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Planning Board -- Meeting Minutes -- August 8, 2012

A duly posted meeting of the Shelburne Planning Board was held in the Memorial Hall meeting room on August 8, 2012.

PRESENT: Chair: Matt Marchese
Vice Chair: Beth Simmonds
Secretary: Doug Finn
John Wheeler
Absent: Chuck Washer
Audience: Mike Perry, Bob Jaros, Deb Andrews, David Patrick, Janet Sinclair
Press: none

Meeting called to order at 7:00 PM

Approval of minutes of the meeting of July 11, 2012.
Changes/corrections: none
Motion to approve the minutes of July 11, 2012 as received was made by Doug and seconded by John.
Discussion: Matt thanked Liz for all her help.
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions

Old Business:
Matt read certain items into the record:

  • Deb Andrews letter which she read during the last meeting and followed with an email.
  • Ray Hartman's email of August 8, 2012
  • Land-based Wind Energy: A Guide to Understanding the Issues and Making Informed Decisions by CLF a report we received by email. Liz will put a copy into the Town Clerk's office. This email also announced several webinars. Matt noted that he has signed up for the webinars and encourages anyone else to do so as well.

Wind Turbine Moratorium
Matt read the list of articles passed at Town Meeting regarding the wind turbine moratorium since this is the template we are working from as we go forward.

Article 20: Wind Turbine Moratorium
Add Section 17.0: 
a) Purpose. The Town of Shelburne recently has recently received applications for the construction of wind energy systems which potentially could affect the Town as a whole. The Town of Shelburne is a rural Town with much undeveloped land and there currently are no wind turbine energy systems in the Town. There is an identifiable community need to establish long-term zoning regulations to ensure that such uses and developments will be consistent with the Town's long term planning interests. It is crucial that the Town act now to establish a temporary moratorium on the use of land and the construction of structures related to all wind turbine systems and the issuance of special or building permits in connection with the same.
b) Temporary Moratorium. Notwithstanding any other provision in the Town of Shelburne Zoning Bylaw to the contrary, no special or building permit may be issued for the construction of any wind turbine energy system until after June 30, 2013. The purpose of this temporary moratorium is to allow sufficient time to engage in a planning process to address the effects of such structures and uses in the Town and to enact bylaws in a manner consistent with sound land use planning goals and objectives.

Review FRCOG RFP for technical assistance grant
Matt read a draft Scope of Services prepared by Peggy Sloan of the FRCOG Planning Department that would provide $5,000 for consulting services to assist the Shelburne Planning Board with the development of an On-Premises Wind Facilities Bylaw. According to Peggy this does not have to go back out with another RFP. If the interested firm wants to proceed, then we need to get going with them ASAP. The Planning Board, with Peggy Sloan's assistance, can negotiate with the one consultant who had previously expressed interest.

The Board reviewed the draft RFP. Under Task 2 it states that the Shelburne Planning Board will select one of the sample bylaws reviewed as their template to customize a bylaw. The Board consensus was they would like to be able to cut and paste different bylaws into a draft bylaw rather than limit themselves to one model.

MOTION was made by Matt that the Planning Board should go ahead and amend Task 2 to clarify that the Shelburne Planning Board will select one or more articles presented in Task 1 to customize according to the requirements of the Town. 
This motion was seconded by Doug
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

Matt said that Mass Clean Energy appears to be open to us asking for additional money. We should tell Peggy to go ahead with the FRCOG technical assistance grant and then we will see where we are within a few months. We will have a better idea of those areas we want to research further. After our September meeting we should have a better idea of what Mass Clean Energy could help us with.

The money for the technical assistance grant runs out by December. The Board may well be going into next year to develop a draft premises use bylaw and possibly may need to ask for an extension on the moratorium. We also need to consider we may qualify for another LTA grant from the COG.

