Planning Board: Minutes

Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  Monday, October 23, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Community Center

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Nick Graham, and Sandra Sloane

Audience: See sign-in-sheet

Donna opened the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Planning Board.  The meeting minutes for September 25 2017 were motioned for approval by Nick; 2nd by Peter.  A unanimous vote was taken. Due to conflict of interest, Alternate Sandra Sloane replaced Mr. Griswold.

Donna welcomed all to the meeting and read the original Legal Notice for August 28, 2017.
Dean Smith of Borrego Solar submitted packets to all Cheshire Planning Board members.  The packets included 12 questions that had been asked at the August 28th meeting by board members.  Mr. Smith reviewed each questions.  He noted another Borrego project could be seen on West Shaft Road in North Adams, MA and on Main Street in Gill, MA. He reviewed the 5 finds of the bylaws that can be met.  The title review was proven to be expired.  There would be very little traffic noise when in operation.  Mowing would only take place twice a year.  The project would not drain on a public facility and there were no drainage issues.  They would be planting clumping grass which is beneficial to small animals and for filtration of surface water.  There would be a seven (7) foot fence with no barb wire.  Green or black vinyl was acceptable.
* The glare study was reviewed by a consultant for airports FAA and is very experienced in the field. There would be certain times of the year/sunset where there would be minimal glare.
* Dean Smith felt there was no directly related documentation to say if a solar project was built that the surrounding homes would decrease in value or in fact, increase.
* He cited no correlation between wind energy and solar. Solar is less intent while noise issues have been documented.
* MSDS.  When broken there is no real noxious chemicals.  Should rain waters get in the module and rust the metals, they would be replaced very quickly as not doing so would decrease productivity.
* EMF levels when in operation would be very low.
* If the facility is not working for twelve months, the Cheshire Planning Board would have the right to decommission.  To have the pads removed would involve time and labor.


Comments from the audience:

Kathryn Winiarski, 1285 Wells Road:
Questions:
* Concerned about the placement of evergreens surrounding the fence.
Answer:
- The trees would be placed ten feet apart and would be six feet to eight feet tall.  In five years the evergreens would be full grown. There is no grading at the site. Mr. Smith noted that if you drain off too much, there might be a problem thus the idea of planting grass.
- Mr. Smith:  The panels will not corrode.
- No issue regarding radiation. See report.
- Silicon dust?  Is silicon dust harmful to one’s health?  If one is damaged is there a hazard or potential for the break to get into the soil which could go to the wells and can it come in into the house?
Answer:  Mr. Smith said he would have to check further.  He felt there should be no problem as there are no chemicals.  They only use clean water for cleaning them.

*  Lake Effect?  Mr. Smith, “Not aware.”  The company operates 2000 sites and it is not significant enough.

Appraisals:  Will there be a reduction in taxes if the solar project devalues their home? 
Answer:  Donna, “You would have to speak with Cheshire Assessors”.

If in the future wells were damaged, what happens then?
Answer:  It would be covered by Borrego.  Mr. Smith shared that he knows of no cases like that.
If the Cheshire Planning Board would want to put that as a part of the Special Permit, that would be their decision.

Question:
“What kind and size machinery would be used in the installation of the racks?
Answer:
Mr. Smith reported that smaller heavy duty equipment would be made and would be drilling small holes into the ground.  On site work will mostly be by ATV type equipment.  Once in place the area would be raked and the soil would be aerated and grass seed planted.
Can I/we bring any water problems to Borrego?

Question:  What about the glare to livestock?
Answer:  There is a short period of time in the day where it might be a concern.  On the downhill side it could be fifteen minutes in the evening hours, part of the year.

Ms. Winiarski: noted 10.6,E2 – Public Convenience – not desirable to the public.  It would be detrimental to the establishment of the area.


Phillip Lamfromboise:
Question:  Would like counsel to review the deed expiration. 
Donna read a letter from F. Sydney Smithers, Cain Hibbard & Meyers, PC
“September 29, 2017
Re:  Land on Harbor Road Extension, Cheshire, Berkshire County, Massachusetts standing in the name of Thomas J. Ayotte and Barbara Ayotte
Dear Planning Board:

You have asked our assistance in reviewing restrictions imposed on land presently owned by Thomas J. Ayotte and Barbara Ayotte to determine whether such restrictions currently encumber their land.

The land in question is the same conveyed to Thomas J. Ayotte and Barbara Ayotte by deed of Henry Kratz dated July 15, 1994 and recorded with Berkshire Northern District Registry of Deeds in Book 886, Page 6.  That deed conveys a parcel shown on a plan entitled “Plan of Land Harbor Road Extension, Cheshire, Mass.  Prepared for Antonio D. Ayotte” dated October 26, 1977 and recorded with said Registry in Plan Book 240H, Page 111.  That parcel contains, according to the plan, 5.0 acres of land.

