TOWN OF PELHAM, N.H.
CONSERVATION COMMISSION MEETING
6 MAIN STREET
PELHAM, NH 03076-3723
MEETING OF DECEMBER 12, 2001 NOT APPROVED
Christian Montminy, Sandy Kupcho, Frank Culbert, Sanja Kakkard, Marc Duquette and Robert Yarmo, Chairman
Meeting opened at 7:35 with Robert Yarmo presiding. Chairman Yarmo read the RSA relative to law that governs the Conservation Commission.
Postponement: Map 12, Lot 44, Hart, Jordan & White, Shepard Rd/Mulberry Lane
Proposed 28 Lot Subdivision. (Case heard on 3/13/02).
Map 5, Lots 104, 113, 115 – Sousa Realty and Development, Proposed 20 Lot Subdivision
Presenting the case for Sousa Realty and Development is Tony Basso, Engineer of Hanner-Swanson Engineering. This case was before the board approximately 3 months ago for discussion. The subdivision is for 20 lots at the end of Lawrence Corner Road. A loop is planned for the 46-acre development. The proposed lots range from 1 acre to as many as 9 acres. There are two (2) wetlands crossing impacts: (a) 2,075 sq. ft, (b) 6,275 sq. ft. There was a site walk done on Saturday. This case has been to the Planning Board once, the application has been accepted but there is a need to come before the Conservation Commission because a dredge and fill permit has been applied for.
Mr. Yarmo asks Mr. Basso for the scenario on the water drainage. Mr. Basso explains that storm water for this project requires that the road be constructed, curves and catch basins and pipe systems installed in order to collect storm water and to bring it down to the low point on the site along the easterly portion of Lawrence Corner Road. The storm water management area will hold back the storm water from the site and discharge it at a slower rate. Two treatment swales have been provided, both in excess of 100-ft; the water will discharge through and provide additional treatment. The drainage will discharge into a large on-site wetland to the northeast side of the site. All catch basins will have 3-ft pumps; treatment area will have rift-raft to protect from scouring. Mr. Basso demonstrated where the wetland areas are: One wetland area drains towards the Lynch property. The detention pond will be created alongside, but not in, the wetlands.
Mr. Yarmo reiterated that it is 50-ft. to a buffer from the wetlands and the Board has been pretty consistent at other hearings that the WCD district is to conserve the wetlands. It appears that this wetlands is being disturbed and replaced with an artificial one in its
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place. I have consistently objected to that says Mr. Yarmo. The storm water management area is part of the infrastructure to the development. Mr. Basso says the storm water management area needs to be at the low point in the site, which is right at the WCD, and you can’t drain against the grade – it will go to the lowest area. Mr. Kakkad asked if it wouldn’t make more sense to put the treatment swale by the WCD. Mr. Yarmo says that it has to be moved out of the WCD. These plans indicate that there will be a “clear cut” (i.e. clear and cut the WCD), which is a natural protection of the wetland. Mr. Yarmo asks why can’t the storm water management area to the north or to the south to completely get it out of the WCD? Mr. Basso responded with he wasn’t sure that he could get it completely out of the WCD – but would concede that he could move it some in order to improve the situation. Mr. Basso said he would make an attempt to pull “this” over as far as he could. Mr. Yarmo asked what the limiting factor was in that you cannot move it completely out of the WCD? Mr. Basso responded, that there is a limited amount of area that he is required to have a detention basin of a certain size. Mr. Yarmo questions again what is the limitation on the area? Mr. Basso responds that the road is in the area in order to keep the least impact to the wetlands itself and the size of the area and the size of the area where that storm water has to be is the location of that road. That road area was picked on purpose to keep the actual wetlands impact to that area. Mr. Yarmo questions what the depth of the retention area is. Answer 182. Mr. Yarmo says there has to be a way to get it out of the WCD, including the treatment swale unless Mr. Basso can provide evidence that it can’t be moved completely out of the WCD. This is the only waste treatment swale for the whole plan. Mr. Basso says the wetland impact and the WCD impact are not the same thing. The wetland impact goes to the State. The State doesn’t care if it is in the buffer or not says Mr. Basso. There are 46 acres in this site. There are a total of 8,000 sq. ft. that impacts the wetlands.
