The Harrisville Conservation Commission met for its regular meeting on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road.
Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Winston Sims, Kathy Scott, Andrea Polizos, Les LaMois
Members of the public: Don Scott
The meeting opened at 7:05 pm.
Harry Wolhandler reviewed the agenda and members unanimously approved.
Approve minutes of 10/3/2018 and 11/7/2018
Andrea Polizos moved to approve the October minutes as written. Les LaMois seconded and all voted in favor. Following a request to modify a sentence on page three of the November 7 minutes, Mr. LaMois moved to approve as written and all voted in favor. The amendment, shown in italics, is as follows: Winston Sims wished to discuss planning for prevention of repetition of damage from the August 2017 storm, as indicated in his request to modify the agenda, and how impervious and pervious surfaces relate to this issue.
HCC Budget for Town Meeting 2019
Andrea Polizos stated she would submit her invoice for conference reimbursement. On other matters, Mr. LaMois mentioned that some of the Lake Host signs need repair or replacement. In addition to this and conference attendance reimbursement, Don Scott raised the idea of holding an open seminar on the Homeowner’s Guide to stormwater management. Andrea Polizos discussed salamander crossing and enlisting input from Brett Thelen of the Harris Center and also working with the school. Timing is early March for training. Ms. Polizos will reach out to Ms. Thelen and also Claudia (last name?) Earth Day and Roadside Cleanup also were discussed, with the possibility of coordinating with the school. Following discussion, Kathy Scott moved to request $1, 000 for the 2019 budget. All voted in favor. Mr. Wolhandler noted he would submit this amount, the same amount as in 2018, to the Select Board.
Separately, members requested retraining for weedwatchers, including for HCC members, and expressed hope for more shared knowledge of weeds.
Harrisville Conservation Fund – Proposed Revisions
The group discussed the timing for proposing and submitting a Warrant Article for Town Meeting, which will be held March 12. It was agreed that language should coincide with language in the existing RSA 36-A:5III as authorized by RSA 79-A:25II, as appeared on the original Warrant Article of 2005, so that restrictions on funds could be eased and funds could be appropriated for their originally intended uses. HCC will reach out to Margaret Burns and Steven Buckley regarding exact language.
The HCC then discussed language it would propose the following draft warrant: To see if the Town will vote to deposit all of the revenues collected pursuant to RSA 79-A (the Land Use Change Tax) in the Conservation Fund in accordance with RSA 36-A:5 III as authorized by RSA 79-A:25II. This Article will replace the 2005 Warrant Article 14 that restricts Conservation Funds to be used solely “for the purchase of land and/or conservation easements and costs related thereto.” KS then moved to propose the draft Warrant Article for 2019 Town Meeting as written, subject to review by counsel. Seconded by Andrea Polizos. All voted in favor. Mr. Wolhandler will email this language to HCC members and also will draft an article for Common Threads explaining the proposal and including the public hearing date.
Mr. Wolhandler discussed feedback from Andrew Maneval, former Emergency Management Director, and also from the Road Agent regarding key issues for the town and how the HCC could possibly support town efforts on issues related to climate change, storm damage and runoff mitigation. Don Scott noted ideas for drainage, filtration and culvert and pipe designs for dissiation of water flow. Winston Sims urged that HCC efforts go toward ordinances and voluntary efforts of landowners that address runoff from properties onto adjacent properties and onto roads. Mr. Sims emphasized this need especially for the shoreland district and the need for ordinances related to the zero- to fifty-foot buffer. Don Scott noted the proposed language of the Ordinance Revision Committee related to impervious cover. Mr. Wolhandler added that the state permit requirements address this. The ORC will continue to visit this subject in 2019, particularly ideas regarding protection, development or better utilization of marshlands, swamps, and all other wetlands. Mr. Sims encouraged that the HCC not support the impervious cover amendment, currently proposed, until language related to shoreline buffers was incorporated.
Aquatic Invasive Prevention
Mr. Wolhandler asked members their opinions of proposing HCC Warrant Articles sequentially such that, if its Warrant Article related to easing restrictions of conservation funds was accepted, the HCC could withdraw its Warrant Article related to $3,000 in funds for prevention of aquatic invasives. If, on the other hand, the first article was defeated, the HCC could still propose a Warrant Article to appropriate funds for invasives. Members thought this might be too confusing or not well received, if risky, and agreed that only one Article should be put forth. It was believed that $1,200 in funds remains from the town’s previous allocation for combatting aquatic invasives.
Update on Jaquith Road easement granted to HCC in approximately 1998
Les LaMois will visit office in Keene and report back.
Reports on other committees
Planning Board- The PB will hold its second public hearing on proposed ordinance revisions on December 12.
ZBA – Members expressed frustration with approvals related to 3 Main Street.
Wetlands Rulemaking – initial proposal
Members attended conferences in Keene and Concord. Winston Sims voiced his deep concern over the proposed streamlining of state regulations related to the Permit by Notification process that he believes it removes the HCC and all local conservation commissions and municipalities from the review process. Mr. Wolhandler and Mr. LaMois noted the changes focus on process and that the proposed process would be tiered based on the nature of the applications. Mr. Wolhandler added that the proposals don’t relax standards, or affect best management practices or the existing laws. The comment period remains open until January 18. The state has been holding focused input sessions with all affected parties throughout the state. Mr. Sims reiterated his concerns about the importance of process and the concern, also expressed by Ms. Polizos, that the focus is solely on saving money and time, without concern for the effect on water and the environment. Members subsequently reviewed and discussed details of the proposed changes to requirements in the PBN process and what towns are allowed to review and enforce. Kathy Scott noted towns can be stricter but not more lenient. Mr. Sims will draft comments for HCC consideration at its next meeting on January 2.
Meeting adjourned at 9:07 pm.