The second parcel owned by the Ayottes on Harbor Road Extension is the same conveyed to them by deed of Henry Kratz dated August 28, 2001 and recorded with said Registry in Book 1037, Page 1531.  That deed refers to a plan entitled “Plan of Land Wells Road-Cheshire, MA Prepared for Antonio D. Ayotte” dated July 27, 1976 and recorded with said Registry in Plan Book 240H, Page 63.  That parcel contains, according to the plan, 15 acres of land.

Both deeds contain the following apparent deed restrictions.

“SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS:

“1.The premises shall be used for residential purposes only, and no residence shall be erected thereon at a cost of less than $20,000.
 2.There shall not at any time be placed upon the said remises any so-called mobile homes or trailers.”

Those restrictions are unlimited as to time.

In order to determine the present enforceability of these restrictions we must ascertain the date that the restrictions were first imposed on the two lots in question.  That determination is required because M.G.L. c. 184 section 23 provides as follows:


Conditions or restrictions, unlimited as to time, by which the title or use of real property is affected, shall be limited to the term of thirty years after the date of the deed or other instrument or the date of the probate of the will creating them, except in cases of gifts or devises for public, charitable or religious purposes.  This section shall not apply to conditions or restrictions existing on July sixteenth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, to those contained in the deed, grant or gift of the Commonwealth, or to those having the benefit of section thirty-two.

The restrictions imposed on the two parcels of land owned by the Ayotte’s are more recent than July 16, 1887, are not for public, charitable or religious purposes, are not contained in the deed, grant or gift of the Commonwealth, and do not have the benefit of section 32 [of c. 184].

Our title examination has revealed that the restrictions were first imposed on the 15 acre parcel by deed of Antonio D. Ayotte, Trustee of the Elsie L. Realty Company and Elsie L. Ayotte to Marjorie Thiel Kratz dated October 26, 1976 and recorded with said Registry in Book 673, Page 256.

As the restrictions in the deeds date to 1976 and 1977, respectively, both restrictions are in excess of 30 years old.  It is therefore our opinion that such restrictions are no longer enforceable and no longer encumber the two parcels of Ayotte land.

Signed:  F. Sydney Smithers”

Thomas Spratling: “Mass DEP discourage installation of ground-mounted solar PV systems in wetland areas, including riverfront locations.  Solar projects within wetland areas are unlikely to comply with the performance standards in the Wetlands Protection Act regulations.”

 Mr. Smith:
- “It will not be in the wetlands there is a one hundred foot buffer.  There are no issues.”

Ted Jayko:
- Concerned about his livestock and the differences in the August meeting and tonight regarding the EMS report.  The study of glare was taken by an airport specialist – for airports and not this specific site.  Mr. Jayko stated he will plant the fastest growing trees. Trees are being cut on the border now.
Mr. Smith answered a question about changing the degrees of the panels and said there would be an impact if that were to be done.

Audience:  “Where does the power go?”
Answer:  It goes into the grid.  What do the residents get out of this?  $10 a month? It is just like cell phones. Every six (6) months a new cell phone comes out.  What happens with a project like this when new ideas come out?


Mr. Smith:  It (electricity) can get sold back to locals – locals could buy the power. Bonds will be in place; there will be a twenty year lease with five (5) year renewals.

Mr. Driscoll:
- Concerned about property values and values decreasing.

Ms. Chalmers:
 “ Wanted to discuss the evergreens, glare, buffer zone and the need to have native plants.
Will panels create more wind?  Where were the panels made?
Mr. Smith:  The panels are open underneath and the panels were made in China and are five (5) feet-significantly less than eight (8) feet.
Ms. Chalmers:  “As you know, there have been many health issues with other products made in China and shipped and used in the United States. Children’s toys had lead pain.” Mr. Smith:  “I am not aware of that but, I will look into it.”
Ms. Chalmers stated that she had attended a recent Cheshire Conservation Commission and it was noted that there are springs on the land. She is very concerned about property values.
Ms. Chalmers final question was, “How do we make our case against the project.  The majority of people do not want it.  Will the Planning Board take that into consideration?”

Donna:
The Cheshire Conservation Commission will address water concerns.

Matt Lincoln:
- Reminded the board about scenic views.  He stated that if this Special Permit is approved, he will be the first one at the court house to appeal the case.

Katherine Lincoln:
- “Just today there was a beautiful picture of Cheshire in the Berkshire Eagle newspaper.  Cheshire is beautiful – that’s why we moved here. A continuous flow next to their property concerns her as the wells could get contaminated.”

Donna:
- EMF reports have been submitted by the solar company with Clean Energy Center Technical Environmental Inc. completed the report.


