Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes – 7/9/18

Members Present:

Alicia Flammia (Chair), John Peska (Vice Chair), Steven Dumont

Alternates Present:

Myra Mansouri, Elaine Heleen, Gary Speed

Members Absent:

Duncan Watson, Jackie Kensen, Lewis Shelley, Laura Hayes, Peter Palmiotto, Kelli Wilson

Others Present:

Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Representatives)

Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Seating of Alternates: Gary & Elaine seated as a regular members.

Review and approve minutes – June 4, 2018. John made a motion to approve as written. Elaine seconded. All in favor.

Public Business:

1. Treasury: The Walpole Conservation Commission fund has a balance of $9,172.08, and the Forestry account has a balance of $2,269.23. The PDIP accounts have a balance $95,912.05 (Conservation) and $63,628.60 (Forestry). The Fanny Mason fund ℅ the Mason Forest has $12,423.08 and the other Mason fund has $314,740.52.

2. Correspondence:

a. The NH DES approved the expedited permit application from National Grid.

b. Rebecca from the Monadnock Conservancy emailed asking about the Watershed Town Forest. In 2016 she requested a copy of the forest management plan and has not received one. Peter Rhodes completed the Forest Management Plan. Alicia needs to contact Laura to get a copy of the filing key and Peter to track down the report.

c. Alicia received an email from Sarah Downing. The Boggy Meadow Farm is deemed taxable at current use rates. 8 acres are currently being farmed. RSA 72 states that if someone is using town land and they are not a non-profit, they need to pay the property tax on land they are using. Alicia recommends town lawyer look at the language being sent to Marcus for a formal lease. Alicia would like to keep the language short. The WCC could use this as a standard agreement going forward, with a change in use or a change in tenancy triggering re-approval. Alicia will draft a letter for approval at August meeting.

New Business:

1. Funds Overview: The WCC has a Conservation fund and a Forestry fund. They both have checking and savings accounts. The PDIP accounts are the savings accounts. The Forestry fund is for forest management plans, dam repairs, road upgrades, etc. The Conservation fund is for legal fees related to conservation easements and other costs related to conservation. If the WCC decides to donate for the Walker Property fund, it would come out of the conservation account. Peggy noted that the fundraisers for the Walker Property have raised a sum of money without much fundraising and will be looking to raise more. Peggy asked the WCC, if all the money was raised to purchase the property and it was given to the WCC, would the WCC be willing to purchase the property? Gary asked if the WCC can even purchase property? Gary noted that the WCC has donated money to help purchase property but has not bought any property. Peggy noted that the town of Walpole doesn’t usually buy land, it is given land, and there is a process for the town to accept land. Peggy noted that the donations that have come in for the Walker Road Property are going into a town fund specifically for that property. Steven noted that because the town technically holds the money, it would be the town buying the land. Peggy asked how invested the WCC would be in the property. John and Alicia reaffirmed that the WCC is committed to helping. Steven mentioned that Ryan from the Monadnock Conservancy brought up the idea of a Declaration of Conservation Restrictions in lieu of a formal conservation easement, and that it meets the grant requirements from the NH DES. The WCC would not need to actually monitor anything. Gary noted that the town has bought property before; the watershed property and the reservoir lot. The town could buy the land and the WCC would help to draft the Declaration of Conservation Restrictions into the deed. Steven mentioned that the fundraisers should have an explanation of what the land will be used for, to explain this to anyone giving funds. Gary is asking what the WCC would be willing to donate, and if we want to set an amount now? John suggests we wait and see how much money is raised before we decide. Peggy mentioned the selectboard is concerned that the WCC would not invest financially in the property and would not be interested in working to protect the land. John made a motion that the WCC is willing to fully support the efforts of the Walker Road property fundraising and protection of land. Gary seconded. All in favor.

2. Meeting time: Myra was wondering if the WCC would like to change the meeting time back to 7:00. Other boards have changed back to 7:00 and the WCC used to meet at 7. Consensus is to wait and see what other members think.

Old Business:

1. Gowdy Property: consensus that loggin/pruning operations are OK. Agreed that in the future, walking the property before and after and discussing the extent is a good idea.

2. Reservoir Dam: John noted that on June 22, Peggy Mark & John met with Fuss & O’Neill/CLD Engineers. They are on the approved NH DES list. They started at the town hall and went up to the dam. They thought the dam was in good shape. It was constructed in 1902 The culvert needs to be repaired or re-lined. Logging needs to be done along the embankment and brush hogging needs to be completed. They noted that the dam was not as bad as thought. Peggy noted that the town has engaged them to do the work and Walpole has notified DES that they have hired Fuss & O’Neill as the engineers. The town of Walpole re-sent to the DES an “Intent to Complete” letter with dates of work updated. The engineers will complete an inspection report. Peggy will invoice the WCC for $500 to get the engineers started. John mentioned it was originally thought that the work would be in the $200-$300,000 range. Fuss & O’Neill think that it will be more near the $40,000 range. Peggy said the town of Walpole will do the cutting/removing of trees. The trees need to be removed by August 20th. John will contact Mark to have him do the work. John made a motion to reimburse the town for $500. Steven seconded. All in favor.

3. Walpole Easement Database: No update.

4. Fannie Mason Feasibility Study: No update.

5. Bill Callahan Land Survey: The easement is moving through the administrative process. The survey has to be recorded and the deed drawn up. The town will invoice the WCC. Alicia will send the invoice to the Fanny Mason trustees.

6. Town Conservation Maps: No update.

7. WCC Appointments: Alicia will follow up with Kelli.

Other Business:

1. Lew has not checked in on Merriam property/trail damage but is planning to.

2. Lew wrote to Alicia that there is a planning board meeting on 7/10 regarding a subdivision application on Whipple Hill Road and he encourages members to be present.

Adjournment: At 8:57 Elaine made a motion to adjourn the meeting. John seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, August 6, 2018 at 7:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted; Steven Dumont, Recording Secretary

Note: These are unapproved minutes. Corrections, if any, will be found in the minutes of August 6, 2018..

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