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JANUARY 12, 2012


Open Space Protection: ‘Stewardship on Shoestring’ T


LONDONDERRY TIMES ————––––––————–◆

he Open Space Task Force presented its findings to the Plan-

ning Board, with suggest- ed tasks for that body to complete and the good news that a fair amount of Londonderry is already protected.

Mike Speltz, chairman of the task force, present- ed a summary of the 100- page report at the Plan- ning Board’s Wednesday, Jan. 4, meeting. In his introduction, he said that implementing the findings of the Task Force “go way beyond the Conservation Commission,” with five or six of the recommenda- tions to be implemented by the Planning Board. Speltz said the Task

Force’s charge was to work in phases, support the development of the Master Plan, and confirm the economic viability of an open space plan, a component that was miss- ing from previous plans. The key concerns, he

said, were “How much is enough, when will it be done, and can we afford to finish it.”

Speltz said the Task

Force’s inventory of pro- tected space included

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4,047 acres or 15 percent of the town permanently protected, and 4,205 acres or 15.6 percent tem- porarily protected. Tem- porary protection, he said, included land owned by the school district, land with power lines, conservation overlay land and properties under the state wetlands statute. “One-third of the town,” he said, “is already protected.” Of that third, one third is under town control or ownership, one third is managed by oth- ers, and one third is pro- tected by regulations. Speltz said the town is

responsible for managing 1,693 acres, and for moni- toring or enforcing anoth- er 1,104 acres of ease- ments.

Since 1998, the town has spent roughly $20,000 on easements, he said, with $10,402 of that used for services from the Rockingham County Con- servation District and the University of New Hamp- shire, and $9,658 for restoration, materials, maps and loosestrife removal. The money comes from the town’s appropriation to the Con- servation Commission, $3,300 in Fiscal Year 12,

and most of the steward- ship is done by volun- teers, he said. Stewardship, he said, is “done on a shoestring.” Speltz said the Task

Force’s philosophy is “10 to 10,” meaning no resi- dent has to travel more than 10 minutes to access 10 acres of open space. The Task Force is es- pecially concerned about local agricultural land, he said, pointing out that “New Hampshire imports 95 percent of what we eat, and we have a five-day supply on hand.”

Speltz showed a slide

of a Great Blue Heron, and said Londonderry has one of the largest heron rookeries in the state, “tucked away in the Musquash.” The Task Force identi- fied 210 parcels it would like to see preserved, totaling 6,556 acres, and then prioritized them according to threat of development, cost, and resource value, he said. An Internet survey completed by 236 resi- dents showed the majori- ty were in favor of pre- serving more land, but also in favor of doing it outside of taxes. The Task Force advo-

cates a “steady-state” ap- proach to further conser- vation, Speltz said. Land conservation currently amounts to 2.7 percent of the annual town budget, a proportion that survey residents wanted to keep. Speltz said the Task Force advocates keeping bond payments below $900,000, which would allow for $7 million in new funding over the next 15 years. With bonding at $7 million and an estimated Land Use Change Tax of $3,240 over 15 years, that would give the town $10 million toward conservation land, plus an estimated $2,560,000 in grants. Final recommendations include education and out- reach, protection of water resources, recreation op- portunities on town-own- ed land, a comprehensive stewardship plan, and more land-use regulations and policies, Speltz said. Projects for the Plan-

ning Board would include a water resources study, land-use regulations in- cluding no development on the floodplain, an aquifer protection zone, and control or reduction of impervious surfaces, he said.

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choices to carry out the Task Force recommenda- tions, Speltz said. It could form a steering commit- tee similar to the Master Plan steering committee, or it could have an Imple- mentation Matrix carried out by town staff.

Though no decisions

were made, board mem- ber Lynn Wiles said he

OBITUARY Nicholas Cesarini

Nicholas J. Cesarini, 25, of Manchester died on Dec. 24, 2011.

He was born in Lowell, Mass., on Jan. 9, 1986, the son of Peter Cesarini and Debra (Reynolds) Dubois. He grew up in Londonderry,

graduated with honors from Londonderry High School, and attended Keene State College. He was employed by AgaMatrix Co. He loved caring for animals, searching for and studying sea life and water life, fishing, biking, and snowboarding.

He leaves his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa

Edwards of Manchester; his father and stepmoth- er, Peter and Karen Cesarini of Londonderry; his mother, Debra Dubois of South Milwaukee, Wis.; six siblings, Andrew Cesarini of South Milwaukee, Wis., Tiffany Smerdon of Milwaukee, Wis., Zachary Dubois of South Milwaukee, Wis., Kather- ine Dubois of Grand Isle, Maine, Lauren Pacy of Manchester and Michael Kilgore of Londonderry; his maternal grandfather, Joseph Reynolds and his wife, Paula, of Dracut, Mass.; his maternal grandmother, Blanche Rossmiller of Wisconsin; and an aunt and uncle, John and Gail Cesarini of Acton, Mass.

A private wake was held at the Lambert Funer- al Home in Manchester.

supported the idea of a steering committee. “With guidance like that, we could make it happen,” he said.

And Chairman Art

Rugg urged that some kind of implementation be carried out. “If it’s not in front of us,” he said, “it will end up not getting done.”

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