Town of Holderness, NH

Conservation Commission Meeting

September 13, 2007

Town Office


CALL TO ORDER:   The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Chairman Spencer.


PRESENT:  Larry Spencer, Jackie Jewell, Nancy McDonald, Anne Packard, and Betsy Whitmore.


OTHERS PRESENT:   Anne Abear, Municipal Secretary


MINUTES:   Minutes of the April 19, 2007 were approved written.




1.      Correspondence/Mail: 


a.      Renzi Property – Perkins Lane:   Mr. Spencer advised a compliant had been received for the Renzi property as the complainant was not aware of the property owner receiving a permit for work being done.

b.      Peck Property - Mr. Spencer discussed an expedited permit that was signed for the Peck property. NHDES miss-identified the application as a “dredge and fill” and applicant is in conversation with NH DES as to their mistake

c.      Binnley Property Map 102 lot 028 – Mr. Spencer announced an access notice had been received for a boathouse on this property.

d.      Intents to cut – Mr. Spencer discussed intents to cut that were copied to the Commission.

e.      Right to know workshop – Mr. Spencer announced a training workshop on the right to know law being held in Moultonborough.

f.        UNH Student Services – Mr. Spencer discussed past programs regarding the services of UNH students through the environmental science classes.  The fee now is $200 to have students assist the commission on projects.

g.      Carbon Coalition - Recognition was received from Governor Lynch for the support of the Conservation Commission and the Town of Holderness for the efforts in passing the Carbon Coalition’s warrant article at the 2007 town meeting.  Holderness’s committee has been formed and will be meeting either the end of September or beginning of October.

h.      Municipal Law Series - Mr. Spencer discussed the municipal law lecture series schedule for September 19 – September 24.

i.        NH Timberlands Association - Mr. Spencer advised a letter had been received advising the dues to this association had not been paid for in two years.  Mrs. Abear was requested to check on the status of this membership.

j.         NHACC - Mr. Spencer announced the next meeting of the NHACC will be held the first Saturday in November in Concord.

k.      Annual Watershed Meeting – Mr. Spencer advised the annual watershed meeting will be held on the 2nd Saturday in November in Laconia.

l.         Climate Change Conference – to be held on October 12 – 13, 2007.




Chairman Spencer discussed the need for members of the Conservation Commission to recuse themselves should they be in direct relationship with a project that the commission is working on, such as an abutter.  Mr. Spencer advised he met with members of the Board of Selectmen and they were very concerned of a conflict of interest on the part of members of the Commission and advised a member of the Commission who is also an abutter has more rights on particular projects as an abutter.  Mrs. Jewell advised she specifically did not have a problem recusing herself from a vote of the Commission as she is one of the abutters of the Reynolds project and she recused herself from prior votes of the Commission for this project.  Mrs. Jewell advised it was very important for members of the Board to be present at the Planning Board Meeting to present the case of the Commission so that she did not have to.  Members of the Board advised they would be at the meeting.  Additionally, Mrs. Jewell discussed the request for the Board of Selectmen to give latitude to the Conservation Commission to request a postponement of meetings such as the Planning Board Meeting in order for the Commission to respond to applications.  Mrs. Jewell advised she spoke to a municipal attorney who advised her that the recusal of by a member of the Board was decision of that particular member and that she felt if the Board of Selectmen had a concern with any member of the Commission that they should bring their concerns to the individual as well.  Mr. Spencer explained that the Board of Selectmen was more concerned with the openness of the Commission and further requested all copies of items sent out by the Commission to be copied to the Town Office for their files and to the parties associated with the matter.  


Old Business


Reynolds Wetlands Subdivision Application and Wetlands Permit Appeal:  A draft letter to the NH Wetland’s Council was reviewed and amended.  This letter is an appeal to a decision of the wetlands board which granted a dredge and fill permit to the property of Mr. & Mrs. Reynolds for a subdivision.  The Conservation Commission does not feel NH DES addressed all of the points of a previous request for denial and reconsideration.  The appeal is based on:


a.      the current plan not showing a drawing of the existing non-developed road across the property to the brook,

b.      the timeline for input by the Conservation Commission was not adequately given to the Commission,

c.      the applicant’s agent had submitted a notice of not finding vernal pools on the property in June.  Members of the Commission advise pools are present on the property in April and are dried up by late May.  Additionally, much noise indicative of peepers and frog active in April was noted.

d.      The revised wetland delineation map shows the delineations were redrawn.

e.      Flooding issues have not been adequately addressed, and

f.        the Board identified erroneous statements within a letter of 8/30/07 from Thomas Burack. 


