Coffee with a Cop – 4/19/22

Walpole Grange #125 will host a Coffee With A Cop event on Tuesday, April 19th at 7:00pm at the town hall.  The police department will be talking about the activities of the department and answering questions.  The public is encouraged to come and bring any questions or concerns that they might have.  Coffee and goodies will be served by the Grange members.  If you have any questions or need more information call (603)756-3677 or email gyardley@myfairpoint.net.

At the Library – 5/7/22

Distant Hills Nature Trail – 4/22/22

Native Tree and Shrub ID on Distant Hill Nature Trail

Fri, April 22, 2022

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Join UHN Extension Forestry Specialists, Matt Kelly of Cheshire County, and Mike Gagnon of Hillsborough County, on Friday, April 22nd from 3-5 pm, for a Tree and Shrub Identification Workshop at Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail in Walpole and Alstead, NH. This two-hour workshop will take place in the forest, fields, and wetlands of Distant Hill. You will learn how to identify numerous native species of shrubs and trees, along with a few invasive plant species. We will be using the plant’s buds and other identification features such as bark, shape, branching patterns, smell, taste, habitat, cones, and fruits as clues. 

For those with mobility issues, this workshop will be held outdoors on the gently rolling wheelchair and stroller accessible Distant Hill Nature Trail.

Suggested Donation: $10/per adult

All donations go toward making the trails at Distant Hill more accessible!

And here is a link to all of our upcoming events at Distant Hill on Eventbrite: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/distant-hill-gardens-and-nature-trail-2022-events-225849

Spring Wildflowers Hike – 5/15/22

Sunday, May 15, 2022
10 a.m. to noon

Sawyer Farm (part of Boggy Meadow Farm), Walpole

Before trees fully develop their leaves and shade the forest floor, ephemeral spring wildflowers emerge, bloom, pollinate, disperse seeds, gather a year’s worth of energy, and disappear underground, all in the span of a few weeks. Discover some of these fleeting floral gems on a hike with naturalist and Conservancy Executive Director Ryan Owens.

Rain or shine. We’ll be going off trail, probably through mud, so you are encouraged to wear sturdy footwear and bug deterrent clothing or spray, and bring water and snacks. Please register in advance to be sent information about where to meet: email Ryan Owens (Ryan@MonadnockConservancy.org) or call 603-357-0600, ext. 103.

Library Trustees Meeting Minutes – 4/12/22

Present (By roll call attendance):  Amy Howard (Chair), Kathy Nerrie (Treasurer), Gail LaHaise, Susan Johnson, Bill Ranauro, Tim Lester, Sarah Mann, Erin Bowen, Jean Kobeski (Recording Secretary), Jane Malmberg (Library Director), Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Liaison)

The meeting was called to order at 4:34 p.m.  This meeting was recorded.

Approval of Minutes: Tim moved to accept the minutes of March 14, 2022 as written.  Amy seconded, and all voted in favor.

Treasurers Report:  Kathy reported that we have spent less than a quarter of the budget to date, so we are under budget at this time. Money is coming in when we expect it.

Bills:  Bill asked if there are any seasonal expenses.  Kathy said there are some gardening expenses, but they come out of a separate account.  Certain bills come due at a particular time of the year, such as moveable stack maintenance.  Jane added there is a quarterly copier usage bill and in the summer we tend to spend more on programming.  

Tim stated he is glad the fiction will be moved out of the moveable stacks. Jane said she will weed out the collection then switch it with non-fiction, DVDs, and oversized books. More people browse fiction at the same time, and patrons have complained that they have had to wait to get access to the moveable shelves until another patron finishes. 

Peggy asked Jane how she decides which books and materials should be weeded out. Jane replied that she follows standard library procedure, looking at the age of the materials and how recently they have been circulated, retaining those that are classic/relevant. 

With no other questions or comments about the bills, Amy moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and the Bills.  Kathy seconded, and all voted to approve them.    

Old Business

Signs:  Tim showed a photo of a wooden sign crafted by Signworx, which costs $6,000 and doesn’t do what we want it to do. After a lengthy discussion, Amy said we could take our requirements to Signworx and ask them to make a proposal for the work. Ideas to present to the sign maker include: 

​1.  Have a 2-sided metal sign (to be perpendicular to the road) made with changeable ​​​letters and a glass cover. One side would show library hours.  The other would publicize events.

