Bourne Planning Board, which met Thursday night last week to decide whether to recommend the citizen-proposed amendments to the town’s Wind Energy Conversion System bylaw that is on the warrant at the May 2 Town Meeting, voted instead to table the question and take those proposals under advisement.
Under the town charter, no zoning bylaw change can be discussed and voted upon at Town Meeting absent a report by the planning board, so the board’s action made it impossible for voters to consider the citizen’s article.
Selectmen, at the request of Selectman Jamie J. Sloniecki, made the decision to meet and discuss bringing that article before voters in the only way open to them: by setting up another Special Town Meeting for Monday, May 9, and putting an article identical to the one that that had been posted for the May 2 Town Meeting on that warrant.
It was too late to post that item on the agenda for Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting, so that discussion is set for Wednesday at 6:30 PM in the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Center.
At the same time, the planning board tentatively set a workshop session for the same evening to discuss the proposed bylaw changes with consultant Philip B. Herr. The planning board also tentatively set a public hearing for 1 PM on Friday, May 6, to reopen their hearing on the matter, as it had been deemed closed, rather than continued, by dint of having tabled the matter.
If selectmen vote to set a May 9 Special Town Meeting, the planning board’s hearing could be used to allow members to discuss whether to make a report at that Town Meeting.
At last Thursday’s meeting, before a vote on the citizen’s petition had been tabled, planning board chairman Christopher J. Farrell had said some new changes had been proposed as late as that afternoon. He went on to say that the board wanted to take the time necessary to study not just those recent changes, but the impacts of the proposed amendments as a whole. Town Planner Coreen V. Moore had said that there would be no place in Bourne where a commercial or utility-sized wind turbine could legally be placed under the citizen-proposed bylaw amendments.
Christopher G. Senie, the attorney for the group of residents proposing changes to the bylaw, asked board members to consider voting not to recommend the changes, something that would have sent the issue to voters at Town Meeting.
The board members voted instead to continue studying the complex issues. Planning board member Peter J. Meier voted against the motion, saying he thought that the voters who put so much effort into creating the amendments had the right to have them discussed at Town Meeting.
The petitioners supporting the article left the meeting visibly angry at the board, calling out “Stonewall!” and “Joke” and commenting that they would remember members’ actions when they went to the polls.
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