April 16, 2008
Questions raised about Article 9
By JENN McDOWELL
While Article 9, an amendment to Goffstown’s
conservation district, passed at elections on March 11,
contention over the map posted on the town’s Web site
and a resulting revision to it surfaced before and after
The new district, which adds in surface water retentions
that are contiguous with previously established streams
and wetlands, increases the buffer between buildings and
water from 50 feet to 100 feet for any wetland more than
2,000 square feet and all surface waters. The new
limits, passed at the polls in a 1,209-to-1,076 vote,
apply to lots created after March 11, 2008.
The article was brought forward by the town’s
Conservation Commission. Neil Funcke, IT administrator
for the town, posted a map on March 4 which showed the
affected wetlands and the buffer in green and
highlighted the remainder of the adjacent affected lots
Funcke said the map was posted in the town hall and on
the Web site in response to comments and inquiries from
the public on what pieces of land specifically would be
affected by the article’s passage, adding he did so
under the direction of Town Administrator Sue
At a March 6 joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen,
Planning Board, Economic Development Committee, Zoning
Board of Adjustment, Conservation Commission and the
Sewer Commission, there was discussion on the map and
whether it was actually representative of what the
The Conservation Commission had found issue with the
highlighted pink area, which gave the impression that
much of the town was not buildable, said Planning Board
member Joanne Duffy, who at the time was chairman of the
board and is employed as Hooksett’s town planner.
At the joint meeting, it was decided that the pink
shading would be removed, leaving just the green buffer
on the surface water areas depicted on the map.
Desruisseaux said the pink was only supposed to
represent the parcel affected, not the area of each
parcel affected, but realizes the points the
Conservation Commission and other boards made about the
“I could understand their concerns. If anyone read the
language, the language stated that the pink was the
parcel impacted,” Desruisseaux said. “I can understand
where you saw all that pink.”
However, Conservation Commission member Collis Adams,
employed with the state’s Department of Environmental
Services, went to the Board of Selectmen on March 10,
the night before the vote, to say the new map was still
a misrepresentation of the article’s function, some of
the green sections being inaccurate.
Both Adams and Duffy said town should have checked with
the Conservation Commission before posting either of the
maps to ensure they were accurate, adding neither the
Planning Board nor the Conservation Commission were
notified about the postings beforehand.
Funcke said he did only as instructed, posting the map
after getting comments from the public and removing the
pink after the joint meeting.
“It wasn’t meant to make any kind of political statement
one way or the other,” said Funcke, adding he has not
received any feedback since the new map showing only the
green was posted on March 7.
Adams said that while the Conservation Commission got
what it aimed for in the article’s passage, he is still
concerned the map is not an accurate depiction and
admitted the Conservation Commission could have done
more in getting the word out about the conservation
“There really wasn’t much public outreach and education
done on this, and the Conservation Commission certain
can shoulder some of the blame for that,” Adams said.
The intent of the article was not only to preserve clean
water supplies but also to reduce the impact of
flooding, Adams said, adding the buffer allows for more
untouched land to absorb flood waters into the ground.
Desruisseaux said she is waiting for a list of the
impacted parcels so that Goffstown residents with lots
in the conservation district can find out what portion
of their land is affected.
Reproduced by the Goffstown