1. Call to order: Called to order by Vice Chairman Cole at 6:05 pm. Commission members in attendance were Bell, Herbst, and Lyons. Baldwin arrived at 6:15 pm, Chairman Simm at 6:20 pm and Swenarton at 6:50 pm. Dewire was absent. Town Planner Brynes was present. Members of the public included Paul LeBlanc, Colin Donahue and two unidentified high school students.
2. Review of Town Developments and Proposals.
2a. PZ0659SD & GPP Colin & Wendy Donahue (LeBlanc) – Subdivision & Groundwater Protection Permit applications for a 5-lot resubdivision of a 43.30 acre parcel. Property located at 490 Al Harvey Rd., Stonington, CT. Assessor’s Map 112 Block 3 Lot 2. Zone RR-80. Paul LeBlanc presented the proposal for conservation easement over a large area, mostly wooded wetlands, on the east branch of Copps Brook. Much of the largest lot that will be kept in the forestry reduced assessment program. It was commented that this area is a critical resource as watershed for the public water supply and that the Conservation Commission should meet with the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission (IWWC) to discuss their unprecedented stipulation of requiring a IWWC-approved conservation easement. MOTION: The Conservation Commission recommends that a fee in-lieu of open space is the best option for this proposal as long as appropriate conservation easement is granted to an appropriate conservation entity, as required by the IWWC (Swenarton, Bell). Passed unanimously.
Chairman Simm assumed the chair.
2b. Any pending applications and new preliminary proposals. None.
3. Open Space Committee
3a. Open space plan update – discussion on parcels for preservation. Discussed at 3c1, below.
3b. Discussion on parcels for preservation in Pawcatuck – Ben. No report.
3c. Discussion on referendum for open space bonding. Herbst reported that James Gibbons of NEMO will make his presentation on open space on Monday November 27th at 7:30 pm; a presentation on the draft Open Space Plan will also be made. The Conservation Commission will sponsor the event; Herbst will reserve a location to be determined that can accommodate a crowd; Monthly Conservation Commission meeting will precede it.
3c1. Meeting with First Selectman and Chairman of Finance Committee. Chairman Simm reported on the meeting he held on September 1, 2006 with First Selectman Brown, Board of Finance (BoF) Chairman Glenn Frischman, Alicia Betty of the Trust for Public Land, and Bonding for Open Space Committee co-chairpersons Dora Hill and Herbst. Brown stated that he is in favor of bonding for open space, but deferred to Frischman on financial matters. Frischman said that bonding for open space acquisition was impossible due to financial circumstances and that his board had been polled and agreed.
MOTION: Move to item 5 (Herbst, Baldwin). Passed unanimously.
5. New Business
5a. Discussion on grant and matching funds for trails program. Town Planner to discuss with Planning Director.
5b. Consideration and discussion for a workshop regarding the Perkins farm. Town Planner to facilitate in the future.
Town Planner Brynes departed at 8:45 pm.
MOTION: Return to item 3c1 (Herbst, Baldwin). Passed unanimously.
Simm stated that if the BoF does not approve a bonding referendum the referendum must pass by a two-thirds supermajority due to town charter rules. Simm stated that a supermajority vote is appropriate to maintain a balance of power between branches of government, but not when it is between the people and government; there should be “one person, one vote” in this case. Swenarton suggested that a presentation on the financial case for bonding for open space acquisition be made to the BoF. He asked whether the $308,000 ± in the land acquisition account, which received about $150,000 from liens for fees in-lieu of open space over the past year, could be used to make bond payments.
4. Old Business
4a. Report on PZC Open Space Subcommittee. Has been inactive; Lynn Young should be asked for her comments on the Open Space Plan this committee was reviewing.
4b. Mystic River Dam Committee. Simm has set either October 10th or 12th at 2 pm to visit the dam with Steve Gephardt of DEP Marine Fisheries next month. He will post the meeting. Baldwin will research current ownership.
Other Old Business. Lyons reported that she had attended a meeting of the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) Implementation Committee. The oversight process has been hobbled by their infrequent meetings, the lack of Planning staff at their meetings, and that members have not attended PZC meetings to determine whether the POCD recommendations are being made.
Correspondence was reviewed: Connecticut Association of Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commissions annual meeting and environmental conference to he held on November 4th in Wallingford.
6. Review of August 28, 2006 meeting minutes. MOTION: To approve the minutes as written (Swenarton, Bell). Passed unanimously. It was noted that DEP guidelines or other background information is requested from the Town Planner for the next meeting in order to consider the following application: PZ0652RA Town of Stonington – Zoning Regulation Amendment to Zoning Regulation Section (ZR) 5.2.1 Bulk Requirements and ZR 22.214.171.124 Minimum Parking Standards for Marinas and Yacht Clubs.
7. Motion to Adjourn (Bell). Meeting adjourned at 9:55 pm.
Respectfully submitted by
Ben Baldwin, Acting Secretary
Approved on 10/23/2006 at a regular meeting of the Conservation Commission.