Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wintonbury Land Trust Meeting Notes - January 14, 2015

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST – January 14, 2015, Seabury Retirement Community, Bloomfield  

Present:  Kevin Gough, Paula Jones, Dale Bertoldi, Sten Caspersson, Doris Johnson, Chip Caton, Vic Herson, Jim Trail, Vikki Reski

1.  Minutes for the December 10, 2014 Board Meeting were approved.

2.  There were two agenda additions (items b and c under New Business).

3.  2015 Planning – The Board began its discussion of goals for the coming year.  Additionally, Vikki Reski provided a copy of a Finance Committee preliminary 2015 Budget, based upon goals being considered by the Board.  We will continue the discussion during the February Board Meeting. 
4.  Committee Reports
a)      Grants –
1.      Discussion of Hawk Hill was tabled. 
2.      Evans Property - Chip Caton reported that the Bafflin Foundation has awarded the Land Trust $25,000 towards the acquisition of the Evans Property.  Chip has also applied for a Fields Ponds Grant, but an award decision will not be made for 3 months or so.  Vikki, Dale, and Chip attended a presentation regarding two Grant programs, the DEEP Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program (OSWA), and DEEP Urban Green and Community Garden Initiative.  Under the 2015 OSWA Grant program, the Land Trust could hold both title and easement on the Evans property if we were to apply and be awarded this grant.  The grant award can be as high as 65% of fair market value per a “Yellow Book” appraisal.  (Note:  A Yellow Book appraisal is more detailed than the summary appraisal we have already obtained for this property.)  Obtaining both a Yellow Book appraisal and an A2 survey of the property is an application requirement.  After much discussion, Paula Jones & Kevin Gough agreed to take the lead in writing the grant application which has a due date of March 1, 2015.  We agreed that some type of broader public appeal will be pursued to close any funding gap.  A motion to approve the expenditure of up to $10,000 to secure a Yellow Book appraisal and A2 Survey passed unanimously. 
3.      Lisa Lane Farm – We briefly discussed whether we would be eligible to apply for a DEEP Urban Green and Community Garden Initiative.  Doris offered to further investigate.
b)      Financial – December 31, 2014 balances:  $4,138.34 in checking; $39,417.50 in savings; $239,611.34 in restricted funds.
c)      Events
1.      Hawk Hill celebration – This event is now planned for late April. 
2.      Annual Meeting & WLT celebration – We briefly discussed Seabury Retirement Community as a possible venue.  Jim Trail reported that Seabury will have several construction projects in 2015, but hosting the Annual Meeting might be possible and that he will look into it.   

5.  New Business
a)    Next meeting date:  (2nd) Wednesday of month – This was not discussed, but current scheduling calls for February 11th, 6 – 7:30 p.m.  at Seabury Retirement Community. 
b)   Request for Leave of Absence – Board member Pat Sullivan has requested a 6-month leave of absence from the Board due to business obligations.  Pat indicated that he would be better positioned to know in six months whether he could continue his term.  A motion to approve Pat’s request passed unanimously.
c)    Hikes: 
1.      Trails Day/Celebrate Bloomfield - There was consensus to offer Kevin Gough’s proposed hikes:  June 6, Saturday morning:  Stout Family Fields/Penwood Loop.  Easy and moderate alternatives to Lake Louise/The Pinnacle will be offered.  June 6, Saturday afternoon:  Short hike to Van Otterloo waterfall.  June 7, Sunday morning:  Hike on Seabury Trail system.  Kevin Gough/Paula Jones will be hike leaders on Saturday and Jim Trail will be the hike leader on Sunday.   Kevin will write up descriptions for the Trails Day publication.
2.      Other hikes:  We agreed to mention winter & spring hikes in the January newsletter rather than attempt to list a full year’s offering.  Jim Trail mentioned that the Seabury Trails Group would be interested in hiking on the Evans property.  Hikes on this property and winter walks on Wintonbury Hills Golf Course could be used to increase awareness of the Land Trust and for project fund raising. 
d)  Seabury Telescope – Jim reported that someone interested in astronomy at Seabury has      donated a telescope.  All agreed that “no-moon” star gazing would be a good event to offer.
Recorded by Paula Jones       


