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Planning Board Minutes 04/07/2015
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ANTRIM PLANNING BOARD
MEETING MINUTES
April 7, 2015
Out of Schedule Meeting

Members & Staff Present:        Jeanne Cahoon (Alternate)       Diane Chauncey (Staff)    
Chris Condon (Chair)             Michael Frosch (Member)        Bob Holmes (Alternate)         
Steve MacDonald (Member) Janet McEwen (Member)            Mike Genest (Ex-officio)        
                                                
Members & Staff Absent:       Jesse Lazar (Vice-Chair)      Elsa Voelcker (Alternate)  
Megan Osgood (Staff)         
                
Public Attendees:  Gordon Webber (Selectmen Chair)     Ron Haggett (ZBA Vice-Chair)       David Blumenthal (Ledger/Transcript)   Charles Levesque  (Resident, former PB Member, Intervenor, and PB Representative for the #2014-05AWE SEC case)

7:00PM Public Meeting:

Discuss prefile testimony to be submitted to the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC)
The meeting was posted properly on the inside and outside bulletin boards of the Town Hall and the www.antrimnh.org website as well as the distribution list – “News & Events”.

Chair Condon opened the out of schedule meeting at 7PM and appointed Mr. Holmes to sit for the absent Vice-Chair Lazar.

Chair Condon explained that the reason for the out of schedule meeting -  because the Planning Board (PB) had voted (at its April 2nd meeting)  not to submit prefiled testimony to the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC)[concerning an application by Antrim Wind Energy, LLC {AWE}], BUT an email from Charles Levesque to Chris Condon reminded the Chair that if the PB chose not to file testimony, that the PB representative could ask no questions and that any information that the PB wished to give to the SEC would not be heard. The deadline for prefiled testimony is April 13, 2015 by 5PM. Chair Condon suggested that the possibly the Board should re think the “no testimony” decision.

Chair Condon asked Mr. Levesque to explain the SEC procedure.

Mr. Levesque had participated in the SEC process and explained what he had learned;

  • The SEC Process is a Court Process – the SEC does not research the project – the information they receive comes from the witnesses who testify
  • If the PB does not file prefiled testimony, they have no vehicle to voice their thoughts to the SEC
  • One of the Board members should be prepared to give testimony and answer questions posed by other intervenors
  • If the Board does not file testimony, the Board does not have the opportunity to share how it feels about the jurisdiction process
Mr. Levesque stated important upcoming dates:

        April 13 (5PM) – Prefiled testimony must be filed
        April 23 – Technical Session – an interesting Session – not recorded, no Minutes – an opportunity to ask any questions of anyone – “bit of a free for all” – no SEC members -
Mr. Levesque stressed the importance of prefiled testimony and the importance of the PB’s role in the questioning aspect.

There was a back and forth discussion with Board members and Mr. Levesque on the actual process.

Mr. Levesque explained that, although the PB had sent a letter to the SEC asking that they take jurisdiction, that would not be a part of the jurisdiction process. Mr. Levesque said that the information comes from the witnesses (PB). He reiterated that the only way the SEC members will receive the information is through the testimony that is given by the witnesses.

Mr. Levesque then stated the actual process. There is an actual format – the question is asked and the question is answered. The Planning Board should ask the questions with the answers – that the PB wants to emphasize to the SEC. (Board could refer to testimony given by Charles Levesque and Martha Pinello – in the Town Hall Planning Dept electronic SEC file)

The Board discussed numerous aspects concerning the SEC process. It was determined that the Board should submit testimony to the SEC. Mr. Levesque continued to impress upon the Board that their prefiled testimony is very important. He continued to explain the process for their testimony. The Board realized that testimony was important.

Motion: Ms. McEwen moved to consult an attorney with the points and rationale of the Antrim Planning Board; Mr. MacDonald seconded.

Discusssion:
        Mr. Holmes stated that he understands that the BOS is on board but those points seem to be in both directions – what point will be made? Mr. MacDonald asked if he wanted a minority report. No answer was given.

