Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Meeting Minutes

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Don Scott, John Sandri, Ralph Zingaro. Absent: Kathy Scott.   Members of the public: Winston Sims

Minutes of June meeting – The HCC clarified that the proposed additional stone for the Rain Garden at the boat ramp is 1 ½” crushed stone, not 1/2. Members then approved last month’s minutes.

Knotweed eradication – The board discussed testing of patches of knotweed on private property, with an organic herbicide. Testing will occur during the upcoming warm days, recommended as the optimal time for the herbicide to be most effective.   

The HCC voted unanimously to approve reimbursement to Ralph Zingaro in the amount of $88.97 for purchase of an herbicide sprayer.

Members discussed that the HCC can treat knotweed on private property should a property owner request it, and discussed the Town of Dublin’s success with its program. Money is available in the Conservation Fund, funded through the Land Use Change Tax. The HCC wants to test the organic option first and see if that works. Ralph Zingaro recommends rotating treatment options to prevent the knotweed from developing a resistance to any one product. The board noted that the organic herbicide is roughly 3x the cost of glyphosate.

The chair will ask the Select Board for permission to apply the herbicide to the sand pile at the Highway Barn, where evidence of knotweed was spotted. The HCC is concerned that property owners’ spreading of this sand on their land is contributing to the spread of knotweed.  The chair noted he has asked the DOT to spray along the state roads where knotweed is prevalent.

Wetland/Shoreland Permits – The HCC discussed applications submitted to DES by Samantha Skove for property on Skatutakee Lake. She has applied for approval for erosion control measures and to construct a walkway within the shoreland buffer.

Wetlands Ordinance/Article XII – Don Scott shared draft language to modify Article XII in two ways: 1) To reduce the required 100’ wetland buffer if a property owner obtains a functions assessment from a certified soil scientist to prove that the impact would not be detrimental to wetland functions and that the proposed use would not conflict with the purpose of the ordinance. (The proposed language is adapted from ordinances for Brookline, NH); and 2) To lessen the required buffer to 50’ for parcels with linear wetlands of 10’ wide or less.

Mr. Scott will revise the draft language based on comments from the HCC, including concerns regarding approvals for development that rely on drainage systems not adequately maintained in the years subsequent to the approved development.  Lack of maintenance could gradually affect the wetlands.

Reports on other boards and committees – The HCC briefly reviewed the recent decisions of other land use boards and town committees.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.