​2.  Have a template with days of the week but with changeable hours. (Sarah)

​3.  Have a wooden sign (with posts) to put above the metal sign. (Kathy) The wooden ​​​sign would have the library logo and name of the library. 

Amy said the subcommittee can meet to discuss these ideas, get dimensions, and draw up a plan to present to Signworx for a proposal.

Logo/Branding: Sarah said the survey is going very well. Julie is gathering results until the April 15th deadline.  She said a summary of the results will be available after that date. 

Sarah referenced the creative brief that she emailed to all trustees.  It is a document which will be presented to prospective graphic designers.  She welcomes input from trustees but feels confident that the committee members who drafted it have been thorough and have made requirements for the designer very clear. Receiving no comments from the board, she stated they will move forward with the brief as written.  

Jean asked for a ballpark of what a designer would cost.  Sarah responded roughly $3,000.

Sarah said it may not be possible to finish the logo before Old Home Days.  The trustees agreed that the project should not be rushed. Tim asked if there is a budget for the logo project.  Amy said there will be one once they get proposals. It was also decided not to go to Signworx until the logo is complete.

New Business

AED:  Jane stated that it will be necessary for the library to purchase an AED, if we want one.  She learned from the Safety Committee that it will cost $1270 and there will be a training session on May 10. 

The board talked about current locations of AEDs.  Erin stated that the community AEDs are only available (to the public) while the buildings in which they are located are open.  During off hours, 911 should be called.

The board wondered if there are grants available for the purchase of an AED.  Kathy suggested contacting local banks.  Jane said she would pursue sources of money. No decision regarding the purchase of an AED was made.

North Walpole Lease:  Jane said the North Walpole commissioners are open to a two-year lease.  They asked her to draw up the lease;  Peggy asked Jane to give it to her and she would have it done.

Old Home Day:  Jane expressed interest in having a table on the common for Old Home Day.  Ideas for what could be presented at the table:

​​• Summer reading program information

​​• Library cards

​​• Library swag

​​• Magnets with library hours

​​• Crafts

Jane presented the idea of a float, but she also mentioned that many libraries are doing Library Drill Teams. The Library Drill Team does a routine with library book carts. The trustees were very enthusiastic about that idea.  Jane said she would talk to the staff about doing that in the OHD parade.

Expanding the Substitute Pool: Jane asked to expand the library’s pool of substitutes, perhaps adding one or two more.  Peggy stated she could work with Sarah Downing to get the job posted.  The Selectboard will need to approve the salary.  Jane said there is already a job description on file;  Peggy suggested she talk to Sarah to make sure the description is correct.  

Kathy asked if volunteers could act as substitutes.  Jane said that is against the law.

Operations:  Jane credits Julie’s efforts to make community connections with the increase in patron visits to the North Walpole Library.  

Jane reported a good turnout for the Great Decisions program on April 8th. May’s topic will be Changing Demographics. She is pleased that Ben Hoy will make a presentation, “Throw Out Less, Recycle More” on April 26th, right after Earth Day.  He will talk about the Walpole Recycling Center and answer questions community members may have.

The library has secured a Reimagining School Readiness grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, which will provide training for Julie and over $500 worth of materials to use in library programming. Julie said she is excited to learn more about getting children ready for school.

Buildings and Grounds:

Chimney:  Amy said a request for proposals for chimney repair will be sent out.  Tim suggested contacting Andy Westover.

The Front Door:  The board has selected Mark McGills’s proposal for the front door.  He requires a deposit before he begins the work.  Jane said she would get a purchase order to Town Hall tomorrow.

Copy Machine:  The copy machine in North Walpole is not working. Susan said she will donate a printer from her father’s home to replace it.

The Friends:  Jane submitted a wish list and will attend the May meeting to discuss it.  Jane said Carol Malnati stepped down as chair of the Friends.  The position will be shared by several members. Jane hopes to find one member, though, with whom she can consistently communicate.

The Friends will have their annual book sale at the end of October.  They are planning to have their plant sale at the reuse center this year.  A few of the trustees asked Jane to encourage them to have it on the grounds of the library, as it has traditionally been done.  Kathy asked Jane to find out where to donate plants.  

The trustees went into Executive Session at this point to discuss personnel. 