Wintonbury Land Trust Meeting Notes - December 10, 2014

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST – December 10, 2014, Seabury Retirement Community, Bloomfield  

Present:  Kevin Gough, Paula Jones, Dale Bertoldi, Sten Caspersson, Doris Johnson, Chip Caton, Vic Herson, Pete Cruikshank, Solomon-David Jones

1.  Minutes for the October 8, 2014 Board Meeting were approved.

2.  There were two agenda additions (items b and c under New Business). 

3.  Goals for 2015 – discussion tabled due to higher priority of agenda additions.

4.  Committee Reports

a. Events:  Celebrate Hawk Hill – A tentative date of February 21st was suggested for the celebration of closing on Hawk Hill.  Depending on snow conditions, we will offer either a snowshoeing or hiking event on the property at 2 P.M., with a reception to follow at 4 P.M.   We will ask The Duncaster to host the reception from 4 to 6 P.M.  Chip and Dale offered to talk to our Duncaster liaison and to Amy Patterson of Connecticut Land Conservation Council about some of the event particulars.  Paula and Kevin offered to talk to Rosedale Farm and Back East Brewery about offering wine and beer tasting at the reception.  During this discussion, we briefly talked about the format of the 2015 Annual Meeting.  We agreed to consider including a social element in that meeting to more broadly celebrate 2014 accomplishments.  Solomon-David suggested we offer a silent auction.
d. Capacity Building
1.  Logo Design – A motion was made and seconded to eliminate all but the arch logo design, and for Chip to work with Robin to refine the arch design.  Motion passed four to one.  During discussion, we agreed that we should retain the first “footprints” logo design for potential future use.
2.  Kevin reported that the dates for “Celebrate Bloomfield” week will be May 30th to June 6th, 2015.  Since National Trails Day will be June 6th, the Land Trust can offer a couple of hikes to support both “Celebrate Bloomfield” and National Trails Day.
5.  New Business
a. Next meeting date:  (2nd) Wednesday of month – January 14th at Seabury Retirement Community. 
b. Hawk Hill Closing: 
1. Several technical problems with the conservation easement were identified during DEEP’s review.  To allow all stakeholders’ attorneys adequate time to address those issues, Dale requested from the sellers an extension to January 15th to close on the property.  Since the sellers are incurring additional attorney fees by extending review and the close date, they in turn have requested that the buyers increase funding available toward their closing costs as a good faith gesture.  The Land Trust had already allocated up to $15,000 towards the sellers’ closing costs within the overall project budget.  Dale reviewed allocations within that budget, and determined that WLT can afford to increase the allocation by $3,000.  The following motion passed unanimously:  “Up to $18,000 is to be made available to the sellers to help cover their closing costs as a good faith gesture.  There will be no further negotiations to increase this amount if the closing date is later than January 15th, 2015.”
2. The following motion passed unanimously:   “RESOLVED, that Dale Bertoldi of Wintonbury Land Trust is hereby authorized to execute on behalf of the Wintonbury Land Trust, a Grant Agreement and Conservation and Public Recreation Easement and Agreement under the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program with the State of Connecticut for financial assistance to acquire permanent interest in land known as Hawk Hill Farm, OSWA# 460, and to manage said land as open space land pursuant to Section 7-131d of the Connecticut General Statutes.”  (Note:  The vote was taken via e-mail on December 11th in order to provide the exact language required by the State of Connecticut.)
3.  The Board agreed that the Finance Committee should meet prior to the next Board meeting to review the Hawk Hill project budget, actual and projected expenses to date, and present a report to the Board at the next meeting.
c. Raising funds & increasing awareness:  There was a brief discussion about fund raising (apart from writing grant applications).  Paula will talk to Claudia Bell, since Claudia had suggested some ideas at the 2014 annual meeting.  Sten noted that we need to increase awareness beyond our e-newsletter.  He suggested we create a “Meet your Land Trust” poster featuring the large map highlighting our properties to place in highly visible, high-traffic areas (e.g. the libraries).  That could be timed with the release of our new logo; we might ask Robin for help with design.  We agreed to pursue this.
Recorded by Paula Jones