The Board discussed which stakeholders should be included in the process through an advisory group including business owners, residents, and other boards in town. The Board will probably have the meeting on the bylaws by October so we need to identify the stakeholders.

Doug asked what venue we would use to find people to serve on the advisory group. Matt suggested we dip into our budget and take an ad out in the local papers and ask the reporters to do an article. But before that we need to identify what we want. We can invite representatives from different interest groups in town. We have to make sure we are organized and can manage the group. Keeping in mind that we will have at least one public hearing on this, how far do we want to go before knowing if people in Shelburne even want a premises use bylaw

By our September meeting we should have the consultant on board and be scheduling the presentation in Task 1 by early October. There are some examples of other wind bylaws out there. We can investigate how our adjoining towns, Ashfield and Conway are addressing small scale wind. Matt asked Liz to start working on a schedule that will allow the Board to complete their work under the grant by December. This may mean meeting twice a month.

Beth asked why we are looking at commercial wind in Task 1 if we are not going to proceed with it in Task 2 and 3. Matt said this grant is an opportunity to get some information. With $5,000 we can't explore commercial wind - it would take too much time. But this gives us a little bit of information. Doug said by all rights we have to get small wind addressed first since there is a moratorium on Commercial. We have time to work on Commercial if we choose.

Matt wants to stress for the record that he has not made up his mind on wind yet. He just wanted to make a statement for the record regarding articles in the local paper. He has said it before and he will say it again, he has not made up his mind on wind, he has members of this board who would like to study it. If it does work somewhere in Shelburne and those folks want to develop it we owe it to them and the town to study it. But it may turn out that it just isn't reasonable and that is just as likely an outcome from where he sits right now as looking at maybe that it is. There seems to be some confusion about this. He would like to stress for the record that he does not know what the outcome of this process is going to be. It is very possible that at the end of this process this board will not feel that Commercial wind is appropriate anywhere in Shelburne and recommend to continue banning it. There are no preconceived notions from his prospective. Point for the record, this board has made numerous decisions in the recent past that in his opinion have not included any subterfuge or ulterior motives, and he just wants to be clear about that. He stated he doesn't want to go into this too much but he is considering writing a response to the papers.

John noted we need to get going on this as soon as we can. He feels the wind advisory group is going to be very important and since we need to take this to town meeting for a 2/3rds vote an advisory group will help with this. He noted that when board appointments are made in town there is a form in the Selectboard's office where people can fill out their backgrounds and special knowledge for consideration. Doug said we need members who represent the pros and cons and the undecided too.

Matt moved we approve this draft scope of services as amended and the Board would allow flexibility to the chair in finalizing this agreement with the COG and/or Consultant. Seconded by Beth
Matt moved to table this motion. Seconded by John.
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

Prior to finalizing a contract does this Board want to meet with the Consultant to discuss the proposal? Beth suggested that if we only have one interested party, then we don't need to worry about that. Doug and John agreed.

Matt move to reconsider the motion that has been tabled. Seconded by Beth.
Vote 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

Matt moved we approve this draft scope of services as amended and the Board will allow flexibility to the Chair in finalizing this agreement with the COG and/or consultant contingent on no other consultants stepping forward and expressing an interest. Seconded by Beth. 
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

Update/discuss status of draft Subdivision Rules & Regulations for the Town of Shelburne

Matt will call Brock Cutting and Liz is to remind him to do this. Beth asked what we wanted to do. Matt said we wanted to find out what is standard criteria and identify where there are areas where the Board would have options. If he isn't available, then we will seek someone else. It's been in limbo and we should really look into this this year.

Review possible zoning bylaw update/revisions prior to joint meeting with ZBA in September.
We are going to be meeting with the ZBA to come up with an action list of those items that need attention or tweaking in the Shelburne Zoning Bylaws. Beth may be late, the others can still make it on the 13th. Matt read a list of items that was based upon ideas submitted by members of the Board before the meeting.

