Town Talks Town Meeting With Resident

One supporter of the citizens’ petition to amend the solar bylaw at the Fall Special Town Meeting reviewed the article on October 2 with the Board of Selectmen during its meeting with the town moderator to discuss the warrant, receiving advice on how to form a motion on the town meeting floor.

Six articles appear on the warrant, with Article 6 proposing to amend the Town’s solar bylaw to prohibit large-scale, ground-mounted solar arrays within 1,000 feet of a State or Town designated scenic road “…unless existing topographic features of the landscape preclude observation of the solar arrays from the scenic road.”

The change, which would require a 2/3 vote to amend the zoning bylaw, comes as a result of abutter opposition to the pending Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. project slated for Rounseville Road at Mendell Road.

There on behalf of the over 100 supporters who had signed the citizen’s petition was Sara Johnston. “It’s me by default,” she told the board.

Town Moderator Kirby Gilmore, the selectmen, as well as Town Counsel Blair Bailey then advised Johnston on how to make a motion on the town meeting floor and the order by which steps must be taken in order to amend the article.

“If you’re not certain, I will coach you,” Gilmore assured Johnston. “If I’m not nervous, then you certainly shouldn’t be nervous.”

On Tuesday, October 10, the Planning Board will hold the public hearing for the solar bylaw amendment article.

Also featured on the Special Town Meeting Warrant: Article 1 is to accept MGL Chapter 59, Section 57A pertaining to interest on unpaid tax bills under $100; Article 2 is to appropriate $30,000 to fund the negotiated police union contract for FY 2017; Article 3 to appropriate $60,000 to supplement the police budget to fund a negotiated police union contract; Article 4 to appropriate $10,000 for the police FY 2017 budget for additional staffing; Article 5 to appropriate $2,400 into the planning board budget to hire a part-time recording secretary.

Also during the meeting, Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar broke down the nearly $1.7 million in state grants the Town will receive for the transition to the regional 911 system: $400,000 is designated for design and architectural services, $119,000 is designated for director’s salary, and $1,174,800 is for costs to upgrade the infrastructure.

The board also appointed Jeanette Castro to the Rochester Historic District Committee.

The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for October 16 at 7:00 pm (possibly at 6:30 pm should the weather be chilly for the cranberries, at Morse’s request) at the Rochester Town Hall. The Fall Special Town Meeting is Monday, October 23, at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Memorial School cafetorium.

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry


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