Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at town offices, 705 Chesham Road, and via zoom.

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Les LaMois, Earl Horn, and Diana Shonk
Members absent: Don Scott, Andrea Polizos, Kathy Scott
Members of the public:Christine Destrempes 

Fireworks pollution
Discussion on this matter is deferred until March. Christine Destrempes will connect with Andrea Polizos to coordinate further research.

Agenda and minutes
Members moved and unanimously approved the agenda and the meeting minutes of October 7, 2020.

Wetlands – Ordinance Revisions per PB
Members reviewed the updated version of the proposed zoning ordinance for a wetlands buffer, including the permitted and restricted uses and the reasons for the proposed changes to the existing Article XII on Wetlands. The Chair noted that the first Public Hearing on the proposed Zoning Amendments is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

Rain Garden update
Discussion surrounded sample material to be used for signage at the Rain Garden, as well as content of the interpretive panels. Members agreed a map of the native plantings and explanations of how the vegetation and the Rain Garden design work toward its functioning and effectiveness. Earl Horn suggested explaining the term “pervious.” Members also discussed the estimated cost of signage, for six 11”x17” aluminum panels is somewhere between $200-$400. Diana Shonk and Harry will continue work on this.

Wetland/Shoreland permit applications
The Chair noted that three applications had been filed with DES for Silver Lake properties, two of which are Permits By Notification (PBNs) or low-impact projects to correct drainage and improve water filtration. The third, for the Chabotts, involves a steppe/terraced beach and replacing their existing lower wall with in-kind material to design a higher wall to improve filtration. Harry Wolhandler moved to approve and sign the Chabott’s Shoreland Permit application. Earl Horn seconded. All voted in favor.

Planning for 2021 Projects and Budgets
Mr. Wolhandler reviewed the HCC’s three funding sources: 1) the line item in the town budget of $1166 to cover dues, conferences/workshops, notices; 2) the Conservation Fund, which currently has a balance of $63,000 balance deriving from the Land Use Change Tax contributions, which average about $4,650 per year and this year LUCT funds amount to $6,300. The Chair noted the HCC has immediate access to this fund without voter approval – e.g. if the HCC needed to combat invasives in lakes; and 3) the LCCRF or Land Conservation Capital Reserve Fund, currently at $15,000, which can only be used by the town for land or conservation easements and can only be approved by vote at town meeting. The Chair will propose that next month roughly $600 be transferred from the HCC line item budget into those funds for the Rain Garden signs.

Subsequently the group discussed Projects for 2021,which will include Rain Garden signage, salamander brigade, homeowner landscape/water retention education, environmental trail markers and signs, and weed watcher training. All agreed they will await full board attendance to discuss new/other project ideas.

Trail maps and trailhead signage
The Chair noted the potential idea of working with Historic Harrisville to create a trail on the recently purchased Petersen property. On trailhead signage, Mr. Horn recommends seeking out experts to help identify and describe unique ecological habitats in town. Separately, Mr. Horn noted map creation is under way. The town will hear about Complete Streets grant by November 9. Mr. Horn reminded the HCC that the Trails Committee applied for funds for signs and map printing.  He will work on signs this winter. 

Updates from other town boards and committees
Planning Board – Public hearing on November 10 at 7:00 on proposed Wetlands and other zoning amendments.

Other business
The HCC moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve $250 for membership dues to the NHACC

The HCC moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve reimbursement to Harry Wolhandler in the amount of $35 for attendance at the NHACC Conference.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm.