2012-04-26 Planning Board Meeting Minutes

TOWN OF BOWDOINHAM

PLANNING BOARD MINUTES

April 26, 2012 at 7:00pm

 

Members Present: Paul Baines, Paul Beltramini, Bill Shippen and Brent Zachau. Nate Drummond recused himself as a member of the Board due to conflict of interest.

 

Others Present: Nicole Briand (CEO & Town Planner), Jenna Pierce (Secretary), Leah Rachin (Attorney for Town) and Sue Hackett, Sean Donahue, and John Titus for Central Maine Power.

 

Item 1:              Call Regular Meeting

                                               

                        Baines called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.

 

Item 2:              Consideration of March Meeting Minutes

 

                        Consideration of March Meeting Minutes was tabled.

 

Item 3:              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. 

 

Baines opened the public hearing.

 

George Christopher addressed some issues and corrections to the draft Conditions of Approval dated April 19, 2012.

 

Nate Drummond recused himself from the Board and spoke solely as a member of the public (owner of Six River Farm). Drummond provided his written response to the Conditions for the Board to review:

 

  1.  Conditions 5-6. He would like to see CMP look for practical alternatives and demonstrate that those alternatives have been sought out.
  2. Condition 13. He would like to see the hours extended as farmers start working at 6 a.m. and he felt it would speed up the completion of the project. He suggested 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  3. Condition 20. He would like to know exactly who CMP will be using as a third party inspector and his/her contact information.
  4. Condition 21. He would like to know who the point person is on this issue and specific details for procedures that would be implemented should something happen. Who is responsible? Who will write the check?
  5. Appendix A: Defined Terms – Farmer. He pointed out that other properties would be affected by this project and not just the Kelly family. He would like to see the definition expanded to include all of the properties that will be affected.

 

Ed Friedman is an abutter who opposes the construction of the towers. He was concerned with the visual and electromagnetic (EMFs) impacts. He would like to see details relating to the potential impact on abutters by minimizing or reducing EMF emissions.

 

Kathleen McGee agreed with Friedman’s position and would like to see the reduction of impact to farm lands, animals, and abutters.

 

Sara Trask would like to see that monetary compensation to farmers to be used as last resort and not used as an “easy way out.” Her farm is going to be directly affected by this project and feels that if she loses any of her products there will be long term affects that monetary compensation may not consider, such as losing customers.

 

Alec Porter, resident of Brown’s Point Road and an abutter, informed the Board that the property has been a host to some nesting eagles. Porter was concerned with their protection during construction. Briand indicated that there is a certain radius where eagles cannot be disturbed and is required through a DEP permit.

 

Baines closed the public hearing at 8:00 p.m. 

 

The Board reviewed the memorandum provided by CMP addressing the draft Conditions:

 

  1. Condition 1. Construction Plan. CMP has envisioned working with the Town on issues and doesn’t want to keep coming back for approvals once approved. CMP felt that the Town would have necessary authority to ensure the project is constructed in compliance with the ordinances. Baines indicated that the Town wants the CEO to be involved in the process and the way to do that would by giving the CEO approval authority. Briand suggested that they have it as a condition so that CMP would not have to come back for approval. They would just need to follow and operate within the outlined conditions. CMP is only looking to provide the Town with enforcement authority and not approval authority and that the conditions provided would provide adequate enforcement.

 

For further discussion relating to authority, both the Board and CMP discussed Condition No. 5 regarding “Lay Down Areas.” Baines asked who would have authority to determine that no other practical alternative exists. If CMP only wants to CEO to act when there is a violation of conditions, then how does the Board determine that there is no alternative. CMP indicated that it would be determined through engineers and that they have a professional liability for least amount of impact. CMP indicated that they are not trying to avoid any discussions with the CEO or not seek alternatives because they do have good intentions. CMP does not allow for town officials to override their process and from a liability standpoint, they cannot go to their contractor’s and say that a town official has authority.

 

Town’s attorney discussed the Board’s jurisdiction and that their task is to make sure the criteria is met. The Board has authority to impose conditions and if CMP disagrees then they can appeal those conditions. She felt it would be best to hash out those conditions and move forward.

 

  1. Condition 1 (b). Shippen asked that CMP provide a definition for lay down areas in order for the Board to decide if they can go on the property or not. CMP indicated that lay down areas are for long term storage of materials (one month or more).

 

The Board decided that it would be best to hash out the issues CMP has with the draft Conditions by addressing each item one at a time:

 

2.   Landscaping plan for the Shoreland Zone at The Point. CMP indicated that they will provide a landscaping plan, but that they are not allowed to plant evergreen trees as it conflicts with capable species restrictions for transmission corridors. CMP is also looking to remove the minimum height requirement as they cannot be certain that those would be available. CMP usually goes by a stem count or volume. The Board agreed to remove the minimum height restriction and decided that CMP look for the “tallest available non-capable species.” The Landscape plan will need to be submitted.

3.   Blasting. CMP requested that the Board reduce the notification to abutters from 1,000 feet to 500 feet because then property owners/abutters/farmers not affected would receive notice. CMP was also looking for a timeframe for “reasonable” notice. The Board agreed that notification to abutters within 500 feet was acceptable and that CMP provide a two week notice for pre-blast testing and no less than 3 and no more than 14 days’ notice for blasting. CMP indicated that blasting most likely would not be required. CMP wants the condition to read that the “contractor shall repair any damage to others from blasting” and not CMP. CMP holds their contractor responsible for any damage.

