Upcoming Meetings

  1. Select Board MeetingMon, Jul 23 07:00 pm
  2. Open Space Committee MeetingMon, Jul 23 07:00 pm
  3. Finance Committee MeetingMon, Jul 23 07:00 pm

Planning Board -- Meeting Minutes -- September 12, 2012

A duly posted meeting of the Shelburne Planning Board was held in the Memorial Hall meeting room on Wednesday, September 12, 2012.

Present: Chair: Matt Marchese
Doug Finn
John Wheeler
Absent: Beth Simmonds
Chuck Washer
Audience: Whit Sanford, Mike Perry, Ray Hartman, Janet Sinclair, Deborah Andrews, Karen Gould
Press: none present.


Doug made a motion to approve the minutes of August 8, 2012 as presented. Seconded by John .
Vote: 3 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

For the record Matt would like to thank Liz. She and Matt met and organized all the literature the Board had received on wind power since the beginning of the Mt. Massaemet process. There is one notebook for the Planning Board and one notebook in the Town Clerk offices. Matt thanked Liz for her effort.

Wind Turbine Moratorium: The Technical Assistance Grant from the FRCOG has been approved and signed. A consultant has been selected and a contract signed. The first task for the consultant is a presentation to this board on both small scale and commercial wind. We are hoping to hold that meeting prior to our meeting in October, either the last week of September or the first week of October. That meeting will be held at the school since the FRCOG would like to invite other towns to attend so they can also hear the consultant's presentation. Board members were asked to check their calendars and send an email with the dates they are available to

Matt reminded the Board that they had been asked at our last meeting to think about how to make use of an advisory group as we proceed through this process. John thinks the premises based wind moratorium is due next June and he thinks an advisory group would be helpful. It could include board members from other committees, some members from the community at large, possibly something similar to what Ashfield did. Doug agrees with John that we should come up with a committee to assist us in drawing up some kind of regulation or zoning bylaw and the sooner the better. 
John noted that as far as the community at large, we should try to get balanced viewpoints. We should get some of the people involved who have already spoken at open meetings. Doug noted that members of the open space committee would like to have input and be a part of it.

Matt concurs that the committee could be beneficial as long as we give them a clear goal of what we want them to achieve. We would want to know the pros and cons of each issue and the committee would have the right to issue a major and a dissenting opinion. This group should encourage discussion and the Planning Board should be able to get the information for making decisions. Membership should include current standing boards in town, any member of this board can participate ad hock, he appreciates it should be a balanced group and Matt would ask folks who are interested to submit a letter and note if they have a bias/viewpoint/opinion going in-- he would hope these people would maintain an open mind. It would be helpful to know if they offer any kind of expertise, specifically in reference in wind, when we look to fill this committee. The Board needs to have criteria for this selection process and create a balanced group. He is hesitant to set a specific number of people. If only ten people apply, then maybe we could seat everyone, but not if we get a hundred applicants. Matt suggested that if we want to do this, we should start this process. We probably wouldn't be in the position to give them any tasks until October at this point and ask them to work on it through November. Matt noted it sounds like a consensus with those present to go ahead with an advisory committee.

Doug made a motion to go forward with trying to establish an advisory committee for windpower . Second by John. 
Vote: 3 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

The next task is to identify the composition of the group and how to get the word out seeking participants. Matt would like to get visibility by the press, word of mouth, and a notice here at town hall.

What the committee would consist of: town boards, highway, public safety, Selectboard, Board of Health, Zoning Board of Appeals, Open Space, Conservation Commission, Agricultural Commission, Fire both rural and Shelburne Falls, Police, and Emergency services. Matt recognizes that the issues we want to have addressed may help the boards and committees decided if they want to participate.

Matt raised the question of should only residents of Shelburne be appointed to the group? Doug would like to see it limited to town residents. John noted there are also people from Buckland who are concerned but he is concerned with the group becoming too big. Matt is inclined to keep membership limited to Town residents however we could advertise that if there is someone who feels they could provide valuable input, we would appreciate hearing from them. If they have insights on wind, we would be clear they would not be a sitting member of the group but their information would be appreciated. We could ask the committee to reach out to them for help. John and Doug thought it could be useful to have any kind of experienced input from owners of existing premises wind towers whether or not they live locally. It is important to remember that at any point, the Board can change the makeup of the group.

