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Conservation Commission concerned about Wolfeboro's effluent disposal issues

August 20, 2009
TUFTONBORO — The topic of the CJWinni Conservation Easement agreed to by the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen came up again at their meeting this past Monday, Aug. 17, but this time Gary Chehames, speaking on behalf of the Conservation Commission, said they would just agree to disagree at this point.

He said that the commission is developing a model for how a conservation easement is done, which they will share with the board, and said that the commission would like to be involved and consulted on such matters.

The selectmen changed their third week of the month meeting time to 9 a.m. so that Selectman Bill Stockman, the board's representative to the commission, could attend the commission's meetings held on the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

On another conservation matter, Chehames commented that the commission sent a letter to Wolfeboro's director of public works, Dave Ford, expressing concerns about seepage from the rapid infiltration basin (RIB) effluent disposal system, which has been in operation since the spring.

They received a report in turn that Ford had prepared for the Department of Environmental Services and a letter, which Chehames described as, "more theoretical. I'm not sure we're entering into agreement with that."

Wolfeboro has been dealing with RIB startup issues and has taken steps to address the seepage. The effluent pond is fuller than usual, necessitating some irrigation spraying. Ford has reported to the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen that the irrigation is not in areas that the Mirror Lake Protection Association has listed as areas of concern.

Chehames said that he feels that his group's role is to "foster knowledge, not to act as a gadfly" but added that they "can't let it go." Board Chairman Dan Duffy said that he appreciated the commission's keeping a watchful eye on the situation. Conservation correspondence may be viewed on the Tuftonboro Web site.

Road report

Jim Bean, Tuftonboro's road agent, informed selectmen that his crew had to sweep up after recent torrential rains and is continuing the mowing of roadsides and drainage work involving culvert repairs and extensions. They've been trying "to keep up with a beaver," said Bean, adding that if anyone is interested in attempting to trap it, they have the necessary permits to allow it.

The old machine used to repair cracks in road surfaces is "ready for the dump," according to Bean, and he has been looking into purchasing a new one. Stockman questioned the effectiveness of sealing the cracks, but noted that though the technique is debatable, the Department of Transportation still uses it. Bean said that he talked to Pike Industries, a paving company, which said that the crack sealer has to be pulled out before a road is coated, but others say it is useful in keeping water from getting in.

Stockman said sometimes the crews move the center of the road around to avoid getting cracks right down the center. Bean said he will investigate the matter further. Duffy inquired about the cost, and Bean replied that the estimated cost for a new machine is roughly $3,000.

Bean reported that he met with Lyle Cheney, a resident of North Line Road, who was concerned that water was coming on to his property from a culvert, but Bean said that the water bypasses Cheney's land and there is a trench at the end. He feels that the culvert is well placed, so he will go ahead with the plan to extend the culvert. The board agreed.

Route 109 paving is complete to Moultonborough, thanks in large part to Tyler Phillip's nudging, according to Duffy. He said he wished it had a new foundation, so the smooth surface would last, but that is not in the cards.

Bean plans to redo the white lines on town roads. He said it is expensive, but effective in helping drivers see better at night.

The board has given a figure of $100,000 to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) committee for a road construction article for next year's warrant.

Right to Know Law

A discussion of the Right To Know law (RSA 91-A) was triggered by complaints to the town office that two selectmen attended a recent CIP meeting. Stockman is the board's representative, but Duffy attended also out of personal interest. The law states that when a quorum is present that the meeting has to have been posted 24 hours in advance.

Duffy suggested that perhaps all the meetings should be posted to avoid the problem, but Stockman said he thought that would defeat the purpose of notifying the public when two officials were planning to be in attendance. The board agreed that now that they are aware of the rule, they would just be careful to give the office staff advance notice.

Other Business

The police department's old Chevy Tahoe will be put out to bid, and the selectmen expressed gratitude to Lovering Tree Service for its recent free repair of the flag pole.

White Cliff Communications, LLC, will not need to go the zoning board of adjustment for a variance in order to improve the cell tower, according to Codes Officer Jack Parsons. It is not considered an abandoned tower because the company has inspected it about ten times in the past year, which is more than required, and it does not pose environmental issues.

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist encouraged citizens to sign up with the Nixle alert system, which will give residents announcements such as the recent posting of the Melvin Beach warning of high e coli bacteria levels, which was later removed. Residents will be informed of events such as road closings and weather alerts. The town Web site's notes and news link directs people on registration.

Public Input

Bill Kaiser expressed opposition to the board's recent decision to allow a link on the town's Web site to the Tuftonboro Forum. He said it led to lists of advertisers, which he does not consider appropriate for a town site.

While others pointed out that the advertisements are secondary links, Kaiser said that in the past, when he wanted to advertise his business online, he was not allowed. His opinion now is that the site should "stay with the town stuff' and non-profits.

Duffy said that Paul Zimmerman and Dan Barnard had been very vocal about getting a discussion forum going, and suggested that Kaiser "give us some time to think about it and see how it works." Stockman wondered if Barnard could remove the advertising links.

Kaiser said that he did not particularly care for the content on the site in the past and had quit his membership. Sundquist said she had had the same experience, but was willing to "see if it does become a discussion site."

Selectmen will hold a work session on next Monday, Aug. 24, at 9 a.m. and their next scheduled regular meeting is set for Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Both meetings will be at the town office building.

The proposed fall schedule is for meetings on the first and fourth Mondays of the month to take place at 7 p.m. Meetings on the second Monday of each month will be held at 9 a.m. The third and fifth Mondays are reserved for work sessions as needed.

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