Mr. Yarmo says he has a hard time understanding that for a 46-acre site, why the road has to go through the WCD and why it can’t be engineered to go around the WCD and the wetlands? Mr. Basso says it’s because of the contour of the site and where the wetlands are. Mr. Basso: “I have regulations that I have to comply with to the town of Pelham. They don’t allow roads over 10%; they’ll waive up to 12% - You can’t climb onto the top of this hill and start up in this area, referring to the plan. I have road curves that have to be a certain size; there are a whole bunch of rules that apply here. I been through this, talked about this several times and we have rules we have to comply with to the Planning Board and there are ordinances and regulations and this is what we have to do. It’s a balance in complying with the ordinances that apply and trying to minimize wetland impacts.”
Mr. Yarmo: “You are telling me that this site cannot be developed without going through the wetlands and the WCD”. Mr. Basso: “Yes. This can’t be developed, or even close to like this without going through those areas – that’s what I’m telling you.” Mr. Yarmo: Who said it has to be like that, why can’t it be some other configuration? Mr. Basso: Three were two cul-de-sac suggested but we can’t extend cul-de-sacs beyond a certain length. He expressed other alternatives that “can’t happen” because of certain lengths
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and regulations. It’s not a matter of whether a few lots are lost or not; that isn’t the issue. You can’t develop an extended cul-de-sac at all.
Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Basso if he were going to apply for any waivers from the Planning Board. Mr. Basso: No. There were conversations back and forth on the duties of the Conservation Commission and requirements so as to adhere to the town’s ordinances and regulations. Mr. Basso stated that his client does not want to apply for a wetland permit because it takes 6 to 8 months, and it’s a tough process. We prefer not to go that route. Mr. Yarmo suggested that the road be moved to the left 150-ft. Mr. Basso says he cannot get up the hill, that the road gets too short and the curve gets too tight to comply.
Mr. Yarmo asks what would prohibit Mr. Basso from putting in a cul-de-sac at lot 5-140 or lot 5-104-18 at the very end of that road. Answer: Maximum cul-de-sac length. Mr. Yarmo states that the Planning Board issues waivers for cul-de-sac lengths. Mr. Basso answered that they have a waiver because of a safety issue with the fire department on extended cul-de-sacs vs. wetland impacts. Mr. Yarmo: That would get you out of the wetlands. Mr. Basso: Doing the extended cul-de-sac? No, I don’t necessarily agree with that. Mr. Yarmo: Go up Lawrence Corner Road, take a left, go up the loop to lot #5-104-6 – there is no wetland crossing. Mr. Basso agrees. Mr. Yarmo: That is a design that avoids all wetlands crossings. Mr. Basso: If you ignore the Planning Board regulations, and you do what (he) said, you can avoid wetland crossings – absolutely. This can’t be done in compliance with the rules and regulations.
Mr. Yarmo: I’m trying to understand. I don’t have the time to look at the plans. Mr. Basso: I have engineered the most minimal impact that can happen here and reasonable use of this property. What I’m expected to do for the ‘wetlands board’ and in accordance with the town regulations……… Mr. Yarmo: What we’re expected to do too is to answer according to the New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules, WT302.04, #2, development proposed by the applicant is for the least impact to the wetlands on the surface water on site. Mr. Basso: That has to be looked at in accordance with the other rules that apply, there are a host of them, including national standards for road design that apply for safety, access and reasonable use of the property. Mr. Yarmo: The Planning Board has asked us to look at this. If our recommendation to the Planning Board is no that we don’t like the road’s location and to put in a cul-de-sac as it is an alternative and avoids the wetland the Planning Board may say no we have other safety issues.
Mr. Yarmo: How many lots have impact on the WCD, or abut WCD? Answer: 5 to 7 lots are affected. Is there a plan that shows the house locations on the lots with the WCD? Mr. Basso did not have them with him but would bring them to the next hearing if requested to do so. The whole set has been submitted to the Planning Board. Mr. Yarmo asked if there were any wells within the WCD? Answer yes, quite possible that some are within the well radius.