4.   Parking. CMP did not agree with the requirement to obtain permission to work and park in such areas as agricultural fields, as they are within CMP’s existing transmission corridor. However, in the case of private land owners, CMP will obtain permission from the landowner to use their land. Parking shall not take place in agricultural fields.

5.   Lay Down Areas. See previous discussion. Lay down areas are for long term storage (one month or more) of equipment that is not actively being used for construction. Remove “unless no other practical alternative exists” from definition.

6.   Storage Materials. Briand indicated that lay down areas addresses this issue so this condition should be removed all together.

7.   Chemical/Hazardous Materials. CMP will have equipment on the property to provide fuel and other fluids, but not necessarily to store. CMP asked that “stored” be clarified in the definition. The Town’s attorney indicated that if a definition is not defined then it is the most commonly understood definition. Beltramini requested that not chemical or hazardous materials be stored “within 100 feet” in agricultural areas or in Shoreland Zone be added to the condition.

8.   Bathroom facilities. Okay as provided. No issues.

9.   Dust from vehicles. Okay as provided. No issues.

10. Access ways. Okay as provided. No issues.

11. Refueling construction equipment. Okay as provided. No issues.

12. Construction waste products. Okay as provided. No issues.

13. Time for construction. It was agreed to open up the time restriction to allow for CMP to work six days a week, except not on holidays or Sundays. The time restriction from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. was removed. This will help CMP complete the project quicker.

14. Potential impacts. CMP would like to remove “approval” from the condition and provide for “CEO’s review.” The Board also suggested that “Refer to Condition No. 21” be added to condition.

15. Requested information prior to construction. Okay as provided. No issues.

16. Removal of transmission towers in agricultural fields. Okay as provided. No issues.

17. Subsoil removal. Okay as provided. No issues.

18. Soil compaction. It was agreed by CMP and the Board to remove “reasonably requested by the Farmer” and provide for “as recommended by Agricultural Expert.”

19. Training for vehicle/equipment drivers. Okay as provided. No issues.

20. Agricultural Expert. CMP was okay with the Town picking an Agricultural Expert. CMP just requested that the Ag. Expert is independent of the Town and of farmers working in the area and not to be a resident of Bowdoinham in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. It was also agreed to reduce the inspection from two a week to once a week.

21. Fee schedule for associated agricultural impact payments. Okay as provided. No issues.

22. Erosion and sedimentation control. Okay as provided. No issues.

23. Grading. Okay as provided. No issues.

24. Shoreline stabilization. Okay as provided. No issues.

25. Photos of Shoreland Zone. CMP requested that the CEO make an on-site assessment during and after clearing, not from photos.

26. Road postings/permits. Okay as provided. No issues.

27. Pork Point Road access. Okay as provided. No issues.

28. 3rd party engineer. CMP requested removal of the third party engineer provision. CMP felt that the Town could handle the assessments. The Town doesn’t have an engineer on staff so they would need to hire one. They have used Pine Tree in the past. CMP added that they do not want to be charged just for retaining a 3rd party engineer and requested that “as needed” be added to condition.

29. Damage to roads/access ways. Okay as provided. No issues.

30. Escrow account. An escrow account is acceptable as previously discussed, but would like specific language provided in the condition to provide for the account to be used for emergencies that are not able to be addressed by the MPRP contractor. Emergency would be an impassable road and not used frivolously for things like pot holes. The intention of the account is not to be touched until there is a public safety issue. CMP indicated that the $20,000 is a one-time thing and it will not continue to be replenished. The Board had concerns with the escrow account not being replenished, especially if there were no funds available before construction is complete. CMP indicated that they did not have authority to say that they could replenish the account, but that they would check into it. CMP also requested that language be added to the condition to provide that funds left after the completion of the project be returned to CMP (ideally it would be the $20,000).

31. Emergency action plan. Okay as provided. No issues.

32. CMP’s health and safety plan. Okay as provided. No issues.

33. Removal of injured worker. Okay as provided. No issues.

34. OSHA 300 Log. Okay as provided. No issues.

35. Fire hazards. Okay as provided. No issues.

36. No confined space work. Okay as provided. No issues.

37. MDEP/Army Corp. of Engineers.  Okay as provided. No issues.

38. Final site plan. CMP requested that the one month restriction be removed and replaced with “when they are completed.”

39. FAA documentation. Okay as provided. No issues.

 

CMP addressed issues raised by the public. CMP indicated that the Town does not have authority when it comes to EMF emissions because it is not within the Town’s jurisdiction (it is the public utilities commission).

 

The Board re-addressed Condition No. 1 regarding CEO’s authority. CMP will submit all of the information as requested in items a through n. “Prior to construction, the following materials must be submitted to the CEO as part of condition” shall be added and CEO’s “approval” shall be removed.

 

      Baines also brought up the timing issue and for CMP to keep farmers in mind during construction. CMP indicated that they are committed to working with farmers.

 

      A drafted list of conditions will be prepared and sent to CMP for review.

 

Item 4:              Other Business

  • CPC Presentation

 

This item was tabled until the next meeting.

 

Item 5:              Adjourn Meeting

 

Beltramini made a motion to close the meeting at 10:03 p.m. Shippen seconded the motion and all voted in favor. VOTE 4-0-0.