Wind moratorium extension on Shelburne agenda

SHELBURNE — Annual town meeting voters will decide Tuesday night whether to extend the town’s wind turbine moratorium for another year, add a third full-time police officer, and whether to approve a new telecommunications bylaw.

The town meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

Last year’s annual town meeting was dominated by talk of a commercial-scale electricity-generating wind turbine facility on Mount Massaemet, which resulted in a ban on “industrial scale” wind turbines and a one-year moratorium on so-called “on premises,” small-scale wind turbines to be used for electricity-generation for homes, farms or small businesses. The Planning Board had hoped to present a bylaw regulating the siting of small-scale turbines by annual town meeting time. Instead, town officials are asking to extend the moratorium to the 2014 annual town meeting, “to allow sufficient time to engage in a planning process to address the effects of such structures and uses in the town” and to develop bylaws that are consistent with sound land-use planning.

The town will be asked to raise $30,184 and authorize the town to hire a third full-time police officer, while reducing the allocation for (part-time) reserve officers. Recently, Shelburne Police Chief Steve Walker told selectmen that three full-time officers are not too many for a town of roughly 2,000 people, with an increase of visitors and tourism over the summer months. He said it would also provide more stability for the department, which has lost good reserve officers because they have gone elsewhere for full-time police jobs.

The town is asking voters to spend $30,000 in available funds to buy a three-quarter-ton used pickup truck for the Highway Department, with a plow and related equipment. Also sought is $7,000 to buy a reversible, power-angled snow plow for the department.

Spending requests for town offices include: $10,000 for centralizing and backing up town government computers, $6,000 for a new copier machine and $4,000 for voting booths that are compliant with state election requirements.

This year’s spending request for town government, public safety, schools, highways and human services is $3.49 million — a 1 percent increase over this year’s budget request.

Vocational education spending has dropped for the coming year, but the Mohawk assessment is up by 5 percent, or $85,156. At a recent selectmen’s meeting, selectmen said they would not support Mohawk’s budget request because $80,000 was added to the budget a week after the Mohawk’s public budget hearing.

Telecommunications bylaw

The revised Tele-communications Bylaw provides standards for placement, locations, construction and removal of commercial radio service facilities, including personal wireless service facilities. It includes setback requirements for new facilities, the posting of a bond to cover demolition if the tower is abandoned, and creates a commercial radio service overlay district in the southeastern section of town. A radio service facility on an existing structure cannot be higher that 10 feet above the tree line, or 100 feet high — whichever is less. The height of a new facility can be up to 20 feet higher than the tree line, but not higher than 100 feet. The height, including all antennas, lightning rods and other attachments can be increased to 195 if the applicant gets a waiver and can prove the additional height is necessary.

The warrant also asks residents to support a resolution, asking Baystate Health Systems to “commit to the long-term viability of a full-service community hospital” at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. The resolution points out that not every resident has easy access to transportation to the Springfield-based center and says that “some important services previously available at Franklin Medical Center are now only available at Baystate Medical Center.”

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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