Meeting Minutes of the Select Board
|Location:||Town offices||Date: August 6, 2020|
|Opened:||7:00 pm||Adjourned: 9:20 pm|
Select Board Members: Jay Jacobs, Kathy Scott, Andrea Hodson __________
Attendees: DES Dam Bureau Representatives Grace Levergood and Corey Clark, Police Chief Russell Driscoll, Don Scott, Barbara Watkins, Chick Colony, Patricia Colony, Patrick Gagne, Julia Pakradooni, Leslie Downing. Attendees via Zoom: Esther Solondz, Nancy Lory, Jeremy Lory, Ginny Brooks, Edwin Brooks, Pamela Kavieff, David Blair, Pamela Banks , Ben Dexter, David Thompson, Deb McWethy, Jim Putnam, and Kelly Byam
Public Hearing on Howe Reservoir
The Dam Bureau explained the schedule and nature of repair work at Howe Reservoir Dam for this fall. Work will start after Labor Day, with the normal 6-foot winter drawdown occurring ahead of the normal Columbus Day schedule, in order to begin repairs on the spillway and to add a wall to the right side of the dam where a leak exists. A concrete wall and rocks will be added to stabilize the structure. Tree clearing has started as has work on the access road. The trail above the dam can still be accessed; however, hikers will have to pass construction equipment. The Monadnock Sunapee Greenway trail will not be affected. The bureau hopes to complete the project within 22 weeks.
Chick Colony asked the estimated cost of the Howe Reservoir project and for other dam repair work in Harrisville. He expressed concern that the state is spending far more on its dams than private owners of dams can afford, and that the engineering differential will harm the private dams. Grace Levergood estimated that the Howe Reservoir Dam project would cost $200,000. She did not have the numbers on Chesham but noted a portion of the funds are for winter work and that the entire Dam Bureau budget of $1-$1.25 million derives from a capital appropriation of the state legislature. This will be the last project in Harrisville.
Ms. Levergood offered to email a PDF of the plans of Howe Reservoir to the Select Board to share with interested residents. The Colonys reiterated concerns that the state has spent an estimated $4 million in Harrisville and, with Harrisville being the next dam downstream, it may suffer from lesser engineering judgment. Mr. Clark noted that DES inspects its dams at the same intervals and frequencies as privately-owned dams. As the dams are assessed, the bureau notes any deficiencies. He added that the deficiencies at Seaver and Chesham dams were higher than others.
In response to a question about DES ownership of the Silver Lake Dam in the context of extremely high levels of recreational visitors to Silver Lake this season, Corey Clark noted that DES owns the dam up to the downstream side of the culvert, and owns the pool. He further explained that the state owns the boat launch parcel and that much of the surrounding area is within the DOT’s maintenance easement. He noted that the town could call on DES if it observes inappropriate behavior, though DOT installed the culvert and has jurisdiction over it.
Returning to the Howe Reservoir Dam project, Russell Reservoir and South Road residents raised concerns that the drawdown would affect their reservoir and dam and water supply, and they wondered what would happen if the project gets delayed as occurred at Chesham Pond. Ms. Levergood assured them that this is not a huge project like the Chesham project and that the crew will be out by spring. They will control turbidity and won’t stop the water, only divert it. She confirmed that all of the work will occur out of the water so they won’t change the flow. The 6’ drawdown buffer will protect against any heavy rainstorms. Discussion turned to the Russell Reservoir gate, much in need of repair and of great concern to residents. The Select Board committed to discussing this as a priority with the Road Agent. Mr. Clark offered to have the Dam Bureau share its knowledge to assist the town with the gate repair.
The public hearing on Howe Reservoir was then concluded.
Public Hearing – Parking Ordinances
The Police Chief and Select Board discussed options for clarifying and synchronizing payment requirements in town parking ordinances and on town parking tickets. They also reviewed sample tickets from Marlborough and Dublin and deliberated on the most logical procedures for processing.
Regarding fine amounts, the board and Police Chief agreed the amount should remain $25 for the illegal parking violation. If the parking fine is not paid within 10 days, the fine is increased to $35, the maximum penalty. The Police Chief will have the parking tickets reprinted with the updated language, changing the current requirement of 72 hours to 10 days to allow more time for violators to submit payment.
The SB and Police Chief agreed that payment should be submitted to the Administrative Assistant in the Town Offices and made payable to the “Town of Harrisville.”
