Minutes of the Old Lyme Conservation Commission
June 1, 2005, 7:00 pm
Members: Janet Bechtel
Ted Crosby (ex officio representing Gateway Commission)
Attending: Janet Bechtel, Mariette Brown, Ted Crosby, Eleanor Czarnowski, Taffy Holland, George James, David McCulloch, Tom Sherer, Mike Silberberg
Group voted to accept May 4, 2005 minutes.
Letter to Zoning regarding Open Space Subdivision
George tried unsuccessfully to email it to Ted Kiritsis’ home at his request. Ellie will fax a copy to him and also fax a signed copy to the Town. George said he seemed very interested and positive about it, and promised to respond. George mentioned to him that maybe they could get us in on their financing and he didn’t say no.
Ellie said the Old Lyme Conservation Trust recently dealt with an easement over the OLCT property. Evan Griswold sent the owner and Gary Sharp a list of conditions: using non-toxic materials such as red cedar for the posts and Trex for the decking, no lighting unless necessary (in which case it should be on a timer), and all materials should meet sustainable harvesting certification requirements.
Ellie will use Evan’s list for a standard reply to dock owners.
Dave said the Harbor Commission proposed that they outlaw out-of-water boat storage at the ends of piers. Ted mentioned the Gateway conditions. Dave said the Harbor Commission wasn’t satisfied with those conditions. Their river-wide plan is a long way off. Four commissions have to agree. Ellie said there’s still no reply from the Harbor Commission.
Conservation Subdivision Regulations from Westbrook
Tom Odell (Chairman of Westbrook Conservation Commission) went on the river cruise (arranged by Judy Preston) with Ellie and gave Ellie a copy of the Westbrook Conservation Subdivision regulations. It took them over a year and a half to do it. Two developments have come through under this set of regulations successfully. It’s mandatory. Westbrook’s Planning Commission wrote the subdivision regulations, their Conservation Commission wrote the conservation easement – open space - part.
Odell oversees the CACIWIC thing. Janet went to the annual meeting. She asked Ann Brown to sign up the Old Lyme Conservation Commission as a CACIWIC member. Will find out whether commissions join separately or together. Janet will follow through on this.
Ted made copies for the members.
Lighting Notice to Zoning
Ellie will write to Zoning listing businesses with heavy use of lighting. For instance, the Old Lyme golf course has a huge spotlight at the top of the hill. (Light is to keep vandals away from pool construction site.)
Miano Open Space Update – Hilltop Development
Janet said the plan is done. The developer came back with Best Management Practices, proper drainage, etc. Already approved by Planning. He dropped the suit.
George said he was chastised for sending copies of his letter (to Mattern) about the conservation easement to all members of the Planning Commission after their public hearing had been closed. He asked if they had a satisfactory conservation easement in hand when they closed the case. They said no.
Janet asked them where the easement language was. They explained that isn’t how it works going through the channels in Town. The engineer from Sharp said their approval was based on the fact that the easement language had to be satisfactory to protect the slope above the wetlands, to prevent run-off.
Janet will look up the Inland Wetlands meeting minutes – find out who said that’s not how the town does it. George said the town should never close a subdivision without having all those papers in hand, completed. Dave said we may need to go back to the tape to find out why open space easement wasn’t finalized when plan was approved. If Janet can’t get it from Inland Wetland’s minutes she will go to the tape. George said that Jim Mattern agreed the language was incredibly bad.
CT DOT and Spraying Guardrails in Town this Year
Last year they sprayed guardrails in the wetlands. Ellie would like to tell them they can’t do that anymore. Dave said the Town has the right to restrict spraying on public lands including town right-of-ways - he’s not sure that also applies to State right-of-ways.
Ellie said Lyme’s guardrails have tarred gravel under them, so there’s nothing to spray. How does Lyme get away with this?
George suggested a letter to DOT, but to clear it with Tim. Dave said we’d like to know what they spray. There were spraying into wetlands where the fish are. George it’s probably Roundup. Ellie- it must be more than Roundup - this works overnight. Dave – it’s bad stuff – the inert ingredients are highly toxic too. Ellie will ask Lyme’s chairman of Conservation Commission how they avoid spraying. Dave said part of 156 is a scenic highway. Dave wants to know what they use.
MacCurdy-Salisbury Meeting with Lyme
George and Ellie met with the group. The property has 180 acres, a third of them in Lyme, and a 770’ frontage on Roger’s Lake. George wrote to David Leff asking him to let Old Lyme make some rules for the property – there’s already trash dumping, three abandoned cars, etc. Leff wrote that a team from DEP plans to study the property early to mid-spring 2005. George asked Tim and Bill Koch (Lyme selectman) to write a letter requesting that they provide the commission with the resulting report and set up a meeting. He has written the letter and given it to Tim, and when the letter is signed he will take it to Bill, who promised to sign it too.
Ellie and George met with the Lyme Conservation Commission members, Conservation Trust members, and the Inland Wetlands commissioner. They are very busy now, and suggested contacting our selectmen and senator.
To get to the property, go to end of Rogers Lake Trail and park. Nice wood road trail. Elaborate system of wood roads kept up by off-roads people.
Roger’s Lake Weed Control Report
Ellie said George got a copy of the Report that the Rogers Lake Association paid for. Lyme chairman of Conservation Commission is very interested and concerned about the use of chemicals. Ellie will give him summary, table of contents, maybe the full report.
