Chichester Conservation Commission
09/15/03 Meeting Minutes
7:00, Chichester Grange Hall
Present: Gwen Adams, Jeff Andrews, Gordon Jones, Bob Mann, and Deb Soule
Trail Proposal – Public Information Session
The meeting opened with a discussion of the Trail Dawg’s proposal to move trail 360 to cross over the Spaulding Lot town forest. Kevin Gagne of the Trail Dawgs described the proposed trail location to the commission and 5 members of the public. Mr. Gagne mentioned that he has spoken to the abutters to the town forest, the combined $5,000,000 insurance policy afforded to landowners if an accident occurred on the trail on their property, and that the club would build bridges where necessary, conduct a spring cleanup on the trail, and do what they could to keep motorbikes and ATVs off the trail. The following comments/questions were given:
Juliana Ellington, representing Emile Bernard, asked what would happen if an accident occurred on the trail in regards to homeowner liability. Mr. Gagne mentioned the insurance policies.
Bruce Keeler of 90 Hutchinson Road mentioned that the club has done a good job on the trail so far and that he had no problem with the trail. He did ask what the town’s policy regarding ATVs was. Bob mentioned that there wasn’t any.
Gordon asked if this was defined trail already. Mr. Gagne stated that most of the trail was an old logging road but it was not currently used as a trail.
Linwood Mixer of Horse Corner Road asked if the proposed trail was GPS’d yet? Mr. Gagne said it had not been GPS’d yet but that the old section had been. Mr. Keeler stated the importance of GPS’ing the trail since where it was hand drawn on the maps and where it was actually located may be 2 different places.
There were general questions about the exact location of the town access to the forest. Bob mentioned that he has asked the town to check into this to determine the exact location.
Ted Bailey mentioned that Trail 15 goes across the 31 acre Shaw property (which is now town land). He said the trail has been on the property for 35 years with no formal policy.
Bob asked how ATV usage of snowmobile trails has been handled. Mr. Gagne stated the Allenstown police use ATVs to take care of illegal ATV use near the Bear Brook State Park. He also mentioned that Fish and Game helps out and usually neighbors know who the riders are and the club members speak to the riders to discourage continued use.
Mr. Keeler asked what should be done if an ATV is seen on the trail. Mr. Gagne said to call the police but also should consider that the rider may have received personal permission from the landowner to ride the ATV on that particular piece of land. Mr. Keeler mentioned that he has heard ATVs on the existing trail for most of the summer.
Bob suggested that if ATVs or motorbikes become a problem on the trail that the town could terminate the easement.
Mr. Mixer asked if this could be a seasonal easement – closed April through December for instance. Mr. Gagne said it could. Mr. Keeler also asked if it could be gated. Mr. Gagne said it could.
Jeff asked if the easement was recorded at the Registry of Deeds. Mr. Gagne said it was recorded at DRED – not the Registry of Deeds.
Bob read excerpts from 2 letters he received regarding the proposal – one from Paul Adams of 23 Kelley’s Corner Road and the other from Gerard and Evelyn Breton of 122 Hutchinson Road – an abutter to the town forest. The Bretons are concerned about the proximity of the trail to their house (approximately 90’ according to them) and the possible sound of snowmobiles revving up engines to climb the hill, which would spoil the tranquility. Mr. Gagne will speak to the Bretons about their concerns. He said the club could bank up the snow when they groomed that part of the trail to provide a sound and sight barrier.
Mr. Mixer asked if there could be a reduced speed zone for the hill area. Mr. Gagne said yes.
Jeff asked if the trail could only be open certain hours. Mr. Gagne said it was open 24 hours.
Mr. Gagne suggested that the town could try doing what Pembroke did – have the trail for one year to see how it works out. Mr. Linwood stated that in Vermont they post signs to the effect of “behave or lose the trail”.
Ken McRae mentioned that he lives near the trail and hasn’t had a problem with it.
Jeff checked the NRI – there are significant habitat resources in the back area of Spaulding (town forest) lot but not where the proposed trail has been drawn.
Bob summarized the comments made and motioned to pass the input received from the meeting to the Selectmen and to recommend to them that if they grant the easement, the following conditions should apply:
1) The easement should be terminated if it is misused or there are summer traffic problems.
2) A sign should be posted that the trail is for seasonal snowmobile use only.
3) The Trail Dawgs’ club speaks to the Bretons about their concerns and passes on their proposed resolutions to the Selectmen.
