Planning Board: Minutes

Cheshire Planning Board Minutes
October 27, 2014

- Presented the MASS Attorney General’s letter to the board regarding the approval of the bylaws submitted. (Solar, Small and Large Wind)
- Will ask Brian and Attorney St. John for clarification of Article 12.  Not going to be bigger than 1/16th of an acre.  State will not reimburse for more than 150% or 1 ½.  Small residential sites get paid from the power company.

- Will ask Brian about MASS Code rather than National Electrical Code.

- In the future, Hearings for application for solar, wind projects, or large wind systems should have a lawyer present.  Charlie requested the Board to review the letter and to email him with suggestions/comments.

- Need to know what the Board can do regarding BONDS to protect our environment.  Charlie will ask Brian and St. John.

Charlie motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Bernie.  A unanimous vote was taken at:  8:15PM.

To remember:  Buildings/projects/etc. “Should be in harmony with the surroundings”

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary

Charles M. Howard, Jr.
Bernard F. Bator
Francis M. Griswold
Christopher D. Walsh
Daniel Speth

Planning Board Meeting Minutes
September 22, 2014  7pm
Cheshire Annex

Roll Call:      Charles M. Howard, Jr., Bernard F. Bator, Francis M. Griswold and Daniel Speth (arrived late)
Attending:    Peter Traub

ABSENT: Christopher D. Walsh

7:00PM  Charles Howard opened the meeting.

Resident Edwin H. Clairmont, Savoy Road, Cheshire, MA 01225 presented his revised plans .  It was signed by the Cheshire Planning Board noting on the plan; “ #7.  There are two (2) houses on Lot 1.  They were present on this lot in June 1970.  Zoning was adopted on June 3, 1972.”  Book:  635  Page:  305   Map: 240    Lot 25 and 26.

Carole arrived from the ZBA meeting at 7:20pm.  August minutes will be email to members for approval.


Section 2.  “Owner of property or an authorized agent.”

Filing Fees.  Section 14 page 5
- Residential and Business fees  = $400.00.
- Agricultural fees                       = $300.00
Bernie made a motion to approve  the above filing fees; 2nd Charlie with a unanimous vote taken.

Dan: Page 3   Section 6A. No issues.

Charlie:  Page 4  Section 7-13 No issues.

Insert the word LICENSED.

Waivers:  Planning Board can waive any and all. Site visits are always advised.
- Discussed the waiver process.

Bernard motioned to accept the Rules and Regulations with changes made; 2nd by Dan.  A unanimous vote was taken.

Next meeting:  Monday, October 27, 2014  7pm  Cheshire Annex.

By Law Committee meeting:  October 13, 2014  7pm  Cheshire Annex.

Bernie motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Fran.  A unanimous vote was taken at 8:45pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary

Charles M. Howard, Jr.
Bernard F. Bator
Francis M. Griswold
Christopher D. Walsh
Daniel Speth

July 28, 2014  7pm  Cheshire Annex

Present: Charles M. Howard, Jr., Bernard F. Bator, Daniel L. Speth, and Francis M. Griswold
Christopher D. Walsh


Peter Traub
Mr. Jennings
Rick Gurney

BRPC Representative, Thomas Matuszko

Charlie: Opened the 7pm meeting.

Charlie read The Berkshire Eagle Legal Notice for a Special Permit to install a “Welcome to Cheshire” sign donated by the Cheshire Lions Club.  Lions Club representative, Rick Gurney, reviewed the project, the history of the club and its efforts to raise the money for the building and installation of the sign.  He also showed a drawing of the actual sign.  Charlie noted that the highest point of the sign is not to exceed eight (8) feet.  The sign will be four (4) feet by six (6) feet.  After a discussion period, with no questions or objections from the audience, Charlie
Made a motion to accept the application as submitted with the addition of the following requirements:

  1. The sign will be a minimum of twenty (20) feet in the westerly direction and can continue for another ten (10) feet
  2. The sign will go westerly nine (9) feet.
  3. The sign will have no illumination with either internal or external lighting.
  4. The sign will be located to the south side of the property no closer than twenty (20) feet from the side property line.
  5. The sign itself will be no larger than four (4) feet by six (6) feet with the height no higher than eight (8) feet from the existing grade.

    The motion was seconded by Fran and a unanimous vote was taken by:  Charles Howard, Fran Griswold, and Bernard Bator.  Daniel Speth was unable to vote as he had yet to be sworn in by the Cheshire Town Clerk.  Christopher Walsh was on vacation. Chris also needs to be sworn in – a reminder will be emailed.

