TOWN OF RUTLAND
Meeting open at 7:00 PM
Howard Burgess, William Matteson, Charles Vajda, Jerry Stearns, Andrew McKane and Raymond Leonard
Mr. Matteson briefed the Commissioners regarding the CFC RE, LLC (formerly Carris Reels) final two lot subdivision. Attorney Mr. Paul Donalson, representing CFC RE, LLC explained that for the past 30 years or so the Rutland Plywood's lumber yard has been on CFC RE, LLC property.
Mr. Donalson pointed out on the map the parcel CFC RE, LLC will keep and which parcel will be sold to the former Rutland Plywood, now the Moriah Group. He said the Moriah Group will be getting 5.07 acres and CFC RE, LLC is keeping 3.5 acres.
Mr. Mckane made a motion to approve the two lot subdivision as proposed. Mr. Vajda made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Matteson said the Commission will review the 12-5-13 meeting minutes at the next meeting.
Town resident Mr. Peter Yankowski met with Commissioners, passed out information and made the following remarks:
Said he supports the Standards for solar development in town.
He said the Town needs the standards.
Told the Commissioners he has read the standards and that he understands that some changes have been made.
He said based on what he has read in the newspaper that opposition to the standards would come from Green Mountain Power (GMP) and the developers that would benefit from industrial solar in Rutland Town.
He cited quotes made by Mr. Steve Costello of Green Mountain Power in a newspaper article, claiming the Town standards would be a tremendous road block to his company.
He cited a Mr. Costello quote in which Mr. Costello said there is support for solar power in Rutland Town for economic and environmental reasons. He said Mr. Costello went on to say that the economic and environmental benefits would be lost or severely comprised by the Town's regulations.
He said if the economic and environmental benefits are not there, then Costello's, GMP's and the developer's opposition to the standards would be moot.
He said he became interested in solar power about 18 months ago when GMP said there were going to make Rutland the solar capital of the State.
Said he spoke with a number of people (including Mayor Louras and the head of CVPS) in March and April and that no one could tell him what being a solar city meant. He said they could not tell him because they do not want the public to know.
He said on April 27, 2012 Mr. Josh Castengauy, a GMP executive, told him that being a solar city means. He said Mr. Castengauy said Vermont's air quality will not change with the introduction of solar panels.
He said solar and wind energy development in Vermont creates “renewable energy credits”. He said the utilities get the credits, which they then sell out side the state.
He said Tony Kline and the people in Montpelier know that.
He said Mr. Costello did not dispute the fact that electrical cost to consumers would rise as a result of solar panels.
He said utilities buy most of their power through the grid or contracts and are paying 4 or 5 cents per KW hour. He said the Cold River Road project would sell power to the utility at 18 cents.
He said electric rates are going to go through the roof and that only temporary jobs will be created. He said according to Mr. Castengauy the jobs would last about 5 to 6 weeks then leave Rutland and that there would not be any long term high quality jobs in Rutland.
He said he is concerned with what happens to the GMP building on Grove Street.
He said Mr. Castengauy said there will be significant installation of solar panels in Rutland.
Mr. Yankowski said Mr. Castengauy totally contradicts what Mr. Costello is telling the people of Rutland. He said he does not think environmental and economic benefits exist.
Mr. Yankowski said the individuals who have attended Town meetings and are for solar are all from GMP or the developers.
He told Commissioners that he has been talking about the matter over the past year in a half and that he has not found anyone who thinks putting solar panels in Rutland Town is a good idea. He said the Town's standards are a very good thing.
Mr. Yankowski said the provision to limit solar development in Town to 2 % is very very important. He said otherwise GMP will follow the course of least resistance and pile these things into Town.
He said he has heard that in a re-draft the standard was taken out. Is that so, he asked? Mr. Matteson said the Commission hasn't done anything yet. Mr. Matteson said tonight is the first meeting since the hearing. Mr. Matteson said he would note Mr. Yankowski's concern.
Mr. Yankowski said Mr. Castengauy has never taken exception to what Mr. Yankowski said he said in their conversation. He said he has posted the comments online.
Mr. David Fucci, who is with “Vermonters for Responsible Solar”, told the Commissioners that he does not think the Town's Solar Siting Standards are that tough. He cited the fact that at his initial meeting with Mr. Steve Reman, that Mr. Reman said they would keep the solar field at least 100 feet from the road. He said Mr. Reman did not deny the statement at a previous meeting. Mr. Fucci questioned why the Town would propose a 75 foot setback.
Mr. Fucci submitted a petition with over 400 signatures from people that say that site is the wrong site for a farm of that magnitude. Mr. Fucci said almost 4000 visitors have been to Vermonters for Responsible Solar's web site.
Mr. Matteson cited the revised and original document sent to Commissioners. He said Mr. Zingale prepared the revised document for the Commissioner to compare to the original document.
Mr. McKane said he had reviewed the documents. Referring to the first page of the revised document, he said it is all good down to the last paragraph. He suggested deleting the last paragraph. He said there could be a period after the word “locations” and scrub the rest. He said he does not think it is applicable.
Mr. Burgess suggested putting a “comma” after the word “location” and then putting in something like “ will achieve responsible contribution of renewable energy in the Town of Rutland. Mr. Burgess agreed with Mr. McKane that the last sentience should be deleted.
As to Mr. Burgess' suggestion, Mr. McKane said he thinks it is covered in the previous paragraph. Mr. Burgess agreed and Mr. Matteson said Mr. McKane's language is simpler. The Commissioners went with Mr. McKane's suggestion.
Mr. Burgess suggested grammar corrections to the first paragraph on page two as well as other grammar suggestions. Mr. Burgess suggested additional changes on page four. Commissioners agreed to the suggestions. Mr. Stearns said Mr. Burgess' suggestions could stay or be deleted. He said the wording is redundant. The Commissioners decided to leave the language as it is.
Mr. McKane cited the section on page four regarding “Renewable Energy setback distances from property lines” and said the words “aesthetic impacts” should be removed. He said the Commission would set specific setbacks and that the standards should not say the setback “may” be increase for “aesthetic impacts” reasons. He said what is written just opens a can of worms.
Mr. McKane said he would like to delete the whole paragraph. Mr. McKane questioned how an “aesthetic impact” is defined. Mr. Burgess said the language leave the door open if something should come along. Mr. Stearns said he agrees with Mr. Burgess that if the wording is taken out it would take away the Town's ability to say anything different. Mr. Stearns said it would be nice to have the flexibility.
Mr. McKane said if someone can define aesthetic impact maybe he wouldn't have a problem with the wording. He said as it is now he has a problem with the wording.
Mr. Zingale said under Mr. McKane's scenario all setbacks would be cookie cutter or the same. He said there are going to be situations when the Town wants to go beyond the standard setback. He said that’s why he used the word “may” and specifically called out “aesthetics”. Mr. McKane said it is a judgment call and that if he is over ruled that is fine.
The Commissioners decided to leave the language as it is. Commissioners discussed possible changes to page five and made no changes. Mr. McKane said the lighting section is fine.
Commissioners made additional grammar corrections as well as language changes. Mr. Zingale will make the updates and mail copies to Commissioners. Mr. Matteson and Mr. Stearns said the Standards should be sent to the Select Board for their December 30th meeting.
Town Selectman Mr. Don Chioffi thanked and commended Planning Commission members for their work on the Solar facility Siting Standards.
Mr. McKane moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 P.M. Mr. Stearns made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.