The Harrisville Conservation met at the town offices on Chesham Road on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.
Members present: Harry Wolhandler Acting Chairman, Winston Sims, Doug Gline, Andrea Polizos, Les LaMois, Jonathan Miner Selectmen attendee
Members absent: Jay Jacobs
Minutes of January 2017
Doug Gline motioned to approve. Seconded by Andrea Polizos. All voted in favor.
Moment of Silence
Winston Sims requested a moment of silence for Bob Sturges who passed away recently. The committee honored the request.
Land Conservation Trust Fund
Harry Wolhandler asked Jonathan Miner about the Land Conservation Trust Fund and the reasoning behind the Select Board’s decision to close the fund and move the money into the town’s General Fund. Jonathan Miner replied that in looking at the budget and in an attempt to clean up accounts, the SB reviewed the status of all the funds. Jonathan Miner explained that the HCC still has $56,000 remaining in its budget for Conservation interests. HCC members all wanted to know why the SB hadn’t consulted with or notified the HCC about its decision beforehand and expressed their disagreement with and frustration regarding the SB’s decision.
Harry Wolhandler moved to request that SB explain what the original purpose was of the Warrant Article and the SB’s reasoning for why funds are no longer needed. Les LaMois seconded. All voted in favor Doug Gline stated his belief it was insensitive of SB to do this without including HCC in conversations. Andrea Polizos stated she’d like to know why this fund was singled out.
Doug Gline asked about the purpose of the Land Acquisition Fund. Jon Miner explained it was established for the purpose of acquiring land to place in conservation where town sees fit.
Winston Sims read the draft Warrant Article related to the closing of the fund and the transfer of the money into the General Fund. He stated his concern that the fund was established for certain purposes and wonders if the purposes were factored into decisionmaking. He is concerned that an assumption was made that the HCC doesn’t need the money. Harry Wolhandler added that he is not necessarily opposed to the decision but is interested in knowing where the funds are going.
Winston Sims asked Jonathan Miner to clarify his statement that there are other local organizations established to fund conservation acquisition. Jonathan Miner stated a few, including the Monadnock Conservancy. Andrea Polizos stated her dismay that the HCC is being forced into discussing this issue at Town Meeting rather than having an opportunity to do so prior.
Winston Sims requested that the HCC ask the SB to withdraw the proposed Warrant Article. Andrea Polizos seconded. All voted in favor.
Warrant Article on Lake Host Program
Winston Sims provided information on the Warrant Article related to the Lake Host Program and the HCC’s fund to combat invasive species. Doug Gline stated that $375 had been spent in 2016 and that he submitted receipts and was reimbursed.
Andrea Polizos stated that the state still doesn’t have grant applications available yet and that in the next month the HCC needs to decide whether to have floating program (where one or more lake hosts monitors more than one body of water) or not.
Harry Wolhandler introduced the subject of an application coming before the ZBA related to the addition of a deck to a cabin at 429 Chesham Road and questioned why it wasn’t brought to the attention of the HCC or why the HCC wasn’t included in the Special Exception process given the proximity to the shoreline. It was stated that the applicant awaits a response from the state DES on the proposal and that the applicant will appear before the ZBA at its February 15 meeting. Discussion surrounded the applicant’s intent to include a basin underneath the deck to store rainwater and the materials to be used. Jonathan Miner stated that the HCC should be getting copies of the application and doesn’t know why it hasn’t as copies are available in the office.
WS stated there were xx permits signed. 18 had to do with shorelands, wetlands, steep slope…
Winston Sims moved that the HCC request the SB to call, at the earliest time possible after Town meeting, a meeting of the Land Use Board Heads to discuss the permitting process. Doug Gline seconded. All voted in favor.
John Cucchi, member of the public attending, spoke about his experience with DES as head of the Town of Nelson’s ZBA. He stated his belief that the process with DES and the thorough review by their experts of applications addresses interests and concerns that the HCC might have. Harry Wolhandler stated that the point is having the proper amount of time to weigh in and his belief that the HCC should discuss the application as a committee before applicant appears before ZBA. Discussion was postponed until the end of the meeting.
Annual Report 2016
The committee reviewed its Annual Report and offered edits. Winston will redraft based on input from the group.
Andrea Polizos proposed the HCC look at terrestrial invasives in addition to aquatic invasives next year. She expressed concern about Japanese knotweed.
Recommendations for 2017
The group agreed that the larger discussion of the HCCs objectives and initiatives for 2017 be postponed until next month.
Application before ZBA on February 15, 2017 (continued)
In further discussion of the application for the addition of the deck at 429 Chesham Road, the group was generally in favor of steps proposed by the applicant to mitigate impact and to collect rainwater. Andrea Polizos stated she doesn’t have any objection to the application. Doug Gline agreed. Winston Sims disagreed, stating he believes there are impervious surface and native vegetation issues.
Harry Wolhandler suggested passing along to ZBA the HCCs belief that they would prefer to see more native vegetation planted between house and shoreland to protect the pond. Winston Sims believes proposal will intrude intrusion into the waterfront buffer. The group moved to send their comments to the ZBA.
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.