Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Conservation Commission Meeting on September 6, 2007

The Commission will meet on September 6, 2007 at 7 PM at the Town Hall.

There are two relatively minor wetlands projects on the agenda, and an expansion of an existing commercial facility on Pease located on Arboretum Drive. The project is not without controversy: it is adjacent to a wetland on Pease that the NH Department of Environmental Services approved as a prime wetland. Unbeknownst to the Town, the PDA subsequently obtained a letter from its attorney at the NH Department of Justice stating that the prime wetlands designation was an invalid local land use control on the PDA property. The Commission is not convinced and, if an agreement cannot be reached, the dispute could end up in the legal system. A copy of the letter is contained in the package that can be downloaded here. [The package is 5 MB this month, my apologies].

The wetland in question contains an endangered plant species, the small whorled pogonia, [EDIT: This is incorrect, see subsequent post.] so the question is not merely academic. However, based on a preliminary look at the plans, it apears that the parking lots are located outside the 100 foot buffer for prime wetlands. According to the project engineer, the only portions of the project within the buffer are stormwater management facilities and they are located 25 feet from the wetland. This needs further review, but hopefully the project can move forward without any impact on the pogonias.

Further information is contained in the package. Feel free to come to the meeting. Unfortunately, I am in a trial for the entire month of September beginning on the 4th, so I am unlikely to be there.