Eric Socha:
- Noted that he and many people believe in renewable energy – on a small scale.  He felt the location needed to be reviewed for the impact and repercussions it would have to the area. He understands the advantages and disadvantages to the project and asked the Planning Board to regard the impact.

Donna closed the audience question and answer time. She noted that the Cheshire Conservation Commission has continued their Hearing until November 10, 2017 at 5pm.

Donna asked for questions from the Planning Board members.
Nick:  Questioned how deep the drillings will be.
Answer:  Six (6) to (8) inches into the ground.

Peter:  Is there an engineering consultant?

Donna:  Yes – Hill Engineering.

Donna: “Wells Road down south is high and East Harbor Road is higher.  Flashes of glare on Wells Road are a problem.” Donna is not against solar but the responsibility of the Cheshire Planning Board is to abide by the bylaws.

Nick:  Most concerned about property values. It could be a five (5) 5 or 25% decrease.  Even one (1) % of a decrease is a concern.  There is no concrete evidence”.

Ron:  “What are our options?” Section 10 - page 42.  See Large Scale Photovoltaic Bylaw.

Peter:  “We have allowed other solar projects.”

Donna:  Issues with screening.  They can’t change the orientation of the panels.  Cost would be prohibitive for Borrego and not as productive.
Reviewed 1.3 Purpose of the Cheshire Planning Board. 

Peter:  We need to preserve what we have and to encourage new businesses, which we do.  There is no question that the proposed project if located elsewhere and not in a scenic area it would be approved.  Yet, adjacent property would be affected.  Our purpose is to maintain what we have.

Nick:  Adding to prosperity – there is only one (1) owner.


Donna:  “The Cheshire Planning Board is not restricting growth, we have accepted other solar projects.  However this location would discourage young families from moving to the area.”
People come here for a reason and she feels it is not for the betterment of the town.  There are twenty other locations better suited.  We can’t achieve what our bylaws set forth.

A motion was made by Nick on the Special Permit Application by Borrego Solar for Thomas and Barbara Ayotte of 203 East Road as set forth, 2nd by Ron.  The vote taken was 0 votes yea, and five (5) nay votes to deny the permit.

Next Meeting:  Monday, November 27, 2017 - 7PM - Cheshire Annex. 

Peter motioned to adjourn at 9:00pm; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote taken.

 

Respectfully submitted,


Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary

Donna DeFino, Chairman

Francis Griswold
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis
Nick Graham
Sandra Sloane

Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  Monday, September 25, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Annex

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Nick Graham

Absent: Sandra Sloane

Audience: Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Attorney Stephen N. Pagnotta of Donovan O’Connor & Dodig, LLP, and Gerald Garner, Cheshire Zoning Enforcement Officer/Building Commissioner

Donna opened the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Planning Board.  The meeting minutes for August 2017 were motioned for approval by Peter; 2nd by Ron.  A unanimous vote was taken.

Peter discussed the Technical Assistance Grant to Municipalities in Massachusetts.  The CPB will request going forward for planning assistance in the areas of Medical and Recreational Marijuana Bylaws and Improvement of Land Use.  Donna will be attending the Cheshire BOS meeting on 9/26/17 to review the CPB plans and seek their input and approval.

7:30PM
Donna read The Berkshire Eagle Legal Notice for this evenings Hearing (Advertised on 9/9/17 and 9/16/17) for: 
Sandra J. Smith.  Project Location.  Lot #1 and Lot #2 Richmond Hill Road, Cheshire, MA 01225. Map 235

Attorney Pagnotta
- Believes the project meets the criteria to receive a Special Permit.
- It is not detrimental to the area.
- It will not present any additional traffic or congestion.
- It is in a residential area and will have good visibility.
- The plan is to avoid any wetlands in the area.

Donna:
- Thanked Mr. Pagnotta for his presentation.  The CPB reviewed the plans submitted.  However, Donna stated that the project/plans go against the Cheshire Bylaws as one driveway that services two (2) parcels of land is determined to be a common driveway and that is not allowed according the Cheshire Protective and Planning Zoning Bylaw adopted on June 8, 2015.
- Additionally, the board was not satisfied with the plans submitted by the surveyor.
- Discussion ensued regarding other options such as building a bridge, and dividing the parcels differently.

Attorney Pagnotta:
- Stated that one (1) person will be using it.  In fact, he said, “The CPB could put restrictions on the Special Permit if that would make them more comfortable.”

