DUMMERSTON—After conducting a public hearing on the proposed updates to the Town Plan, the Selectboard unanimously approved the document at their Feb. 14 regular meeting.
Selectboard Chair Zeke Goodband opened the public hearing by reminding attendees that collecting their comments is part of the adoption process. He noted there are no big changes from the last plan, but state statutes require an update every eight years.
The eight-member Planning Commission, the entity responsible for revising the Town Plan, was represented at the meeting by Sam Farwell.
A few residents shared their questions and concerns.
Ruth Barton asked if the updated Town Plan included the siting of solar panels and wind turbines.
Farwell told Barton the document doesn’t currently cover this.
“The state gave specific criteria for how you could address those things in your Town Plan, but in order to do that, you had to meet a high bar [...] in showing you’ve done your homework” on drafting regulations to address sites for energy production, Farwell said.
He pointed out that although the Planning Commission hasn’t gotten there yet, they have discussed possibly including it in a future Town Plan update.
The Planning Commission “should get on that post-haste before we have problems,” Barton replied.
Molly Stoner asked about sites of a different nature: the placement of cell towers.
Stoner said she heard a rumor one was going up near her property, and asked if the proposed Town Plan update will cover that. Farwell told her the state regulates cell tower siting, and it requires a Certificate of Public Good.
“It’s a rather stringent permitting process,” he said.
Ahren Ahrenholz expressed his concerns with the town’s aquifer and whether an entity could deplete it from “a bottling enterprise.”
“Someone could come in, buy a [small] plot of land, drill a well, and start bottling water,” he said. “It’s happened to other places and should be addressed.”
The Planning Commission isn’t currently discussing that, Farwell said, but noted the state may have regulations covering water use.
After making some minor changes and corrections to the proposed updated Town Plan, the Selectboard voted to adopt the document.