STERLING PLANNING BOARD - Sterling_ MA by yangxichun



                          STERLING PLANNING BOARD
                                MEETING MINUTES
                        May 12, 2010 – Rm. 202 Butterick Bldg.

Present:              Robert Protano – Chairman
                      Michael Radzicki – Vice Chairman
                      Ronald Pichierri – ANR Agent
                      Kenneth Williams – Clerk
                      Charles Hajdu – MRPC Rep.
                      Melissa French – Administrative Assistant

Chairman Protano calls the Planning Board Meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

Karen Ormsby is present this evening with an ANR Plan for subdivision of the park at 38
Muddy Pond Road from the entire parcel on which the school and recreation fields are
located. The plan will designate 1.9985 acres as Parcel “A” and referred to as the
“Sterling Greenery Community Park”. The remaining acreage will remain under the
reference of “remaining land”.

Radzicki moves, that on behalf of the Board, Pichierri endorse the plan of land, 20
Boutelle Road, Sterling, MA, prepared for the Town of Sterling by Geo-Network
Land Survey, Inc., 116 Vernon St., Worcester, MA 01610, File #10-111 NB 113-73.
Seconded by Radzicki. Williams moves to amend the motion to include that the
ANR fee be waived, Radzicki seconds the amendment, no further discussion, all in
favor, approved by the Board.

The Board is in receipt of the Form A, Agent for Applicant Form and six copies of the
(Note added after the meeting; The Plan was recorded at the Worcester County South
District Registry of Deeds on May 14, 2010 in Plan Book 882, Plan 13.)

Pichierri makes a motion to approve the minutes of the Sterling Planning Board
Meeting of April 28, 2010, as corrected, seconded by Radzicki. Chairman Protano
asks to discuss the Daigle property on Pheasant Hill Lane later in the meeting, no
further discussion, all in favor, approved by the Board.

The Daigle property is discussed later in the minutes under ZBA.

DAVIS FARM – Preliminary review for Wind Energy System

John Davis, Doug Davis and Larry Davis of Davis Farmland, Sundar Sundaramurthy and
Sethu Sekhar of Navin Enterprises are present this evening to discuss the possibility of
installing a wind energy system at the Davis Farmland on Redstone Hill Road. This is an
information gathering meeting and not a site plan review. They would like to install a
15kW wind turbine by Proven Energy, Ltd., located in Scotland, for the purpose of
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supplementing their electrical demand as well as an educational component for the
Farmland visitors. Sundaramurthy hands out several exhibits and gives an overview of
the type of system being desired. He states that the same wind turbine system has been
successfully installed at Red Apple Farm in Philipston, MA and Stevens Farm in Barre,

Doug Davis states that he has read the WECS By-Law and has a couple of questions for
the Board, particularly in regard to the size limitations. Davis states that he would like to
apply for a waiver to bring the size up from 10kW to 15kW. When questioned by
Williams, Davis states that they are uncertain as to whether this wind energy system will
be allowed to be tied into the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) system, but
it is their first choice that it be on-grid.

The height of the proposed wind turbine is fifty (50) feet to the top of the tower,
approximately sixty five (65) feet to the tip of the blades. The maximum allowed height
is one hundred (100) feet. It is a propeller style turbine on a hinged mono-pole, allowing
it to be lowered for maintenance. Sundaramurthy states that the system is designed with
spring loaded blades that fold back if the wind is beyond a certain speed, thereby shutting
the system down. He also adds that there are numerous safety features built into this
wind turbine.

Chairman Protano asks if the Davis farm has the required offsets for the placement of the
wind turbine. Doug Davis responds that they have a number of different possible
locations that would meet the set back rules.

With regard to the desire for the Davis’ to request a waiver from the 10kW limit,
Pichierri states, with concern for time constraints, that the Planning Board is the Special
Permit granting authority and after consulting with John Kilgo, SMLD manager, the
decision would ultimately be up to the Planning Board. The concern would be that there
might be a technical reason why a 15kW system could not be tied into the SMLD grid.
Williams reminds Pichierri that this is not a site plan review and no answers can be given
tonight. Williams points to Section 4.9.6 f. of the WECS By-Law which states that “no
WECS shall be installed until evidence has been given that the Sterling Municipal Light
Department has been informed and has approved that the installation’s impact is
negligible for the power system and meets all their installation/interconnection
requirements. Off Grid Systems shall be exempt from this requirement”. Davis states
that they plan to meet with the SMLD sometime in June, preferably the 1st meeting of the
month, so that they have time for a site plan review with the Planning Board prior to their
application deadline of June 30, 2010 for a USDA Grant.

(Noted added after the meeting; The Davis’ will meet with the SMLD Board at 5:00 PM,
Thursday, May 20, 2010.)

