TOWN OF RUTLAND
Board members present: Stanley Rhodes III, Steve Hawley, Jim Hall and Joe Dicton
The Meeting opened at 6:50 P.M.
All rose for The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag.
The Board reviewed the January 13, 20112 minutes. Mr. Hawley moved to approve the 1-13-12 minutes with corrections. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 0. Mr. Hall did not vote.
Mr. Rhodes asked Town officials to offer their comments regarding the Life and Career of Mr. Mark Blucher, the late Executive Director of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC).
Town Planning Commission Chairman Mr. William Matteson, said he had known Mr. Blucher for approximately 25 years and that Mr. Blucher was a true professional and a very good friend to the Town of Rutland. Mr. Matteson said Mr. Blucher was able to stay below the fray and get the job done.
Mr. Matteson cited the fact that Mr. Blucher was instrumental in the Town receiving numerous Sate planning grants. Mr. Matteson said he couldn’t say enough good things to say about Mr. Blucher and that he will miss him greatly.
Mr. Fred Nicholson described Mr. Blucher as a quiet, in the background type leader. He said Mr. Blucher encouraged his troops to get out and do the work and that Mr. Blucher was always there to support his staff. Mr. Nicholson said Mr. Blucher wasn’t big on shouting orders and hogging the limelight.
Mr. Nicholson cited the fact Mr. Blucher’s staff has received many honors during Mr. Blucher’s time at the RRPC. Mr. Nicholson said Mr. Blucher will be very sorely missed.
Mr. Nicholson said there is talk regarding establishing a scholarship in the Field of Planning in honor of Mr. Mark Blucher.
Mr. Rhodes describer Mr. Blucher as a negotiator and a mediator and he cited Mr. Blucher’s recent involvement in the Green Mountain Plaza’s Act 250 hearing and how Mr. Blucher was instrumental in bringing all the parties together.
Mr. Rhodes said Mr. Blucher’s style was always very laid back and relaxing and made everyone feel they were equal. He said not a lot of people have such ability.
There were no questions from the floor.
Mr. Rob Howland representing Reunion Power of Manchester Vermont met with the Board regarding Reunion’s proposed Grandpa’s Knob wind tower(s) project. Mr. Howland said the Grandpa’s Knob ridge runs from West Rutland/Castleton to Pittsford/Hubbardton.
Mr. Howland said his client hope to get the necessary permits to build the project later in the year. Mr. Howland said his client would be required to hold a meeting with the Rutland Town Select Board in the future and notify the Town in writing prior to the meeting. He said his attendance at the current meeting is not the officials meeting.
He said the purpose of the current meeting is to introduce himself, his client and the project to the Board. Mr. Howland said the project has been in the works for over five years and that his client took over the project from a previous company that decided not to continue.
Mr. Howland said the ridge has been under evaluation for several years and that a considerable amount of resources have been spent to see if it is an appropriate site for a wind farm.
Mr. Howland said 15 to 20 wind turbines would be built along the ridge over a distance of six miles. He said the farm would produce approximately 40 to 50 mega watts of power. He said the farm would be connected into the VELCO Sub Station in West Rutland.
Mr. Howland said the environmental analysis shows there are no showstoppers with the selected area. He said his client wants to work with the State Agency of Environmental Conservation regarding their concerns with the project.
Mr. Howland cited the fact that the first commercial wind generation in the world occurred on Grandpa’s Knob in 1941. He said it has been demonstrated that there is adequate wind for a commercial power project.
Mr. Howland said there are ongoing discussions with a Vermont utility to purchase a substantial part of the output. Mr. Howland said he lives in Pittsford and that the project would be visible from his home.
Mr. Howland said there are about 15 landowners along the ridgeline and that easement agreements have been entered into with most of the landowners. Mr. Howland said renewable energy tens to help stabilize prices.
Mr. Howland said the proposed purchase price for wind power is above current market prices adding they will not escalate over time. He said they would increase at a known rate rather than being subject to oil or nature gas price fluctuations. Mr. Howland named the towns he has already met and discussed the proposed project.
Mr. Howland said the wind turbines would rotate into the wind to constantly capture the power in the wind. Mr. Howland said his client’s hopes to file with the Public Service Board by the middle of the year.
Mr. Dicton asked what the total disturbed area would be for the proposed project and if any instruments had been placed on the ridge to measure wind speed. Mr. Howland said two towers have been continuously gathering data since 2007. He said they also have data prior to 2007 and as far back as the 1930’s and 40’s.
Mr. Howland said each of the 20-wind turbines would need approximately 1.5 cleared acres as well as a class three road connecting all of the turbines. Mr. Howland said there could be up to 8 to 10 miles or road along the ridge. He said there would also be three new miles of power line.