The discussion continued. Mr. Webber thought that maybe a Friday meeting could occur to discuss the testimony. He agreed that Atty Justin Richardson was a good choice and named all his qualifications and that the PB could utilize his expertise for the immediate and then look for another attorney. He stated that Atty Richardson was “up to speed and experienced”.

Mr. Levesque stated that the testimony could be created in three questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Does the Planning Board wish the SEC to take jurisdiction of the project?
  • Why does the Planning Board wish the Sec to take jurisdiction of the project?
Motion: Ms. McEwen moved that  the testimony questions are presented. Mr. MacDonald seconds
Discussion: none
Vote: Roll Call Vote: Genest. Yes; MacDonald, yes; Condon, yes; McEwen, yes; Holmes, no; Cahoon, yes; Frosch, yes.

Motion: Mr. Frosch moved that Chair Condon represent the Antrim Planning Board at the SEC meetings; Mr. MacDonald seconded.
Discussion: none
Vote: Roll Call Vote: Genest. Yes; MacDonald, yes; Condon, yes; McEwen, yes; Holmes, no; Cahoon, yes; Frosch, yes.

Testimony (draft):
  • Please state your name and title:
My name is Christopher Condon, and I am Chairman of the Planning Board for the Town of Antrim
  • What is the position of the Antrim Planning Board on Docket No. 2014-05: Antrim Wind Energy, LLC Petition for Jurisdiction Over a Renewable Energy Facility??
The Planning Board for the Town of Antrim requests that the SEC assert its jurisdiction over the review, approval, monitoring and enforcement of compliance in the planning, siting, construction, and operation of the planned wind energy facility.

Motion: Ms. McEwen moved to approve the first two questions of the SEC testimony; Mr. MacDonald seconded.
Vote: Roll Call Vote: Genest. Yes; MacDonald, yes; Condon, yes; McEwen, yes; Holmes, no; Cahoon, yes; Frosch, yes.

  • What are the reasons for this position?
First, the SEC asserted jurisdiction over the previous application (SEC Docket No. 2012-01:Application of Antrim Wind Energy, LLC for a Certificated of Site and Facility)

Second, the Planning Board for the Town of Antrim does not have the technical expertise or resources to address a project of this magnitude, nor has the Site Plan Review list been u[dated to accommodate it.

Third, Industrial Wind Ordinances have been rejected by the citizens of Antrim three times. Two of these were drafted by the Planning Board for the Town of Antrim and the third was a citizen petition

Finally, because this issue has become a divisive one in our town, we feel that if the SC assert jurisdiction, the process will be more impartial.

  • Does this conclude your pre-filed testimony?
         
            Yes.
Motion: Mr. Frosch moved to approve the SEC testimony question # 3 and its bullets; Mr. MacDonald seconded.
Discussion: The Board discussed the difficulties of reviewing a project of this size.
Vote: Roll Call Vote: Genest. Yes; MacDonald, yes; Condon, yes; McEwen, yes; Holmes , no; Cahoon, yes; Frosch, yes.

Chair Condon discussed the issue of counsel and that he was inclined to use Atty Justin
Richardson because of his past expertise in the SEC area.

Motion: Mr. MacDonald moved to use Atty Richardson for the jurisdictional process; Mr. Frosch seconded.
Discussion: None
Vote: Roll Call Vote: Genest. Yes; MacDonald, yes; Condon, yes; McEwen, yes; Holmes, no; Cahoon, yes; Frosch, yes.

A short discussion occurred concerning the what ifs. If the SEC denied the jurisdiction, the ZBA and the Planning Board would need to accept the AWE applications. There would be difficulty because the Town of Antrim does not have Zoning Ordinance to regulate or the tools to work with a project magnitude of the Antrim Wind Energy LLC.
It was determined that Chair Condon will draft the testimony  and then send the testimony to Atty Richardson.

Chair Condon will send the draft to the Planning Board Member and will send the final letter that was sent to the Sec to the Planning Board Members.

Mr. MacDonald moved to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Frosch seconded. All moved to adjourn the
meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Chauncey



 
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