Donna: 
There is already an existing driveway.  The middle lot has a driveway and culvert.  The driveway cut was denied by the Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane.  Donna read the following:
Dated: “August 18, 2017
Taking these geographic anomalies into account and after notable consideration, I hereby deny your request for a driveway permit to this location.  If the Conservation Commission as well as the Planning Board were to approve your plan in the future and a set of professionally engineered, stamped drawing were presented to me showing the issues above to be addressed then I would reconsider your request at that time.”
-Donna read from M.G.L. Section 12-12i on Common Driveways.

Attorney Pagnotta:
- “If the CPB decides on approval; restrictions could be included.”

Donna:
- Further discussed the possibility of having three (3) 200’ frontage lots with each parcel having a driveway.
- She stated the plan submitted does not meet the Cheshire Bylaws.  She motioned to deny the Special Permit for access through Lot #1 to Lot #2 on the Richmond Hill property owned by Smith’s.  

Mr. Smith wondered if the board would consider that they are not people of many means and if the CPB could be more lenient. They would sign a statement that no one else will use it. Donna explained possible scenarios were it may start off that way but could end up with several owners using the driveway.


Donna:
- The duty of the CHP is to enforce our bylaws and the CPB cannot rule against the bylaws.  A driveway that services two (2) lots is a common driveway and not allowed in Cheshire.

An opinion was asked of Mr. Garner as to whether he agreed with the interpretation of the Planning Board, that this would constitute a shared driveway.  In discussing this opinion he asked Ms. Smith why she did not want to divide off a portion of Lot #1 property to be included in the sale of Lot # 2 to accommodate a driveway.  Her response was that the partners of the parcels did not want to do this as they may have future plans to subdivide the remaining acreage.  Mr. Garner informed Ms. Smith and Attorney Pagnotta that this would constitute a “self-imposed hardship” on the property.

As the CPB prepared to make a motion, Attorney Pagnotta withdrew the application.  Fran motioned to accept the withdrawal without prejudice to be presented at another time; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote was taken. 8:00PM

Next Meeting:  Monday, October 23, 2017 - 7PM - Cheshire Community Center.  (E. Harbor Road Solar Project Continuation Hearing.)

Peter motioned to adjourn at 8:15pm; 2nd by Ron with a unanimous vote taken.

 

Respectfully submitted,


Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary

Donna DeFino, Chairman

Francis Griswold
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis
Nick Graham
Sandra Sloane

 

Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  Monday, August 28, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Annex

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub, Ronald W. DeAngelis., Nick Graham and Sandra Sloane


Donna opened the Cheshire Planning Board monthly meeting at 7pm.  Peter moved to accept the minutes of July 24, 2017; 2nd by Ron with a unanimous vote taken.

Although Fran Griswold was present, Donna asked him to recluse himself as he is an employee of the applicant for this evenings Hearing.  Sandy Sloane, as the Alternate, took in his place.

Donna proceeded to read the Legal Notice as published in The Berkshire on Saturday, August 12th and August 19, 2017 listing the property at 203 East Harbor Road, property 227-011 and 227-010. She alerted the Applicant’s representatives that the address listed on the project is the physical address of the Ayotte’s home, however, the property identification is correct,  She introduced the representatives of  Borrego Solar for the Applicant, Thomas and Barbara Ayotte of 203 East Harbor Road. (C. Dean Smith and Ryan Bailey.)

Dean Smith presented an overview of the two parcel solar farm project owned by the Ayotte’s and the plan to develop 20.3 acres.  He noted that there has been some clearing of trees for southern exposure.  The plan indicated wetlands but a 100 foot buffer zone was considered and an application for a Notice of Intent will be submitted to the Cheshire Conservation Commission.  He felt there would be no issue as it is according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The fence on the plan indicated a seven (7) foot fence with barbed wire.  Although this was on the plans submitted, Mr. Smith’s plan showed a seven (7) foot chained link fence.  There will be a lock box on the gate.  There is a designated area for the gravel area service pad.  It will be a fourteen (14) foot wide graded area with a fifty (50) foot setback on all sides. It will be one hundred twenty three (123) feet from a residence and one hundred (100) feet from the shed.

Deed Restriction.  Donna questioned the thirty (30) year residential restriction. Mr. Smith voiced that their company lawyer noted that in Massachusetts there is a thirty (30) year from date and the restriction was no longer in affect. Donna noted that the same deed restriction is on four (4) or more deeds and she would be seeking the legal advice from an independent lawyer at the Applicant’s expense with monies set aside in an interest bearing account to be set up by the Cheshire Planning Board.

Mr. Smith was asked the actual total area to be used.  His response was 14%.

Peter Traub: Stated that he would not approve the plan if screening is not met with the satisfaction of the CPB and residents.

Peter Traub:  Read from the Cheshire Bylaws the rules and requirement of the installation of a large photovoltaic system in Cheshire. (Copies are available at the Cheshire Annex on Friday afternoons for
$10.00) or you can see them on line at the Cheshire, MA website.