Adjournment: At the end of Executive session Tim moved to adjourn the meeting.  Gail seconded.  Amy adjourned the meeting at 5:49 p.m.

The next meeting will be May 10, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jean Kobeski, Recording Secretary

** These minutes are in draft form until approved at the May 10, 2022 meeting.

Clarion Deadline – 4/22/22

MAY 2022 – CLARION CLOSING DATE – APRIL 22by Ray Boas

I have started my writing for the May issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION, and now it is your turn to keyboard away and submit your news to share with the community. Submissions for the next issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION are due just a week and a few hours away – Friday, April 22.

The most important upcoming event is in June, the COVID postponed OLD HOME DAYS is back. If you CLICK ON THIS LINK you can see the tentative schedule the CLARION has been provided. But, please as the world is coming back alive, hopefully you have some news and events to share as the weather is turning to summer – at this moment I hear the rain on my roof as I am typing, and I know that leads to flowers coming forth.

If you have any questions, or would like to place an advertisement to hreach the almost 2,000 addresses the CLARION is mailed to (not to mention the world-wide reach on-line), please contact me. 

Thank you, RAY BOAS, Publisher

Selectboard Meeting Minutes – 4/7/22

Selectboard Present:​Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy L. Pschirrer; Cheryl Mayberry

CALL TO ORDER:  Mr. Dalessio called this Selectboard meeting to order at 6:30 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.  This meeting was being recorded.

Mr. Dalessio called for a voice roll call of the Selectboard present:  Peggy Pschirrer was present; Cheryl Mayberry was present; and Steven Dalessio, Chair, was present.  Also present was Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, and Regina Borden, Recording Secretary.  There were three members of the public in attendance:  David Edkins, Kim Mastrianni and Gretchen Markiewicz.

NEW BUSINESS:

Old Home Days Activities on the Common:  Mr. David Edkins is coordinating the activities on the Common for Old Home Days on Saturday, June 25th, 2022.  He wanted to check to see if there were any ground rules, he should be aware of.  Questions about water and electricity came up.  Mr. Dalessio advised there are some electrical outlets along the side of the Common that will be on but there is only one spot for water.  The 4-H Group would like to have their animals on the far south end of the Common where the trees are.  Mr. Dalessio confirmed that is a good location.  He suggested Mr. Edkins check with Mr. Mike Rau at the Highway Department about putting garbage cans out. Spaces will be available to non-profits that are either based in Walpole or serve the Walpole community.  Anyone wishing to reserve a space should contact Mr. Edkins.  There were notices in the last two editions of the Clarion.    

Great River Co-op re: Grants:  Ms. Kim Mastrianni distributed copies of the “Great River Co-Op – Nourishing Our Community” to the Selectboard.  Recently they have begun to do some more work to bring a community-owned cooperative grocery store to the Great Falls region of New Hampshire and Vermont.  Their board recently completed an updated Market Research Study as well as consultation on their proformas with a financial specialist and a co-op start up specialist.  These were conducted by national leaders in advising co-op boards.  They have the potential for a couple of grants. Therefore, she is requesting letters of support for the grant funding.  It appears the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant will not work for them because the Town is not a direct investor in the property.  They are now looking at the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that is funded through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is administeredin NH by the Community Development Finance Authority (NHCDFA).  That would involve the Town as an applicant in applying for those funds.  The Co-op would do all the work; any established matching grants would be coming from member loans, other grants, third party loans or other resources.  What they are asking the Town, as their sponsor, would be to approve the request up to $1,000,000 of CDBG funds.  It would help them get the Co-op up and running.  Mrs. Pschirrer asked if they still have a list of investors.  Ms. Mastrianni noted they have 880+/- active investors. They are a for-profit company as opposed to a non-profit company.  Should they be able to move forward with the CBDG application, the Town would be their sponsor.  Mrs. Pschirrer asked what the Town’s obligations would be.  Ms. Mastrianni was not in a position at this meeting to provide all that information; the co-op would be doing the bulk of the work.  Ms. Mayberry pointed out that they would have to see the grant application to know what the requirements were as their sponsor.  Ms. Mastrianni would be able to get them a copy of those documents.  Mr. Dalessio mentioned they would support the co-op but when they sign anything on behalf of the Town, they need to be sure it is in the best interest of the Town. Mrs. Pschirrer asked about the deadline.  Ms. Mastrianni felt the deadline for the letter of interest might be the end of April.  She apologized for the short notice but will get the details and more information to the Selectboard.  Mr. Dalessio asked if they still feel it is a viable option for Walpole.  Ms. Mastrianni said “absolutely, it is”.  