As there were no questions or comments from the public, Jay Jacobs moved to adopt the amended Ordinance 0-1-2020, Parked Car on Public Highway Interfering with Traffic Flow, and further to remove Ordinance 0-1-2018, Parking at Town Bridge Prospect Street, from the town bylaws, as the subject matter is already covered in Ordinance 0-1-2020. All voted in favor.
Town Ordinance 0-1-2020 now reads as follows:
Any motor vehicle so parked on a public highway in the Town of Harrisville that interferes with the orderly flow of traffic may either be towed away by the Police Department and the expenses of said towing charged to the owner of said car, or may be ticketed for illegal parking by any Police Officer of the Town of Harrisville. The fine for parking violations on town roads in Harrisville shall be $25 per violation if paid to the Town of Harrisville within 10 days. If a parking ticket is issued but not paid within 10 days, the fine will be increased to $35. This ordinance applies to all parking on town roads or places where the town has authority with respect to parking in the Town of Harrisville.
Silver Lake Parking
Following discussion of the multiple issues and agencies involved with the high volume of visitors at Silver Lake, and the concerns of residents, the board agreed that additional time and discussions with the state agencies would help the board and the Silver Lake Association clarify the problems and suggest appropriate remedies. The board determined there isn’t adequate time to tackle all issues this year. All agreed parking could be addressed more immediately, echoing the recommendation of Thomas Quarles of the Public Water Access Advisory Board. The SB will review the information from Mr. Quarles and meet next Friday, August 14, at 9:00 am at Town Offices to resume discussion regarding the appropriate number of parking spots along Breed Road within the allowable road length, as specified and regulated by the DOT.
It was noted that Officer Hennessey’s presence over the previous weekend was much appreciated, as was the presence of Marine Patrol. Not all agreed about the extent of safety concerns involved, as lake activity is up state-wide this year, and the bigger lakes attract more enforcement resources. Nevertheless, the board and residents request police support to the extent possible.
Signage for Island Street Cemetery and Prospect Street Boat Ramp
Robert Hyslop of the NH DOT Bureau of Traffic will visit Main Street and nearby to assess best locations for universal boat ramp signage. The purpose is to direct kyakers, canoers and boaters to the Prospect Street Boat Ramp. Currently visitors travel down Island Street and get to the cemetery entrance before they realize their error and have no way to turn around, causing them to trespass frequently on residents’ driveways.
Leslie Downing, on behalf of the Cemetery Trustees, attended to share the trustees’ input on language for a sign near the cemetery entrance. Following discussion, it was generally agreed that the best location for a sign is next to the pole at the end of the church parking lot. While there wasn’t universal agreement on sign content, the Traffic Safety Committee has recommended “No Outlet. Cemetery access only.” Ms. Downing confirmed that the “Road Closed” sign will go up again for winter.
Town Clerk update
Cathy Lovas noted the office will be open Labor Day, September 7, from 3-5pm for final submission of absentee ballots. Ballots must be in the Town Clerk’s possession by 5 pm.
The office has asked Wells Memorial for use of the school for the November election. School officials will decide early next month. The Town Clerk and SB further discussed logistics and safety measures and the extensive amount of equipment arriving from the state next week.
As a final matter, the Town Clerk noted she hasn’t received commitments from all ballot clerks and believes they await an update from the SB on the request and vote at Town Meeting to raise their hourly rate. As agreed, Ms. Lovas will share her research with the board about pay rates in other comparably sized towns. Approximately 80 absentee ballot applications have been submitted.
Pamela Worden – Skatutakee Road
Following months of deliberation, which Andrea Hodson and board members summarized, the board determined it held two positions on the matter of Ms. Worden’s request that the town cede the town-owned right of way across her parcel to the lake. Following continued disagreement as to the most advantageous resolution and process for the town, and the long history related to the subject parcel and issue, Andrea Hodson subsequently moved that whereas this request came from Ms. Worden, and whereas the Select Board has deliberated and sought input from counsel, and whereas the board holds two different positions, one to agree and one not to agree, with all of that in mind, the Select Board will present the question as a Warrant Article in March 2021 for townspeople to decide. Kathy Scott seconded. On a roll call vote requested by the Chair, Andrea Hodson voted in favor. Kathy Scott voted in favor. Jay Jacobs opposed, based on his belief, among other reasons, that the right of way is of value to the town and would be relinquished, that after a long and extremely difficult process the town obtained a settlement with the previous owner on this matter that should remain in effect as it is what the town established.
The SB approved the Meeting Minutes for July 23 and July 31.