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Antrim Open Space Committee 01/11/05
January 11, 2005
The meeting was called to order at 7PM by Chairman Charles Levesque.  In addition to the Chairman, the following members were in attendance.

Linda Bundy                             Gil Geisz
Melissa Chapman                          Loranne Corey Block                    
Bob Edwards                             Rod Zwirner
Marshall Gale                            Ben Pratt

Committee member not present:  Eric Tenney
Also present:  Paul Vasquez

Chairman Levesque asked the members if any changes to the agenda were in order and if anyone had any comments or changes to the minutes of our January 7, 2005 meeting.  None were noted.  Members were reminded that the minutes will be available to the general public on the town’s web site.

Chair Levesque reviewed the work plan and discussed that at our February 15th meeting Dick Ober from the Monadnock Conservancy will be present to discuss land preservation techniques and opportunities as well as discussing his organization.  Accompanying him will be Jeff Porter from SWRPC.  

The membership discussed the proposed survey that will be available at our 2005 town meeting. The purpose is to collect information from residents and then determine how best to make meaningful use of the information.  The committee should identify and inventory land parcels not already protected and determine what is important about them from the viewpoint of conservation. Examples could be wildlife, wetlands or other special features.  It was suggested to have an aerial map of Antrim on display at town meeting and Ben will ask the moderator to announce the display and its purpose at the inception of the meeting.  Rod Zwirner and Linda Bundy will work on creating the survey and Melissa said she would discuss it with Jeff Porter as well to see what SWRPC might have available.  Chairman Levesque said that a better result may be gained initially by developing the survey ourselves rather than copying one produced by another town or organization.  Loranne Corey Block will also assist with this effort and volunteered to assemble the mapping with a firm backing for town meeting presentation purposes.  The group will develop a draft survey for review at the February 15 meeting.

Chairman Levesque reviewed with the committee the mapping of parcels presently protected.  He noted that mapping by categories is an improved method as opposed to identifying them by individual parcels.  Rod Zwirner suggested developing maps with defined trails which Melissa Chapman suggested is a good idea to implement later in the process.

It was suggested that at our next meeting the committee will discuss a public hearing schedule.

Ben Pratt made a presentation regarding digital mapping to update the town’s tax maps and water and sewer infrastructure.  He noted the priority is with accurate mapping of water and sewer lines and the Selectmen are reviewing each company from the viewpoint of attaining the best result based on the town’s present need while considering the cost factor as well.  He noted that they would like to make a presentation to our committee which was deemed a little premature at this time.

Terra-Map of Lebanon proposed a two year approach with the first year’s emphasis on our water/sewer system.  First would be water and the sewer mapping.  They would develop a basic map from aerial photographs for road mapping too. Highly accurate but not user friendly.  The problem is that our tax maps are not accurate and adjustments would have to be made to impose our road systems and land parcels properly on the maps.  The second year they would plot service connections on the maps possibly with GIS support.  Terra-Map will complete the basic program for approximately $16,000 plus any additional items deemed prudent.  They will assist with providing training for several town employees with the intent of the town becoming trained and continuing the process in the future.  Melissa expressed concern that a few training sessions are not sufficient and much is involved with being sufficiently knowledgeable to properly continue this process.  She wanted to know what the continuing costs would be if we needed their assistance in the future.

The second company was Cartographic Associates, Inc. of Littleton who would approach the endeavor for updating tax maps by researching the deeds and recorded surveys at the registry of deeds to provide as accurate a base map as possible.  The estimated cost without water and sewer mapping only was $55,800.00.  The Town of Rindge used survey company TF Moran for their effort and considering the lack of knowledge on the town’s part, the finished product was not perfect. Rindge does not have a town planner but did employ the expertise of the SWRPC.  Ben said that Antrim must ensure we provide an accuracy disclaimer on our maps.  Ben discussed Terra-Map with Jeff Porter and Jeff said to ensure that whatever approach and company we decide on that it be GPS compatible for the future.  The committee felt that a proposal was premature and that towns of similar size and complexity as Antrim should be contacted for comments using the companies provided client list.  Chairman Levesque will contact Deering to determine their level of satisfaction and their approach.  Caution was urged to ensure that we look carefully at the best program for the long term requirements of Antrim and not just the most inexpensive proposal.  Jeff Parson’s would benefit highly from a well developed and accurate water and sewer infrastructure mapping.  Most likely, Paul and Jim would receive training.

Melissa Chapman presented a review of GIS which in general is a display of data with geographic reference points on the ground.  She demonstrated data layering for the Committee such as road classifications 1-5, aquifer layering, watershed boundaries, land cover, types of forests, wet land inventory, a wildlife layering and the like.  The committee also reviewed the aerial photographs taken in 1998 of the town of Antrim and a had general discussion of identification points of reference such as roads, bodies of water and the larger and more obvious parcels of land.  Some very large parcels are presently under various protective programs so the focus is on what parcels of land are not and to identify the specific reasons why they may be important to open space preservation.  The point was made that the town can’t and shouldn’t remove every parcel from development.  A balance is required to ensure we have a viable and desirable community.   The key is to be able to clearly document the need and justification to support our recommendation(s).  

The committee viewed large format black and white aerial photographs of Antrim procured through the US Geological Survey.  The committee agreed that the photos will be very helpful in getting the people in town to participate in the process.  

A final thought was to create a Mylar so people can write their explanation of what and why a parcel or category is important to them right on the map and identify the location.  Lorrane Corey Block offered to prepare the map display for the town meeting.

- Rod Zwirner, Linda Bundy and Lorrane Corey Block develop a draft town survey/questionnaire on open space for discussion at the Feb. 15 meeting
- Charlie Levesque to contact Deering and possibly other towns about Terra Map and Cartograhics and discuss with Ben Pratt.
- Mellisa Chapman to continue to work on GIS data.
- Lorrane Corey Block to prepare the map display for the town meeting.

Chairman Levesque reminded the committee that next month’s meeting will be held on February 15th at 7PM sharp.  Having no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15

Bob Edwards
Note taker.   


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