Mr. Smith will be forwarding to Donna a copy of the Lease Agreement with Mr. Ayotte. He stated that there is no emergency plan for the site. He would, at some point, invite the Cheshire Emergency Management committee to view the site and he is willing to work with them to abide by local rulings. There will be small electrical notices along the fence on all sides.  There will be a data acquisition system that sends out messages to all staff.

Sandy Sloane:  Inquired about only having one access, at the entrance, to the project. Mr. Smith responded that here are four (4) foot gates for emergency gates at least five (5) hundred feet apart on all sides.  The project also provides enough space between the rows for a vehicle to drive.
- There will be underground electricity to the pad to the interconnection. A detailed study will specify where additional poles will be placed. No major grading will take place.

Ron DeAngelis: Voiced concern regarding the need for year round screening.

Mr. Smith:  Reported that the trees will be native evergreens and will be full to the ground.  They will be different sizes and closely spaced.  He also said a wooden fence could be considered but with the grading going down and back up he did not think esthetically it would be eye appealing. Again, Mr. Smith wanted recommendations from the CPB.

Ron DeAngelis felt it should have been addressed on the plan submitted.

Blair Crane:
- Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane, questioned where the company was measuring the fifty (50) feet from where? Also, he asked if the trees die or have a fungus who would be responsible for replacement?

Mr. Smith stated that the company’s Operation Division would be responsible and the plants would have a one (1) year warranty for replacement.


Blair Crane wanted to know who is responsible for snow removal. The full entrance will be on East Harbor Road.

Mr. Smith was questioned as to the longevity of the company.  He voiced that for fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years they are the largest solar company in Massachusetts and New York State.  They are the third (3rd) highest in the USA.  They presently have over 2000 sites. He was asked where he lives and would he want it in his backyard.  He answered that he lives in  New Hampshire and he believes there is only one (1) site in the state. He said the solar farm puts out a sound similar to a house air conditioner and shuts down at night.

Resident, Ted Jayko, asked about the Deed Restrictions.  Response: Donna will be researching the deed and will be contacting an independent lawyer for a legal opinion. Mr. Jayko informed the CPB of cases in Hawaii causing medical attention due to eyes suffering side effects from solar glare. There was concern from the audience about glare going toward the South-coming down the hillside.  Mr. Smith said only the first racks would cause glare before the morning sunrise, and hour before, and it would be a 15-20 minute glare.  He will be submitting independent reports on glare concerns.  He noted that the  panels have non-glare panels. Mr. Jayko also spoke about the creation of magnetic field and the affect on cows reproducing.

Resident, Ms. Galisa described how heartbreaking it will be to see a commercial project from her front porch.  She moved to Cheshire for the beauty, quiet, view, and country charm. With this project would property values in the area of 185 Wells Road go down?  Sadly, it now makes it a bad place live.

Mr. Smith:  “The company is promoting renewal energy.  They are trying to be a good neighbor; there is no noise; no traffic and are being not as impactful and other options might be.”
- Three (3) residents voiced approval of the plan.

Fran Griswold: Questioned if the fence could be black or green.  Mr. Smith said, “Whatever cover the  CPB wants is possible.”

Colin Ayotte:  “Thinks the project is great.  No noise.  It’s perfect.”

Mr. Smith will provide information on other projects completed in the county.  He thought there was a project in North Adams.

Mr. Lincoln questioned how the company could plant trees in wetlands. Mr. Lincoln said he would rather look at deer than rows of solar panels.

Mr. Philippe LaFramboise: Wanted to be sure the CPB investigated the thirty (30) year restriction and to check on the landscaping.

Gene Pierce questioned the property value of abutters.  Mr. Dean said, “There was no decline of property values in North County.”

Jim Tworig:  Felt it would have the same impact as the Cheshire Elementary School closing.

Brian Tenzar:  Questioned the impact on the neighborhood and the scenic and historic value.
Donna felt the impact is less than a wind farm.  However, there are no reports to document that statistic.

Resident Ms. Chalmers: Reported that her family can see the entire project.  “It is a gorgeous area.” She questioned why it was so close to the Lincoln land.  “It will ruin the character and rural charm all the residents moved to Cheshire for. She questioned if an environmental impact analysis had been completed.  What is the marketability of her home?  A house near a solar farm sells for less than a house without one.

Resident, Matt Lincoln:  How many houses will the energy generated serve?  Answer:  400-500 homes. “This is a commercial entity.  This is A/R zoned.”

Mr. Smith.  The Special Permit is for this use only.  It is very specific.

Resident, Matt Lincoln questioned if he could build a 7-11 store?

Donna explained the Special Permit process. “If a solar project application is submitted a ½ mile away, it is not a given that the permit will be issued.”

