Furious maneuvering behind the scenes at Town Hall on Friday resurrected hopes that a citizen-petition zoning amendment request to limit industrial-grade turbines in Bourne – if not eliminate the ability to construct them – could be discussed at a May Town Meeting.
At the last minute on Friday, a Wednesday night meeting for selectmen at 6:30 was posted. The board will convene in the Community Center, call a Special Town Meeting for May 9 and sign the warrant. The lone article will be the zoning amendment submitted by the Concerned Citizens for Responsible Energy.
This means there will two special sessions and one annual town meeting conducted within one week come May. It also means the turbine-bylaw amendment is back in play.
The planning board on Thursday night had voted 6-1 to table any discussion of the amendment or vote for it or against it. This effectively blocked town meeting consideration of the request.
Since the vote to table was not to a time certain, the board would have to re-advertise its hearing into the amendment to discuss the issue, but this could not be done in time for a report to the May 2 town meeting. It can be done in time, however, for a May 9 special session.
Town officials at the end of the day on Friday were not available for comment. And Monday is a holiday.
It was uncertain Friday afternoon how the move to a May 9 special session evolved, but earlier in the day planning board chairman Chris Farrell met with Town Administrator Thomas Guerino. The turnaround came less than 24 hours after the planning board vote to table discussion.
Farrell and other planning board members came under severe criticism for their vote to table the zoning amendment and consideration of its impacts on harnessing wind energy.
“Somebody is caving here,” one town official said Friday, asking not to be identified.
Guerino at the end of the day on Friday notified selectmen, Town Counsel Robert Troy and Moderator Robert Parady of the call for a May 9 special session; with the turbine revision the only request on the warrant.
It was unclear if selectmen were confident the elected planning board could review the zoning amendment request and analyze its impacts on the town in two weeks when members the night before repeatedly said they could not adequately digest the issue in over two months.
Farrell had intended to hold a planning board workshop on the turbine issue this coming Wednesday night.
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