Raymond Community News

Conservation Commission Wants New Flint Hill Warrant Article
by Cheryl Killam 8-25-14

The Raymond Conservation Commission, in response to a request from the Board of Selectmen, is writing a letter to the selectmen asking them to allow the conservation commission to write a new warrant article for the Flint Hill property to put before the voters in March 2015.

The 60 day time period the Selectmen gave the conservation commission to provide a recommendation on the Flint Hill easement, which was the subject of Warrant Article 28 from 2009, began on July 9. The conservation commission held two meetings since that time. 

At the commission’s July 23 meeting, member Lorrie O’Connor handed out a packet of papers to the other members saying these are “working papers and significant events and my ideas for Flint Hill for you to read and consider.”

Chairman Ted Janusz read through the papers and said, “as you can see there are a lot of warrant articles on this subject.”  Flipping to one of the pages he said “the warrant article in 2008 passed to create a business park, as did the article to place an easement on the property for one year.”

He added that during deliberative session, town attorneys Donahue, Tucker and Ciandella suggested language modifications to warrant article 28 but the modifications were not accepted by the voters at the session.

The packet contained the timeline of Flint Hill warrant articles beginning in 2005 with article 9 asking to change the zoning of the property from residential to industrial usage for a Raymond Business Park. In 2006   article 13 asked for a change of zoning for a Raymond Business Park again. Both of those articles failed.

In 2008 the town voted on and passed article 21 to adopt the Mixed Use Business Campus Overlay District (MUBCOD)  zone for the Flint Hill property in addition to placing an easement on the property for one year with article 22.

The packet included O’Connor’s “points to be considered,” including “if a warrant article is viewed as a contract, then the results of the vote would be considered null because part of the contract is not achievable,” referring specifically to the pooled mitigation section in warrant article 28 that says, “the balance of the acreage within the Conservation Easement may be included as pooled mitigation land in accordance with the Town of Raymond Expandable Pooled Mitigation Plan (the EPMP)” that was adopted by the Board of Selectmen in December of 2007 but not approved by NH Department of Environmental Services . 

Janusz asked the members to come to the next meeting with their ideas for recommendations to the selectmen.

The next meeting was held Wednesday, Aug. 13, and Janusz asked for suggestions for a Flint Hill letter to the selectmen.

Member Bernie Peer said, “we should just go as the voters voted for it. I feel when people vote for a conservation easement they know not to put residential or commercial development on it.”

Member Paul Hammond said, “it’s been a while since that was voted on and we should bring it back to the voters. “  New member Scott Greenwood agreed with Hammond but added that he “was concerned about the legality issues of the warrant article and if the DTC lawyers are concerned, then we should be too.”

Members Bill Hoitt and Lorrie O’Connor both agreed with Hammond’s suggestions.

O’Connor added that they should be considering a conservation restriction as defined by New Hampshire RSA 477:45: " I. A conservation restriction shall mean a right to prohibit or require, a limitation upon, or an obligation to perform, acts on or with respect to, or uses of, a land or water area, whether stated in the form of a restriction, easement, covenant or condition, in any deed, will, or other instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the area or in any order of taking, which right, limitation, or obligation is appropriate to retaining or maintaining such land or water area, including improvements thereon, predominantly in its natural, scenic, or open condition, or in agricultural, farming, open space or forest use, or in any other use or condition consistent with the protection of environmental quality."

Janusz stated, “We need a new warrant article. I agree with Lorrie on RSA 477:45 and a conservation restriction.  The conservation commission should have control of conservation land the way it says. We should also ask the town to look into setting up a land trust the way Bedford has a Bedford Land Trust to hold their conservation easements.”

The board voted 4-0-2  to send the letter of recommendations to the board of selectmen, with O’Connor, Hammond, Greenwood and Janusz in favor, and Hoitt and Peer abstaining.  Frank Bishop was absent.

Raymond voters approved Article 28 by a vote of 601 to 352 in 2009. That article asked for the upper 145 acres of the 215-acre Flint Hill and its natural resources be preserved with a “conservation easement” to prevent development and reserve the southern 70 acres for future development. 

The board of selectmen is expected to address the Conservation Commission’s letter at an upcoming meeting.  

In other business, Cheryl Killam, owner of Raymond Area News, asked Janusz to send her a copy of the meeting agenda when he sends it to commission members. He responded that he would not do so, “because if I send it to you I would have to send it to everyone else who asks for it. “


Warrant Article 28 From 2009 Annual Report

Shall the Town of Raymond vote to place all but 70 acres of the parcel located on tax Map 35 Lot 4, otherwise known as Flint Hill, into a conservation easement held by a recognized New Hampshire conservation easement holding entity (“The Entity”), with the 70 contiguous acres to be reserved located along the southern boundary of the parcel, for future economic development purposes, such purposes to include infrastructure improvements and non-residential commercial, light manufacturing and/or mixed use business park, any of which must conform with applicable zoning. 

The Conservation Easement will be achieved through a deed from the Town as Grantor to the Entity as Grantee, and easement monitoring fees to be paid by the Town from the Conservation Fund.  This will ensure that the Town will have no future ability to use or develop any portion of Flint Hill, except for the aforementioned 70 acres.

  Further, that the balance of the acreage within the Conservation Easement may be included as pooled mitigation land in accordance with the Town of Raymond Expandable Pooled Mitigation Plan (the EPMP), adopted in December of 2007. This is a petitioned warrant article.  

Yes 601      No 352









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