2012-03-22 Planning Board Meeting Minutes

TOWN OF BOWDOINHAM

PLANNING BOARD MINUTES

March 22, 2012 at 6:00pm

 

 

PRESENT:  Ellen Baum, Brent Zachau, Paul Beltrmini, William Shippen, Paul Bains, Nathan Drummond, Daniel Stockford, Nicole Briand, Leah Rachin (Town Attorney), George Christopher, and on behalf of CMP: Sean Donohue, John Titus, Drew McMulland (Community Relations), Pam Kelly (Design Engineer), and Aristides Diaz (CMP Attorney)

 

Item 1:              Executive Session

 

A motion was made to enter executive session, pursuant to 1 M.R.S § 405(6)(E), to consult with the Town Attorney regarding the Board’s legal rights and duties with respect to CMP’s pending application regarding the Maine Power Reliability Project. Motion carried.

 

A motion was made to come out of executive session, pursuant to 1 M.R.S § 405(6)(E), to consult with the Town Attorney regarding the Board’s legal rights and duties with respect to CMP’s pending application regarding the Maine Power Reliability Project. Motion carried.

 

Item 2:              Call Regular Meeting to Order

                                               

                        Baines called the meeting to order at 6:45pm. 

 

Item 3:              Consideration of February Meeting Minutes

 

Reviewed February’s meeting minutes.  A motion was made and duly seconded to approve February’s Meeting Minutes as amended.  Motion carried.

 

Item 4:              Public Hearing on Proposed Amendments to Land Use Ordinance at 7:00pm

 

Public hearing opened to consider various proposed amendments to the Land Use Ordinance.  George Christopher expressed concern about the amendments to the provision regarding appeals from CEO enforcement decisions to the ZBA. The Town Attorney explained that the change was a result of recent case law that held that appeals of enforcement decisions to local ZBA’s were merely advisory, therefore, courts did not have standing to entertain them.  A motion was made and duly seconded to close the public hearing.  Motion carried.

 

Item 5:              Old Business

 

Site Plan Review and Shoreland Zoning Application –

Application: Central Maine Power Company

Property: Tax Map R10, Lot 16

Project Description: The application is for the construction of a set of transmission towers and poles, in order to         separate the two existing 345 kV transmissions lines onto separate towers/poles. 

 

The two planning board members who recused themselves from this matter (Nathan Drummond and Daniel Stockford) left the table and joined the general public.

 

The Board moved on to consider CMP’s site plan review and shoreland zoning application for the construction of several transmission towers in conjunction with the Maine Reliability Project. Baines commented that the process seems to have derailed.  There seems to be a “chicken and egg” dilemma.  On the one hand, the Town wants to ensure that all required criteria under its ordinances are met; particularly with respect to abutter and environmental impacts and therefore needs additional information as to CMP’s “means and methods” before it can approve the project.  On the other hand, CMP states it cannot yet provide said information because its contractors cannot develop plans until approvals are granted.  CMP further stated that they could not subject their contractor to Planning Board review.  They would appeal the Board’s decision to the PUC should the Planning Board require the contractor to submit the information previously requested for the Board’s approval.  However, CMP did state that they were willing to work with Town officials to address the outstanding concerns instead of the Planning Board.CMP and the Board discussed submitting the information to the CEO and using conditions of approval to address the standards in the Land Use Ordinance. 

 

Nathan Drummond (clarifying that he was speaking as a farmer and member of the general public and not in his capacity as a Planning Board member) spoke at length regarding concerns of local farmers.  Among other things he mentioned, degradation of the land’s capacity for productive agriculture was a major concern.  Such degradation could occur as a result of: CMP’s construction schedules, blocked accesses, pole/tower foundations, soil compaction, and soil contamination from fuel from construction vehicles.  He identified particular farms that would be most impacted and expressed concern that construction vehicles could pose a danger to farmers on Port Point Road and Brown Point Road.  He requested that there be a safety program as part of the construction process. Mr. Drummond suggested a number of specific conditions that might address some of the land use ordinance’s criteria requiring minimizing abutter and environmental impacts.  Mr. Drummond submitted his notes regarding these conditions to the board for its consideration.

 

George Christopher expressed concern that the construction would result in a “dead zone” for a year or more and CMP responded to said concerns stating that they intended on staggering construction to minimize impacts on farmers, would give farmers at least a year’s notice, and would set up an agricultural expert to confer with farmers to hear their concerns and work with them to resolve issues as they arose. 

 

Planning Board expressed concern re: enforcement mechanisms.  CMP indicated that it would draft a conflict resolution provision for the Board’s consideration, which would have the CEO figure prominently in dispute resolutions between farmers and CMP.  CMP reiterated its willingness to retain an independent third party agricultural expert to oversee construction and to help resolve farmer concerns.

 

CMP resolved to establish an interactive process with community and to hold preconstruction meetings with farmers to discuss construction schedule, to hear their input/concerns, and to figure out ways to minimize impacts.  CMP also mentioned that they would consider a way to compensate farmers who were “materially impacted” by construction. 

 

 

CMP agreed to work with Ms. Briand to draft a set of Conditions to address the Board’s concern.

 

Item 6:              Other Business

  1. Annual Ordinance Review.  A motion was made and duly seconded to approve the proposed amendments to Land Use Ordinance as amended.  Motion carried.

 

  1. The CPC Presentation was tabled.

 

Item 7:              Adjourn Meeting at 10:05pm.