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September 2005 minutes
Minutes of the Old Lyme Conservation Commission
September 7, 2005, 7:00 pm

Members:        Janet Bechtel
Mariette Brown
Ted Crosby (ex officio representing Gateway Commission)
Eleanor Czarnowski
Taffy Holland
George James
David McCulloch
Martha Rumkas
Tom Sherer
Mike Silberberg
Attending:      Janet Bechtel, Mariette Brown, Ted Crosby, Eleanor Czarnowski, Taffy Holland, George James, Tom Sherer, Mike Silberberg

Group voted unanimously to accept August 2005 minutes.

Foster Property Site Walk

Ellie will draw up her notes from the site walk.  Attendees from the Foster property were Jamin Laurenza, Salvatore Diglio (attorney), Greg Wagner (realtor) and Gary Hendren (architect).

Trail Map Assignment

Mariette will not be able to continue until sometime early next year.  Tom and Ellie will get them into electronic form.  They could be put on line separately or in book form.  The maps do have some text, including keys.

Janet did Mile Creek.  Mariette has Watch Rock and Champlain North and South done.  Ellie will email hers to Mariette.

Letters from the Chair

Ellie wrote the following letters and will mail out what has not been sent yet
A short letter about 149 Mile Creek Road saying that we do not object to the lot line adjustment..
Questa - 4 Huntley Road – Janet said the plan has changed, the drainage was moved to higher ground away from the vernal pool. She suggested holding the letter until they get the new plans.
Connecticut Water Company concerning the DEP application to withdraw more water, asking them about their drought management plan.
Letters to FMTM (Aria) Mushkin and to Howard Tooker’s developer inviting them to present their plans for development at one of our regularly scheduled meetings.
Letter to Planning and Zoning Commissions (emailed to the group) outlining Conservation Commission’s concerns and recommendations in the Town's
PRCD regulations as they relate to open space.

Foster Development Presentation – Gary Hendren (Architect)

Gary described Stone Hill Manor, 330 Boston Post Road, a cluster zoned (PRCD) development with 35 home sites on 83 acres.  It will use about 60% of an existing road.  The development will have two community septic systems, and preliminary percolation tests have shown this is viable.  They will save as many trees as possible.  The houses will be a minimum of 3,000 to 3,500 square feet, with 100 feet between houses.  The club-house (with swimming pool, exercise rooms, and common activity area) will be commonly owned (condo-like).  Utilities will be buried.  The main road will be paved; the driveways will use pavers in gravel. They will expand the bridge between two of the ponds, with rock walls in bridge shape to allow a wider road over the culvert.

Someone (Janet?) asked what Planning said about fire protection.  Gary said there will be water pipes from the pond.  Mariette asked about keeping the crossing between the ponds at one car width, rather than widening that.
Ted asked about street lighting.  Gary said they will keep it minimal or possibly not use it.  Not decided yet.
Ted asked what they plan to do to the upper right (north-easterly on the map) pond.  Gary said they would like to clean it, eliminate the phragmites.  They aren’t sure how deep it is.  
Tom asked if they plan to create any common trails.  Gary said yes, also they could join existing trails, if any
Tom asked about the house designs.  Among other things, Gary said they could be up to 5,000 square feet.  Mariette suggested having a smaller “minimum SF requirement”, like 1,500 or so.
Ted asked if they have had any input from the tree warden.  Gary expressed his concern for keeping as many trees as possible, even if it requires more work developing the sites.

They have had an informal meeting with Planning.  Janet said Inland Wetlands will wait for their formal application.  They might want to discuss the curbing around the club-house (drainage).  The meeting is scheduled for 9/27.  They will do the official percolation tests next spring – get the DEP process done over the winter.

Ted mentioned the use of stone pillars with “Greenway” etched on them, on Block Island.

George said he believes the Foster road was a town road, this may cause general problems later.  Planning attorney should be involved.

Open Space Committee and Conservation Commission Meeting

Ellie asked if we are ready to get the two groups together.  Ted said we need to firm up each commission’s agenda.  George said we have an established Open Space Acquisition protocol. Our opinions/recommendations should influence the Planning Commissions decisions.  Ted said we need to have the authority.  We need to clarify the responsibilities.  Mariette said Conservation needs more formal oversight over Open Space (especially when George resigns as chairman).  

We should request that a Conservation Commission member be a member of the Open Space committee.   Ellie will write a letter to Open Space inviting them to our meeting so we can discuss these issues.


Ellie sent the letter to Planning.  Mike said Jane is interested in participating.  Ted said there is a lot more coming up this year than in the past five years – more than 200 new houses.  The group will wait for the response from Planning.

New Business

Coastal site plan (near Watch Rock) on Caulkins Road.  This plan is for a single 2-storey 3 bedroom house with a 2-car garage.  It has a specially engineered septic system adjacent to tidal wetlands.  DEP has to approve septics next to tidal wetlands.  Ted said this raises lots of
Questions – how to get the commission to look at our recommendations?  Board members were encouraged to drive by and take a look. Ted said he hopes we can come up with arguments about proximity to wetlands.  Janet said to ask Ann about it.  Ellie said she gets her mail a month late.  She’ll request town hall send her the mail at home.

George said there will be an Open Space meeting Friday morning and a meeting Friday afternoon with the Black Hall Club and Mattern to discuss negotiations about the Griswold property on Buttonball.  There are no final negotiations yet.  He is trying to get Nathan Froehling to look into a bargain sale – about $400,000 for 40 acres.  There have been some negative comments from Open Space – some think the Black Hall Association should buy it.  Ted said that’s unlikely.  Another buyer (Schellings) is looking at it for development.  Ted said it’s invaluable for a greenway from the coast up the Black Hall River. The Blackhall Club plans to pay 50-50 (with the town) for Griswold. George says that the Black Hall River Association should support this acquisition as it supports their fundamental purpose

George will present the protocol to the Open Space Committee, then present a formal proposal.  Conservation Commission will recommend the purchase to the selectmen.

George said the Planning Commission Subdivision Regulations require a park in every subdivision, and they always ignore this regulation.


Ellie will draw up her notes from the Foster site walk.
Tom and Ellie to finalize trail maps and put them on line.
Ellie will ask Town Hall to send her mail to her home.
Ellie will write a letter inviting Open Space to our next meeting.

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