State regulations require that the Planning Board be given a copy of a special permit application and they have 35 days in which to submit comments to the SPGA. Beth feels that the public hearing shouldn't be held until the Planning Board can submit its report. Hearing the Planning Board report at a public hearing may lead to additional public comments. Matt would like an interpretation from Town Counsel before the meeting on the 13th.

A copy of a list of items the ZBA has been considering and a copy of a letter from the Attorney General's office regarding the last revision to the zoning bylaws was distributed to the board. On the 13th, 
Matt expects the ZBA to tell the Planning Board what aspects of the zoning bylaw have proved difficult to implement.

Matt put solar facilities on the list. One task for the advisory committee may be researching well vetted templates on solar power installations. Matt thinks the Boards owes it to the ZBA to come up with a well thought out solar criteria. Beth had shared driveways on the list and she feels it needs to be clarified because our current bylaw doesn't address it.

Review of the use chart in general --after we get a tangible list with the ZBA, let's look at how we are dealing with permitting. He wants to get a feel from the ZBA since maybe there is a need for more sharing if that helps with the permit process. At this meeting, we should organize a process to take the use chart section by section and thoughtfully review it. Matt hopes that we have these meeting twice a year in order to keep in communication about how the implementation of the zoning bylaw process is working.

Mobile home Camper section 12.0 - Beth doesn't feel that the bylaws are being enforced so the talking point is do we want it, if not change the bylaw. Does it makes sense to have it and if so, then make sure the Building Inspector is aware of it. Better definition of Principal use/premise use. Building Heights -- this is an issue that came before recently and it was an interesting discussion of which is better -to go up or spread a building out taking a larger footprint. It was noted that this is an issue that is realated to emergency/fire services and their capabilities. Matt noted that we always have to remember to identify who else in Town should be part of the discussion.

Municipal Trails needing special permit - why is this here. Beth read the definition of trails, and noted in the use chart it is requires a special permit. Beth said she doesn't find the definition clear or why you need to get a special permit Part of the question may relate to handicapped motorized accessibility issues. RA apartment on upper floors - why is this "No" in RA district when it is allowed everywhere else? Definitions for manufacturing/processing/agricultural manufacturing - Matt is looking for insight from ZBA - how are they handling this. We need to tackle clarifying it. Matt hopes this is the first meeting that will lead to both boards getting back together every six months or so working together to clarify/tweak the zoning bylaws.

NEW BUSINESS-
Committee updates--FRCOG: Chuck had reported to Matt the FRCOG did not meet this past month. OPEN SPACE: Doug reported the Open Space Committee are talking about making more laminated maps. They are working on marking the trails. Doug said he is a little confused as to the purpose of the Open Space Plan and committee. Matt said he would be of assistance if Doug wanted to discuss this further.

OTHER BUSINESS:

READ MAIL: read notices regarding special permits in other towns.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

Bob Jaros noted there may be other issues of concern with building heights relative to rural character of downtown. When the Planning Board turned down the last special permit application on Mt. Massaemet Wind farm, there was a suggestion that there may be legal action, was there? Matt noted that he has not been notified by anyone in town of any pending legal action.

Deb Andrews asked about enforcement of the bylaw. She noted that at the corner of High/Bridge there is basically a used car lot, she asked about the enforcement. Matt said its worth asking the Selectboard about enforcement of that particular issue. Deb suggested the Planning Board invite a member of the Open Space committee to come and talk about their role and responsibilities.

SCHEDULE NEXT MEETING: the next regularly scheduled meeting is September 12, 7 pm at Town Hall and Sept. 13 for the joint meeting with ZBA. We may have the proposed consultant on the 12th or another meeting in September with the consultant. Matt said the board members have homework to revisit the use chart again. They should also review the wind power templates we already have.

ADJOURNMENT:
Motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Doug and seconded by John.
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions

Meeting was adjourned at: 9:12pm

Respectfully submitted by,

Liz Kidder
Administrative Assistant