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Mr. Yarmo: Do you have any objections to installing the WCD signage at 50-ft intervals along the WCD. Answer: No problem at all. Mr. Basso comments about the contour of the land and says that there isn’t any that could be used for open space. Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Basso if he would explain to the new members on the Board how the water management area works. Mr. Basso explained that there are catch basins and pipes that collect water and carry it down to the low point of the site and discharge into the detention area. Catch basins are off the road to collect drainage that comes down to them as well. It will catch all the drainage and ultimately all the drains come across the site and get picked up at some point and then into the storm water management area. The purpose of the storm water management area is to hold back the peak rate of discharge of storm water. It’s calculated over 24 hours storm, you do a curve and it tells you how much water comes in volume comes in. We hold it back by using a smaller outlet than the inlet to hold back storm water. It gives time for settling. It then goes into the treatment swale. At the treatment swale level we try to obtain a velocity of less than 1 gallon per second – the water goes through there very slowly, and it doesn’t scour. A swale is heavily grassed and treats the water before it goes into the wetlands. Each basin has a sump in the bottom of it. In the winter you still have the catch basins collecting if the storm water management area still works and it discharges through the pipe. There has been test pits done all over the area and we will be above the water table. Board Member Kakkad would like to see the pond retention moved further from its present proposal.
Board Member Montminy asked if a cul-de-sac was constructed, would there be any loss of lots. Answer: yes. An environmental report has been done on this site. This case is before the Planning Board on January 7, 2002. Mr. Basso agreed to re-engineer the plan to accommodate the recommendations of the Conservation Commission.
PUBLIC INPUT: Alicia Hennessey, 71 Dutton Road – She is concerned about the environmental report because the Conservation Commission has not seen the report yet. Mr. Yarmo asked if the environmental report indicated any wildlife corridors. Mr. Basso said it didn’t indicate any that nothing jumped out at him when reading the report. He also stated that with the Industrial Park nearby, he doubted if there was any wildlife close-by because of the noise coming out of the Industrial Park.
BACK TO THE COMMISSION:
The Conservation Commission will make a recommendation to the Planning Board that the treatment pond be out of the WCD, including the treatment swales and that signage be installed. Also, if there are any concerns in the environmental report Conservation will make it available to the Planning office.
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Presenting case is Jack Simpliski of Benchmark Engineering who represents Mr. Picard who proposes to develop a 36-acre parcel of land off Dutton Road. A site walk of this property was done on Saturday. The landowner wishes to develop this property into 17 residential lots. This property has one 56-foot wide access from Dutton Road and ends in a cul-de-sac. A waiver had been requested from the Planning Board for an extension of the length of the cul-de-sac. This plan ended up getting revised. There are about 2,000 sq.ft. of wetland crossings. There is a small WCD crossing and applicant will be providing a detention pond upstream of the existing wetland. The Wakefield property of South Shore Drive has quite a bit of problems and requires drainage work. Conservation was asking about the lot management report at the last hearing.
Mr. Yarmo: One of the problems with the plan is the location of the retention pond area. Mr. Simpliski said he is trying to use an existing isolated area, not like the case just heard before this one. Mr. Simpliski explained the water retention and water flow area. Mr. Yarmo: At the wetlands on the south side of the property, the water level has to raise to what level to get above the rear? Mr. Simpliski: An inch and a half to two inches. The wetland is approximately 5-acres and has a tremendous buffering capacity. Mr. Simpliski explained that there are 3 different treatment swales and two detention areas. When a treatment swale is designed, considering the grade, a couple of sumps are put in it. Detention ponds are not 100% dry. Mr. Yarmo: Are you slowing down the water and eventually is it discharged – because the water amount is the same, leaving the development as it is now? Mr. Simpliski: At any given time you consider volume, rate of flow/cubic feet per second. Mr. Kakkad asked about the construction of the buffers and what they are made of. Answer: Crushed stone. Depending on the expected flow, the size of the stone may have to be adjusted. Mr. Yarmo asked of the smaller wetlands area was to be used as a detention area, referring to catch basins 9 & 10. Answer: yes.
Mr. Yarmo questioned the length of the cul-de-sac and asked if a waiver had been applied for. Mr. Simpliski said the length was 2000 feet. An environmental report was not available for the meeting tonight. Mr. Simpliski appears before the Planning Board on January 7, 2002.
