September 13, 2007

 

The Holderness Conservation Commission respectfully requests that the Holderness Planning Board DENY the request for subdivision on the property known as Snowy Owl Woods, located on Perch Pond Road.

 

As stated in the Holderness Master Plan of 2006 “the town of Holderness’ hillsides, woodlands, wetlands, and scenic views are important elements to quality of life for residents and others.”  It is the opinion of the HCC that permitting creation of this subdivision would adversely affect an environmentally sensitive area, that being Owl Brook and the surrounding properties.  Following are arguments why this subdivision should be DENIED;

 

1. The HCC has appealed to the Wetlands Council of the New Hampshire DES on the wetlands permit recently granted.  Our request for reconsideration outlines that we feel:

A.     The previous flooding questions were not answered

B.     We were very surprised the applicant decided to resubmit after the deadline, and the permit was granted on July 11, 2007 based on late materials.

C.     We question the apparent alteration of wetlands boundaries on the resubmitted map (subdivision Plans for Snowy Owl Woods, Apr. 2006, revised June 2006)

D.     The applicants declared there were no vernal pools in the area of the proposed road access, but vernal pools were visible from the road prior to inspection by the wetlands specialist hired by the applicant.

 

2. This corridor along Owl Brook has been identified on wetlands maps provided by the Lakes Region Planning Commission as an important water recharge area.  Co-occurrence maps show it as designated highest for wetlands and habitat.  Thus, the lack of an impact study would be a gross disservice by the town in ensuring protection of this resource.

 

3. This proposed subdivision is located on an area of steep slopes.  The steep slope protection guidelines state that a lot with 25% slope is considered unsuitable for development.  Upon evaluation of the lot plans for possible housing sites by an independent architect (Steven Mosman of Freeman, French, Freeman, Inc., Burlington, VT.), we have found:

 

A.   2/3 of Lot 5 is above 25% slope

B.   A very small percentage of Lot 6 is 25% - the rest is steeper

C.     The majority of Lots 4 and 7 is 30% or greater, with an average of 40% slope.    

 

4. Augmenting the land area to accommodate the road we would estimate, impacts at least 15% of the natural habitat.  In some of the lots, we question if they could stay within the 12% slope limitations for driveways.

 

5. There is evidence of nesting loons along portions of Owl Brook. 

 

 

 

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

The Holderness Conservation Commission

 

 

 

 

Janet Cocchiaro

Nancy McDonald

Anne Packard

Larry Spencer, Chairman

Betsy Whitmore