Vassalboro Conservation Commission
July 11, 2023
6:45-8:00 pm; Vassalboro Town Office

Final Minutes

Present: Holly Weidner (Chair), Peter Soule, Peggy Horner, Steve Jones, Matt Pitcher, David Jenney, Paul Mitnik (arrived late as he attended the Vassalboro Planning Commission going on concurrently); Absent: John Reuthe

Old business:

  1. June 2023 meeting minutes – Approved with corrections.
  2. Approved to cancel the August VCC meeting, with next meeting September 12, 2023.
  3. Report from Webber Pond Association (WPA) Annual Meeting: John Reuthe (President, WPA) was not present but sent an updated report that was read by Holly. Much of the report was posted on the WPA Facebook page. The Report was accepted and is attached to these Minutes.
  4. Community Resilience Partnership (CRP): The Town Manager, Aaron Miller, submitted the application to be a member of the CRP along with a grant to request funds to have heat pumps installed at the Town Office, Public Works, and Fire Station. As part of the application process, the Town had a public hearing at the Select Board Meeting, and VCC gathered historical information and ideas for future plans from interviewing over 8 people in the town. VCC provided a letter of support. If the Town decides to initiate a comprehensive plan, VCC plans to be involved.
  5. VCC membership update: Currently, an ordinance on the size of the VCC is limited to 7 members and we have 8. Therefore, Holly requested the Town Manager (and the Select Board) allow an “Alternate” position; which would be filled by Peter Soule for the remaining of this year, then request an agenda item on June 2024 Town Warrant to change the ordinance by eliminating a maximum number of members of the VCC (but keep the minimum to 3).
  6. Statler Tissue contamination property: Peter, David, Paul, and Peggy will meet Monday, June 17 (1:30) at the Town Office to review past history and reports, and discuss options/possible recommendations for next steps.
  7. Potential Energy Committee: VCC will continue to monitor/recommend to Select Board and Town Manager to consider such an advisory committee.
  8. PFAS contamination update: PFAS contamination in water and as sludge continue to be an issue across the state and nation. There has been a notice that fish in China Lake (and other lakes) may be unfit for consumption. Due to potential new standards for PFAS in water, Kennebec Water District is aware and is preparing to possibly invest in filtration.

New Business:

  1. There continues to be an issue of vehicles with boat trailers parking in the Monument Park and illegally parking (per town ordinance) along Rt 32 at the Monument Park/East Vassalboro China Lake boat landing – despite signs and fencing. During Covid, some of the bass fishing tournament participants started parking on the swing-set half of Monument Park, and the practice now continues. When the current town parking lot at the Historical Society is full and there is overflow on the road (Rt 32), this also creates a hazard and liability for the town.
    ACTION: Because VCC is in charge of our town parks, we would like the town to develop a means to deal with both issues. This could include having the bass tournament organizers explore other alternatives for parking (i.e. other town or private land by permission) so that the town park can be easily accessible for use by local citizens; and having the Town to enforce the ordinance so that Main Street is safe for traffic flow. Holly will discuss this issue with Aaron Miller.
  2. Strategic Plan: The Town has had some preliminary discussion on the need for either a Town Strategic or Comprehensive Plan. The last ‘plan’ was the 2006 Strategic Plan. VCC discussed the need for us to review the 2006 Plan to see what actions were assigned to VCC at that time, which ones we have accomplished, which ones are still relevant, and which ones to consider for the future. ACTION: Matt agreed to review the 2006 Plan for those areas that pertain to the VCC and bring them for review at the September VCC meeting to help ascertain possible future work.
  3. Holly asked for help drafting minutes. Peggy Horner agreed to be the recorder.

Respectfully submitted by Peggy Horner, Recorder