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Conservation Commission
Regular Meeting
August 7, 2007, 5:00 p.m.
31 Pecks Lane, Newtown, Connecticut

Commissioners Present: Hovious, Ferguson, Cramer and Wright.
Staff Present: Rob Sibley, Conservation Official; Tammy Hazen, Clerk.

Executive session to discuss potential purchases of properties convened at 4:13 p.m. and adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

The public hearing was called to order at 5:40 p.m.

Property 07-01.  Commissioner Cramer motioned that the Conservation Commission recommend the purchase of property by the Town of Newtown.  Commissioner Ferguson seconded the motion.
Commissioner Cramer amended the motion to add on the price to be between $89,000 to $125,000.  Commissioner Ferguson seconded the motion.  Voted 3 to 1.  Motion carried.

Property 05-07.  Commissioner Cramer motioned that the Commission recommends the purchase of the property for $400,000.  After discussion, she withdrew the motion.  Commissioner Wright motioned that the Conservation Commission pursue the purchase of this property under advantageous terms.  Commissioner Cramer seconded motion.  No Discussion.  Vote 3 Yes, 1 abstain.  Motion Carried

I.      Public Participation

There were no members of the public present.

II.     Minutes

        Minutes of April 24th will be forwarded to the Commission by Tammy Hazen.
Minutes of July 10th – Commissioner Cramer motioned to Approve minutes.  Commissioner Ferguson seconded.
Commissioner Cramer suggested that Tammy Hazen be referred to in the minutes as “Ms. Hazen”.  Motion carried.
III.    Old Business

        1.      Action on Twist Hill Lane subdivision.

Mr. Sibley stated a letter has been sent.  Commissioner Hovious stated that as per Ann Mazur, the Fee-in-Lieu-of has been approved by Planning & Zoning.  

Education Subcommittee Report.

Commissioner Cramer stated that Mile-a-Minute information has been placed on the website.  Mr. Sibley received excellent feedback from many groups from as far north as the Berkshires in Massachusetts stating Kudos to the Commission for getting it onto the public notice immediately.  Commissioner Hovious discussed another invasive called “rock snot” that grows in cold water and carried by people on shoes, etc., and has been found in northern Connecticut River and in Mad River in Vermont.  It grows in an algal mat on rocks in the bottom of rivers and takes over and mats the bottom layer of vegetation.  Trout Unlimited is concerned about it’s growth.  The Commission can do some research on this.  Commissioner Hovious has seen a great deal of information on this in the cold water conservation websites.  Action Item:  Commissioner Hovious will send information out to the Commission.  

Commerce Road Economic Development/Open Space Discussion

Commissioner Hovious stated that he, Commissioner Wright and Mr. Sibley attended a meeting with the EDC.  A map and economic analysis displaying the original recommended open space plan by the EDC versus the space plan as recommended by the Conservation Commission was distributed and discussed.  

Commissioner Ferguson made a motion that the Conservation Commission send a letter to the EDC that they respond to previous correspondence and that any correspondence or recommendations to be considered by the Conservation Commission be received in writing after they have been discussed in open public hearing.  Seconded by Commissioner Cramer.  Motion approved unanimously.  

Commissioner Hovious stated that some development plan discussions were left unclear and that the Commission asks the EDC for clarification, including the possible elimination of Lot 9 and information regarding the bio retention pond.  He also suggests that further discussions and meeting be held on the property to better explain the reasons for open space.  

The Commission discussed a proposed meeting for the two commissions to walk the property on Friday at 8:30 a.m.  and discuss the memo outlining the Commission’s rationale for their open space recommendations.  Commissioner Hovious suggests the map and pictures of the site be included in the submission.

Commissioner Wright noted that it should also be mentioned that an endangered bird, the Woodcock, nests on the property.  Commissioner Hovious discussed the impact of the development would be on the Pootatuck Aquifer since part of it lies under the property.   

Action on Recommendation to Planning & Zoning to Clarify Open Space Definition.

A letter was sent to Lilla Dean, Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission.  There has not been a response as yet. Commissioner Hovious that there may be a number of groups in the town that might not agree with the policy of not putting drainage structures in open space.

Mr. Sibley discussed some feedback from other departments and suggests the Commission look at the entire definition of how the Commission defines Open Space.  

Trees at Fairfield Hills.

Commissioner Cramer stated there is not much to update the Commission with except that there was mention in the Bee that the Conservation Commission had given input on the Fairfield Hills plan.

Mile-a-Minute Report

Mr. Sibley stated that information has been in The Bee.  The Mad Gardeners’ of New Milford are paying for the Intern that is coordinating volunteers to pull the weed.  Kathleen Nelson has received funds to pay part-time helpers to pull the mile-a-minute weeds in Newtown.  There are four sites found so far in Newtown.   

IV.     New Business

1.      Discussion of plans to implement 2007-2008 budget

New Laptop for the Commission.  Although it is still in the works, the timeframe for the Commission getting a new laptop has been pushed back due to the IT department losing an employee.

Indexing of Open Space.  The $12,000 was approved for the Commission to use for land surveys, maps, title research and demarcation.  There are 300 properties to complete in a 5 to 10 year timeframe.  Mr. Sibley would like to take a lead on this job and will provide suggested sites to begin work on.  

Commissioner Hovious and Mr. Sibley spoke about a stream survey of Deep Brook that an intern, Alicia Messier, has been working on.  Information will be placed on the web.  There is a great deal of detail work that can be completed with this technology.  

Commissioner Ferguson made a Motion to adjourn at 8:30 p.m.  Seconded by Commissioner Cramer.