about plantings and noted that a big problem was use of off road vehicles in the area. She believed the community involvement and activity surrounding new fields may increase that use and awareness. Mrs. Plouffe said that there was a need for education, enforcement and maintenance of trails. She would support Mr. Gove’s suggestion but there was no guarantee it would serve as protection. Bob Yarmo asked how many linear feet of trail abutted wetland and Mr. Mezquita said he did not have those figures. Jim Gove stated that a wood chip product would help with erosion on paths. Mr. Yarmo asked what size trees were in the parking area and Mr. Mezquita answered 3 - 3 1/2 foot caliber; an assortment.
Alicia Harshfield suggested that the following recommendations be made to Planning Board and School District regarding the protection of wetland area in the back of the property: 1) pine plantings to protect the banking area by wetland as discussed; 2) consult with Forestry regarding filing of intent to cut; 3) issue of runoff from de-icing in winter months be addressed with suggestion for low sodium products be looked at; 4) track not be cleared at present time; and 5) minimum cut between track and ball field, maintaining forested canopy, at such time track area is cleared. Mrs. Harshfield asked if trees would be planted near the school building and Mr. Mezquita explained they would not be due to safety concerns.
A Motion is made by Alicia Harshfield that a letter be written to
Planning Board and School District with these recommendations.
The motion is seconded by Bill Cookinham. All in favor. None opposed
or abstained. Vote is 4-0-0. The motion passes.
Alicia Harshfield stated that all of the board members are very supportive of the new school but feel that the environment is of equal importance. This area was evaluated as a Prime wetland and used as a standard for other designated Prime wetlands in town and is very valuable and educational to the Town. It was agreed that a copy of the letter described in above motion would be forwarded to Appledore Engineering.
Yarde Metals, Route 38/Atwood Rd.:
Steve Haight of Edward Herbert Surveyors in Windham, NH presented to the board regarding the Yarde Metals property with respect to the proposed fire lane and wildlife study. He asked Heather Storlazzi-Ward of Gove Environmental Services, Inc. to present the wildlife habitat evaluation on this 19.5 acre lot between Route 38 and Atwood Road. Ms. Ward stated that there was a pond and cranberry bog on the lot with 3 upper plant communities of white pine, deciduous wood area and early succession forest. Most of the wildlife habitat is found in the cranberry bog area with a high variety of vegetation. Early succession and white pine areas would be taken over with buildings and parking areas with only a small portion of deciduous woods to be cleared.
Alicia Harshfield asked what recommendations would come from the report and Ms. Ward stated that they were in agreement with 50-100 foot buffers. Alicia asked whether the 18 foot drive off Atwood was for fire access only and would it be gravel or paved; would gate be installed. Mr. Haight answered that it would be gravel and he did not know about a gate. He added that Yarde Metals would monitor the drive which was an existing path at present. Alicia Harshfield asked about encroachment in WCD which Mr. Haight said would be 200 feet. Bill Cookinham questions double row of silt and orange fencing shown and Mr. Haight said that was the limit of construction area along drive. Alicia Harshfield asked why silt fencing and hay bales were not being used and Mr. Haight said it did not hold back the silt as well. He added that CLD would monitor construction from beginning to end for the Town, as well as Site Specific. Alicia asked how no cut zone was being addressed and Mr. Haight responded signs would be posted.
Bob Yarmo asked if Yarde Metals could volunteer to extend the no cut area to bring it to the fencing as the report tonight gave the board new information. Alicia Harshfield noted that it would further preserve the wetland area. Steve Haight said he would talk with his client. Jim Gove agreed it could be presented to Yarde Metals but that neither he nor Mr. Haight had the authority to agree now. Bob Yarmo queried about the rare and endangered species portion of the report. Heather Storlazzi-Ward said that those results were available and that a copy had been forwarded to the Committee earlier. Mr. Gove added that the most valuable habitat was being protected. Alicia Harshfield asked if they were looking for a favorable letter on the wetland crossing and Mr. Gove answered affirmatively. Bob Yarmo asked if there were any alternatives. Mr. Haight said there were not. The Chairperson asked the board if there were any conditions to be given on the wetland crossing. Further discussion of the fire lane continued.
