LEICESTER— Selectmen last night took first steps toward setting the warrant for the May 5 annual town meeting, but the most discussion involved two items which were not on the warrant.
Selectman Stanley A. Zagorski said he was particularly disappointed because there is no provision for a bylaw that would allow the construction of windmills in town, despite the fact that studies are going forward to find the site for municipal wind turbines to provide low-cost energy for community buildings.
“Planning said they might be able to have it ready for a fall town meeting but felt they had too much on their plate to do it for spring,” he said.
Selectman Dianna Provencher pointed out that the delay affects not only the town but also individual residents who have indicated they would like to install windmills on their property to cut their own energy costs.
“I spoke to the building inspector and he told me that we have no bylaw and without one no one can put up a windmill in this town,” she said.
She noted that Brookfield has such a bylaw and that Leicester could look into the possibility of copying that. Chairman Douglas A. Belanger told the town administrator to investigate similar bylaws in other communities.
“I don’t think we’re trying to invent the wheel,” he said.
The board ultimately put a “placeholder” article on the draft town meeting warrant, to be considered if information from other towns could be copied.
The town has already received approval from the Massachusetts Technology Collaboration to assist Leicester with its municipal wind turbine site survey. The survey will be conducted by Global Energy Concepts, an engineering and technology consultancy specializing in the wind industry.
Another project that came up for some discussion was the plan for a new headquarters fire station, which is also not scheduled for action at the May town meeting.
Selectman Richard Antanavica said the fire station survey committee has decided that the property at 1122 Main Street, which the town agreed to accept at the last annual meeting would be the best site for the station because of its access to Route 9 and because members believe the structure could be put up far more inexpensively than the $4.5 million predicted when the subject first came up.
A decision on when to go further would not be made until actual construction figures are available and decisions made on how the project would be financed.
This would be the first headquarters station the town has ever put up, he said. The Rochdale and Cherry Valley stations were built from scratch, but the headquarters station in Leicester Center was given to the town when the motorized fire vehicles were acquired in 1920.
By Betty Lilyestrom
20 February 2008
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