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November 8, 2006 Minutes
Natural Resources Preservation Committee
A subcommittee of the Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Watercourse Agency

Minutes - Regular Meeting
November 8, 2006
Melrose Schoolhouse, Route 140

        I.      Attendance: A. Grant, G. Grant, M. Kovalcek, J. O’Donnell, J. Warren
        II.     Call to Order: meeting called to order at 7:41 p.m.
        III.    Agenda Additions: none
        IV.     Approval of Minutes: J. O’Donnell mad a motion to accept minutes of 9/13/06 and 10/11/06. Motion seconded by A. Grant. Passed all in favor.
        V.      Continued Business
                        A.  Board of Finance agenda issues ~ M. Kovalcek reported that to be on the agenda we must contact Mary Szabo in the town clerk’s office. J. Warren cited previous filing of the request through the town clerk’s office, only to be told to submit all written documents to the secretary of Board of Finance and she did so. It was agreed that a member of the board, preferably the chair, should be contacted directly, but it was not agreed who would do so.
                        B.  Open space referendum timeline ~ After a lengthy discussion it was decided that the timeline could be revisited at the December 13 meeting. Secretary made a notation that the timeline would be resolved by the BOF 12/20/06, but a notation was also made that the matter could be resolved in January.   G. Grant is still working on the change made to the calculation of the cost of development versus open space in light of the change in mil rate in July. That will impact the NRPC document presentation to the BOF and G. Grant is researching the amount of acreage that is designated active farmland by 490 statuses. That number will illustrate the impact the conservation of farms would have on East Windsor.                                
                        C.  Charter Revision ~ no new information

                        D.  Recruitment of Volunteers and New Members ~ Membership status and the two alternate vacancies were discussed.  G. Grant reported that he had received no letter from Doug Wilson, who is still a full member despite his expressed desire to resign. J. Warren will contact Doug to inquire about the letter of resignation and the opening for a full member can be addressed at that point.
        VI.     New Business
                        A.  Inventory of Open Space and Conservation Easements ~ the effort is ongoing. J. Warren met with Linda Kehoe so 4 years of IWCC easements are listed but not yet mapped. There is still hope that GIS consulting can be utilized by the town to help this process. J. Warren met with the American Heritage River Commission (as a current member) and review of easements along the Scantic is ongoing.
                        B.  Tsummi property grant ~ no new information since the announcement of the purchase of the property by the town was made in early November.
                        C.  Agricultural Viability Grant ~ The opportunity to obtain funds from the Department of Agriculture via Connecticut Farmland Trust was presented. Laurie Whitten, Town Planner, came across the opportunity and encouraged the committee to apply. J. Warren supplied American Farmland Trust with all information regarding current NRPC projects and brought the completed grant application to the meeting to share with all. Several questions came up as the grant was being completed. The scoring criteria for conservation properties was reviewed and refined for inclusion into the grant. A. Grant also provided several models for scoring potential properties. The committee drafted a letter requesting the support of the Board of Selectmen and Inland Wetlands chairman Linda Kehoe will also submit a letter showing support for the grant application.  The application was to be submitted November 17. A copy of the grant is on file with NRPC and the planning office.
        Discussion of the grant and what it will help us do was discussed at length. Members agreed to support its submission although the details of what exactly grant dollars would purchase was the subject of some debate because the funds can not be used to purchase land outright. The grant would purchase the time of surveyors, assessors, town staff, farmland trust staff  and volunteers to chart out a path to future land acquisition and the evaluation of properties of interest and create a public information plan and the materials to go with it (brochures, advertising, lawn signs, etc.). The impact these monies would have on the push for a referendum bonding money for open space was acknowledged.                              
        VI.     Adjournment was at 8:57 p.m.