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Shelburne planners reject windfarm subdivision  

Credit:  By Cameron Graves | Shelburne Falls & West County Independent | 18 May 2012 ~~

SHELBURNE – The Shelburne Planning Board voted to reject the Dole and Gould property subdivision plans to potentially build a windfarm on Mt. Massaemet during their Wednesday, May 9 meeting. The rejection was due to failure to comply with current subdivision bylaws, in effect since February 1988.

Planning Board Chair Marchese said the rejection means that petitioner Don Field’s latest windfarm application to erect four 1.5-megawatt wind turbines on Mt. Massaemet will now be subject to the commercial wind moratorium approved by annual town meeting voters May 1.

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is scheduled to have a public hearing on the windfarm application on Thursday, May 24 at 8 p.m. in the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School cafeteria.

Marchese said the rejection should nullify the hearing, but ZBA Chair Joe Palmeri said his board intends to hold the hearing “barring anything that happened before it.”

Palmeri added that he has heard Field may with his application, but unless the ZBA receives a notice of withdrawal in writing, the hearing will not be cancelled.

Marchese said current subdivision bylaws specify the fee is $75 per lot. The Gould plan is for six lots, for a total of $450 and the Dole plan is for three lots, for a total of $225. The board deemed that Field did not pay the requisite amount and did not pay it in the mandated manner.

The Planning Board determined that without full amounts paid with certified checks, the plans are incomplete and cannot be accepted.

If the subdivision plans were accepted, Field would have had seven months from the submittal date then submit definitive plans. If definitive plans were then submitted in time, they would be “grandfathered in” to bylaws approved at the time of the initial submittal for a period of eight years. The project would thus continue to exist, even with the moratorium in effect.

Field said he will appeal the Planning Board decision, since the only way for the project to exist now is if the decision is overturned in Land Court. Marchese said that the Goulds and Doles could submit certified checks for the full amount due, but the date when plans are refiled would apply. In this case, even if subdivisions were approved, the wind project would be subjected to the commercial wind ban.

In other Planning Board news, the request for proposal (RFP) window closed at 1 p.m. for bids to hire a technical assistant to help the board work on a wind bylaw. Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) Planning and Development Director Peggy Sloan informed Marchese that there were no applications but one party was interested.

Resident Tom Miner said he suspected it may be that the 5,000 FRCOG was willing to pay is too low to afford a technical assistant, and the town may need to contribute funds for this purpose. The board asked Sloan to ask the interested party why he/she did not apply.

“Maybe they think we are getting funds from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center,” said Planning Board member Beth Simmonds. “So now, we have nothing [for assistance funds].”

The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

Source:  By Cameron Graves | Shelburne Falls & West County Independent | 18 May 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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