Hajdu asks if there is any way to regulate the wind turbine to throttle back the amount of
kilowatts that are put out, possibly creating a system that would be acceptable to the
10kW system requirements. Sundaramurthy states that there is not, adding that there are
about six hundred (600) wind turbines in the state of Massachusetts and, on average, they

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are performing at one third the capacity stated on their name plates. Davis adds that this
is another reason to shoot for a 15kW system, since the output will likely be less.

Sundaramurthy brings up the fact that the By-Law does not address the commercial use
of WECS. Williams responds that “if it doesn’t address it, it’s not included”, adding that
the By-Law was written so that there would be a section on WECS in the Zoning By-
Laws, so as not to exclude it entirely. Williams also mentions that the By-Laws contain a
provision for waivers to be considered. Chairman Protano asks, if, since the Davis
Farmland is a commercial property, would the wind turbine be considered commercial
use? Sundaramurthy answers that the energy produced from the wind turbine would be
used in a commercial business but would not be sold as a commercial commodity.
Williams adds that the wind turbine is not going to be used for residential use and would
like to seek interpretation from John Kilgo.

Sundaramurthy reviews a handout describing the proposed wind turbine for Davis Farm
(labeled Handout A) with the Board, as follows;
        The proposed size of the wind turbine is 15kW.
        The estimated production is 19,000 kilowatt hours. It is unlikely that this
        estimated level of production will be reached. The expected range is between
        7,000 kWh and 14,000 kWh. An “Energy Calculator” chart (labeled Handout C)
        is given to the Board.
        The annual CO2 reduction is 26,000 lbs.
        The components are a Turbine, Controller (in AC 0-600V/out steady 120 V DC)
        and Inverter (in 120 V DC/out 120 V AC).
        The wind turbine will be funded with USDA Grant, Federal and State Tax
        incentives and private funding.
        The rate of return (pay back period) is estimated at 2-5 years.
        The wind turbine is proposed to be low noise, has velocity control and an auto
        disconnect. Back feeding of power into the power lines is prevented.

Sundarmurthy mentions the Red Apple Farm and Stevens Farm as case studies, stating
that they have completed the installation process and have not experienced any problems.
Larry Davis adds that both of these farms have their wind turbines tied into their town’s
power grids and are successfull examples that the town of Sterling might like to look at.
Hajdu asks if there is a representative for these wind turbines in this area. Davis states
that there is and Al Rose, of Stevens Farm, has reported that the manufacturer’s follow-
up, maintenance and upkeep have been phenomenal.

Doug and Larry Davis emphasize that they are trying to create and maintain a safe and
peaceful country setting for their guests, many of which are children. They would not
propose to bring something to the site that would detract from this entertainment facility.

Other handouts received are a diagram of the proposed wind turbine (labeled Handout B)
and an article on the Red Acre Farm’s wind project (labeled Handout D).

Chairman Protano asks what the Board can expect when the Davis’ come in with a site
plan. D. Davis responds that the wind turbine would have to be set in a concrete pad, but
no additional building will be needed. Chairman Protano asks if there is any risk that
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someone might try to climb the tower. Davis responds that it would not be easily
climbable and it would likely be fenced off from the general public. Chairman Protano
asks if they plan to install the wind turbine an adequate distance from the buildings and
lot lines, as spelled out in the By-Law, reminding the Davis’ that at a site plan review
these rules would likely be enforced.

The Davis’ state that they will not proceed with a site plan review until they have met
with the Light Board to see if they will agree to the 15 kilowatts. Pichierri suggests that
the Board consider voting on a confidence vote for the 15kW subject to approval from
Kilgo. No vote is taken.

Sundaramurthy states that since the output of the proposed wind turbine cannot be
controlled, or “throttled back”, one option is to install four wind turbines, of lesser kW, of
which any number of them could be shut off to control the output. There is a company in
New York that will install four of them for the same price as the one being considered,
but it is pointed out that there is greater expense and “headache” in maintenance costs.

Radzicki points out a letter from the SMLD, dated May 11, 2010, in which Kilgo makes
the Board aware of Davis Farmland’s interest in the development of a 15kW solar array
as well as a “10kW” wind turbine. Attached to this letter is a response letter written from
Kilgo to the Davis’ stating that the SMLD will allow the development of a 15KW solar
project first, as part of their pilot program. If the solar project results in successful
implementation and there are no complications to the distribution system with overall
power and quality of isolation, then they will study and assess the potential impacts of
adding an additional renewable project (a 10kW wind turbine). D. Davis responds that
there has been some confusion as to what will be allowed and this is the reason they are
meeting with the SMLD Board, to determine if the wind energy system will have to be
put off to a later time.

Chairman Protano states that the Board will seek some information and answers from the
SMLD and one or two Planning Board members will attempt to attend the SMLD Board
meeting in which the Davis’ are scheduled. The Davis’ hope to attend the first SMLD
meeting in June and the Planning Board will try to be flexible with their meeting dates to
accommodate a site plan review prior to the June 30, 2010 USDA grant application date.

