Cheshire Planning Board
Monday, May 21, 2018 7PM Cheshire Community Center
Present: Donna M. DeFino, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Sandra Sloane, Nick Graham, Francis M. Griswold and Peter Traub
At 7PM Donna opened the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Planning Board.
Nick motioned to accept the minutes for April 2018 as presented; 2nd by Ron with a unanimous vote taken.
Brian Koczela of BEK Engineering presented a Form A plan for Fortier/Stafford Hill. There is over three hundred feet of frontage and 34 acres. Peter reviewed the necessary information needed according to the Cheshire Protective and Planning Zoning Bylaw/adopted on June 8, 2015. Requirements were met and Mr. Koczela noted that the existing shed would be taken down. (Intensity Regulations 4.2) All agreed. With no further questions, Ron motioned to approve the Fortier Form A; 2nd by Nick. A unanimous vote was taken.
Fran recused himself and Alternate, Sandra Sloan replaced him.
Donna stated that the Continuation Hearing for the Karen Scholz Solar Array Project was now open for further discussion and invited each person in attendance to submit their questions.
- Questioned if the power lines can handle all of the wires with their weight.
Answer: (Kevin A. McCaffery, PE)
- A wiring diagram will be provided at the next Continuation Hearing from the firm.
- "Are all permits in place with the power company?
Answer: (Kevin A. McCaffery, PE)
The company, at the next Continuation Hearing will provide an update on the interconnection agreement.
Donna: See Appendix G-Impact Study Agreement".
Resident Mr. Robert Galisa:
Remarked that he, "Don't want it there". It will destroy the views and property values will go down". There is a deer path and many hunters hunt there. Migratory patterns will be lost and there are wetlands there. A chain link fence will have an adverse effect on the wildlife in the area. "Study the birds, animals, and geese. This property has been hayed yearly for nearly thirty years-it is not a farm”.
In 1980 the soil was dug up for chemical contaminates and he wanted to know if there is an recent assessment on the soil now. The EPA was involved and are wells safe and is it all cleaned up?
Donna recommended Mr. Galisa attend the upcoming Cheshire Conservation Commission Hearing on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 5pm at the Cheshire Town Hall.
Stated that he will offer a summarization of the contamination history at the next meeting.
He said the DEP knows the cleaned up site. If there is bad soil, wells would be checked.
Resident Galisa: "What happens if the water is contaminated?”
Answer: Kevin McCaffery.
"Briefly, if anything happens it is the owners responsibility - anything".
Resident T. Jayko:
Question: Concerned about the lack of adequate screening. "The glare shines right at my face. “ He would welcome the Board to make a site visit. The sun is a long ways away- keep it in mind when you are planning screening".
Donna felt it was a distance away and a visit was not necessary. However, in an attempt to figure out the actual intensity of the glare, five residents will be contacted before a visit is made to experience the glare. Times and locations will be documented.
Question: Wondered about the evergreens that will be selected for the screening and most importantly the size of the plants. Additionally, winters are difficult and should some plants die, will they be replaced? Mr. Emery also reminded those present that the original settlers choose the area for the prettiest views - they are spectacular. He asked the Cheshire Planning Board to not detract from that view.
"The project has an adverse affect on the neighborhood. Home values will go down."
Resident, Darlene Rodowicz:
Question: "When do these become commercial projects. Twenty acres of solar panels is no longer residential. Does this type of project increase in property values like a house would?"
Also questioned was the fact that if it is not functioning, is there an agreement in place to resolve the issue(s).
Answer: There will be an agreement in place. Ms. Rodowicz also noted that she was at the BOS meetings on two Tuesdays and was unable to see the plans. Carole H. stated she did not
understand why as the Town Clerk receives copies of all plans for applications submitted and are available for public viewing when the Town Clerk's Office is open.
Resident, 1330 Wells Road:
Stated, "It will be in my backyard, it's a commercial project. The scenic views are beautiful. What happens in two (2) or five (5) years will I still be looking at solar waste?"
Resident Mr. Chalmers:
Questioned how it will be screened and what is the maintenance plan? Also questioned was the cutting on the southeast corner and the potential impacts of possible cutting.
(Kevin McCaffery) answered that he will have access to the tree specifics proposed for screening both for the height and the species."
Donna: Answered: "The fencing will be six (6) to seven (7) feet high."
The Bernier’s have lived at this property for fifteen years. The husband works 40 to 50 hours a week on landscaping. "Now, it will be defaced with solar panels. What happens to the value of their property? Just look at the barns on the Scholz property."
Answer: Kevin McCaffery "The larger barn is coming down and it is an eyesore".
In the case of the views, a person can be subjunctive or objective. How long will it take for the screening in two (2) or five (5) or ten (10) years?
496 East Harbor:
- This resident is north of the project right on the border. Questioned the fence height and if the old fencing and wire would be removed. The area is a pristine area for wildlife. The area should be preserved as the town is running out of open land. This land is absolutely gorgeous and she hates to see this done. Husband: "Everything just let go-gets hayed once a year".