4) Standard signs for speed limit and quiet zones are posted where warranted (near homes).
5) Wooden bridges are supplied at stream crossings where necessary.
6) The town defines where the easement to the town lot is.
The motion was seconded by Gordon. During discussion, Deb asked to include the following 2 conditions:
1) A gate is erected at the trail entrance.
2) The easement is granted conditionally for one year.
This amended motion was seconded and approved 5-0. The minutes from this meeting would be sent to the Selectmen for their consideration of this proposal.
Concord Motorsports Proposal
Ray Cowan and Lynn Zebrowski from SFC Engineering and Bob Pike of Profile Builders appeared before the commission to discuss this proposal. Bob stated the concerns the commission had regarding the plan which were mentioned at the last commission meeting. The first concern was the lack of a catch basin at the northwest corner of the proposed building. Ms. Zebrowski stated that water from this area drains towards other catch basins (CB1 and CB5). The next concern was the lack of infiltration for roof runoff. Mr. Cowan is not interested in roof water infiltration since gutter systems in this area get clogged and break during winter weather requiring too much maintenance. Ms. Zebrowski stated there was treatment but not infiltration – only 3 cfs from 25-year storm event. An EPA construction general permit has not been
issued yet. Bob suggested dissipating flow at end of pipe. Mr. Cowan suggested shortening the pipe and putting rock at the end of it. There is a natural vegetative strip below the culvert and there is a level spreader to disperse the water at the end of the culvert. This was not shown on the plan provided to the commission but was on plans brought by Ms. Zebrowski. There are separate drainage systems for the state highway and their lot. Deb asked if there were any floor drains or paint booths and was told there were not any of either type. Bob will write a follow up letter to the Wetlands Bureau. Bob asked if the owner was still interested in donating the land in the rear (northern section) of the lot to the town for conservation land. Mr. Cowan said he was. The commission will contact the owner regarding this possibility.
Other Topics (Returning to the Original Agenda):
Minutes from the 08/11/03 meeting were approved.
The mail received since the last meeting was reviewed. There were many workshop announcements.
Wrap-up comments were given on the commission’s participation in Old Home Day, the Suncook River Cleanup, and the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.
Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) Update
The public meeting was held last week. The NRI is now final. Next step is to implement it in land protection planning. A copy of the final document was given to the library and another is being kept at the town offices. The commission discussed giving other copies to the Planning Board, Selectmen, Historical Society, and Master Plan Committee.
Wetland Mitigation for Connemara Drive
Mr. Mullaney sent a letter to the commission dated August 14, 2003 suggesting that the town could police the proposed deed restrictions for this project and deal with violations. This is counter to what the commission expressed to him in earlier correspondence.
Goals for the Commission for the Next Year
Jeff would like to add reviewing/implementing the recommendations in the NRI. Further discussion was delayed until the next meeting when all members could be present.
Sanborn Cray Conservation Area Access Project
Jeff reported that no progress was made since the last meeting. Bob suggested to Jeff to write a letter to the Selectmen describing possible access to this site through the adjacent Shaw property, which is currently for sale.
Luba Property – Status of Subdivision
The commission received notice that a standard wetlands permit was issued for this site. Wetlands described the wet area on the site as a wet meadow. Jeff and Bob will follow up with the Wetlands Bureau to better understand why the site received a standard permit - given the wet nature of the site.
Master Plan Update
This will be discussed when Walter is present.
Stephen Small books - “Preserving Family Lands”
As directed at the last meeting, Jeff searched Amazon.com for cheaper prices for this book. He did find one used copy for a slightly cheaper price. Bob motioned to buy 2 books – one to go to the library and the other to lend to landowners interested in conservation. The motion was approved and Jeff will buy the books.
The land protection subcommittee concept was revisited. This subcommittee would work with willing landowners to acquire conservation lands and easements, look at priority areas listed in the NRI, and assist in getting property appraisals scheduled and letters of intent drawn up. Bob, Jeff, and Gordon will work on this subcommittee with members of the public welcome. Jeff will write a letter to the Suncook Sun to invite public participation.
An after-the-fact dredge and fill permit was received for the fire pond on John Prickett’s property.
For next month’s agenda, the commission will discuss going before the Selectmen again to obtain a greater percentage of the land use change tax proceeds for land conservation efforts. Currently the commission receives 50% which amounted to $20,000 last year.
The commission received a $200 invoice from the NH Association of Conservation Commissions for membership fees.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.