Nancy Rudlow appeared before the Commission and explained that she runs a small environmental consulting firm in Barnstead, NH. She explained that she is a certified wetlands scientist, since 1984. She is also on the Conservation Board in her hometown. She has worked on this site over the past year and has done the soil survey and the wetlands delineation. The wetlands on this site are mostly forested wetlands. She was also asked to do the environmental impact assessment. She did examine the maps from NRPC and said they were very helpful. Mr. Yarmo asked about wildlife in this area as he had seen moose when walking the site and there is considerable wildlife in this area.
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Bob Lamoreau, Blueberry Circle: He is a major abutter to this property. He talked about wildlife in and around Spring Street. He says that the wildlife actually starts from the Fish & Game Club, Simpson Mill Road, and eventually comes to Harris Pond, down Ledge Road and into the Spring Street area and then into Blueberry Circle. They eventually go across Dutton Road and into the power lines. Presently, the Fish & Game is studying this entire corridor and will be a documented wildlife corridor when they are done. He feels this is a very important area with regard to the moose and deer. Mr. Lamoreau said the Planning Board was not happy with the configuration of the lots and that there will be many changes before the plan can be accepted to conform more to the zoning regulations. Once the biologist checks out the site we will know more about the species in that area. Mr. Lamoreau questioned Mr. Simpliski about all of the lots being site specific, referring to the Planning Board’s issues with this land. Mr. Yarmo’s concern has to do with the land being able to support 17 septic systems and that DES is the final word in saying whether or not the land will support the 17 systems. Mr. Lamoreau asked whether the Conservation Commission might be able to put some deed restrictions on the properties because of the potential of land-owners using lawn fertilizers, etc. Mr. Yarmo would like to see the wetlands buffer area increased at lots 14 and 15. Mr. Yarmo suggests that these two lots be made “open space”. Increase the buffer (no cut) next to the wetlands was also suggested. Lot 11-12 and 14-15 are constrained by the wetlands and should be site specific says Mr. Yarmo.
Ms. Julia Steed-Mawson, 17 South Shore Drive asked about the wildlife assessment. Ms. Mawson says that this area is very well forested and attractive to wildlife species. There is also a concern with the many wetlands and she also has concerns about the West Nile Virus that is prevalent in southern NH and breed in wetlands. There are many oak trees in the area. She is also concerned about pesticides being sprayed in the wetlands and eventually the flow would make its way to the pond water.
Paul Gagnon, 103 Dutton Road, questioned the length of the cul-de-sac. He suggests that maybe the town would like to protect the wetlands in this area and says that there seems to be a wetland for every parcel of land being presented on this subdivision.
Board member Mr. Christianson reminds the public that the final approval of the cul-de-sac is in the hands of the Planning Board. Member Frank Culbert asked Mr. Simpliski about the location of the septic systems.
Ruth Gravel, 49 South Shore Drive says she has had a flooding problem since 1985. She has been before the Selectman to express concerns when Armand Drive was proposed in 1988 and she still has a flooding problem.
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Mr. Simpliski says he is giving 25-feet to the abutters. Mr. Yarmo cautioned Mr. Simpliski about conveying property to abutters that some of it is wetland. Mr. Yarmo says that if there is land to be conveyed to any abutters that there needs to be restrictions in the deed that relates to no cut areas.
Shirley Wakefield, South Shore Drive, says she has a flooding problem. She has a brook that goes through her property. All gray water goes through her property and directly into Little Island Pond. She feels that the development of these lots will increase the flow of water through her property. She would like a 200-ft buffer behind her property.
Alycia Hennessey, 71 Dutton Road. She has a concern with lot 5. She sees a potential wetland that goes right into the WCD.
Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Simpliski if he would object to putting WCD signs every 50 feet on the plans, or whatever is practical. Mr. Yarmo does not support the length of the road either. He has no problem with the first impact on the wetlands because it is needed to access the site. He has a problem with the second wetlands crossing as it severely impacts the wetlands. Mr. Yarmo asked to increase the buffer on lots 14 and 15 and to eliminate lots 11 and 12.
Mr. Yarmo will make his recommendation to the Planning Board and send a copy to Mr. Simpliski. Mr. Simpliski was asked if he could provide the board with 4 environmental reports. Agreed.
Meeting adjourned at 10:36 p.m.
Transcribed from VCR Tape
For Pelham Conservation Commission