Ryan Bailey:  “The limit for building similar projects are nearing an end.”

Resident, Matt Lincoln:  Felt houses would be worth 1/3 less.  “Is Borrego willing to give him that money lost?”

Resident, Mr. Thurston:  Generally he encourages green living.  However, he loves the farm land and spoke of his family’s history living in Cheshire.  He felt there must be a better place for the project than East Harbor Road.

Resident, Thomas Spratlin: Feels very sad for the +/-5 families directed affected by the owners choice to build a large solar farm where so many families will be directly affected.  He questioned the possibility of leakage into the soil.

Mr. Smith: Noted that the panels do not contain anything.  If the glass gets broken, it gets replaced.  The wiring is per code and is insulated.  Underground is sealed. Ground screws are galvanized metal.

Resident, Samantha Lincoln:  Wanted to know the reports for Electro Magnetic Fields. Have the studies regarding cancer been reviewed?  Donna voiced that Borrego should include independent studies on this topic also.


Resident Philippe LaFramboise:  Asked about the poles and if it would be near the end of his driveway?   "With trees there will be no scenic views."

Donna:
- Read from the Town of Cheshire Protective and Planning Zoning bylaws, Adopted on June 8, 2015, Section 10 Special Permits and Variances which outlines the process and procedures for securing a Special Permit in the Town of Cheshire and in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 40A, Section 3. Protected Health, Safety, and Welfare.

 Donna requested from The Borrego Solar Systems, Inc.: An independent technical review.
- An independent review of the thirty (30) year residential deed restriction needs to be submitted in writing if it is indeed valid or invalid.
- An independent report on Electro Magnetic Fields and solar panel glare.
- A vegetation coverage report. (NOI) needs to be submitted to the Cheshire Conservation Committee.
- Requested revised figures for the removal of concrete.

Donna asked, "What if the Cheshire Conservation Commission says, No to your plans?"

Mr. Smith:
- He is confident that there is no impact on the wetlands and the racks are within the buffer zone.

The twenty (20) day appeal process was explained. Donna explained that funds would need to be received and  deposited into an escrow account and that t would be placed in an interest bearing account for an independent legal review of the deed restrictions as well a an independent technical review.

Ron:
-  Would like to view the final set of plans whereby everything discussed this evening will be addressed.

Mr. Smith:
- Will provide full studies on the topics requested and will provide definitive information on EMF. Since there were no more questions from the audience and the CPB, Donna motioned to continue the Hearing until Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7:00PM in the Cheshire Annex; 2nd by Peter with a unanimous vote taken.

The Cheshire Planning Board met to note the fact that there will be a Hearing for Sandy Griest Smith, Richmond Hill Road Lot #1 and Lot #2 on September 25, 2017 at 7:30PM at the Cheshire Annex.

 

Next Meeting: Monday, September 25, 2017 – 7pm – Cheshire Annex.

With all business finalized, Nick motioned to close the meeting at 9:30pm; 2nd by Peter with a unanimous vote taken.

 

Respectfully submitted,


Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary

Donna DeFino, Chairman

Francis Griswold
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis
Nick Graham
Sandra Sloane


Presenters:
Ryan Bailey, Project Developer
C. Dean Smith, P.E.
Borrego Solar Systems, Inc.
55 Technology Drive, Suite 102, Lowell, MA 01851


*** A sign-on sheet showed forty-eight (48) people attended the Hearing.


*** A site visit took place on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 10:00AM.
 

 

Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  Monday, July 24, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Annex

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub, Ronald W. DeAngelis., Nick Graham and Sandra Sloane

Press:

Donna opened the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Planning Board.  The meeting minutes for
June 26, 2017 were motioned for approval by Peter; 2nd by Ron.  A unanimous vote was taken.

The CPB discussed upcoming rules and regulations regarding medical and recreational marijuana, farming, and dispensaries.  Donna will keep the CPB apprised of upcoming information from Governor Baker's office. She noted the benefit would be a 2-2.5% tax revenue for the town.  Input will be received from the Cheshire Board of Selectmen and legal advice from Town Counsel.  Guidelines will be followed and will be in line with the State.

Rumors were addressed regarding the possibility of a large solar array farm being built in Cheshire, MA.  Donna restated that until an application is in hand, no documented information is available at this time.  She did read from the Cheshire By Laws the following:

1] Is in compliance with all provisions and requirements of this Bylaw and in harmony with its  general intent and purpose.

2] Is essential or desirable to the public convenience or welfare at the proposed location;

3] Will not be detrimental to adjacent uses or to the established or future character of the neighborhood;

4] Will not create undue traffic congestion or unduly impair pedestrian safety.