Mrs. Pschirrer questioned if they were to get a $1,000,000 CDBG, what would it buy them?  Ms. Mastrianni replied planning and development. They are still working with Bensonwood on a building and land, working with a production manager, etc.  Mr. Dalessio asked what the total project cost is estimated at? Ms. Mastrianni said about $3,000,000.  Mr. Dalessio thanked them for the update and asked them to come back when they have some additional information.                    

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE:

Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $69,272.62 for checks issued April 8, 2022.  This includes a payment in the amount of $24,096.36 to the NH Retirement System.  Seconded by Mrs.Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.  

PAYROLL:​

Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending April 2, 2022, in the amount of $45,663.91 dated April 8, 2022, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $10,820.86.  This includes updated pay rates and retro-active pay. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:

SELECTBOARD MEETING – March 31, 2022:  Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of March 31, 2022, as submitted.  Seconded by Mrs.Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved.

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION – March 31, 2022:  Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of March 31, 2022, as submitted. These Minutes will remain sealed.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved.

LAND USE CHANGE TAX:  

MAP and LOT #011-059-000:  Ms. Mayberry moved to approve the Land Use Change Tax in the amount of $1,360.00 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #011-059-000.  This land was disturbed to construct a DADU (detached accessory dwelling unit).  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs.Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

VETERANS TAX CREDIT:

MAP and LOT #008-009-007:  Ms. Mayberry moved to grant the Veterans Tax Credit for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #008-009-007.  This property owner’s name changed due to a revocable trust; a new PA-29 was required.  Seconded by Mrs.Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

ELDERLY TAX EXEMPTION:

MAP and LOT #029-026-000:  Ms. Mayberry moved to grant the Elderly Tax Exemption for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #029-026-000.  This applicant met the income and asset limits.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs.Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor the motion was approved.

NOTICE OF INTENT TO CUT WOOD OR TIMBER:

MAP and LOT #005-036-000:  Ms. Mayberry moved to grant the Notice of Intent to Cut Wood or Timber for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #005-036-000.  This large tract of land has access off County Road.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

NOTICE OF INTENT TO EXCAVATE:

MAP and LOT #001-016-002:  Ms. Mayberry moved to grant the Notice of Intent to Excavate for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #001-016-002.  This property has access of the Old Route 12 North Road.  This is an annual renewal for an active gravel/sand pit.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs.Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

OLD BUSINESS:

Updated Town Hall Fire Alarm Panel Purchase Order:  Mr. Dalessio reported the price increased considerably since last September.  The new cost is $12,995.  Encumbered funds from last year’s Article #5 are available for the purchase.

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve Purchase Order #789054 to Countryside Alarms in the amount of $12,995.00 for the Fire Alarm Panel replacement.  Seconded by Ms. Mayberry.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

Highway Department Winter Operations Snow Removal and Ice Control Procedures:  Mrs. Pschirrer had drafted the Highway Department Winter Operations Snow Removal and Ice Control Procedures.  Mr. Dalessio talked to the North Walpole Fire Chief about the snowplowing; the one-inch clearance to get the fire truck out of the garage makes a big difference when plowing the area.  Ms. Mayberry mentioned Mr. Rau attended a meeting with the Board of Commissioners.  They discussed the priorities during and after snowstorms and other areas of concern in the Village.  It was a very good visit.

Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Highway Department Winter Operations Snow Removal and Ice Control Procedures.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs.Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.      

Post-Recorded Lien Interest Rate:  Mr. Dalessio felt they needed to discuss this based on individual cases.  He referenced the RSAs.  The question is do they receive it as a delinquent tax payment of 18% or do they receive the 14%.  This only matters if somebody comes back to claim the property.  They have ten years to come back to claim a property.  Even after it has been sold, the original people have a claim to it.  Mrs. Pschirrer thought it was only if the Town received extra money; it has to be saved separately.  Mr. Dalessio recommended they read RSA 80:90 which are the definitions.  Mrs. Pschirrer felt they also need to look back to the court case.  Mr. Dalessio summarized that there is no rush. They should continue to research it.  This will be tabled for now.

