HOLDERNESS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
PO BOX 203
HOLDERNESS, NH 03245
January 12, 2010
Members Present: Chris Buckley, Janet Cocchiaro, Shelagh Connelly – Acting Chair, Barbara Currier, Anne Packard, and Betsy Whitmore
Members not Present: Jacqulyn Jewell and Larry Spencer
Others Present: Earle Jenkins, Christopher Devine – SLA Executive Director
Regular Meeting - Call to Order
Ms. Connelly called the meeting to order at 4:00 P.M. Mr. Buckley was welcomed as a new alternate member and raised to voting status.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of 12/08/09 were approved as presented.
Permits & Other Correspondence
New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions: annual dues of $225; it was agreed that the dues should be forwarded to the bookkeeper for payment
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests: request for annual contribution; it was agreed to put this aside with other requests for a decision at the June meeting
Walter Johnson, Town Administrator: Memo regarding Swainey Brook Conservation Easement and discussions with Mr. Adie concerning possible encroachments of the easement
Donald Adie: Letter regarding possible encroachments of the Swainey Brook easement
Littlejohn Dock Permit Appeal: Ms. Connelly met with Mr. Jenkins regarding his appeal of the approved dock permit. She requested he and Mr. Devine attend the meeting to provide background information on the application and approval history and legal applications:
- A lot owned by the Littlejohns contains a small strip of land, approximately 10’ x 30’, on the inland side of Perkins Lane fronting Little Squam with a “grandfathered” dock 4’ x 45’
- Due to high water conditions, the water level is frequently too shallow to dock his boats. An engineering firm was hired and subsequently, in April 2009, an application was filed with DES for an extension of the dock to 90’.
- Per regulations, immediate abutters were notified; however there is no requirement for public notice for a seasonal dock. The application was approved.
- In November 2009, the engineering firm submitted an amended application to widen the additional 45’ length to 6’ rather than 4’ in order to increase the stability of the dock; DES approved the amended application.
- Mr. Jenkins contacted DES and reviewed the permit; regulations allow an appeal period of 30 days, a 30 day response time, and a subsequent 30 days to appeal a DES decision of an appeal. Mr. Jenkins filed an appeal of the amended application. DES denied his appeal for the length of the dock, stating that the original request was in April 2009 and the appeal period had expired. DES stated that he could only appeal the increased width of the amended application. Mr. Jenkins has appealed the denial of his original appeal and will be scheduled for a hearing with the State Wetlands Bureau. Mr. Jenkins noted he has kept Mr. Littlejohn apprised of his concerns and actions.
- Appeals may be submitted based on legal grounds or if the action was unreasonable. Mr. Jenkins feels it was unreasonable to grant the dock permit for several reasons: (1) the area of Little Squam along Perkins Lane is narrow and 90’ docks would impact the navigable waters; (2) the elongated shape of Little Squam is fed by brooks forming delta areas; (3) not looking at the characteristics of the lake that will be impacted will set a dangerous precedent; (4) boats can’t operated above headway speed within 150’ of a dock, further restricting the navigable waters
- The state dock standard for a lake less than 1,000 acres is 6’ wide x 30’ long over a 75’ shoreline, equaling 180 square feet of impact
- State regulations indicate that an amended application should be treated as a new application
- The dock standard may be varied if the property has unique physical hardships, such as low water levels, not shared by abutting properties; Perkins Lane properties all share the same hardship.
- The purpose of the chapter is to prevent unreasonable encroachment which would minimize the water area for public use; Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Devine felt this was a “taking” of a public water.
- Little Squam is currently operating at 300% of the boating capacity of the lake, impacting water quality.
Mr. Jenkins requested that the Conservation Commission attend the hearing on his behalf. Mr. Devine will be attending as Executive Director of the Squam Lake Association. The commission agreed that it had been remiss in not appealing the application when it was first copied to them in April. It was noted that the commission has statutory powers to comment on any wetlands application. Discussion of options available to Mr. Littlejohn, including a mooring and powertilt on boat engines. Mrs. Cocchiaro moved, seconded by Ms. Packard, to appeal the DES decision to approve the Littlejohn dock application. Motion passed. Ms. Connelly was authorized to write a letter to DES.
Town Report: The commission reviewed items for Ms. Packard to include in the report.
Monitoring Reports: Chabot; Town Forest
Mrs. Cocchiaro submitted the draft of the Chabot report. The commission reviewed the report and discussed the dissemination of the report. It was agreed that the approved report should be given to the Selectmen for their review and a copy sent to all property owners. Mrs. Cocchiaro will send an electronic version of the final report to Ms. Connelly and Mrs. Huff. Ms. Connelly & Mr. Buckley will walk the Town Forest and submit the report.
Easement List: Mrs. Whitmore has put together a starting list of town properties with conservation easements; it includes the location, acreage, and easement holder. Mrs. Huff is researching the property files and making copies of the actual easement language. They will continue working on this project.
Property Management Plans: Discussion – development & funding: This agenda item will be postponed to February.
Natural Resource Inventory: Discussion – process & funding: This agenda item will be postponed to February.
Swainey Brook Easement: Mrs. Whitmore read the letter received from Donald Adie. He indicated his willingness to meet to discuss remediation ideas for the encroachments. There was general discussion regarding the parking area and possible infractions within the garage. There was a split in opinions of the commission regarding requesting remediation versus benchmarking the existing conditions and not allowing any further encroachments. It was agreed that Mrs. Whitmore would call Mr. Adie to apprise him of the discussion and to summarize it in a letter to be reviewed by the commission at the February meeting.
2009 Goals: Ms. Connelly felt that the goals were mostly accomplished. This will be on the February agenda for review.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 5:45 P.M.
Wendy J. Huff
Minutes Approved: February 9, 2010