September 20, 2022 Conservation Commission Minutes


Conservation Commission
Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at 6:30 P.M.
in-person and via Zoom at the South Hero Town Office

Meeting Minutes

Members attending: Bob Fireovid, Dave Hobbs, Cynthia Kelley, Bridget Kerr, Mark Naud, Sue Straight (via Zoom)
Public attending: Sandy Gregg, Chair, South Hero Planning Commission; Gwen Hobbs

1) Call to Order at 6:35p.
Bridget Kerr called the meeting to order as the organizer pending election of officers and invited all members to introduce themselves. Each member provided a brief introduction of their time as a South Hero resident and interest in the new Conservation Commission.

2) Organization of Conservation Commission – Election of officers for inaugural 1-year terms. There was a general discussion of traditional roles and responsibilities of commission members and officers, Vermont Open Meeting Law requirements, and related matters.

A. Elect Chairperson – Dave H. nominated Bridget Kerr for Chairperson. Mark N. 2d. Unanimous vote.
B. Elect Vice-Chairperson (optional) – Bob F. nominated Cynthia Kelley for Vice-Chairperson. Mark N. 2d. Unanimous vote.
C. Elect Clerk (secretary) Dave H. nominated Mark N. for Clerk/Secretary. Bridget 2d. Unanimous vote.
D. Elect Treasurer – Cynthia K. nominated Bob F. for Treasurer. Sue S. 2d. Unanimous vote.

3) Conservation Commission Rules of Procedure & Bylaws – The Commission members reviewed the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions Handbook (2021)(available on Town of South Hero website) and discussed its contents, specifically the Thetford Conservation Commission Rules in Appendix A. Mark volunteered to create a draft document for review and approval at the next meeting on Nov. 15th.

4) Public Input (items not on the agenda) – Sandy Gregg welcomed the new members and expressed a desire that the Commission provide support and input to the Planning Commission as it embarks on development of a renewed Town Plan.

5) Begin Drafting Mission Statement – Bridget previously provided draft Mission Statements from other VT conservation commissions for consideration. The consensus was for members to review the Handbook and draft mission statements, consider issues of concern for the Town of South Hero, potential initial work of the Commission over the next 2-5 years

6) Preparation for Next Meeting – The Commission decided that meetings will be held on the 3d Tuesday of every other month at the South Hero Town Offices from 6:30-8p. The meeting schedule will be Nov. 15, 2022; January 17, 2023; Mar. 21, 2023; and May 15, 2023, with a break during July/August and Annual Meeting in Sept. 19, 2023.
The Nov. 15 meeting will include a presentation from Jens Hilke, VT ANR, consideration and adoption of Rules & Bylaws, drafting the Commission Mission Statement, approve staggered terms for members, and some consideration of issues of concern, including a focus on preservation of the beauty of the town and landscape, Emerald ash borer/deer and invasive species concerns impacting the island forests, contributions to the Town Plan, and planning for collaborative work with other organizations within the community – Recreation Commission, South Hero Land Trust, Grand Isle County NRCD, and others.

7) Adjourn – Consensus adjournment at 8:15p. Action items include Mark N. delivering AVCC Handbook and minutes for publication on Town website; connecting with Tanya Poutry and The Islander for notice of Commission meetings and issues; and Cynthia considering utilization of FPF for meeting minutes and commission education initiatives. Bridget will connect with Skip Brown and Naomi King for IT meeting support and posting of Commission minutes and related publications.