Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wheeler Nature Park Conservation Easement - South Burlington

More photo links of Wheeler Nature Park at bottom.
Unofficial meeting overview of 3/16/2016 (7 pm -10 pm) Wheeler Nature Park Task Force Advisory to SB City Council.

Attendees: Representatives from City Staff, Natural Resource committee, Rec and Leisure Arts committee, Bike/Pedestrian committee, SE group consultants: as part of the task force to date,  and members of the community including reps from the SBLT. Summary is my interpretation of what was discussed- not meeting minutes.

Much of the discussion was about how the task force would function, and what considerations they would address. Understand that these listed items were discussion items, not necessarily decisions.

Discussion summary in more or less sequence of occurrence.

  1. Objective for conservation easement of Wheeler Nature Park (in perpetuity)-recommendations to CC.
  2. Regulate land use outcomes - restrict future usage
  3. 3rd party certifies / verifies terms of agreement are being met.
  4. Principals: residents/city/3rd party(such as VT Land Trust)
  5. Staff decided to pull in 'SE group' consultants as facilitators (Mark and Drew)
  6. Get issues on the table (goal): Areas of commonality, areas of divergence among task force members.
  7. Conservation restrictions can be temporal (certain activities restricted to only certain times of the year)
  8. Conservation can be spatial  - conservation objectives on parts of the property.
  9. Donna Leban elected as Chairperson- Point of contact for the public.
  10. This process (task force) will NOT culminate in final easement. That will require a legal process. However the task force will culminate in a strategy and recommendation (as an advisory board) to the city council.
  11. Voting members (in case a vote is required at some point) Though it is expected to be mainly a consensus process.
  12. Task force member size: 8-10 members estimate. Currently (2) members from each of: Rec and Leisure Arts committee, Bike/Pedestrian committee, Natural Resources committee. Staff to check with CC to determine if SBLT will be allowed to have (2) members on the Task Force. The committee recommended the CC approve this request.
  13. Time will be reserved for reps from the homestead Friends of the Library, reps from the BTV Garden Club, Common Roots, and Community Gardens to present their interest and comments.
  14. Understand genesis of public decision to purchase the property - what the community was hearing at that time.
  15. Act 250 permit regulations will be considered.
  16. City Council mandate(s) will be considered.
  17. Stewardship considerations- for example, ecological diversity under a ongoing possibly flexible, management plan.
  18. Homestead is about 11-14 acres; Wheeler Nature Park 119 acres.
  19. Think long term implications of decisions.
  20. Consider flexibility allowances so that stewardship can be controlled within stated values. For ex. an objective of water quality improvement in watershed might have different stewardship requirements 100 years from now. Species of woodlands may change, types of invasive s may change.
  21. Consultants will provide language from 3rd parties and from other town/city plans (once task force has determined values, givens ...)
  22. Potential language to review stewardship plan against protected stated values.
  23.  How are boundaries maintained. (Protect against, for ex. a neighboring property owner from dumping something on the boundary line. 
  24. Contingency clauses for natural disasters. (ex. forest fire)
  25. List don't wants.
  26. Define Givens Must Haves:
    1. Specific recommendations of task force for easement in perpetuity.
    2. Consider homestead piece possibly in different perspective/rules than the rest of Wheeler Nature Park.
    3. Desire to establish list of allowed uses, list of disallowed uses.
    4. VALUES (Conservation values the community wants to protect), Must haves for conservation easement.
    5. What things are important but not essential. (Most likely some give and take will be needed once the third party identifies its must haves.
    6. How do we weigh these w/other goals or requirements of the city, public and conservation partners.
    7. ID Key Resources
    8. Key Objectives for conservation
  27. There will be four Task Force Meetings: One in Mar (tonight's meeting), April, May, and June. (one in each month). May meeting objective will be to create the draft strategy, June to present to the City Council the Task Force recommendations. 
  28. The facilitator plans for two public hearings too. I think they are in addition to the four work meetings. Helen R. 
Please let me know of any needed corrections.

Transparency and Participation - key elements to our democracy.
Bernie Paquette

Wheeler - August
Wheeler - October 
Wheeler - June
Wheeler - Feb
Wheeler March (Maple Sugaring)
Wheeler - Dec (Tree Party) Trail - Story time
Wheeler Homestead - BTV Garden Club Canna South Pacific Flowers
Wheeler Homestead - Sunflowers
Wheeler Homestead - Growing Young Gardeners