Pending Further Actions:

Generators, Wooden Chairs in the Town Hall, Trees on the Common, Walpole Players Posters, Reservoir Dam, Houghton Brook Bridge, Parking Ordinance, Three Phase Power for Industrial Park Drive and Bensonwood:

Town Lights:  Mr. Dalessio talked with Mr. Steve Grenier and all of the lights that the Town owns have been updated.  If anyone notices one and questions if it was changed, try to get the pole number so they can send it over to Mr. Grenier for him to check it.  

Bridge Lights:  Ms. Mayberry mentioned the State was going to do the light replacement when they were doing the new Arch Bridge.  The lights are on, but the Commissioners were asking what kind of lights they were going to be, LED, solar, etc.  They had a rescue call on the bridge last week but the Bellows Falls light was not working.  Mr. Dalessio asked Mrs. Downing to pull the letter from the State regarding the lights on the bridge.  

Three Phase Power for Industrial Park Drive and Bensonwood:  Ms. Mayberry asked if they want to contact Liberty Utilities again for another cost estimate.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted they have such a long infrastructure list that they should prioritize the projects.  There was a consensus to send this out to all the State Legislators; keep bringing this to their attention.       

Mr. Dalessio suggested they pull the Walpole Players Posters off the list as they have not come back in for further discussion.  He would also take the Wooden Chairs in the Town Hall off the list as it is an internal sale.    

NEW BUSINESS:

Assessing Letter to New England Power:  Mr. Dalessio mentioned they have a letter to New England Power to request a detailed asset report for all transmission assets located in our municipality.  

Ms. Mayberry moved to approve and sign the letter to New England Power.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

E.W. Salvage Junkyard Permit: Ms. Mayberry moved to approve the E.W. Salvage Junkyard Permit from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

Cemetery Deed:  Ms. Mayberry moved to approve the Cemetery Deed for Lots #E811 and #E812.  Seconded by Mrs.Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

Memorial Day Parade:  Mr. Dalessio talked with Mr. Justin Cassarino, and they will have a Memorial Day Parade.  He is also getting ready to work with Mr. Whitney Aldrich to transfer the information. The Boy Scouts will be doing the organizing of the parade and making other plans.  They should have more information in a week or two.  The FMRHS Band is going to Charlestown this year.  Mr. Dalessio has been talking to the Director of the Walpole School Band who is seeking a confirmation that the parade is occurring.

Thank-You Letter to FMRSD:  Mr. Dalessio reported there is a letter to be signed to Lorraine Landry, Superintendent, Fall Mountain Regional School District thanking the Fall Mountain Regional School District for the use of the Walpole Elementary gymnasium for our Annual Town Meeting on March 12, 2022.  They also mention a special thank you to Brett Fessenden from the SAU 60 IT Department and Brian Exley from Maintenance for coming in on a Saturday for set-up, supporting us during the meeting process and for putting away equipment and furniture after the meeting ended.  

Thank-You Letters: The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the Thank You letters from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of NH and CASA for the Town’s annual contribution.

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:

Ms. Mayberry moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs.Pschirrer and Ms. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved at 7:22 PM.

The Selectboard meeting reconvened at 7:30 PM.

Ms. Mayberry moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of April 7, 2022, will be sealed.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.

RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:

Ms. Mayberry moved to recess this Selectboard meeting.  The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs.Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved at 7:31 PM.

The Selectboard meeting reconvened at 8:04 PM.

ADJOURNMENT:

Ms. Mayberry moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  Mr. Dalessio asked if there was any additional discussion.  There was none.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

​​​​​

Selectboard Meeting Agenda – 4/14/22

Zoning Board Meeting Agenda – 4/20/22

Town Hall

7 pm

Roll Call: Appointment of alternates if needed.

Minutes: Review minutes of March 2022 meeting. 

New Business:

Possibly Variance or Expansion of a Non-Conforming Use: Elizabeth Roos, 14 Middle Street, Article V D-2, Tax Map 20, Lot 77, Residential B. Ms. Roos would like to change and slightly enlarge her deck on west side of the house. The door to the deck is the second egress from the house. The door is even with the deck and gets frozen shut in the winter. The plan is to drop the deck down one step. Request for a Public Hearing. This has been postponed until April.

