Harrisville Conservation Commission
September 4, 2019
Attendees: Harry Wolhandler, Winston Sims, Les LaMois, Andrea Polizos, Don Scott, Kathy Scott Select Board Representative
Public Hearing on the HCC’s Proposed Rain Garden Project– As there were no members of the public in attendance, the HCC Chair opened and closed the public hearing.
HCC Agenda– Members added Recycling Center survey under “other business” and otherwise voted unanimously to approve the agenda.
Minutes of August 7, 2019– Winston Sims submitted the following addition to the minutes of the previous meeting: Under the paragraph headed “Rain Garden Update,” Mr. Sims noted the primary focus of watershed efforts is working with residents to reduce or prevent stormwater flows onto roads or others’ lands. That effort has not been made with the four or five residents along the road in this case. Therefore, this is a secondary effort to prevent water already flowing along roads from running into the lake. The members then voted to approve the minutes as amended, with Kathy Scott abstaining given her absence.
Kathy Scott and Don Scott recused themselves from votes on the following matters:
Rain Garden Project – Members noted that money for the required state Shoreland Permit by Notification (PBN) will come out of the Con Com budget. Kathy Scott asked on behalf of the Select Board if this matter should come for a vote as a Warrant Article before Town Meeting. Members discussed perspectives on both sides, ultimately determining that the Rain Garden is a proposed remedy for an ecological issue to protect the lake as well as manage surface stormwater, and that the HCC is the town board that oversees such matters and concerns.
The group discussed the location of the streetlight pole and whether or not it could or should be moved to more properly illuminate the street, for more effective implementation of the rain garden and because its originally intended purpose related to the old fire station no longer exists.
Don Scott shared copies of DES Shoreland Permit by Notification and detailed topo maps showing existing conditions of the area, including vegetation. He also shared construction estimates, which Mr. Scott and the Road Agent calculated would be approximately $5012. Estimated costs could be lower if the town performs the work. The estimated budget would cover all contingencies and money would come out of the Conservation Fund. Mr. Scott noted that the bottom of the rain garden will be 32” deep, at approximately the same level as the top of the lake. Parking spaces will be retained. He further explained how the whole area will be pervious with a ditch and gravel bed, so it becomes a below-grade reservoir and holding area. The rain garden itself will be roughly 10-12’wide, 2’ deep and will capture water from both ends. No decision has been made yet on the location of a kiosk. Mr. Sims asked Mr. Scott to amend the drawing to reflect the accurate parking area.
Subsequently, Harry Wolhandler moved that the HCC proceed with the Rain Garden project with a vote of the HCC and not a vote at Town Meeting. Les LaMois seconded. In discussion Winston reiterated the importance of further discussion; however members had no additional comments. The vote was 3-1 in favor with Mr. Sims opposed believing stormwater management issues had not been adequately addressed and education efforts not adequately discussed or pursued with neighbors. Members disagreed.
The HCC then moved to recommend to the Select Board that the streetlight be removed from its existing location to the pole on the island at Kadakit Street, if possible, and to the remove pole at boat ramp. Andrea Polizos seconded. In discussion, members noted the reason for the motion was to maintain optimum parking and drainage and because the light was no longer warranted in that location. All voted in favor. This vote was later rescinded as realization came that the pole was necessary for structural reasons. All voted in favor to rescind.
Following further discussion, the HCC moved to construct a Rain Garden and pervious parking area with funds not to exceed $5,600, appropriated from the Conservation Fund, to pay for the project to occur south of the Harrisville Pond boat ramp on town property. Andrea Polizos seconded. The vote was 3-1 in favor with Winston Sims opposed for the reasons stated in the earlier motion. The HCC additionally recommended that the project concur with the timing of the culvert repair on Prospect Street.
Don Scott and Kathy Scott remained recused for the following:
130 Hancock Road – Request for HCC Signature for State Wetlands Permit by Notification (PBN)– The property owners at 130 Hancock requested a signature from the HCC for an application to the state for expedited review for a Wetlands Permit. The owners propose to repair a deteriorating retaining wall, comprised of cemented fieldstone. Following an explanation by Don Scott of the proposal, and of existing and proposed conditions, Harry Wolhandler moved for the HCC to endorse expedited review of the Permit By Notification for 130 Hancock Road. The motion was seconded by Andrea Polizos.During discussion, Mr. Scott further explained that the owners are proposing terraced walls and a drywell to capture rainwater from gutters, all to take place behind the 20’ and 50’ setback lines, and an expansion of the existing deck. Members noted this latter work was not required to go before HCC and noted that the Shoreland permit had already been approved by the State. Members agreed the retaining wall proposal was a matter of maintenance and that the proposed lack of cement for the drywall would be an improvement. During the final vote, three members voted in favor with Mr. Sims abstaining given his opinion that the deck expansion should be considered by the HCC. Members disagreed.
Regarding a PBN for 59 Nelson Road, a barn set far from shore, members agreed the matter was not in the HCC’s jurisdiction but within the state’s.
Winston Sims recused himself from the following matter:
Skatutakee Dam Repair – request from Skatutakee Lake Association for assistance
Following up on last month’s discussion and presentation by SLA representatives, the HCC remarked on the benefits of a contribution, from environmental considerations as laid out in RSA 36-A:2 to the possibility that other organizations and individuals might also be encouraged to contribute. Andrea Polizos moved to contribute $5,000 to the Skatutakee Lake Association to help support dam repair. Les LaMois then moved to amend the proposed amount to $2500. Harry Wolhandler seconded the amended motion. The vote was 3-1 in favor of the amended motion with Andrea Polizos opposed believing the HCC should contribute more. In the subsequent vote on the motion to contribute $2,500 to the Skatutakee Lake Association, all voted in favor. Along with Andrea Polizos, HCC Select Board Representative Kathy Scott noted her belief that a donation of $5,000 was more appropriate.
A survey regarding the RC was shared by Harry Wolhandler, who offered to work with the RC committee to draft this for distribution to residents. It is part of an effort to improve user-friendliness and RC processes for residents. Kathy Scott further shared activities under way the RC committee this fall.
Rain Garden Project
Harry Wolhandler will request the $100 check from the SB to accompany the state permit application for the proposed Rain Garden at the Harrisville Pond boat ramp.
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm.