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Conservation Commission
Regular Meeting
May 8, 2007, 6:00 p.m.
31 Pecks Lane, Newtown, Connecticut

Present:  Cramer, Wright, Ferguson, Hovious, Barkman and Kaley; Also Present:  Rob Sibley, Conservation Official; Tammy Hazen, Clerk

The public hearing was called to order at 6:00 p.m.

I.      Public Participation

There were no members of the public present.

II.     Minutes Approval for 4/10/07 and 4/24/07

Mr. Sibley stated that he will review the correctness of prior minutes and will address the process of recording minutes with the Commission at the next meeting.  Commissioner Hovious stated that there were proposed minutes for the April 10th meeting.  Commissioner Ferguson provided revisions that included the final motion.

Item was tabled and later discussed.

Commissioner Hovious moved to approve April 10th meeting minutes.  Seconded by Commissioner Cramer.  Yea six to one.  Nay by Commissioner Barkman explaining that she had questions on differences between the Clerk’s and Secretary’s minutes.  Items were clarified.  

Commissioner Barkman made a motion to amend the motion with a change on page 2 of a date (2004 was changed to 2005).  Seconded by Commissioner Ferguson.  Motion carried.

III.    Old Business

1.      Education Subcommittee Report

Commissioner Barkman discussed the Aquifer educational program.  The program has received a positive response with 31 presentations completed, including 23 within the Newtown Public School system.  The school Science Coordinator suggested we engage high school students.  Commissioner Barkman thanked Commissioners Ferguson and Kaley for their help and participation.

Commissioner Hovious announced that the Commission is invited to participate in Sandy Hook’s Kids Day America International Program scheduled for May 19th.  Due to scheduling conflicts, the Commission will send their regrets.  Also discussed was possibly developing a display promoting conservation and thinking of an activity that would hold the public’s attention during events such as this.  

2.      Commerce Road Economic Development and Open Space Discussion

Commissioner Hovious met with the EDC (Economic Development Committee) earlier today and stated that the EDC are receptive to review the Commission’s open space recommendations.  The Commission will put together a proposal with the main objective being to protect the brook.  It was also recommended that the Commission walk the property with map in hand.  Commissioners will e-mail each other and plan a field walk - tentatively scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Monday.  

Special Meeting - the Commission will walk the property on Monday, May 14, 2007 at 10:00 a.m., George Benson will be invited.

3.      Iroquois Gas Transmission

Commissioner Hovious referred to a letter, dated April 3, 2007, from Iroquois Gas inviting the Commission to an open house on April 24th (6pm – 8pm) at Reed School.  They will be discussing the proposed storage pipeline installation.  The Commissioners are encouraged to attend.  

Mr. Sibley walked the proposed site with reps from Iroquois and FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).  Iroquois’ intention is to install a second pipeline to be used for mass storage.  They intend to complete this within the next 1½ years.  Several inland wetlands permits will be required.  

Mr. Sibley stated that Iroquois originally said there would be little disturbance in the area.  He later discovered the plans have much more of an impact.  Their regulations require pipelines to be separated by 75 feet, with an additional 50 feet of vegetation.  This requires clearing a 1½ mile length piece of land.  Iroquois still needs to purchase properties, acquire local and FERC permits and get state approvals for land.  The project could have severe impacts on the properties currently being considered by the Commission as future town open space.  

Mr. Sibley will provide the Commissioners copies of all information received to date.  Iroquois glossies are in his office for the Commissioners to review at any time.

IV.     New Business

Commission Cramer made a motion to place new items on the Agenda.  Seconded by Commissioner Barkman.  Motion unanimously carried.

Proposed Tree Planting at Fairfield Hills

Commissioner Cramer discussed developing a subcommittee to assist in the proposed tree plantings at Fairfield Hills.  She will research ideas and discuss options with local experts prior to contacting Fairfield Hills Authority.  It may be suggested to the Fairfield Hills Authority that the town hire local experts to work with them on landscaping plans.  Commissioner Wright offered her assistance.  Mr. Sibley has seen designs for walkways, lighting fixtures and landscape plantings by a representative of Fairfield Hills Authority, to which he suggested they provide more native plantings.

Research on Newtown’s Vernal Pools

Commissioner Hovious asked Rob Sibley if he and George Benson would meet with the new intern hired by the town to research vernal pools.  He suggests they put together a scope of work for her to assist in her research.

Commissioner Barkman moved to adjourn.  Seconded by Commissioner Ferguson.  The vote was unanimous.