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Shelburne planners seek wind, subdivision advisory help

SHELBURNE – Convening for the first time since rejecting a subdivision plan to site an industrial wind farm proposed by former Shelburne resident and landowner Frederick “Don” Field, which has since been withdrawn, Shelburne Planning Board members were looking for individuals to form an advisory committee and research the pros and cons of wind power. Not all board members were in support of the move when they met in June.

“We are going to bring in people to find the same stuff that was already printed off the Internet,” said Beth Simmmonds, elected by the board as vice chair. “They are not going to present anything different. We can work with setbacks, but the science will still be the same.”

“Wind is a developing science,” said Matt Marchese, re-elected for another term as chair. “It is not as settled as other types of renewable energy.”

Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ Planning and Development Director Peggy Sloan told Marchese that the board’s request for proposals on an already-awarded $5,000 technical assistance grant was rejected because the proposal’s scope was too large. Marchese considered asking Sloan to reapply the request for proposal or to limit the scope. Simmonds thought that “$10,000 to $20,000 would be more robust for the process” and the board to again ask Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Resources Project Manager Tyler Studds to see what he is willing to offer.

The board is also looking for people to form an advisory committee with knowledge of subdivisions but not in the business of making subdivisions. Marchese asked newly appointed Clerk Liz Kidder to see if any nearby towns have recently experienced a subdivision within their borders. Marchese also thought of asking the Shelburne Zoning Board of Appeals about what the know and to also “check with” Sloan for potential candidates.

Planning Board member Chuck Washer showed a copy of the subdivision control bylaw from the state that allows planning boards to vote and implement a subdivision bylaw without town meeting approval. Kidder had a complementary document from state Smart Growth Zoning Program Director Donald Schmidt that interprets the control bylaw for municipalities.

During the meeting, newly elected board member John Wheeler was welcomed. Doug Finn was appointed to continue as board liaison to the local Open Space Committee. Simmonds was appointed to the Franklin Regional Planning board, where he will join Washer, who was reappointed by selectmen to the county panel.

The board was scheduled to meet again Wednesday, July 11 after press, time.