            After this letter was modified a vote was taken on sending the letter to NH DES.        Ms. Packard moved and Ms. McDonald supported approval of the letter to the          Wetlands Council regarding the reconsideration of a decision of the Wetland’s     Board for the Reynold’s property.  Vote was 4 Yes, 0 Nay, 1 Recusal by Mrs.         Jewell.  Motion passed.


            The Board moved on to review a letter written to the Holderness Planning Board       requesting they consider a denial of the Reynold’s subdivision due to the           following:

a.      the Commission has requested a reconsideration with NH DES on the wetlands permits recently granted,

b.      the corridor along Owl Brook has been identified on the wetlands maps provided by LRPC as an important water recharge area and the lack of an impact study would be a gross disservice by the town in ensuring protection of this resource,

c.      the proposed subdivision is located on an area of steep slopes; the guidelines for the protection of steep slopes consider lots of 25% or more to be unsuitable for development,

d.      15% of the natural habitat would be impacted by the augmenting of the roadway, and

e.      Owl Brook has shown signs of loon nesting downstream and could be affected by the upstream activities. 


            After this letter was modified a vote was taken on sending this letter of denial             request to the Planning Board.  Ms. Packard moved and Ms. McDonald          supported to send this denial request to the Holderness Planning Board as       amended.  Vote was 4 – yes, 0 – Nay, 1- recusal by Mrs. Jewell.  Motion passed.


            Mr. Spencer authorized Ms. Abear to sign the letters of the Commission after            they were modified and to send the letter to NH DES, the landowner, planning     board and the Board of Selectmen.


Signs for Conservation Easements – Ms. McDonald advised the signs are still in need of being cleaned.


Town Energy Committee – Mr. Spencer advised a meeting will be held for this committee in late September, early October.  Members of this committee will be Walter Johnson, Wil Abbott and Larry Spencer.

Review of Vernal Pool Matters - Mr. Spencer advised a graduate student of PSU is working on a GIS layer with locations of vernal pools in the Town to be identified.


Royea’s Junkyard – The Board was advised that a junkyard permit has been issued by the Board of Selectmen for this junkyard and a slab has been poured for the new garage.  Additional deadlines for this property are expected from NH DES.


New Business


a.      Elm Tree on Route 175  - Mr. Spencer discussed an elm tree that has had some work done to save it along Route 175. The cost to date appears to be about $1,400 and the recent wind/rain storm has created additional damage.  Mr. Spencer discussed payment for the work done and advised donations are being accepted for this expense.

b.      Livermore Beach clean-up – Mr. Spencer discussed clean up of this beach that was done by students of PSU, the police department and Mr. Spencer.

c.      Pilot Trails - Mrs. Jewell advised many trees have fallen and need to be removed from this trail.

d.      Policy on commissioner/abutter matters under the Commission’s purview – The Board reviewed a policy discussing the need for a commissioner who is also an abutter of a property being voted on by the commission for matters within the commission’s control to recuse themselves.  Mr. Spencer moved and Mrs. Whitmore supported approval of the policy as presented.  Vote was unanimous.  Motion passed.

e.      Policy of submitting documentation to the Town Office - The Board discussed a policy of submitting copies of all letters and documentation to the Town Office for their files.  Mr. Spencer moved and Mrs. Jewell supported this policy.  Vote was unanimous.  Motion passed.

f.        Schedule of Commission Meetings – A discussion was held about the lack of summer meetings.  It was decided that the commission would schedule summer meetings and cancel them if there was not business for discussion.  Further, members of the Commission will take the responsibility of checking the mailbox at the for items needing attention.  Ms. Jewell moved and Ms. McDonald supported scheduling monthly meetings of the Commission on the second Thursday of each month year-round. Vote was unanimous.  [LS1] Motion passed.

g.      Steep Slopes Regulation – Ms. Packard reviewed the proposed steep slopes regulation that will be going to the Planning Board for further review at their meeting of September 20.  Ms. Packard wished to note that the new code enforcement officer/building inspector should become familiar with the Town and State regulations.  Ms. Jewell moved and Ms. McDonald supported to have the Commission endorse the Steep Slopes Regulation as recommended by the Steep Slopes Committee.  Vote was unanimous.  Motion passed.

h.      Alex Ray’s Property - Mr. Spencer has had a continuing conversation with Mr. Ray regarding possible easements on his abutting properties (to the Pilote Property).  He also has had communication with William Russell, owner of 40+ acres at the end of Town Farm Road.


ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Spencer adjourning the meeting at 8:55 p.m.  Vote was unanimous (5-0).  Motion passed.



Respectfully submitted,

Anne M. Abear

Municipal Secretary