Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at town offices and via zoom.

Attendees – Harry Wolhandler, Kathy Scott, Ralph Zingaro, Don Scott
Members of the public: Winston Sims, Earl Horn

Agenda, minutes – To the proposed meeting agenda, the Chair added the resignation of HCC member Diana Shonk. Members voted in favor to approve the agenda as amended.  The September HCC minutes were then approved, with the Chair noting that it would not be possible for a quorum of those present at that meeting September to be present to vote. The November meeting minutes also were approved.

Proposed Major Subdivision, Wood Road – Earl Horn, abutter to a proposed subdivision to be heard by the Planning Board on December 14, raised two questions: 1) Is there enough land area for a buildable lot on the lot furthest southeast on Wood Road?; and 2) Can the existing road culverts handle additional development given the washout that occurred and stressed the culverts during the Rain Event of August 2018? Again, Mr. Horn’s concern was the proposed 4th lot, furthest southeast on the subdivision plan. He raised concerns about the presence of wetlands and a possible vernal pool, and the effect that development on that lot would have on the area.

The HCC noted the concerns and that the Planning Board would first hear the proposal at its December 14 meeting.

Timeframes for projects in 2023
The HCC reviewed the projects on tap for the coming year, including: Rain Garden signage; invasive species management (including knotweed, buckthorn and bittersweet); natural resource protection, storm and groundwater runoff; land conservation; and climate-change preparedness.

On storm water management, the HCC discussed creating signs/drafting articles and holding a conference to help further educate residents on storm water management and techniques to mitigate runoff.

On land invasive management, members recommend creating a timetable to schedule optimal times of year for treatment of knotweed, buckthorn and bittersweet. The HCC will confirm state regulations surrounding the use of organic and chemical solutions on municipal and private property, and the town’s ability to assist homeowners seeking to manage invasives. The State is encouraging municipalities and state residents to eradicate buckthorn.

Additional annual HCC-sponsored events include: Earth Day roadside cleanup in April; Old Home Days participation in July; May meetings with Lake Association representatives to discuss Lake Host budgets and water quality; Salamander crossing at the end of March/early April; and consideration of amendments to zoning ordinances related to wetlands and steep slopes.

On the latter issue of the wetlands ordinance, Kathy Scott recommended that the HCC review the provisions of Article XII Wetlands in the current ordinances and make any recommendations to the Planning Board for changes. Members agreed and noted that input from all boards is recommended.

2022 and 2023 Budget The HCC voted in favor to approve payment of $250 for membership in NHACC.

Reviewing the existing budget and discussing needs for 2023, the HCC noted it will connect with lake associations regarding their budgets for 2022 and 2023. All voted in favor to submit the same budget as last year.

Separately, Don Scott will prepare a detailed plan for maintenance of the rain garden, as the HCC supports requesting funding from the town for ongoing care. Discussion on this will continue in January.  On the cost of the rain garden signage, the chair noted the price is $50 per square foot for camera ready artwork on 1/8- inch aluminum.

HCC Membership – The Chair announced that Diana Shonk resigned from the HCC; however, she will continue to serve on the Recycling Center Committee. The HCC discussed their continued interest in having broad skill sets/backgrounds and will reach out to potential candidates.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.