Signage: US Cellular, 48 North Meadow Access Road. Article IV, D-6, Tax Map 12, Lot 55-13A, Commercial District. Owner of building is Blackmer Holdings LLC. New sign company called. April or May meeting. Evelyn Negron contact.

Special Exception in a rural/ag district: Tim Latham is planning to purchase that property on March Hill Rd that we almost did a special exception for a while back. Article Vlll, C, Tax Map 11, Lot 53, 455 March Hill Road. He is planning to attend our meeting to ask for a special exception so he can use that property for his electrical business. He also plans to attend the next planning board meeting to ask for a hearing to get the recommendation the ZBA will need. If all goes well he will have his PB hearing May 10, and we will have our hearing at our May meeting on the 18th.

Old Business:

Clarion article for April. What is a Variance? Pauline Barnes.

Applications on website – Expansion of Non-Conforming Use, Bylaws, Special Exceptions, etc. Working on this.

Special Exception in a rural/ag district:

Copies of Zoning Map from Antioch. Don Sellarole.

Bruce Blanchette, Signage at 8 Prospect Hill Road, Article IV D-4, Tax Map 19, Lot 70,  Residential A.  

Signs shall be permitted no larger than six (6) square feet in the Residential District. Free-standing signs shall be located no closer than ten (10) feet from a front, side or rear lot line. A free-standing sign shall not exceed ten (10) feet in height.

Next meeting May 18, 2022.

Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes

Members Present:  Alicia Flammia, John Peska, France Menk, Peter Palmetto, Lew Shelley, 

​           ​          Laura Hayes, Steven Dumont  

Members Absent:  None  

Alternates Present:  Kara Dexter, Gary Speed

Visitors Present:  Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Liaison), Alex Barrett, Wendy and Will

                    Grossman, Helen Dalbeck, Marcia Galloway, Jean Kobeski (Recording  Secretary)

Call to Order:  Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m. This meeting was recorded.

Review and Approval of Minutes:  Lew moved to approve the March minutes as written.  John seconded, and all voted to approve. 

Public Business

Report from the Chair:  Alicia reported she attended the Rutgers class on dam removal.  She stated as soon as the town receives the final report on the Reservoir Dam, they need to decide quickly to either correct or remove it because there are several sources of money for which they can apply.  She feels they can even secure funding to remove the dam because of its high risk designation.  Alicia said she could give a more detailed report of what she learned from the class at a later time. She also offered to make a presentation to the Selectboard;  Peggy said she would pass along the offer.

Lew asked if there is a deadline for applying for the money.  Alicia responded she does not know who the funders are or their application timelines. John asked if the class offered tips for grant writing and Alicia said it did. Peggy reminded the group that $100,000 has been put into the town budget this year for emergency management, and dam mitigation is on the list.

Treasury Report:  Conservation:  $190,138.61

                                    Forestry:      $30,662.19

​                     Walker Rd.:        $2,138.45

                   Mason Expendable:   $ 492,126.76

           Mason Non-Expendable:      $21,002.42

Correspondence:  Alicia received an invoice for $250 for membership in the NH Association of Conservation Commissions.  Lew moved to approve payment of the invoice for $250 to the NHACC.  John seconded, and all voted in favor of the payment.

Alicia received a stack of Easement Landowner Questionnaires from the Monadnock Conservancy.  She said she originally thought she wanted to do these in order to get to know the properties better, but the job is daunting – too time consuming.  Laura agreed and said these forms were not meant for towns which own numerous easements.  She and Alicia discussed having a meeting with the Conservancy and answering their questions in conversation. Laura suggested inviting them to a Commission meeting to do this.

New Business:  Alex Barrett from Long View summarized what he found in the Hooper Forest then referenced the draft of his Hooper Forest Management Plan that was emailed to Commission members. He said there were four distinct areas. First, he said they will be able to do some commercial logging in red pine areas.  There are areas of poor quality white pines.  In the center of the forest are oak and hickory trees. He said with some work, a special oak and hickory forest can be created.  He also said there is a swampy area with some black gum trees – rare for this area and a special wetland feature.

Alex then took questions and comments about the plan.  He said Long View expedited the work to create the plan because the Commission wants to begin logging as soon as possible.  Peggy noted three corrections/additions. First, this is Map 11, not 1.  Second, Town Hall phone number is 603-756-3672. Third, she asked Alex to specify the owner as Town of Walpole – Hooper Trust.