Regarding the maintenance of the solar fields. The owner will be responsible for the mowing of the lawn up to the fence.
Question: "When did the bylaws get changed? There should be more to protect the scenic views". Donna answered, "2015".
"You're talking about screening and you are cutting down mature trees that are there now!"
Kevin was asked where his company has completed other solar projects in Massachusetts.
The answer was vague saying he thinks 25-40 projects. Kevin McCaffery will provide examples of solar projects in MA similar to this project at the next meeting.
369 East Harbor:
Questioned how close the arrays will be to the stream. Kevin McCaffery said, “It will be according the DEP. Requirements.”
"There will be an open bottom arch with concrete footings on each side. The distance will be a twenty-four foot opening.
Sandra: Wiring. "Is it possible to go underground?" Kevin: "Too expensive".
Donna: What is the true height of the panels? She has heard six (6)-seven (7) feet and ten (10) feet.
Kevin: McCaffery "There may be a variation as when they go to purchase they purchase what is available."
Donna: "The Board will not accept a two (2) foot tree! Four (4) foot trees are acceptable. Suggested using bushes that are resistant to the appetite of deer.”
Questioned if the company has been in contact with the Cheshire Fire and Police and if the Police would receive keys to the boxes on all gates.
Kevin McCaffery: The company is will to work with the town.
Maximum coverage will be 15-20%. This will be addressed with the Technical Report.
Noted that Hill Engineering should be contacted and the cost could be estimated at $3K-$4K. The money would have to be given to the town to put into an escrow account. This would include the landscaping plan. Should any amount be leftover, it will be returned.
Glare Study: Topography goes down orientation faces up. You cannot screen glare". Donna said, "I recently drove by Route 8 and I was blinded by the solar farm". Plans are forthcoming to visit five (5) properties that fear more glare will be coming from this project. Donna noted that there are different types of glare; “am, pm, glink, or constant light.” Donna will coordinate the visits.
Asked if Donna would share a glare study recently do by another company.
Nick suggested questioning the town assessors regarding property values. For wind power, property values did/do drop. No statistics on solar power.
- “Is this commercial?”
Donna: "No, Light Industrial".
Donna stated that the next Scholz Continuation Hearing will take place on Monday, July 9, 2018 at 7pm at the Cheshire Community Center.
Nick motioned to close the Hearing and to continue on July 9th; 2nd by Ron with a unanimous vote taken.
Special Permit Application for Justin Zieminski, 128 Fales Road, Cheshire, MA.
Donna read the Berkshire Eagle Legal Notice.
Donna started with a statement that, the Cheshire Planning Board, “Cannot approve an idea.”
Sandra: “There are no measurements.”
As stated in the Cheshire Rules and Regulations, an engineer drawing must be submitted and it has to be by a licensed registered engineer. Showing two (2) x's to mark dwellings is not acceptable.
Donna said a sight visit took place and the proposed building will not be a barn but a dwelling for relatives to live in. “It needs its own driveway.” Cheshire does not allow common driveways." Donna read 4.3 in the Protective and Planning Zoning Bylaws. No shared driveway provisions.
"It will have a well, septic, and an eating/cooking area. Needs a driveway- no shared driveway are permitted".
Resident, William Craig: "It specifically has to?"
There are two separate dwellings- access to each property is necessary.
Read 4.3 in the Protective and Planning Zoning Bylaw and said the Planning Board is the granting authority.
Fran explained an old case with a similar situation.
Resident William Craig:
Asked if the dwelling was attached to the original house would that be ok?
Donna: “No in-law apartments are permitted in Cheshire.”
Need a plan and square footage by a stamped plan/drawings with setbacks by a professional
One (1) property. One (1) dwelling.
The CPB will not deny the application and will await additional information-an engineer would provide all of the necessary information.
Donna read a note from Gerry Garner, Building Inspector where he clearly writes that no common driveways are permissible in the Town of Cheshire.
Nick motioned to have the Zieminski Continuation Hearing with the Cheshire Planning Board take place on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 7pm in the Cheshire Annex.
Steve Marko addressed the Board by saying he was quiet this evening and was able to see the tough job the planning board has. "At the April meeting, I was rude and it got out of hand. He stated that he is most respectful to and of the planning board’s work. He sincerely apologized and said it will not happen again. Donna spoke for the board and said the apology was accepted. "Thank you and it will never happen again".
A letter from SWCA from CVE North America, 116 W. 23rd Street, Suite 500, NY, NY 1001 dated May 21, 2018 was submitted noting information on the Decommissioning Estimate of Sunrise on East Harbor, Cheshire, MA. A schedule of decommissioning costs were described in a chart showing the Quantity, Unit, Unit Cost and the Task Cost. The potential site restoration costs would be $111,350.
Nick motioned to adjourn; 2nd by Fran. A unanimous vote was taken.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary
Donna DeFino, Chairman
Sandra Sloane, Alternate Member