5] Will not overload any public water, drainage or sewer system any other municipal facility to such extent that the proposed use or any existing use in the immediate area of the Town will be unduly subjected to hazards affecting the public health, safety or general welfare.


Donna read the following:
Section 1 - Title, Authority and Purpose (d)

(d) To preserve and increase amenities by the promulgation of regulations designed to:

* Protect the Town's significant environmental features such as:  flood plains and flood prone areas ,wetlands, Hoosic River, reservoir, brooks, ponds, water resources, woodlands, areas of scenic beauty, and sites and structures of historic importance.

Title, Authority and Purpose continued:

* Preserve the natural, scenic and aesthetic qualities of the community.

* Minimize the adverse effects of development on the Town's unique environmental and historic  features.

* Employ cooperatively the various measures by the Town's agencies under diverse legislative authority, including the State Sanitary Code, Wetlands Protection Act, Subdivision Control Legislation, and the State Building Code, for the protection and enhancement of the Town's existing small-town character, open spaces, low density of population, and in the interests of the Town's orderly growth at a deliberate pace.

This information can seen in the Town of Cheshire Massachusetts Protective and Planning Zoning ByLaw.
Adopted at Annual Town Meeting on June 8, 2015.

Peter was motioned in as the Cheshire Planning Board representative to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission by Donna and 2nd by Fran.  A unanimous vote was taken.

Next Meeting:  Monday, August 28, 2017 - 7PM  - Cheshire Community Center.

Peter motioned to adjourn at 8:30pm; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken.

 

Respectfully submitted,


Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary

Donna DeFino, Chairman

Francis Griswold
Peter Traub
Ronald DeAngelis
Nick Graham
Sandra Sloane

Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  May 22, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Annex

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub and Ronald W. DeAngelis.
Absent: Shannon C. Plumb, Esq.

Donna opened the 7pm meeting.

Resident, Jon Madsen, attended and Donna explained the Town’s processes regarding the Cheshire Planning Board requirements.  Mr. Madsen wants to purchase land from an abutter.  Donna explained the steps to take regarding the submission of a Form A for the Planning Board.  However, she first
suggested Mr. Madsen see the Cheshire Building Inspection to review his plans.

The April 24, 2017 meeting minutes were motioned to be accepted as presented by Peter; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken.

Eammon from the BRPC and Ed St. John, IV attended as the Chairman of the Cheshire Master Plan Committee.  The Executive Summary for the 2017 Cheshire Master Plan was submitted for the
Cheshire Planning Board’s approval.  Since the April meeting, Eammon stated that the biggest changes were with “Schools and Education.”  The plan foresees long term planning to include possibly connecting with other school districts or to consolidate all schools to the local high school.  Also, to possibly have one (1) campus (5-10) years in the future. All other changes were typos or clarification of language.

Note:  The Cheshire Planning Board has been reviewing the Cheshire Master Plan for a few months and Peter motioned to pass/approve the Cheshire Master Plan as submitted this evening; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken. 

A letter will be written notifying resident’s of the approval and will be placed on the Cheshire website.
A letter in the form of a Decision will be presented to the Cheshire Board of Selectmen and the Town Clerk for posting.

Peter voiced interest on being a member of the Cheshire Master Plan Implementation Committee.  Fran motioned to appoint Peter for the committee; 2nd by Donna with a unanimous vote taken.  The Planning Board will continue to track process made by the group.

All present agreed that the Master Plan Committee were energetic and that the Town was fortunate to have Eammon spearheading the project.  Kudos to the volunteers and BRPC for an excellent job done.

Eammon will have two (2) bound copies for the Library. 

Eammon and St. John suggested having a one day per week Planner or to outsource a planner/grant writer.  With all of the plans in the Master Plan, grant writing will be an integral part for succeeding in many areas.  St. John, IV noted that the BOS is supportive of the Master Plan as two (2) members are  on the planning group.

Donna:
- Updated the CPB on the status of getting an article on the warrant for the upcoming June Annual Town meeting regarding marijuana dispensaries.  She stated that due to timing for the hearings, the request could not go forward at this time.  However, there is a one (1) year and two (2) months timeframe which will allow an article to go forward.

Peter:
- Green Community Assistance.
He will be informing the CPB as the BRPC informs towns as to how to proceed.

Pollution Competitive Grant:
-  This may be another grant opportunity.

2021 Bridge Reimbursement for a new bridge initiative.

Local Airports:
-  Noted one (1) airstrip on Cheshire.  Discussed a local airport recently in the news in the Town of Sheffield, MA.  Question:  “How much control does a town have?”

Housing the Berkshires:
-  Peter attended a meeting with the BRPC and discussed abandoned housing initiative.  Peter felt the criteria may apply to Cheshire.  Cluster Housing was discussed as well as starter homes and zoning strategies for housing. Peter will be researching all of the initiatives and will apprise the CPB in June of his findings.