Matt would move that the wind advisory committee invitations would be sent to each member of the existing boards, committee, and departments in town and we also request interested residents of the Town of Shelburne and that any request should be in writing, explaining first if they have any expertise in wind and the reason for their interest in participating, in (1) wind, specifically premise use, (2), their ability to be open minded in deliberations, and (3) why they would like to serve, and lastly non-town members who may have expertise that this board could call upon if this board felt necessary if they could put that in a written request identifying their area of expertise and interest. Doug seconded. 
Vote: 3 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions

We would need a deadline for letters of interest but that will be based upon when we can get press coverage. The deadline should be October 5th, a Friday. Interested individuals should respond to or Planning Board, Town Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA. 01370. Liz reminded Matt that she would be away the second week of October and unable to help organize any responses.

Draft Subdivision Rules and Regulations
Matt left a message for Brock Cutting proposing that he assist the Board with reviewing the current subdivision control draft regulation that has already been reviewed by Legal Counsel. Matt wants to stress that Brock would be asked to just give his opinion about the pros and cons of each element of the regulations and to identify where there is flexibility so that the Board has the information they need for their decision making. Matt noted that Liz also contacted the State and we now have an updated list of legal decisions/court cases regarding zoning law that have occurred in the last four years. The draft subdivision regulations will have to go to Town Counsel again but we can do some research on our own ahead of that time.

Review possible Zoning Bylaw Revisions on September 13 with the ZBA
The Board reviewed a list of suggested items to discuss with the ZBA at their upcoming joint meeting. The latest version of this list is comprised of items suggested by both boards and organized according to the priorities of the ZBA. The first item on the list is the 30 day review of special permit applications by other town boards. Matt looked at the new special permit procedures and he felt they would deal with the concern of the Planning Board in regards to the 30 day review period. Liz distributed copies of new special permit procedures being developed by the ZBA and which will be discussed at the joint meeting.

Matt went through the list quickly and asked if there were any other thoughts that should be included. Tomorrow night's meeting should be a give and take and he hopes this becomes an ongoing process with the boards meeting every 6 months as we try to work our way through the list.

Committee Updates: 
Open Space: Doug didn't make the last meeting. He had quite a long talk with Larry Flaccus about the purpose and goals of the open space commission. They had a good discussion and he is comfortable to continue participating. John noted he would like to go to some of the meetings as well.

Matt asked Whit Sanford if she would be available at our next meeting. The board set the next meeting for Wednesday, Oct. 17th. Liz should list Whit under New Business. She will talk about forming an energy subcommittee for the Town of Shelburne and will give a presentation about her experience in other towns.

Matt moved the public comments up before reading the Mail since people are present

Mike Perry-- asked who the consultant is and whether the focus is on Premises use? Matt said that the focus of the grant will look somewhat at both premises use and commercial but the board knows they have to focus on premises use. After the first meeting, the Board will formally make a decision on how to proceed with the rest of the money. Matt confirmed that the consultant is Tighe and Bond of Westfield, MA.

Deb Andrew – wants the board to go back and look at Rensalear information which has been previously submitted because that study contained a clear charge to a committee that had a solid framework.

Ray Hartmann – there have been a number of bylaws on large scale wind. He knows of the Berkshire Regional study and he hopes we find other small scale examples. Matt noted that is the charge of the consultant to find examples and give a presentation on them. Matt said he would appreciate if anyone has examples, please submit them and we will make sure the consultant looks at those as well. 
Ray asked if they have experience in small scale. Matt said he didn't know-- they were the only consultant who responded.

Mike Perry asked for our contacts name. Matt stated that our contact is Briony Angus at Tighe & Bond.

Ray asked what is the current copy of the town zoning bylaws? – Matt responded the ones online which are amended through 5/3/11. Now that the AG has approved the bylaw amendments, the current bylaw will be updated.


The Board read notices of public hearings from other towns, notices of hazardous mitigation grant application opportunity, a conference on transportation resources for economic development , and the 4th Mass Green Career Conference,

Matt read the Sept. 4th Letter from the Massachusetts Attorney General to Beverly Neeley, Town Clerk re: Shelburne Annual Town Meeting of May 1, 2012 – Case # 6388, Warrant Articles # 17, 18, 19 and 20 (Zoning), Warrant Articles #6 and 7 (General) into the record, please see attached letter.

Matt noted Joan Rockwell's email with Beth Simmonds response on a tour of a wind site. Matt said that he has not heard back from Joan about a possible private tour of a wind power facility and will let the board know if one can be arranged.

SCHEDULE NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, October 17th Liz is to check with the school to see if their meeting room is available on Sept. 26th, Oct, 1,2, or 3 for the first meeting with the consultant.

Motion to adjourn was made by Doug and seconded by John.
Vote: 3 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.


Respectfully Submitted by

Liz Kidder
Administrative Assistant

List of documents used during this meeting:
AG's letter of Sept. 4, 2012
Draft list of items to discuss at Sept. 13th meeting with the ZBA
Draft Proposed revisions to the ZBA Special Permit Process