Commission Mtgs

RCL July 17th Conservation Commission meeting notes

Time stamps noted for different items and highlights within items

0:00 elapsed.  Meeting called to order.  Minutes approved.  Re-vote on prohibition against target shooting at the last meeting as Charlie Raynes voted and he was not a member.  All in favor on revote.
2:26 elapsed.  Members introduce themselves and public hearing on the 11 acre easement associated with the former Rand Lumber RCD begins.
3:15 elapsed.  Steven Borne asks about access to the back 73 acres if it is developed.  He says he would like to see a right of way from Wallis Rd. and not Liberty Common.  Sally King responds that there is a right of way from Wallis Rd. and that part of what they were looking for was that there not be access from Liberty Common.  She also stated that is what the Conservation Commission wanted to see.
6:09 elapsed.  Ray Tweedie corrects Sally King and explains that the Planning Board had requested an easement, but it is only applicable if the back acreage is placed in conservation.  The access is only for walking and there is no provision for a road from Wallis Rd. to the back acreage for use if the back acreage is developed.
12:08 elapsed.  Peter Crawford points to the plan of the site and explains how the appraisal (which included the sale of 16 single family lots on the back acreage) had shown a road connecting to the RCD road, not Liberty Common.  Sally King confirmed.  He stated that there would be a small wetlands crossing in such a case.  Jaci Grote explained that there was a logging road there.  Mr. Crawford suggested reducing the size of the easement smaller to accommodate a road to the back acreage.
17:20 elapsed.  Jaci Grote stated that this is a hearing about the front parcel, not the back acreage.  Steven Borne asked why this could not wait until a decision is made on the 73 acres.  Jaci Grote argued that the developer would not be able to start construction without their approval.  Steven Borne said they already had started.  Ray Tweedie stated that the only way for a road to connect is through Liberty Common.  Steven Borne stated that this may be the last chance to prevent this.  There was also discussion about monitoring.  Sally King stated that the Conservation Commission members would do this at no cost.
24:12 elapsed.  Peter Crawford noted that several mortgages had already been recorded against the property.  In the event of foreclosure the conservation easement would be wiped out.  Sally King noted that the value was only about $4000.  Ray Tweedie said that the easement was a condition of Planning Board approval and would apply to a new owner as well.  Peter Crawford noted that this would not be the case if the new owner elected not to take advantage of the RCD approval and build single family homes there instead.  There was further discussion about the enforceability of the easement deed restrictions in the event that one of the condo owners, who would be parties, does something detrimental to the conservation land.
33:23 elapsed.  Peter Crawford asked about what vetting had been done to confirm that the “a through p” document, which had been provided by the developer, was accurate.  Editor’s note:  The “a through p” is a set of documentation that the Board of Selectmen require for their approval of conservation easements (adopted at the January 6, 2014 meeting).  Sally King stated that the Conservation Commission had provided input to the developer in providing the “a through p.”  Mr. Crawford asked who with the town had reviewed the document.  Sally King and Jaci Grote surmised that the Selectmen had.
34:45 elapsed.  Jaci Grote noted that a lot of the documents had come from the appraisal by Peter Knight.  Mr. Crawford noted that Mr. Knight had been paid by the developer.  Sally King confirmed, arguing that it avoided the expenditure of Town funds.  Mr. Crawford argued that sometimes the Conservation Commission is penny wise and pound foolish.  Prior to an acquisition for over $1 million it would make sense to have an appraiser retained by the town vet the information.  Sally King stated that they are very familiar with Mr. Knight and that he was well regarded.  Mr. Crawford noted that Mr. Knight’s appraisal had assumed a value of $400,000 per lot, while the comparables that he refers to sold for $300,000 to $375,000, with only one with only one transaction at $400,000.  If one assumes $300,000 per lot rather than $400,000 that would result in a $1.6 million impact, considering that there are 16 lots, Mr. Crawford said.
36:35 elapsed.  Sally King states that that is neither here nor there.  Jaci Grote stated that she does not want to talk about the 73 acres and expressed concern about people being confused.  There was then discussion about whether there was a separate “a through p” for the 73 acres or whether the “a through p” was combined.
38:45 elapsed.  Mr. Crawford asked why the approval of this easement had to occur now.  There is a Planning Board requirement for an easement, but no date.  Sally King responded that they thought they had done due diligence and this was the last piece.  It makes sense, she said.
39:15 elapsed.   Jane Holway interrupted and stated that the matter had been belabored and asked Mr. Crawford to sit down.  Joe Cummins stated that he was offended by the tone of the Board and Ms. Holway.
42:20 elapsed.  The public hearing was closed and Jaci Grote moved to accept the easement.  Sally King seconded.  Jeff Gardiner suggested that there be an additional requirement on the developer associated with the chain of title.  Sally King argued that this was unnecessary.  Jaci Grote explained the circumstances under which the conservation easement could be lost and went through the scenario.  No amendment to the motion was made, and the motion carried unanimously by roll call, with Sally King voting yes as well.  Editor’s note:  Sally King and her husband reside in the property adjacent to the RCD on the west side of Wallis Rd., however she did not recuse herself from the discussion or the vote.
46: new agenda item –  561 South Rd,  DD Cook builders presentation – The proposal is for a five lot subdivision which includes the Rye Farm buildings as lot #1
         and the possibility of a 10 lot RCD in back of proposed subdivision; Con. Com. concerned about wetlands issues on one of the lots
52: – If the RCD goes through it will be accessed on a private road off the new town subdivision road by a wetlands crossing to uplands beyond.
53: – site walked planned for July 30, 6 PM at the  Rye Farm
56: – new agenda item – lot 117, tax map 15, between 385 and 401 off Washington Rd.
      soil scientist/ septic designer  Ruby Orbis presents for the owner – proposal is to make buildable a compromised lot
that is the last in a subdivision from 1973; wetlands filling will be  necessary
1:07 – site walk scheduled – July 30 5:30 PM
1:09 – new agenda item – 306 Pioneer Rd – proposal to demo existing house and garage and replace with a larger and taller house/garage
           in the wetlands buffer zone
1:15 – Conservation commission expresses concern that the proposed building and larger footprint would further fill up a marginal lot that would not be allowed to be subdivided today
1:19 – site walk scheduled July 31st 6 PM
1:20 – new agenda item – 60 Elwyn Rd. – proposal for new driveway across buffer zone to access a proposed new house; this will be a shared family driveway
1:24 – owner states his good stewardship of the land and desire to keep most of it conserved and in the family with only one new house planned; the rest of land is in current use status
1:32 – Jaci Grote states that it is the job of the Conservation Commission to make recommendations or deny them in order to keep Rye as rural as possible;
       developments are not bad, but every new one changes the rural feel of the town
1:33 – discussion about option of creating a pervious asphalt driveway
1:35 – Summation of conditions of approval
139 – Chair Sally King recommends they approve the driveway proposal with conditions just  worked out with owner
1:39:28 – added agenda item by Jaci Grote – 243 Central Rd – proposal by Dan Philbrick to replace gas station and skin science center with a commercial building;
         concern expressed about how the commission was not told in a timely fashion about this proposal since it has impact on the wetlands
1:44 – previous item lead to a general discussion between the commission and members of the public who were present about the need for more coordination between the land use boards,
           more transparency, better communication with the pubic  and a general need to tighten things up.
1:56 – pay Conservation  commission bills
1:58 – use of Goss barn  discussed
2:01 – Adjourn