George said WPCA wrote that they don’t endorse use of chemicals, and added that the long-term solution is dredging. George is preparing a letter for Holth – attorney and chairman of the Rogers Lake Association – saying WPCA sees the lake as a major water source of the town. The Town’s two major aquifers, the Lieutenant River watershed and the Black Hall River watershed, both have their source in the Roger Lake basin. Whatever goes into Rogers Lake eventually seeps down into the other areas. We know about the current problems – geese and swans – etc. DEP allows only shaking of eggs.
Meeting of all interested parties is scheduled for June 6th – will be run by Rogers Lake Association. George isn’t going. It’s at the meeting-house (off Epsilon?). Dave said many association members don’t want pesticides. George said about 30 households are directly affected by the weeds. 30 acres are shallow. One incoming stream has three silt ponds that should be cleaned out. There’s one at the other end. They aren’t very effective. They’re privately owned.
Ted said Stormwater II will address this at the DEP level. We could press for help to set up procedure for the Rogers Lake Association. George said the Clean Water Act has money for cleanup. For example, you could probably get twice as many points for Rogers Lake cleanup as you can for the Point O’ Woods sewer. Worth pursuing.
Ellie will talk to the chairman of the Lyme Conservation Commission, see if he can suggest action.
Dave said the State said they would give money for a study if there’s a state launch area. George said 30 people around the lake have to go out in a boat to swim - the fishing is also affected – and recreation. Put it all together and you can make a pretty good case.
9. Town Resource Inventory for Plan of Conservation and Development
Ted said this will be a long project. Involves resurrecting currently Inland Wetlands inventory resources. Thinks it would be better to address issues as they come up. Need to define the resources so owners and developers understand what the inventory means, why we have an inventory. We do have a plan for conservation development, recently updated by Connie for the Planning Commission.
Ted said the inventory has intended Open Space designations, aquifer protection areas, inventory of wetlands and streams, and it should have vernal pools. Dave said we have a general wetlands map but it has to be verified in the field. Ted said GIS will be the basis of the inventory. Not all A2 surveys are available. New subdivisions need A2 surveys. Must come in CAD form for GIS access. If not, it must be digitized. Most applications don’t use CAD. Bigger stuff will probably be in CAD form. Contractor is currently digitizing the zoning and wetland maps.
Ted said all land-use departments should list all their requirements. Then find the most efficient way to do this. Conservation Commission needs to set ground-rules for developing the list of resources and the list of requirements for applicants. Ted will draft a list for the Plan for Conservation and Development.
10. Town Woods Playground Committee
Janet said the Town Woods submitted an application to Inland Wetlands to develop a playground within 60’ of a vernal pool. This was seen as a good educational opportunity. Several moms were concerned about the pool. Janet thinks this would be a good source of future Conservation Commission members – a younger group with children.
Ann Brown wrote a letter asking Conservation Commission to turn this into an educational opportunity. Janet feels we should look to some female members of the playground committee to get involved. Inland Wetlands said they shouldn’t spray for mosquitoes. Otherwise, there’s no impact on the vernal pool.
Ellie will forward Ann’s letter to the group.
Dave summarized the new pesticide-spraying bill – no pesticide use in nursery schools, kindergartens, and grammar schools, and limited spraying on school playing fields for only 3 years.
Last Month’s Assignments
Ellie reviewed the list – most covered in the previous discussion.
Dave will use the Manchester Coastal Stream Team article – Simple Ways to Grow a Healthy, Organic Lawn.
Mr Pierson, of the Planning Commission, scolded the commission for handling of Aria property. They questioned the routine procedure of going to the Conservation Commission first. George and Dave showed them the mandate of the Conservation Commission, which clearly states the role of the commission.
Marriette questioned why the came up with Aria. George said the issue isn’t whether it’s worth the cash amount but how it relates to the rest of open space. Might also prevent what would have been a large (omit) development in a very poor location.
George said a meeting with the Black Hall Club is planned.
Dave mentioned the real-estate conveyance tax bill has passed both houses. George said the money will go to the State. Not sure who will hand out the resulting income.
Mariette asked Ted for the additional trail plots. Ted said the general trail map is more accurate – more detailed. GIS will be even more accurate.
Ellie has Judy Preston’s list of resources from Tools for Intelligent Tinkering – has books, web-sites, etc. She will send it to the group.
Ellie will fax a copy of the Letter to Zoning regarding Open Space Subdivision to Ted Kiritsis and also fax a signed copy to the Town.
Ellie will use Evan’s list for a standard reply to dock owners.
Janet will ask Ann Brown to sign up the Old Lyme Conservation Commission as a CACIWIC member, and find out if this includes more than one group.
Ellie will write to Zoning listing businesses with heavy use of lighting
Janet will look at the Inland Wetlands meeting minutes to find out who said that closing a subdivision doesn’t require that the easement be completed before approval. If not in the minutes, she’ll go to the tape.
Ellie will ask Lyme’s chairman of Conservation Commission how they avoid spraying.
Ellie will give Lyme’s chairman of Conservation Commission a summary, the table of contents, maybe the full Rogers Lake Weed Control Report.
Ellie will talk to the chairman of the Lyme Conservation Commission about Rogers Lake pesticide use, see if he can suggest action.
Ted will draft a list of inventory resources for the Plan for Conservation and Development.
Ellie will forward Ann’s letter about the Town Woods playground to the group.
Ellie will send the group Judy Preston’s list of resources from Tools for Intelligent Tinkering.
Dave will use the Manchester Coastal Stream Team booklet – Simple Ways to Grow a Healthy, Organic Lawn – to make a brochure.