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Meadows committee submits final report to DES

January 05, 2011
After waiting out a whole growing season and a request for more time, the Meadows Advisory Committee is ready to send a final report to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Representative of the MAC and School Board member Sue Allen announced that the committee is finally ready to submit its report, which involved parties feel should address all DES's questions and the Conservation Committee's concerns.

Paul Fluet of Fluet Engineering was also present at the School Board meeting Monday night and said that while the application is not due to DES until Jan. 14, the submission will be sent in at an earlier date. The School Board members will then have to wait within a 45 day period to receive a response from DES.

While the whole ordeal over the Meadows in the last few years has been a process and a concern to some, these final steps the MAC must perform will only bring them closer to expanding athletic fields, bleachers, and a concession stand on the site in future years.

Chair of the School Board Kurt Webber asked Fluet "what was the bottom line," in regards to DES, and how they will respond to the report.

"You have addressed all of DES's and the Conservation Commission's concerns," said Fluet, who seemed to be leaning toward a positive response. "I hope it will satisfy DES. They just wanted to know we were not within 100 feet of major wetlands."

Well water on the site of the Meadows was also monitored this last growing season from April October, 2010. Fluet said that the field was inspected about 27 times throughout the growing season, to collect consistent and updated data during well monitoring.

Ground water was also monitored this summer, although due to a lack of rain, some data from recent summers was implemented into current data. Fluet noted that some of the drier areas were in fact where the athletic fields were proposed, while others areas seemed more saturated over by Sawyer's Dairy Bar.

On July 30, 2010 certified wetland scientist Nancy Randall, representing the Conservation Commission, and wetland scientist Barry H. Keith, who just submitted his most recent data report to the School Board, also went out on site to determine the limits of the prime wetland boundary.

Fluet and colleagues went back to the site and then established these boundary lines of prime wetland areas within the plans with the help of a GPS.

It was reported that the proposed project area is up to 300 feet away from the prime wetlands, and does not impinge on the required 100 foot boundary, although a small area of the field used for t-ball, is only about 90 feet away and had to be adjusted.

"Most of the lines are about 300 feet away from the wetlands, yet there is 90 feet of activity from the wetland line by Triple Trouble Farm," said Fluet. "It must meet the 100 foot setback, yet the (high school) baseball and football field still do."

Allen added that the t-ball field is not a formalized field, and simply an area of flat grass for children to try their hand at the sport. There is also little work needed to offer this field to the community, and requires no field dirt, and so on.

She mentioned that it was also important to remember that the area has been revamped to meet 100 foot setbacks on the map.

Allen said at a recent meeting the MAC recommended moving forward with plans to file a letter to the DES and to include a final report, which the School Board agreed to move ahead with as well.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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Town of Barnsted
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