    To Be Noted:
    Bernard Bator voiced his personal opinion on the placement of a sign on town property.  He felt the land was taken for taxes and is now owned by the town.  Placing a sign on the property looks like the town is keeping the land.  He stated, “This is prime property, business property and the town should be looking
    to sell the property.”  The Board noted that should the property be sold, the sign can be removed and it can be taken off the property’s deed.

    Form A:  Edmund Clarimont.  Page 305  Book  635. (Estate Planning for his daughter,)  Mr. Clarimont rescinded the plans submitted on June 25, 2014 and replaced it with a revised edition. The new plans could not be signed due to Dan’s not being sworn in.  Additionally, there are legal questions regarding old Route 116 and its ownership.  Charlie will discuss with Assessor’s and the Board of Selectmen.

    BRPC Representative, Thomas Matuszko discussed the progress of the Cheshire by laws and the excellent assistance received from Brian Domina.  Mr. Matuszko discussed the process of the creation and development of a Cheshire Master Plan and the importance of having a cross section of people on the committee.  This project could take up to 2 years and possibly more time.  No member should have an  agenda or special interest in order for the committee to be objective to the real needs of its community.
    Categories could include:  Land Use, Natural Resources, Housing (Affordable and Elderly), Capital Improvements, Infra Structure, Zoning Changes, Assessments of Town Properties to name a few.
    Communication is most important in the process.  This might include surveys and public meetings.
    He noted that Sandisfield and Otis are starting a process while Great Barrington has passed a plan.
    He noted that the cost for this project could start at $20K and go to $30K.  He was willing to check if there were any grants available to assist the cause and he would get back to the Board asap.  New grants will be out in October and or November and would be awarded in January.  (Local Assistance Program.) It is important to look at present issues.  Trends.  The Future – rural/less industrial/more or less  taxes. Positive and Negative changes.  Goals.  Objectives.  Budgets.  Year 1; Action Plan.  Year 2; Action Plan. It is the Cheshire Planning Board’s responsibility to accept a Master Plan before it goes further in the process. The Cheshire BOS will be invited to the committee meeting on August 11, 2014 7pm.
    The Cheshire by law reorganization was discussed and he suggested following  Domina’s suggestion not to make by law changes at this time.  He felt it best to get the reorganization part passed first by the town at an Annual Town Meeting.

    Discussion continued by reading a letter received from Attorney St. John and the Dollar General project.

    Mr. Matuszko will apprise the Planning Board for upcoming trainings.

    Charlie motioned to adjourn the July 28, 2014 Cheshire Planning Board meeting at 9:30PM; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary to the Cheshire Planning Board

    Charles M. Howard, Jr.     Bernard F. Bator     Daniel L. Speth    Francis M. Griswold   Christopher D. Walsh

June 25, 2014  7pm  Cheshire Annex

Present: Daniel L. Speth, Francis M. Griswold, Christopher D. Walsh
Absent:  Charles M. Howard, Jr. and Bernard F. Bator
Audience: Peter Traub, Dale Grimshaw
Mr. Petell, Cheshire Liquor Center
Rick Gurney

Opened the 7pm meeting.  Chris Motioned to accept the May 28, 2014 minutes as presented; 2nd by Dan with a unanimous vote taken.

Chris motioned to change the Cheshire Planning Board Meetings back to Monday evenings, the last Monday of the month at 7pm at the Cheshire Town Annex.  Originally the change to Wednesdays took place for the convenience of the Building Inspector.  Unfortunately, he has been unable to make Wednesday meetings.

Mr. Rick Gurney, a representative from the Lion's Club, spoke about the location change of the "Welcome to Cheshire" sign to Route 8 on Town property opposite the Cheshire Fire House.
A site visit will take place on Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 9am at the Annex.  Mr. Traub is also a Lion's member and will be attending the visit as well as staking the signs location.  Height and location were discussed.

Mr. Traub reported that Mr. John Tremblay has a lawyer and is checking further into if by-law amendments have to have an Annual Meeting.

- Discussed Article 23.  He reviewed that Charlie had attended a Selectmen's meeting and presented the amendment to Article 23 and questioned what was necessary to schedule a special town meeting.
At that time, Selectwoman Francesconi presented a copy of the Town of Cheshire By-Laws.  She said the Towns By-Laws supersede the Zoning By Laws.
- Dan felt the issue should go to Town Counsel and the Town's Administrator.
- Dan asked the Planning Board what the Planning Board could do to help stop the Dollar General store from going forward.

- Charlie was uncomfortable with Brian Domina's second plan.  Therefore, when the BOS stated stop;
he stopped.

