Jun 242021

Meeting Minutes

Brookfield Conservation Commission  6/21/21


Present: Jon Binhammer, Kathy Kinter, Starr Strong, Susan Shea

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 P.M. at the Brookfield Library.

Minutes of the 5/17/21 meeting were approved.

Public Comment: No members of the public were in attendance.

Forest Blocks

Continuing its discussion on how to minimize forest fragmentation, the Commission discussed  recommendations by Kevin Geiger and Pete Fellows of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission for a forest conservation overlay zone in the development bylaw. Commissioners noted that TRORC’s proposed map left out a lot of forests, including the wildlife corridor in the northern part of town. They agreed that it would be better to have a forest block zone that is clear and enforceable rather than the scattered pieces of our current conservation district. If Brookfield changed to a forest blocks conservation zone, wetlands and steep slopes would need to be addressed. We need to ask TRORC what restrictions they would propose for a forest conservation zone. Though the legislative mandate provides backing, there are limits as to what the town will accept. Other towns have restricted the length of driveways and required larger lots. Jon B. will arrange a meeting for us with Kevin Geiger to get more information, coordinating with Jon Jickling.

Strategic Planning

Kathy reported on her discussion with Jens Hilke of VT Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, who has facilitated strategic planning for conservation commissions. She showed examples of the process from the towns of Bradford and South Burlington. The process involves having commission members brainstorm a list of potential projects for the next five years, then rank their importance, level of expertise required, and feasibility. It would take two to three meetings (perhaps some special meetings) plus homework. If Jens Hilke facilitated, he would tabulate the results, and at the last meeting, commissioners would reconcile priorities and decide what projects to take on. It is possible for the commission to undertake this process on their own, but the facilitator member could not fully participate. Late fall and winter would be a good time for strategic planning.

Educational Programs

The Commission discussed potential educational programs and field trips for the public. The following field trips were scheduled:

Sat., September 11, with rain date of September 12 – Sunset Lake Paddle, led by Starr Strong

Sun., October 17 – Hike in Town Forest, led by Jon Binhammer

Starr may be able to present a program on one of her trips this winter.

Other Business:

Sue reported that she is still trying to contact the VTrans biologist re: improving the northern highway crossing for wildlife.

Jon B. reported that he has received no communication from the Brookfield School recently on the proposed habitat improvement project.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 19.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Shea