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Public Hearing ACRPC & Planning Commission - 11-12-19

Town of Leicester
Planning Commission/ACRPC Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
** See subsequent minutes for any changes
Members Present:  Donna Swinington, Chair, Jeff McDonough, Peter Fjeld, Suki Fredericks, Bill Shouldice
Others Present: Adam Lougee, Executive Director ACRPC, Jeremy Grip, Chair Energy Committee, Ellen Kurrelmeyer, Whiting Rep, Barrie Bailey, Salisbury Rep, Ross Conrad, Middlebury Rep, Jeremy Gildrien, Leicester Energy Coordinator, Diane Benware, Chair Leicester Selectboard, Julie Delphia, Leicester Town Clerk/Treasurer, Sandra Trombley, Secretary                                                                    
Call to Order:  Meeting for Public Hearing with ACRPC and Planning Commission called to order at 6:02 p.m. by Chair.  Roll Call.
Approval of Minutes of 4/25/18:
Motion by Jeff and second by Peter to approve minutes of 4/25/18 as written.  All in favor.  So, approved.
Public Hearing to Review Leicester Town Plan’s Enhanced Energy Plan:   
Chair turned the meeting over to Adam Lougee, Executive Director of ACRPC.  Adam introduced himself and the members of the Addison County Regional Planning Energy Committee introduce themselves
Adam stated that he worked with Jeremy Gildrien very extensively.  Adam explained that this is a public hearing to take testimony on Leicester’s Enhanced Energy Plan.  Copies of the Enhanced Energy Plan were provided.
Adam explained that plans that municipalities submit need to be adopted by the municipality, need to be confirmed by the Regional Planning Commission, need to include certain energy elements, need to be consistent with the State Energy Policy, and need to meet all the standards for determination of energy compliance issued by the Department of Public Service.  
Adam provided a list of the standards that the Department of Public Service requires be included in the energy plan in order for Regional Planning to pass it as an Enhanced Energy Plan.  They are the standards that Jeremy Gildrien and Adam used to draft Leicester’s plan.  Adam then had another member of Regional Planning Commission, Katie Raycroft-Meyer go through the plan and make sure we included all the sections required by the Department of Public Service.
There were a couple minor suggestions.  
Adam stated that since it was a public hearing, they can take any public comments at this time.  There were no public comments.  He also mentioned that he would like to have a Statutory Consultation with the Board.   It’s a conversation about the work the Board is doing.  He commented that it’s not often the ACRPC has an opportunity to come down to have such meetings.  With that, Adam went to the Energy Committee comments.
Julie asked what the suggestions were.  Adam stated that when Katie went through the checklist, she made notes about things we should consider changing or including.  Adam noted that Regional Planning confirmed the Town Plan on May 9, 2018.  
  •       Leicester included the Enhanced Energy Plan right into their Town Plan
  •       The Village Center is designated in the 5-year plan.
  •       Preferred energy area is in the Industrial Area.
Barrie recommended, in light of Act 171, to look at interior forest blocks and wildlife connecting corridors.  In the solar standards and setbacks for hedge rows for wildlife.  That is one of the main ways wildlife can move through.  This is a protection for wildlife crossings.  It could be just a sentence in the plan.  Recommended using the wording in the Salisbury Plan.
There was discussion about the Thermal Use Analysis for clarification.
Adam stated ideas to implement the plan.  Jeremy Gildrien couldn’t really talk about his own solar array.
In the plan, they put:
  •       Look at weatherizing town buildings
  •       Look at heat pumps for Town Office
  •       Promote a Community Solar Array (CSA) for town
o   Survey questionnaire for residents at Town Meeting inquiring about interest in a Community Solar Array (CSA)
o   Putting together informational/educational meetings
Julie explained, at the current time, the town does not have the adequate power to run a heat pump, or is it currently in the 2019 budget.  They will most likely look at it again in a few months for 2020 budget.
Adam is going to put together an RFP to send to solar companies.  ACORN has a model.  Adam stated that if the town is interested in a solar array, he would be able to help put something together for them.
Adam handed out the document for the determination of the Energy Planning Compliance Committee procedural history and conclusions.  After this meeting, their Committee will meet and make their determination.
Energy hearing was closed at 6:37 PM.
Statutory Consultation Meeting:
Adam stated that this is meant for a conversation about how well the new Plan is working; and what the town would like to implement.  Adam asked questions about what the Town PC is interested in.  Adam mentioned that ACRPC could help with:
  •       Trainings for new board members
  •       Open meeting laws
  •       Specifics about developing housing
  •       Water quality in Lake Dunmore
  •       Economic Development
  •       Workshops
  •       Speed Studies
Julie mentioned that the Sheriff’s Department currently is doing speed studies for our town now.   Selectboard approved this a couple of meetings back.  There have been speeding issues.
Surrounding towns are having speeding problem on their roads; as well.
Adam stated that Diane represents Leicester at ACRPC.  She is an excellent spokesperson to bring things back to ACRPC that the town is interested in.
Julie asked about help for illegal dumping or junk.  Adam stated that there is someone from the State who is charged with investigating junk throughout the State. 
Bill asked whether they have to vote on their recommendations.  Adam stated that the Board has already approved the plan and ACRPC is just following up and that making non-substantive changes can be made without going through hearings.  i.e., identify changes to maps, fixing tables.  Adam will work with Julie on those minor changes.
Julie mentioned the town implemented new Zoning Regulations in 2017 and approved Town Plan in 2018.  Adam stated plan is on an 8-year plan now.    
Other Business:  None
Peter mentioned to Diane; a concern that someone on Leicester/Whiting Road had, who submitted a zoning application, and had not heard anything.
Jeff mentioned it would be great to meet the new Zoning Administrator.  
Donna mentioned that it would be great to schedule a meeting after the first of the new year to re-group, reconnect, talk about things ACRPC could help with, and meet the new Zoning Administrator. 
Adam returned and stated that the Energy Committee is going to recommend the full Commission pass Leicester’s Plan.
Suki asked how the board felt about Barrie’s suggestion of adding one sentence about setbacks for hedge rows for forest blocks and wildlife corridors.
Motion by Suki and second by Peter suggesting to add setback sentence that is used in the Salisbury Energy Plan specific to solar arrays.  All in favor.  So, approved.
Motion by Jeff to adjourn at 7:01 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Sandra L. Trombley
Selectboard Secretary