Next Meeting: Monday, June 26, 2017 – 7pm – Cheshire Annex.

With all business finalized, Donna motioned to close the meeting at 8:30pm; 2nd by Ron with a unanimous vote taken.

 

Respectfully submitted,


Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary

Donna DeFino, Chair

Francis Griswold
Peter Traub
Ronald DeAngelis
Nick Adams
Sandra Sloane, Alternate Member
 

Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  April 24, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Annex

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Shannon C. Plumb, Esq., Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub and Ronald W. DeAngelis.
Absent:

Donna opened the Cheshire Planning Board monthly meeting at 7pm.  Peter moved to accept the minutes of March 27, 2017; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken.

Carole H. reported that Town Counsel, E. St. John III will be mailing the article for the upcoming
Cheshire Annual Meeting regarding Marijuana Dispensensaries.  Donna will be going to the BOS meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 to further discuss the Marijuana Dispensary article.

Peter:
- Introduced Eammon Coughlin, Planner at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.  He reviewed the status of the Cheshire Master Plan and noted that it is a broad document that covers many topics and activities for the next ten (10) to fifteen (15) year time period.  He reported that the Cheshire Planning Board can approve or disapprove the Master Plan.  It is an advisory – suggestions or a wish list.  The Implementation and Action Plan is created for the town to take direction for the town to look into how to act on the people’s concerns and or best practices.
- Peter said that the Cheshire Master Plan is cumbersome and therefore Aamon created a priority list of fifteen (15) pages for an Action Plan. “The Action Plan details each implementation action contained in the prior chapters of the Master Plan, the proposed timing for the action to be taken, potential leadership, and other interested parties responsible for implementing the action.”
- Aamon noted that the present Master Plan Committee group is organized and most likely is the best solution for creating an Implementation Committee of volunteers and possibly staff.

Shannon:
- Noted a need to focus where to go from here.

Peter:
- Reported that he attended a community meeting with Senator Adam Hinds on Thursday and he stated that the Senator said in regard to receiving money for the Cheshire Elementary School, “Don’t hold your breath.”  Discussion continued about what the plan for the school will be in regard to putting it in the Master Plan.  No goals were generated for the school building to date.

Donna:
- “Education is paramount.  She would want the highest level of education offered to our children. Children in our community deserve an excellent education.”


Aamon:
- From the survey completed for this study, 99% wanted to have the Cheshire Elementary School remain open.  The Master Plan will be able to address the issue in a more comprehensive way once the final decision is made by the School Committee and towns.

Shannon:
- Believes people were pushed to do something in a small amount of time.  There has been more activism in the last six (6) months regarding the school districts than there has been in years.

Peter:
- Will be attending a workshop on May 19, 2017 on Housing in the Berkshires.  $30.00 The workshop is offered by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Donna:
- Discussed the pros and cons of Green Communities.

Aamon:
- The Cheshire Water Department is working on creating their own Water Master Plan.  This would be their first step and a sewer system might be the outcome.

Shannon:
- Wondered why businesses are not coming to Cheshire?  Shannon felt that Route 8 is a perfect business zone for those traveling through.  There are several colleges in the area, Cheshire is attractive, and it has natural resources and beauty.

Aamon suggested that the advisory committee contact TAC to possibly participate in monies/grants available.
- The Town might consider revising laws around the lake area.  Property sizes could be smaller if a sewer system were in place.  Natural Resources. That might mean the Town would work more with the farms.  Chapter 61 might be reviewed more closely.  Discussed the Right to Farm law.
- Signs might be places around the town to promote the Appalachian Trail and Mount Greylock.
- The group questioned the Welcome to Cheshire sign that has never been placed on the property opposite the Cheshire Fire House. Peter will check with the Lions Club.

Aamon went through the Action Plan and answered any questions presented.

Donna:
- Stated that the Master Plan was a guide, a synopsis with wonderful points.  After reading the plan and the Action Plan she believed that next month the Board might have more questions. Aamon agreed to attend.

Carole H.
- Needs to check as to when the Ayotte visit last took place.  She will report back to the Board.

Donna:
- Is working on recruiting a Cheshire Planning Board Alternate member.


A letter will be written to Mr. Jon Madden, 173 Lakeshore Road, regarding his placement on the May Agenda.


Next Meeting: Monday, May 22, 2017 – 7pm – Cheshire Annex.

With all business finalized, Ron motioned to close the meeting at 9:30pm; 2nd by Peter with a unanimous vote taken.


Respectfully submitted,


Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary

Donna M. DeFino, Chairman
Shannon C. Plumb, Esq.
Francis M. Griswold   
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis