LAKEVILLE – Town Administrator Rita Garbitt said most likely in mid-April she will look for a vote from the selectmen on town meeting articles submitted by the Planning Board, including one in particular regarding wind-based energy systems. She said the zoning change being contemplated by the Planning Board raises questions about whether the town’s Green Community status could be revoked if the measure is approved by voters at the June 2 annual town meeting.
According to a memo from Planning Board Chairman Jim Marot, the Planning Board voted on March 6 to submit a change to the zoning bylaw that would require a special permit for a wind energy system except in certain instances, eliminating by-right siting for turbines in many cases. The current draft of the bylaw change names the Planning Board as the special permit granting authority in cases related to wind systems.
The town’s legal counsel has indicated the possible problem with the bylaw change.
“As part of the Town’s application for designation as a Green Community “I certified that the inclusion of Land Based Wind Energy Facilities as a by-right use was a reason supporting the town’s eligibility for such designation,” Attorney Patricia Cantor from Kopelman & Paige wrote in a memo to Ms. Garbitt. “In my opinion, the inclusion of by-right Land Based Wind Energy Facilities may not have been essential to meeting the Green Communities criteria (because that use was not the only qualifying use), but it certainly was asserted by the Town in support of the designation. Thus if the Town were to delete the by-right siting and replace it with a special permit requirement, the Town’s Green Community Status could be questioned.”
Planning Board member Sylvester Zienkiewicz who was present representing the board, could not confirm whether or not the change would affect the town’s status, nor could anyone else present.
Another warrant article submitted by town veterans’ agent Robert Mello would exempt former prisoners of war and surviving spouses from paying excise tax on their vehicles if passed by voters on June 2.
“There’s very few people that meet this criteria but it certainly is “¦ well-deserved,” Selectman John Powderly said Monday night.
Later, the selectmen authorized Ms. Garbitt to submit an application for the next round of Green Communities competitive grants. Building Commissioner Nate Darling told The Gazette that converting town-owned street lights to more efficient LED, weatherization projects, and HVAC upgrades to town buildings are likely projects as suggested by a consultant from Guardian Energy Management Solutions. He said “these are just preliminary thoughts and the viability of these projects need to be looked into further.”
“We are going to meet in the upcoming weeks to review each municipal building and identify their needs,” he said.
The previous and first Green Communities grant funding won by the town provided $158,275 in reimbursements for energy-efficient lighting upgrades to town buildings as well as other smaller initiatives.
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