June 14, 2010 Commissioners Meeting Minutes

June 14, 2010
8:00 pm

Commissioner President Michael Acierno, Commissioner Robert Heritage, Commissioner Katherine Farquhar, Town Clerk Cate McDonald.  Treasurer Susan Johnson and Academy Manager Andrea Scanlon were not in attendance.

Minutes: The May Commissioners Meeting Minutes and Annual Meeting Meetings were approved.

Financial:  The May financial report was emailed to the Commissioners prior to the meeting.

Commissioner Heritage will try and hang the American flags from various locations around Town but is still looking for the flags Susan Johnson was to have ordered.

Commissioner President:  Michael Acierno was unanimously selected as President of the Commissioners.

SHA:  the meeting with SHA regarding the storm water runoff issue at 310 Market will be July 1 at 9:30am.  Commissioner President Acierno plans to attend with Town Residents Bartley and Kerr.

Solar Panels:   Resident Fred Teal, 9 North St, wants approval for his BPC application for solar panels.   Commissioner Farquhar attended the BPC’s June meeting regarding this matter and is recusing herself from this discussion as she is an adjoining property owner.  Richard Chandler, 13 North St., has expressed his unhappiness with the solar panels as he will be able to see them from his backyard and they will stand out during wintertime.  The question being pondered by the Town Commissioners is how does the Town feel about solar panels, especially a large project that is being proposed by 9 North St. ( 3 panels, each approximately 12 x 8 ft.).   The Town Commissioners will request the BPC investigate what other historic districts have permitted and what regulations have been put in place concerning solar panels.   If the solar panel location at 9 North St is moved to accommodate 13 North St. view, then the solar panels will be visible by the Farquhar Residence at 1 North St.   Also, did the Town set precedence when approving a much smaller solar panel installation at 14 High St.

Academy Manager Andrea Scanlon phoned in at this point of the discussion to give the Academy report via the phone.  She was unable to attend the Commissioners Meeting tonight as her husband, Chair of BPC, was meeting with the landscape architect working with 9 North St and Fred Teal, regarding placement of the solar panels.

Academy Update:  3 new rentals since last month.  90% of the Academy rentals come from referrals not from advertising.  The yoga instructor who has contracted with the Academy for classes has met the minimum amount of students needed.

EECGB subgrant:  Town Clerk has requested July 14th for the field audit and is still waiting on the EECGB staff to confirm a date and time.

Solar Panels:  discussion continued after the Academy update: What are the trade offs for allowing alternative forms of energy?  Is it better to wait a few years for technology improvements so solar panels will be smaller and less obtrusive?  The Town needs to have a policy on solar panels and any form of alternative energy as a lack of policy is a cause of problems.  Issuing approval permits on a case by case basis is cause for concern.   Commissioner President Acierno feels we need a Town policy before the permit is issued to 9 North St and that we do not know enough about how our Community feels about solar panels and the pros / cons of having solar panels.  If this permit request is approved, what are the long term effects?  Will the solar panels become obsolete in a few years as technology advances? And then what will happen to the obsolete panels?    While the Town Commissioners do not want to discourage energy savings, there are many unanswered questions; the issue will need further research.  As of now, if the BPC approves the solar panel installation at 9 North St, the Town Commissioners will not sign the permit until they get more Community input and amend the permit.  Concern was raised: did the Town set precedence with signing the permit for 14 High St and allowing them to install solar panels;  the project at 9 North St is significantly larger and a grander scale compared to 14 High St.  Also, 14 High St’s initial permit request was not approved and was requested to scale back the size of the solar panels before their permit request was approved.

The Town Commissioners will talk to the BPC.

309 & 311 Market Street:  A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, June 15th.  Commissioner President Acierno and Commissioner Farquhar will both try and attend the hearing.  Commissioner Heritage stated that Deeds Wells dropped off an envelope at his house today with a copy of the HAWP application.  It was noted that the Town cannot approve any permits until a HAWP is issued.

301 Market Street:  The Rotter Estate received the certified letter from the Town and has yet to begin work to cap the well and shed removal.  The Town will contact a lawyer to have a lien placed on the property as the Town will hire a contractor to prevent accidental entry into the uncapped well.

BPC opening:  Commissioner President Acierno has received interest from Town Resident Barbara Ray to be appointed to the BPC.  Town Commissioners will allow the notice regarding the opening to be included in the next newsletter.

Gravel Road Repairs:   Contract from Neal Leary was received and approved for $6640; no increase from the price from last year.

Open Discussion:  Annual Picnic still on track for Sunday, August 29th at 4:00pm.

The Town received a Thank You letter from Our House for the donation.

The meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

Cate McDonald
Town Clerk