Steve Haight stated that the only access to and from Route 38 allowed by the State was the one shown on the plan. Bob Yarmo said he would like to see documentation that no alternative could be agreed upon. Jim Gove said that in the future they could present all documents instead of just the final plan but that it would be time consuming and costly to do so. Alicia Harshfield stated that a synopsis of alternatives would be helpful and Mr. Haight agreed but added that usually board members got the history of those alternatives through a succession of meetings. Bob Yarmo said that curb cuts at state highways have been known to be given, suggesting that this be requested at the north end of the property in place of fire lane onto Atwood. Mr. Haight explained that only one road was allowed on limited state highway such as Route 38. Bob Yarmo emphasized that the Committee needed to depend on experts presenting to give them documentation involved in alternatives to eliminate the board having to ask all these questions and question alternatives themselves. He feels it is incumbent upon the design team to present this information.
The Chairperson, Paul McLaughlin, stated that in the future the board would look for more information as to what lead up to the final plan being proposed and asked if there were time constraints involved now.
Steve Haight answered yes as Yarde Metals needed to move forward, having purchased the land and buildings and was committed to the project. Alicia Harshfield explained that Conservation is only involved after Planning has taken jurisdiction so the board is not privy to information that came before that time. Steve Haight said he could state that no other access point is allowed by the State on Route 38 and that he would obtain documentation to that affect if the board required it. Bill Cookinham states that the board should accept the word of the experts in this matter and believe they sought this alternative.
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham that the WCD crossing be
granted with the condition that the no cut zone be extended to the
silt fence placement. Alicia Harshfield amended the motion to include
the condition that documentation be received regarding no possible
alternative for a second access road onto Route 38. (Motion was not
seconded nor voted upon).
Discussion continued regarding whether Yarde Metals could volunteer to extend the no cut zone. Paul McLaughlin stated that it was likely not necessary since no construction would take place beyond the point of the fencing. Hal Lynde arrived at the meeting and the members explained what was being discussed. Mr. Lynde stated that there was a history on the limited access use of Route 38, that the Town had the only rights to the one shown on plan and that he did not believe a second road could or would be granted by the State. The board discussed dividing the motion previously proposed.
A Motion was made by Bill Cookinham to accept the WCD crossing.
No second was made. The Chairperson asked for another motion.
A Motion was made by Alicia Harshfield that a letter of recommendation
be given to accept the WCD crossing contingent upon the receipt of
documentation that no alternate second emergency access onto Route 38 could
be granted by the State. Bill Cookinham seconds the motion. All in favor:
Alicia Harshfield, Paul McLaughlin, Bill Cookinham. All opposed: Bob
Yarmo. None abstained. Vote is 3-1-0. The motion passes.
Bill Cookinham states that he does not personally have a need to see any documentation.
A Motion is made by Bill Cookinham that a request be made to the
applicant to extend the no cut zone to the fencing location. Alicia Harshfield
amends the motion to add that the rationale is to further protect the wetlands,
preserve additional upland habitat and help mitigate a buffer at the
WCD crossing. Bob Yarmo further amends the motion to state that this request
came as a result of new information provided in the wildlife habitat report from
Gove Environmental Services. Bob Yarmo seconds the motion. All in favor.
None opposed. None abstained. Vote is 4-0-0. The motion passes.
Bob Yarmo reiterates that the design team should have been responsible to make that documentation available to the Committee earlier or at this meeting. The Board takes a short recess and reconvenes at 10:57 p.m. to review the May 10, 2000 minutes as amended.
A Motion is made by Bill Cookinham to accept and adopt the
May 10, 2000 minutes as amended. Alicia Harshfield seconds the
motion. All in favor. None opposed nor abstained. Vote is
4-0-0. The motion passes.
The Board agrees to review and vote on the June 14, 2000 minutes at the next meeting. A discussion follows as to the date of next meeting as the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson are away on the regular scheduled second Wednesday of August. Alicia Harshfield asks if the alternative 4th Wednesday of August might be possible, adding that she may not be available at that time. Paul McLaughlin addresses the question of a quorum. The board agrees to schedule August 23, 2000 as their next meeting at which time they will determine if a quorum can be present. Hal Lynde questions whether any matter may need to be addressed prior to that date. Alicia Harshfield notes she is aware of one pending but awaiting an environmental report; it would likely not be heard until September at the earliest.
A Motion is made by Bill Cookinham to adjourn. Bob Yarmo
seconds the motion. All in favor. None opposed or abstained.
Vote is 4-0-0. The motion passes.
The meeting is adjourned at 11:02 p.m.
Kathleen A. Carr,
APPROVED: November 29, 2000