Form A
Edmund Clarimont.  Page 305  Book  635.  Estate Planning for his daughter.  Discussion about if there was a two hundred (200) foot required frontage.  After deliberation and plan measuring the Planning Board approved and signed the plan.

Resident, John R.Tremblay:
- Introduced himself and questioned why everyone is saying "There is nothing we can do while he contends there is, "Always something we can do" in regard to the Dollar General Store.
Mr. Tremblay believes people need to be more involved and ask more questions.  Be proactive as the town needs affordable housing and feels the Dollar General property would be fine for that.
He noted that the lights from the Dollar General will shine into his bedroom.  The legal stuff is complex but, we can be flexible at least about what the building will look like.  He's been talking to a lot of people and found out that in Merrimack, MA the people got the Dollar General to leave.
He feels there is a lack of flow of information.
- Presented a letter from the DOT (copy attached.)  Dated June 20, 2014.
- He said it is public knowledge under the Freedom of Information Act and the Planning Board should ask DOT for information.

- Stated that no permit has be asked for, therefore none has been issued.

John R. Tremblay:
- Questioned the drainage report.

- Restated that nothing can be done until a Building Application is submitted.

John R. Tremblay:
- "I have a copy of the plans," he stated.  "If he can get them why hasn't the Town a copy?"

Peter Traub:
-" They have a lot to comply to."

John R. Tremblay:
- “Gerry Garner said it would be possible to get an access off of Route 8.” Questioned if that was true.
- The proposed by-law has to wait for an Annual Meeting.  "A lot happens so we should have more meetings so important issues and concerns don't have only once a year to make changes."

John R. Tremblay:
- Presented an email from Brian Domina dated June 23, 2014:
"I suspect that you will not get 100% certain answer in this case.  It would be my argument that the zoning bylaw language which I presume was adopted at a later time would be controlling - so both special and annual town meetings can consider zoning bylaws.

One of the rules of statutory construction is that a general statute must yield to a specific statute, especially if the specific statute was enacted after the general statute.  A zoning bylaw is more specific statute than the general bylaws and it was likely enacted at a later date.  That would be my argument.  Again, I would be surprised if you were able to find a specific court case that has the same facts of your present situation.  I am not certain how Charlie Howard is planning on proceeding."

John R.Tremblay:
- Questioned if a Citizen's Petition to change the by-law would be appropriate?
- Town Council would be sensitive to a large lawsuit.
- Resident, Barry Emery, is doing historical research on the property.
J. Tremblay:  "It would be great to turn the property into something great for the town."

It was suggested the group against the Dollar General building talk to the owner of the property and negotiate purchasing the property.  There is a possibility of a bidding problem.

John R. Tremblay:
-  Suggested the need for a Master Plan.
- Zoning By Laws need updating.
- There should be a plan for a sewer system.

Peter Traub:
- "The sewer was discussed in the past and it was turned down by residents.

John R. Tremblay:
- Stated that Dan suggested he attend this evenings meeting to update the board of his progress.

- Stated that the Planning Board is an Open Meeting and is run according to Robert's Meeting Laws.

John R. Tremblay:
- Stated, "When people come to these meetings they should be treated in a friendly, welcoming manner."  This statement was due to Chris being curt to Mr. Petell in asking "What are you doing here?"
This was a friendly banter between them as Mr. Tromblay didn't realize Mr. Petell had been at the meeting since 7pm, and he was asked then if he could be helped and he said, "No, I'm waiting for John."
Chris was not curt.

John R. Tremblay:
Apologized to Carole H. if comments made at Tuesday’s Selectmen’s meeting minutes were upsetting. I stated, “Yes, the comments are upsetting and they are unfounded; and one person’s opinion.  It was totally unnecessary for the individual to raise two years worth of minutes in the air and state, “I can’t figure out what’s going on.”
I stated that I perform my responsibilities totally as employment, I have no hidden agenda, no relatives or in fact friends in Cheshire that would influence me from the minutes being just the facts.  I have done this job for 10 years and the minutes have held up in court, the Attorney General’s Office and all lawsuits during my tenure. If the format needs to be changed an individual can offer suggestions to the Selectmen and following Robert’s Rules of Order they will make a ruling or take the suggestion under advisement.

A site visit was made by board members to the Ayotte property and no violations were cited.
(June 22, 2014.)

Dan motioned to adjourn the June 25, 2014 Cheshire Planning Board meeting at 8:45pm; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary
Cheshire Planning Board

Charles M. Howard, Jr.     Bernard F. Bator     Daniel L. Speth    Francis M. Griswold   Christopher D. Walsh