Lew asked if this would be a winter or summer cut.  Alex said the access road is in good shape so the red pine could be cut during the summer.  White pine will be late summer due to the sensitive ground in that area.

Laura asked what Tom’s estimate for invasives control is.  He told her it is $5,000.  Lew asked if this would be the preliminary step. Alex said it would be and Laura expanded by saying that the invasives would be sprayed before any other work would be started.

Alicia asked Helen if she had any questions or comments.  She said she enjoyed reading the plan and is looking forward to the work, particularly because it can be incorporated into lessons for students.  She wants to know when things are happening because she plans to photograph and create a story about the process for presentation.

Kara asked if there would be skidders on the class 6 road.  Alex said no, just log trucks. Skidders will have to cross the road though.  

Peggy asked how long Alex expects the harvest to take. He said 4-12 weeks, depending on weather and machinery.

Laura asked Alex for next steps.  He said he would make the corrections to the plan and send it to the Commission.  He would send Tom’s proposal for invasive control, which would take place during the second half of July or August.  Then timber would be marked (1-2 days work), with Commission guidance. He would then prepare a prospectus, which would include financials, logging plan, and performance objectives.  A showing would be scheduled to which prospective contractors interested in the wood would be invited.  Alex would host that as part of administration. He would then give them a week to submit bids. The Commission would consider bids received and choose the contractor. 

John said the Commission could discuss Alex’s amended proposal at the May meeting, then decide whether to go forward with the request for proposals.

Peter asked if the Commission is in agreement to give Alex the green light to administer the sale.  Alex has completed the plan they requested, and he will invoice them for that. He said they would have to enter another contract with Long View to mark the timber and prepare the prospectus. Peter made a motion to have Long View and Alex administer the sale so the job can be put out for bids.  France seconded, and all voted to approve.

Alicia said that the Commission will work on procurement, deciding if they want sole sourcing putting the job out to bid. 

Alex said he would send a document outlining both revenue and administration sides of the project. He stated timber tax is something the Commission needs to consider on the revenue side.  He said invasive would cost $5,000 and administration in the $3,000 range.  Alicia stated in past meetings the Commission said it would pay for the administration side, including invasive control, and the Hooper Institute would retain the revenue. She said they should take a vote on the invasive first for the record.  Laura moved that the WCC fund the invasive work.  France seconded the motion, and all voted in favor.

Lew asked who did the harvest at the Hooper Golf Club. Alex said Chris Ricci did according to a Long View Plan. Peter said the oversight of the project by a forester is critical to a logging project and will be included in administrative costs. Alex was thanked for his work.

Peggy thanked the Commission on behalf of the Hooper Institute for incurring the administrative costs of this project.

Old Business

Walpole Gateway Action Plan:  Peter showed a survey he received from Chuck Shaw, which was completed in 1994 for George O’Brien, the landowner.  He pointed out that the area where the Commission discussed putting parking is not on Gateway land.  It belongs to the Bureau of Trails. Wendy reminded the group that they must get permission from the Bureau before doing any work on the state-owned Rail Trail.  That includes cutting the grass. So Peter stated they will need to get permission to cut the grass to create their proposed parking spaces. Peter stated that, if they have to get permission to cut the grass, they should ask for permission to put in something more definitive. That could include a split-rail fence.  He also said they should check the location of the kiosk;  it may be on the Bureau’s property.  A discussion of boundary lines followed that discovery.  

Steven suggested doing a walk-about to look for boundary markers but suggested the Commission have a new survey done of the land.  

John asked Wendy what the Route 12 right-of-way to the side is.  She did not know but suggested the Commission contact the DOT.  Lew said he would reach out to the DOT in Keene. John said knowing that exact information would be helpful when going to the Bureau of Trails. 

Peter asked if anyone has ever seen corners or markers on the property.  No one has looked for them or seen them.  Lew suggested talking to Chuck to see if he can show where his corner is. If they know that, it might help finding other markers. It would be better to try to find these before hiring a surveyor. Peter said they will probably need a survey of this property some time, but he said he would meet others for a walk-about now. 

