DUXBURY – With the Alternative Energy Committee seeking Green Community status for the town, selectmen took action Monday night to potentially move a step closer.
Selectmen voted, 2-1, to recommend that Town Meeting voters adopt the state’s optional Stretch Code regulations that would require residential and commercial new construction and reconstruction to be more energy efficient than currently required. Selectmen Chris Donato voted in opposition.
AEC Chairman Jim Goldenberg said adopting these higher standards would put Duxbury closer to becoming eligible for designation as a Green Community by the state Department of Energy Resources.
Goldenberg said most new buildings are already being constructed with energy efficiency in mind, so he doesn’t think enacting the new regulations would be cost-prohibitive to homeowners.
“We don’t think it’s an economic hardship for anybody,” he said.
According to Goldenberg, Duxbury already meets two of the five standards required, although one of those, adoption of a policy to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, needs to be formalized. The other standard that has been met, he said, was the development of an Energy Reduction Plan for reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent in five years.
The two other requirements of a Green Community are as-of-right siting for renewable energy generation, manufacturing or research and development, and adopting an expedited application and permitting process.
As-of-right siting of renewable energy facilities concerns Hounds Ditch Lane residents Ellen Nolan and Chris Sherman. Nolan said zoning by right is a cause for concern because it could open the door to wind turbines like the one in Kingston, the first of the 104 Green Communities in the state.
Sherman said local control would be eroded, but Goldenberg disagreed. He said a special permit from the Planning Board would still be required before any facility were to be sited in town.
Like Goldenberg, Town Planner Tom Broadrick said it’s not true that Duxbury would lose local control. He also noted that not all communities that have adopted the Stretch Code are Green Communities.
Goldenberg said designation as a Green Community opens the door to eligibility for grants for renewable energy-related projects like the solar project on the town’s capped landful.
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