The Harrisville Conservation Commission held its regular monthly meeting at Town Offices at 705 Chesham Road on Tuesday, November 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm.
Members present: Winston Sims, Andrea Polizos, Les LaMois and Jay Jacobs
Members absent: Harry Wolhandler
The meeting was called to order at 7:10 pm.
No questions from members. Winston proposed deleting #5, Permitting Process.
Andrea Polizos moved to approve both the regular Meeting Minutes of October 4, 2017 and the Special Meeting Minutes of October 17, 2017. All voted in favor.
Minutes of Meetings re: Right to Know Law
Winston Sims distributed NHMA Meeting Minutes 101 to members and asked all to pay particular attention to the second paragraph on page 1 and the second full paragraph on page 2. The group will review and discuss the document further at a later date. Members also discussed the requirements for posting of meetings and agendas and all agreed they are in compliance.
Conservation Interests – Individual members’ particular interests
Responding to Winston Sims’s email requesting members’ individual concerns and interests, Andrea Polizos named protection of wildlife and reduction of fossil fuels as well as the role of the HCC with respect to other town boards. Winston Sims mentioned his interest in proper design of culverts to allow water species to travel freely up and downstream. Andrea reached out to Brett Thelen of the Harris Center and awaits input from her on the matter of culverts.
Andrea Polizos then read excerpts of Harry Wolhandler’s email response, which included three particular interests: to define a reasonable level of conservation reserve funds based on a reasonable analysis of near- and longer-term needs for cash retention and to recommend a revised policy for funds retention if the needed levels of funds are exceeded due to the unpredictable nature of LUCT (Land Use Change Tax) contributions to the reserves; to explore the balance of interests between conservation and human development within the town and to find practical ways to support, and collaborate with, other town boards, to lead the town toward a pragmatic approach to preserving environmental integrity while also acknolwledging and supporting growth of homes and businesses within the town; and third, to continue public information efforts, like the Lake Host and kiosks, and expand these efforts to include distributing leaflets and booklets on runoff water, septic system designs and technologies and shoreline plantings to protect water quality and wildlife coexistence with people.
Les LaMois stated he also is concerned about the protection of the town’s water supply. Winston agreed that water is the fundamental interest.
Winston Sims mentioned the current discussion among town officials of Article V, related to nonconforming uses, lots and structures, and the interest in clarifying the language within that article. He added the HCC’s particular interest in non-conforming uses. Jay Jacobs stated that the challenge falls in particular on the ZBA to enforce the regulations but that the Planning Board is charged with drafting them. Jay mentioned challenge for ZBA and in particular the example of the language around impervious surfaces and decks and that any proposed changes should be addressed to the Planning Board. He added that the issue of decks and the definition of impervious surfaces continues to be an issue, particularly the problem of the difference in language between the state’s and the town’s regulations on shoreland protection, and that he has asked the Planning Board to address this. He also noted any resident can bring forth a request to change an ordinance. The group clarified that an ordinance subcommittee of the Planning Board is currently working on Article V as well as other areas of the current regulations that may need clarifying or updating. Jay Jacobs noted that it’s not Article V on its own, but how it ties into shoreland protection and lakeside district ordinances. Winston Sims raised the issue of Harrisville’s being a prior notification town although residents often acquire approval from the state whose regulations aren’t always as stringent. The HCC will await further work by the ordinance working group and continue discussion from there.
Community Conversation. Report on discussion of Water in the Public Trust
Winston Sims reviewed the outline for the report, including:
— More information was requested on identification of different water sources;
— More info was requested on existing regulations and protections related to water. Attendees were unfamiliar with current standards and asked what happens to water that flows off of residents’ property and what happens to water that flows on to it?;
— More information requested on existing and potential threats to the town’s water.
The HCC then asked what issues might be germane to its interests and what may be of concern to Harrisville? Andrea Polizos volunteered to examine the issues raised and strategize ways the HCC can address relevant needs and concerns. She will bring her analysis to next month’s meeting. Winston Sims proposed inviting the head of DES’s Watershed issues but all agreed to wait until specific need is identified.
HCC By-laws – purposes
The group noted that work on this continues.
At 8:30 pm, Andrea Polizos moved to adjourn. Winston Sims seconded. All voted in favor.