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Zoning Board of Appeals — Meeting Minutes — October 6, 2011

A duly posted meeting of the Shelburne Zoning Board of Appeals was held at the Library in Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, Mechanic Street, Shelburne, on October 6, 2011.

Members Present: Joseph Palmeri, William Sweeney, Lowell Laporte, Theodore Merrill, John Taylor
Administrative Assistant: Faye Whitney
Members Absent: Catherine Smith
Guests: Deborah Andrew

Chairman Joe Palmeri called the meeting to order at 7:09 p.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. Taylor to approve the meeting minutes of August 4, as amended.

Voting in favor: Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Laporte, Mr. Merrill, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Palmeri
Opposed: None
Abstentions: None

Some Board members thought creating a list of questions to ask at the upcoming wind farm hearing would be a good idea. Mr. Palmeri told the Board that Town Counsel had advised not to discuss the wind farm project outside the public hearing. Therefore no discussion was held.

A motion was made by Mr. Sweeney, seconded by Mr. Merrill to approve the meeting minutes of September 1

Voting in favor: Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Laporte, Mr. Merrill, Mr. Palmeri
Opposed: None
Abstentions: Mr. Taylor

A WMECO representative, Ms. Dolly Wrona, has asked, via email, if the company may rearrange antennas on an existing tower. This would involve removing one antenna and replacing it at a lower height. Ms. Wrona asked if a Special Permit would be required or would the rearrangement be considered a repair. Mr. Taylor said WMECO should apply to the Building Inspector and await his ruling.

A motion was made by Mr. Taylor, seconded by Mr. Merrill, that due to the fact that substantial information is lacking the applicant [WMECO] should consult with the Building Inspector and have him make a determination, before applying to this Board.

Voting in favor: Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Laporte, Mr. Merrill, Mr. Palmeri, Mr. Taylor
Opposed: None
Abstentions: None

At 7:31 the Chair recessed the meeting for the purpose of a hearing on the application of Mount Massaemet Windfarm, Inc.

The regular meeting resumed at 7:39 p.m.

An application has been received for a Special Permit from Per Brandin. It is unclear from the application what the applicant wants to do and what sort of zoning relief he is asking for. The Board discussed what Mr. Brandin might need and the timeline for scheduling a hearing. No denial letter from the Building Inspector has been received. Due to the uncertainty of the request, the applicant will be asked to withdraw his application. The withdrawal should be by letter, which would then be acted on by the Board at the next meeting. The Board noted that this is not the first application that has been filled out incorrectly or incompletely. It was asked if the Board could require pre-application meetings.

A letter from Peter London, dated September 27 and concerning the proposed wind farm, was received and distributed to Board members who had not already picked up a copy.

Mail included a notice of a joint public hearing with the Town of Buckland, scheduled for October 11, to discuss 2012 Community Development strategies. Also in the mail was a public hearing notice for October 11, regarding a proposed amendment to the 2010 Community Development Block Grant projects. An email was received from the Selectmen regarding proposed legislation on wind farm siting.

For future discussion Mr. Taylor suggested studying Shelburne Zoning Bylaw Section 10.1.2, changes to existing non-conforming structures. Should the ZBA give all authority to grant these requests to the Building Inspector, thus bypassing the ZBA and streamlining the process? Some Board members felt that the public needs a forum to discuss such projects.

A motion was made by Mr. Taylor that in future all hearing notices be sent certified mail, return receipt requested. Mr. Palmeri asked that this motion be tabled. Ms. Whitney will research the costs of various ways of tracking mail delivery. Mr. Palmeri said that technically, the applicant can be required to do all the mailings for hearings and if notification were not done properly it would be the fault of the applicant.

At 8:50 p.m. Mr. Merrill left the meeting.

The Board felt that it was a good idea for applicants with large projects and attorney involvement to send their own notices. However, the Board has always tried to be helpful to citizens with small projects and do the mailings for them.

At 8:52 p.m. Mr. Sweeney left the meeting.

Mr. Palmeri asked Mr. Taylor to send the Shelburne Planning Board a letter requesting changes to Shelburne Zoning Bylaw Sections 6.2 and 6.7, to clarify that Section 6.7 say that the 30-day notice given to other Boards of an application can include the time both before and after a hearing is scheduled.

A motion was made by Mr. Laporte, seconded by Mr. Taylor, to have the Clerk of the Board [Mr. Taylor] send a letter to the Planning Board regarding clarification of Shelburne Zoning Bylaw Section 6.7 to reflect the fact that a hearing should not be closed until other boards have a chance to comment, according to Shelburne Zoning Bylaw Section 6.2, as opposed to the current wording which requires other boards have a 30-day comment period before a hearing is opened.

Voting in favor: Mr. Laporte, Mr. Palmeri, Mr. Taylor
Opposed: None
Abstentions: None

At 9:25 p.m. a motion was made by Mr. Taylor, and seconded by Mr. Laporte, to adjourn the meeting. The vote in favor was unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,
Faye Whitney
Administrative Assistant