Davis Farmland is tentatively scheduled for the Planning Board meeting on June 9, 2010
at 8 PM for a site plan review.

Sandy Ridge Road Trees – In a follow up to the issue of the trees along Sandy Ridge
Road (see minutes of April 28, 2010); the Board reviews the list of dead or compromised
trees composed from notes taken by Pichierri on May 2, 2010 when he, Chairman
Protano and Williams inspected the trees along this subdivision road. Chairman Protano
re-reads the letters that were read at the April 28, 2010 meeting as well as a response
letter from French to Bill Tuttle, DPW, regarding a Sandy Ridge Road resident’s
complaint. The Board would like to use the money, $2,460.34 remaining on deposit with
the town, for replacement of the dead trees at the discretion of the town, not the builder.
Chairman Protano reads the letter, dated July 23, 2008, in which Curtis Plante is
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requesting the return of this Cash Bond. Chairman Protano will attempt to contact Curtis
Plante to alert him to the Board’s findings and let him know of the Board’s wishes.

(Note added after the meeting; French composed a letter to Plante in the event that
Chairman Protano cannot reach him. To date, the letter has not been sent and it is
unknown if Plante was contacted. An additional follow-up to this discussion will be
placed on the May 26, 2010 agenda.)

Contractor Bond – The Board reviews a letter from Gary Griffin, dated May 6, 2010
which pertains to the Contractor Bond (see minutes of April 14. 2010) and what it covers.
This letter recognizes that the Bonds being issued use boiler plate language that states
“for the purpose of street openings” when actually there is land clearing and other work
being performed. Griffin’s letter states that “Recent review of this question with the
Insurance Agency providing the Bonds may suggest that reference to the specific By-Law
and that a Permit or License that is being given for the “purpose” may make the intent
clearer, but that the recently issued Bonds should serve the intended purpose”. This letter
will be filed with Griffin’s Bond, in the Bond book.

  • Sterling National Country Club – Chairman Protano notes that the auction of
     the Sterling National Country Club which was scheduled for May 13, 2010 has
     been postponed to May 20, 2010.

   •   Rain Gardens Workshop – the Board is reminded of a workshop being held on
       May 20, 2010 at the Doyle Center in Leominster, MA. This workshop is an “eco-
       tour” in which the participants will tour various rain gardens in the area.
       Chairman Protano and Pichierri are planning to attend.

   •   Board of Selectmen Agenda Deadline - Chairman Protano reads a memo from
       Terri Ackerman, Town Administrator, which informs all boards/departments that
       effective immediately the Board of Selectmen’s agenda will close the Wednesday
       before each scheduled meeting.

   •   Special Town Meeting – is scheduled for May 17, 2010 at 6:30 PM.

   •   Annual Town Meeting – is scheduled for May 17, 2010 at 7:00 PM.

   •   Annual Town Election – is scheduled for May 24, 2010 from 7:00 AM to 8:00

   •   Northgate Meadows 40B project – Chairman Protano updates the Board of J.
       Whitney’s intentions for the Northgate project located on Rte 12 at the
       Sterling/Leominster border. There was an informational round table meeting with
       Whitney, the Building Inspector and several other departments/boards on April
       29, 2010. Chairman Protano and Williams attended this meeting. Whitney wants
       to begin clearing the land where the apartments and condominium units will be
       located and remove dirt from one area and deposit it in another. There are 72

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       apartments and 86 condominiums planned. Twenty five percent (25%) of the
       condos and twenty five (25%) of the apartments will be classified as affordable

Chairman Protano reads a notice from the ZBA which states that an application has been
filed by Mr. Dick Man, agent for Metro PCS, for a Special Permit for the purpose of
installing 6 new antennas on an existing tower at 5 Pine Woods Lane. Williams states
that this hearing was continued to the next ZBA meeting.

Williams updates the Board of other ZBA notices/decisions as follows;
o The application by Bernie Daigle to build a house with an accessory apartment at
    Lot 5 Pheasant Hill Lane has been withdrawn without prejudice. Daigle has revised
    his house plans to exclude the accessory apartment.
o Garafoli, Lakeshore Drive, has applied to build a handicap ramp and a deck off the
    rear of their existing property. This was continued until the Board of Health is
    satisfied with the new drainage site.

Chairman Protano asks Williams if there was any talk regarding the hearsay that the
Planning Board’s Order of Conditions are illegal, in overstepping state regulations.
Williams responds that he did not hear anything at the last ZBA meeting.

There was no mail reviewed.
Chairman Protano reviews the notices from other towns.
The board members sign invoices and payroll.

Williams makes a motion to adjourn the Planning Board Meeting at 9:42 PM. Seconded
by Pichierri, no discussion, all in favor, approved by the Board.

The next regularly scheduled Planning Board Meeting is May 26, 2010 at 7:00 PM.


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