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I write this letter in response to last week’s Valley Reporter editorial titled “Pay attention.” I believe The Valley Reporter had a significant misunderstanding of the issue and where the Warren Planning Commission stands in the process and I would like to correct that. No staff from The Valley Reporter or MRVTV were present during our meeting of April 8 to get firsthand the facts of the meeting, nor have the minutes of the meeting been written, much less distributed to the commission members, for review.
In addition, The Valley Reporter made no attempt to discuss this meeting with the commission or town planning and zoning staff. It is curious as to where The Valley Reporter got its facts in order to create the editorial that it did.
First, it is implied that the Warren Planning Commission was attempting to hide from the public the nature of our discussion with an agenda item titled “Energy.” That is completely false as the agenda item (#3) as posted was clear and was as follows: Wind Energy—Legislative Considerations.
Second, other than what is written in the Warren Town Plan, this was the commission’s first major discussion of this topic since the last update of the Town Plan a little over two years ago, a topic which was partially deferred at that time except to continue support for and encourage “the use of solar and small scale wind” while acknowledging “a delicate balance must be sought in deciding the placement of solar and wind energy equipment.” A further objective in the Town Plan related to this topic is for the town to “establish a strong and visible commitment to energy efficiency” (Objective 5.2), and to “allow flexible standards in the Land Use and Development Regulations for renewable energy generation and transmission facilities.”
As this was our first meeting to discuss this topic (since the Town Plan update), the commission members were simply beginning an open and all‐inclusionary discussion and in fact agreed that we needed to do additional fact‐finding to better and more clearly understand where wind may or may not make sense in Warren, agreed that all zoning districts should be carefully reviewed, and that there may be a possibility for medium scale wind (non‐industrial).
As part of this, the commission further understands that it needs to have a complete understanding of the overall status of wind energy in Vermont. No decisions or recommendationson any of these areas have been made at this time.
In reading the VR editorial, it again implies erroneously that the commission is ready to make changes to the Town Plan or zoning regulations—that is very far from being in any way accurate at this time. Furthermore, it was inaccurately reported to suggest that the commission was to ultimately go forward with a blanket townwide policy where 100-foot wind towers would be permitted. Wind energy is not a topic that can be resolved in one meeting and the commission is well aware the public will want to have input on this important topic.
I can assure you the Warren Planning Commission welcomes input from its residents on this important topic and will seek such input prior to recommending any change in the Town Plan or Land Use and Development Regulations to the Warren Select Board. In the meantime, the public is always welcome to attend our meetings and listen firsthand as the commission deliberates this important topic in order to formulate appropriate updates for the Town going forward.
Klofach is chair of the Warren Planning Commission.