Conservation Commission Green Lights Orchard Lease

Paul Conyers

The Conservation Commission came together for its April 25 meeting to discuss new ideas.
Jeffrey Brem of the Meisner Brem Corporation was at the meeting to ask for a conditional use permit needed to move forward with the Winnie Estates proposal located at 20 and 22 Young Road. It is his third Conservation meeting for a plan to build a 21-lot project on 2- acres of land.
“It’s all the same issues as before,” explained Brem. “The issue we’re talking to you is about the driveway.”
He emphasized that no projects should impact the surrounding wetlands, but the debate over removing a driveway on the land has stalled approval. Brem hoped to get a revised plan through the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board after getting his permit.
“We’re going to remove the driveway, and restore wetlands in that area,” said Brem. “The Planning Board is meeting soon and we’re hoping to get your approval by then.”
Members were happy to accept Brem’s willingness to remove the driveway without much discussion. The Commission unanimously voted to recommend the permit to the Planning Board.
Also during the meeting, the Commission needed to approve a new lease for Moose Hill Orchards after the Town Council moved forward at its April 24 meeting.
“At the end of December 2021, the town solicited interest in a lease for this parcel,” explained Town Manager, Mike Malaguti. “We indicated that we were looking for a lessee who would maintain it as an apple orchard and keep to other agricultural use of the property.”
That original lease expired last November when the Town Council and land owner disagreed on whether to renew by signing a short or long-term agreement. There was also disagreement over the public access to the land. Under the April 24 agreement, Sunnycrest Farms will oversee the front five acres of the orchard for five years. A separate lease for the back 21 acres of the land needed approval by the Conservation Commission.
“We’re negotiating a term of 20 years, nominal rent of $1, the entitlement of term to the lessee, and an obligation to maintain the apple trees,” said Malaguti, outlining terms of a new lease for the back-end of Moose Hill Orchard with Sunnycrest.
Alternative member, Michael Speltz, considered the agreement with Sunnycrest a “low-risk” deal needed to preserve the town’s heritage. The parcel lease was approved unanimously.
Commission Chair, Marge Badois, recently had a conversation with a wolf expert who raised the issue of wolf conservation in NH.
“We have wolves in the state, but they’re being shot because people are confusing them with coyotes,” said Badois. She invited the expert to do a public presentation on the topic, and the Commission raised the possibility of making the presentation a joint venture with Leach Library. Badois promised to look into scheduling with both sides.
The next Conservation Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m., in the Moose Hill Conference Room.

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