Chichester Conservation Commission
04/11/05 Meeting Minutes
7:00, Chichester Grange Hall
Present: Gwen Adams, Jeff Andrews, Gordon Jones, Bob Mann, Walter Sanborn, Deb Soule, and Lee-Ann Valotto
Also attending: Mike Marchand
Public Hearing – Using Some Conservation Funds to Rebuild Marsh Pond Dam
The hearing started at 7:02 PM in the Selectmen’s room and then adjourned to move the meeting upstairs in the main Grange Hall to accommodate the public. Thirteen members of the public were in attendance. Bob Mann described the purpose of the meeting, which was to discuss the use of some of the conservation fund money to rebuild Marsh Pond dam. This dam is vital to the preservation of Marsh Pond and the adjacent Sanborn Cray conservation area. He explained the source of the conservation fund money (portion of current land use change tax). Then he displayed a small sign which showed possible funding for the rebuilding of the dam (roughly estimated at $160,000) – ½ town (with up to ½ of that to be furnished by the conservation fund and the rest through grants) and the remaining ½ from the
campground owner that owns ½ of the dam.
The hearing was open to public comment at 7:17 PM.
Fred Chagnon asked if the water level would be brought back up to where it had been and if the conservation commission would be taking over management of the pond if they contributed the money. According to the conservation plan, the water would be brought back up to the previous level. As for the CCC taking over the management of the dam, it would not since all town property is under the control of the Selectmen.
Bob Mann read a letter submitted by Linda Rauter. She mentioned the need to maintain the Sanborn Cray property (which abuts Marsh Pond and includes the partial ownership of the dam) as is due to the conservation easement requirements. She also stated that the CCC’s money is supposed to go towards property/easement ownership and that such a small pot of money shouldn’t go to this project unless there was no other way.
Tom Jameson asked if the rebuilding would be done the correct way and if there was an inspection fee. He felt the Selectmen overreacted on this situation and that the beaver were to blame for building up the dam and causing the washout of Cross Rd. The Selectmen have been asked to register the dam. No info was available on whether there was a fee to register and inspect the dam after it was rebuilt.
Shelley Dupont who lives adjacent to the Cray property asked if there was any way to do a minor repair. Steven MacCleery (Selectmen) stated that either we repair and rebuild the dam or remove it.
Mr. Jameson asked if the campground owner didn’t contribute to the dam rebuilding, what would happen next? Would the town look at ways to control the dam?
Joanne Luikmil asked how much public usage does the pond get now vs. when the dam gets repaired? Is it worthwhile to spend the money? If it would just help the campground owner’s business, she doesn’t think we should be responsible for it.
Madeline Sanborn asked what was being done to allow public access to the pond via the access area by her garage. Jeff Andrews stated that this access was difficult due to a lot of wetlands and that the CCC was looking at purchasing an easement on the back portion of the Plummer property to allow better access to the conservation area from the Grange Hall parking lot.
David Dobson stated that the cement structure of the dam was still intact – only what the beaver had added was breached.
Mr. Jameson mentioned that the area had gotten a lot of use this winter. He saw snowmobile tracks and ice fishing holes even while the campground was closed. He believes the pond gets far more use than is thought. He stated that better access is still necessary.
Richard Debold (Selectman) stated that to do a temporary repair of the dam would still require some engineering plans and permits and would cost thousands of dollars. Mr. MacCleery estimated that it would cost about $20,000 to repair the dam. Mr. Debold said that we would still be required to rebuild the dam in about a year and that the Department of Environmental Services would work with us. Mr. Debold asked Bob Mann if the campground owner gave an easement along his shoreline area of Marsh Pond, would that count as part of his contribution to the project. Bob said it would. Mr. Debold asked when the grants became available for this type of project. Bob stated that the most likely one started in August but that there are others. It is unlikely that construction would begin this year.
Mr. Jameson asked what portion of the Marsh Pond shoreline did the town own. Bob stated that the town owned approximately 2/3 of the shoreline. Then Mr. Jameson suggested that the campground owner should only have to contribute 1/3 of the construction costs. Bob mentioned that at this time the town does not have any agreement at all with the campground owner. Mr. Jameson stated he feels the town should have more control over the dam and pond through getting more land.
Ms. Dupont asked if the pond was drained, could it be built up? Jeff stated that there is a permanent building restriction on the conservation land. However the campground side could be developed.