France suggested tallying the number of cars they see parked at the Gateway so they can determine just how many spaces they need to create. It was decided that, for the next month, commissioners would observe and note how many cars they see parked there at various times of the day.  At next month’s meeting they will discuss their findings.  

On another Gateway topic, Peter said they need to hike down the trail to determine vehicle access.   France, Peter, Alicia, and Lew will meet at 10:00 April 10 to do the hike.

Peter suggested talking to Long View about invasive control at the Gateway property.

Scenic Byways Funding:  Alicia said she heard from the Scenic Byway Department of the DOT about grant funding which was requested in June, 2021.  In the original letter of interest, money was requested for educational signage at the Gateway and an accessible walking trail.  The DOT explained that money requested should fall within four categories:

​​1.  Safety

​​2.  Equity and Accessibility

​​3.  Economic Strength

​​4.  Climate and Sustainability

Alicia said what the WCC requested money for was more of a wish list rather than for concrete plans that had been made. At this time these ideas are probably more than the Commission wants to undertake, in light of current activities.  At this time the group will not pursue funding.

Sponsor-A-Road:  Kara presented the idea of the WCC sponsoring a 2-mile section of road in front of the Gateway for clean-up 4 times/year.  Alicia asked Kara if she has more information about sponsorship.  Kara will send her the information, and it will be discussed at the May meeting. 

Town Website:  Kelli has presented a proposal for $1500 to get the WCC website up and running.  France explained that Kelli will be available for a few months after it is up to make sure things are running smoothly.  She also explained that it will be set up in such a way as to operate without a webmaster;  anyone can post information on the website. Steven spoke in favor because he said they will not get a volunteer to do this work. Peter shared a concern about maintenance. Laura questioned the demand for a website. Alicia said the public wants WCC maps and trail days. She said people can get information about the WCC from the Clarion and Walpolean for free.  Lew stated that the conservation commissions he knows that are most successful use a website a lot. France said websites are the most popular platforms and are easy to use.  She feels that searching for the WCC on the town’s website is difficult.  Both Kara and Peggy feel the town website is easy to use. Peggy offered the example of the Hanover CC’s “terrific” website, which is reached through the town website. Alicia is concerned who will update the website.  Peter suggested looking at some examples of Kelli’s websites.  

No decisions were made about the website at this time.  It will be discussed further at the May meeting. Perhaps Kelli could be invited to attend.

Other Business

Walpole Trails Subcommittee:  Steven reminded the group that the Easement Monitoring training for WCC members will take place April 30. They decided to meet at 10:00.  Richard Pendleton of the Monadnock Conservancy is available to lead the training. It was decided to monitor the Merriam Town Forest for the training.

Lew will lead a trail building/ maintenance workshop for interested Commission and Trail Committee members on either June 11 or June 18.  The exact date has yet to be determined. 

Rail Trail Maintenance Update:  Wendy said the state has released the rail trail maintenance MOA – requirements for towns for trail maintenance. Wendy explained there are two major flaws: 1.  It does not enable brush hogging and 2.  There are onerous clauses for towns pertaining to recording, liabilities, etc. The Walpole Selectboard chose not to sign it.  Peggy said it is a non-starter for small towns.  She will write a letter to the state saying the plan is unworkable.  Wendy said many groups associated with rail trails around the state concur.  There is now an effort underway to schedule a meeting between the Rail Trail Collaborative and the Bureau of Trails to revise the agreement.

Lew asked how this plan will affect the grant.  She doesn’t feel it will. 

Reservoir Road: John said they are still waiting for the meeting with Fuss and O’Neill, so there has been no further progress.

Other:

Alicia reported that there is another huge red oak down on the Mill Pond.

Alicia feels the Commission might benefit from the help of interns.  She asked the membership to think of ways the WCC could use them, and this will be discussed at the next meeting. 

Laura announced that the Commission is in violation of the easement in the Nelson Town Forest.  The Commission is technically the landowner;  therefore it is the WCC’s responsibility to clean it up.  Kara offered to do this and several commissioners asked to be notified when she plans to do this so they can help.

Peggy announced that the selectboard agreed to house the WCC maps in the corridor of Town Hall.  She and Lew planned to look for a place to put the map case after the meeting.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

The next meeting will be Monday, May 2, 2022.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jean Kobeski, Recording Secretary

** These minutes are in draft form until approved at the May 2, 2022 meeting.