Mr. Nicholson said that at some point the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources would have to issue a 401-water quality certification regarding the proposed project.
Town Planning Commission Chairman Mr. William Matteson asked if Mr. Howland could cited any other 50 mega watt facilities. Mr. Howland said the McNeil wood burning plant in Burlington is 50-mega watts. Mr. Howland said Vermont Yankee is 500 mega watts. Mr. Howland said approximately half the homes in Rutland County could be powered from the proposed wind farm.
Mr. Howland said the top of the turbine blade would be 400 feet above the ground. Town resident Mr. Paul Clifford inquired as to the role the Town would play in the permitting process. Mr. Howland said the Town can request to be a party and that the Public Service Board would decide if the Town could participate.
Town Clerk & Treasurer: Ms. Marie Hyjek reported:
Solid Waste Alliance Communities & Rutland Transportation Council: Mr. Shields reported:
Regional Planning Commission Mr. Fred Nicholson reported:
Town Road Commissioner: Mr. Byron Hathaway reported:
Mr. Hall requested that Mr. Hathaway submit his weekly reports to the Board.
Fire Chief: Joseph Denardo reported:
Mr. Shields told the Board that he does not think it would be good idea to select one contractor as the preferred vendor for the purchase of new fire trucks. Mr. Shields cited the fact that Town officials are required to get at lease three bids when making a purchase. Mr. Shields said it is dead wrong not to have competition in the purchase of a new fire truck. Citing a concern that a company many miles away could be the successful bidder, Mr. Shields said the Board could have a condition that all bidders must be within so many miles of the Town in order to bid.
Planning Commission: William Matteson
Mr. Rhodes briefed the Board regarding a request from Aldi’s for the Town to be a co-applicant in regards to a sidewalk construction permit from the State of Vermont. Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Zingale if Aldi’s would maintain the sidewalk. Mr.Zingale said he believes the City and the Town would be responsible and not Aldi’s. Mr. Zingale cited the fact the Town has an agreement with the City of Rutland for the City to plow the sidewalk in the area in question. Mr. Rhodes signed the application.
Police Department: Chief John Sly reported:
2. Mr. Sly requested a brief executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
Recreation Director: Mike Rowe reported:
1. Told the Board that basketball ball is winding down.
2. Informed the Board that the first baseball meeting had just taken place. He said baseball registration would begin at the end of the month
3. Told the Board that the Recreation Department had received a financial donation for the baseball program from Alderman’s Chevrolet.
Town Administrator: Mr. Joseph Zingale reported:
1. Informed the Board that he, Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Susan Schreibman, had met with State Senators Ms. Peg Flory and Mr. Kevin Mullin and State Representative David Potter from the Town of Clarendon. Mr. Zingale said the legislators suggested the Town get the proposed “Service Road” on the TAC road construction priority list as a means of funding initial studies. Mr. Rhodes said the Governor’s Highway Safety fund might be another source for funding studying the proposed “service road”. Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Shields to try to find out how much money is in the Governor’s Highway Safety Fund.
2. Told the Board that he had received word from the Rutland Post Office that the new town street name “Deer Run Place” had been rejected by the Post Office. Mr. Zingale said the name was rejected because there is a Deer Run Place in Mendon. He said Mendon and the Town of Rutland share the zip code 05701. Mr. Zingale told the Board that the residents living off the private drive would now like their road to be called “ Blackberry Ridge Place”. Mr. Zingale will check with the Rutland Post Office to determine if the new name is acceptable.
3. Informed the Board that the Town’s Insurance Adjustor will pay the entire $16,198.48 A1 Sewer & Drain bill for pump station damage caused by tropical storm Irene. Board members discussed the fact that water is ponding around the Town pump station due to improper swale restoration work following tropical storm Irene.
4. Told the Board that the Aldi’s Supermarket Act 250 hearing went well.
Mr. Shields asked the Board to apply for an Enhance Grant to build a sidewalk from the Town School to Chasanna Drive. Mr. Rhodes listed the following as possible Bond votes for the Town:
$600,000.00 School bond
$130,000.00 School solar panel bond
$500.000.00 or more for a Fire Station
$300.000.00 Highway Garage
Mr. Rhodes said the School should build the sidewalk. Mr. Zingale said the sidewalk from the School to Northwood Park would cost about $200,000.00 according to Dufresne Henry.
Mr. Hall moved to honor the request for $75.00 for the Loyalty Day Parade. Mr. Hawley made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.
The Board reviewed the Fireworks contract. Mr. Rhodes said the contract price is $6,100.00 and that the Town would get the same show as last year. Mr. Hawley moved to approve the $6,100.00 contract with Northstar for the fireworks for July 4 celebration. Mr. Hall made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.