Mr. Chagnon asked if there would be another meeting on this topic. Bob stated that the CCC needed to discuss the topic and felt that there was a need to have more discussions on this project.
Joanna McIntosh asked whose problem this was.
Mr. Debold stated that the State is the driving force. The dam is breached and now we need to deal with it.
Jeff Andrews asked if there were any state emergency funds to deal with this issue. Mr. Debold said no.
Mr. Debold read the February letter from the State. If we do not do anything soon, the State may take enforcement action. Then Mr. Debold stated that if we didn’t do anything, we would have to remove the dam.
Mr. Chagnon asked if we could make the culvert bigger on Cross Rd to alleviate the washout problems when the water runs over the dam and straighten out the area where the flow goes. Mr. Debold stated that no culvert could handle the flow of the water when it goes over the dam.
Walter Sanborn stated that the dam only breached 2 times in 100 years at about $10,000 total to fix the damage. Why pay $160,000. David Colbert (Selectmen) stated that the difference is the liability.
Mr. Jameson asked what was the difference this time? He also mentioned that the culvert on route 4 and Cross Road had more damage during this event than that caused by the flow over the dam. It was less of a washout event than it was 6 years ago. David Colbert said that the difference is that the State knows about the dam now.
Public hearing was adjourned at 8:00 PM and the regular portion of the monthly CCC meeting was moved back down to the Selectmen’s office.
Minutes from last month were unanimously approved after changing the reference from Sanders Brook to Sanborn Brook.
Mike Marchand’s name has been submitted to be an alternate for the commission since there is a full compliment of 7 people on the board now. Still waiting to hear from the Selectmen.
CCC Goals Status Review:
1) Land Protection Subcommittee
Nothing new to report.
2) Source Water Protection Education Efforts/Web Site
Deb updated three of the web pages to bring the information up to date. They are still under review by members of the group.
3) Designating Prime Wetlands
VHB was to give a presentation after the public hearing but did not appear. Jeff will contact them to set up another meeting.
4) Warrant articles and 5) Blaze Paint Property Bounds on Conservation Easements
No work is expected on these goals until this fall.
6) Water Quality Monitoring of Marsh Pond
VLAP training on May 21st. Sampling to begin in June (if the pond still exists).
7) Implementing the Sanborn Cray Conservation Area management plan.
The town attorney reviewed the Plummer property purchase and sales agreement and recommended a few boilerplate changes. The Plummers are concerned about the nullification of verbal agreements not covered in the agreement. Jeff added statements regarding recording and releasing mortgage fees in the agreement which now needs to go back to the Plummers and then the Selectmen.
Jeff would like to have a soil scientist do a half dozen soil cores on a line a couple hundred feet behind the Plummer home to see if the proposed subdivision would make the Plummers remaining main house lot a substandard one. If so, then we should go back to the Planning Board and ask for a variance, otherwise we should continue with the land survey etc.
Received invoice from the NH Association of Conservation Commissions (NHACC) for $200 for annual membership. Bob motioned to keep the membership and all members concurred.
Jeff recommended that the CCC contribute $50 each to the Friends of the Suncook and the Five Rivers Conservation Trust. All were in favor.
Bob stated that our budget for $1000 passed.
The group agreed to purchase one copy of the NHACC’s handbook for $15.
In regards to Marsh Pond dam, Bob motioned, that based on public input tonight, to replace the dam (without repairing it) by discussing the project with the dam co-owner, sending out for additional RFP’s for engineering and construction of said dam, and conceptually approving the withdrawal of up to $40,000 from the conservation fund ((50%) of the town’s share) for the dam with all of this hinging on the 3 conditions stated in the previous meeting. The motion carried 5-1-1.
Voting for CCC officers will be held at the next meeting.
Lee-Ann contacted Andrea Deachman concerning the new golf place on Rte 4 near the Main Street intersection. A building permit was granted in error. The project is now going to the Wetlands Bureau for review.
Lee-Ann also asked if there were any recommendations for least impact aspects in order for the students to see the new outdoor classroom on the Frangione land.
Mike stated that he will be documenting vernal pools in his area as part of a project he is involved in. He will likely document those on town lands first. He could give guidance to landowners on how to do this.
Mike also mentioned that he is involved in an invasive species project. He will be reviewing public lands in the Suncook quad area.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:35.
05/09 @ 7:00 PM at Town Hall – Regular CCC meeting.