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Three for three

This week, this space is being reserved for offering up praise to local people and local events.

Kudos to the Fayston family whose response to thievery was to warn the entire community about the event via email. The Belknap family at the bottom of Tucker Hill Road sounded the electronic alarm the morning after thieves pilfered through one of their vehicles by sending a detailed email to everyone they knew.

That email was forwarded around The Valley so thoroughly that there is probably no one who didn’t get it at least once. Thanks for taking the time and for the warning and for including contact information for the Vermont State Police trooper investigating.

And hats off to the forward thinking planners on the Waitsfield Planning Commission for drawing up new Town Plan language that very specifically protects the town’s high-elevation ridgelines, scenic vistas and prime ag land from wind turbines and solar panels.

Under Vermont law, wind and solar installations that feed into the existing grid are permitted by the Vermont Public Service Board. That board has broad authority in permitting wind and solar installations but must consider unambiguous, clearly stated community standards as articulated in a duly adopted Town Plan.

The planning commission has done just that in prohibiting wind turbines and solar panels above 1,700 feet, on prime ag soils and in scenic vistas. The new standards offer more protection than the current Town Plan, are clear and concise and leave no room for misinterpretation.

The need for alternatives to fossil fuel is great, but so is the need to protect fragile high-elevation ridgelines, the land where we grow our food and the scenic qualities that attract tourists (and many of us) to The Valley.

Finally, the idea of fining repeat offender dog owners for failing to pick up after their pets is a good one. Warren already has such a provision in its dog ordinance and Waitsfield is considering it. Fining repeat owner offenders makes sense, whether the offense be failing to scoop the poop or allowing a dog to roam at large or bark incessantly.