Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing: Monday, April 23, 2018 7PM
Present: Donna M. DeFino, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Sandra Sloane, and Nick Graham
Absent: Francis M. Griswold and Peter Traub
Audience: See sign-in-sheet
At 7PM Donna opened the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Planning Board.
Ron motioned to accept the minutes for March 2018 as presented; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote taken.
Donna read The Berkshire Eagle Legal Notice posted on Saturday, April 14, 2018 and Saturday, April 21st for a solar project on the Karen Scholz property at 0 East Harbor Road.
“Notice is hereby given that the Cheshire Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 7:15PM at the Cheshire Community Center to consider an Application for a Special Permit from CVE North America, Inc. (CVE), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) has prepared this special permit application for a solar energy facility currently owned by Karen Scholz. Location: Lot 227-015 off of East Harbor Road, Cheshire, MA. Project: Consist of 21.3 acres of solar arrays generating approximately 5MW (AC), Classified: Large Scale Solar Photovoltaic installation. Section 8.6 of the Town of Cheshire Protective Planning
Meredith Savage, Senior Wetland Scientist from SWCA Environmental Consultants, 15 Research Drive, Amherst, MA 01002 presented an overview of a solar project on property owned by
Karen Scholz. Kevin A. McCaffery, PE represented TROVE Engineering, PLLC. There are 81 plus acres and 21 acres will be solar. SWCA has submitted an application for a Special Permit to the Cheshire Planning Board and will be submitting a Notice of Intent to the Cheshire Conservation Commission on April 25, 2018. The land was described as open pasture and open flat land on both sides of a stream in the center. There will be minimum ground disturbance and the project will have a fence surrounding the project. Access to the project will be on East Harbor Road. There are wetlands and that will be addressed with the Conservation Commission. They will be upgrading the access road from 12' wide to 14' wide.
Donna announced a site visit will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 11:00AM and the board will meet at the entrance area. She reminded all that this was just a viewing, no questions or answers would take place.
Donna opened the meeting for questions and answers from the audience.
Audience: Stephen Marko introduced himself as the ZBA Chairman. He stated that he was all for solar and the increased distribution of generated power. It would increase the town tax base. He asked the chairman if he could ask some questions. Donna: "Yes". He then turned to the SWCA four (4) individuals and asked, "Are you submitting your plans according to the 2015 Zoning Regulations? Answer: "Yes". Is there any pollution? Answer: "No." Are there
Stephen Marko: ZBA
Are there any wetlands? "Yes, a small amount and they plan on submitting a Notice of Intent to the Cheshire Conservation Commission tomorrow evening on April 24, 2018". He further went on to state that Jayko’s cows are never in the field, and that Laframboise intentionally opposed Ayotte solar farm yet put up a personal solar array in his yard, pointed to Ayotte and was laughing about it. This is a no brainer. Can you provide silver, black, or green fencing? Answer: "Yes, they are willing to work with the Cheshire Planning Board on that".
Mr. Marko stated that not approving is discrimination.
Donna stated that: “Mr. Marko’s position was on the Cheshire Zoning Board of Appeals and that is different from the Cheshire Planning Board, that the planning board follows our Planning Board Bylaws and must meet those criteria”.
Mr. Marko stated that the law suit for the last solar case that was denied cost the landowners $10K-$12K. This is costing the town tax dollars that could be used to fill pot holes if we stopped taking people to court. Mr. Marko lives 200 yards away from the past solar case and has no problem with it.
Mr. Marko accused the Cheshire Planning Board of not following the bylaws and being devious.
Mr. Marko became belligerent in his verbiage and accused the planning board of not following the bylaws. Floored by the disrespect shown by the board, Donna responded that he was disrespectful that the boards spends a lot of time reviewing each application, making site visits, and following the bylaws to the T with the assistance of Town Counsel. Additionally, the lawsuit was a separate project and has nothing to do with other applications for Special Permits.
Donna: Due to the insults towards the planning board and Mr. Marko’s demeanor, Donna, with professional decorum stated, "Sir you are done. The Decision is based on only this project and is separate from any other solar project.”
The SWCA representatives thanked the board and questioned Donna about the pending legal case. She explained the general information available and said one of the items of contempt was fencing. She said there were no problems with solar or being placed in our backyards. All Special Permit Applications are handled according the Town of Cheshire Bylaws.
Nick motioned to continue the Hearing to Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 7:15PM at the Cheshire Community Center if available; 2nd by Sandra with a unanimous vote taken.
Mr. Marko then proceeded to leave the building with the SWCA group and continued his dialogue. His ranting was so loud that a planning board member felt his behavior was continuing to disrupt the meeting and she closed the door.
- Berkshire Boys, a local group, informed the board that they would be submitting paperwork for a Marijuana Cultivation License. The timeframe was intensive regarding the need to have a signed Host Agreement.
- The property involved is at the family farm at 128 Fales Road. They have approximately 150 acres and would be operating a Tier 2 project or 5,000 square feet. Jake Zieminski, one of the owners, said he would like to have the Host Agreement with the Town of Cheshire as he is moving his family back to town and it is a huge financial investment. He wants to do everything correctly according to the State and the Town of Cheshire Bylaws. This is a lot of risk for him and he wants to have an informational meeting so he can present the project to the townspeople.
Donna: The Town has to vote in June on the Marijuana Bylaw before any proceedings can take place. Sandra suggested Donna speak with the Selectmen first and then Town Counsel before going forward. A meeting to meet to further discuss the proposal was tentatively scheduled for two (2) Mondays from tonight. Donna will advise if that meeting will take place via email.
Mr. Zieminski: Noted that the Cheshire Board of Selectmen has to sign a Letter of Non Opposition to start. The board noted that had not been done. However, Jacob Zieminski said; signing it did not mean anyone was locked into a contract, but at anytime it can be rescinded by either party.
Mr. Zieminski presented the CPB an overview for Marijuana Cultivation License- Host Community agreement Request dated April 23, 2018. There was a DRAFT copy of a Host Agreement and procedures one can follow according to the Cannabis Control Commission for processing.
The next CPB meeting will take place on: Monday, May 21, 2018 @7PM @ the Cheshire Community Center.
Nick motioned to adjourn at 9:00pm; 2nd by Sandra with a unanimous vote taken.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Cheshire Planning Board Secretary
Donna DeFino, Chairman
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis
Sandra Sloane, Alternate member