Rt 11 solar firm to Derry board: more panels, screening to be added

Bruce Genereaux, seated right, talks about screening for the community solar project. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2017-Telegraph Publishing LLC

Bruce Genereaux, owner of Green Mountain Community Solar, told the Londonderry Select Board at its Monday, April 17 meeting about his plans for adding to and screening a solar array on Route 11 in the town.

Genereaux said he may double the array, which currently stands at 150 Kw of installed panels, which is visible from Thompsonburg Road looking north at the hillside above Route 11.  This will change as a line of trees are to be planted this spring that will screen the panels.

Genereaux said he purchased a permit in December 2016 from another developer, and installed the first set of panels this winter after the hillside was cleared. More panels, he said, will be installed once the Agency of Natural Resources completes a study of impact on vernal pools and other impacts of the panels on the hillside environment. The scale of the project will be adjusted so that it conforms to the requirements of the ANR.

Dick Dale asked how Londonderry residents would benefit from this project. Genereaux said the town can enter into a “offtake” agreement with Green Mountain Community Solar so electricity can go directly to the town. Also, anyone can participate and own solar panels and benefit from the electricity and financial arrangements available. Finally, surplus funds from Vermont Yankee are available to qualifying residents in Windham County for expansion of this project.

Genser property update and public safety messaging

Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson said that an amended property sub-grant agreement was ready for board approval to continue the Genser property transfer from FEMA to the Community Development Block Grant. The board did approve this agreement. The attorneys are still “working on their pieces” according to Thompson. The “drop dead” date for completion is June 30, 2017. Thompson is hoping the transfer and payment to the Gensers will be completed well before June 30.

A small gathering at the Londonderry Select Board on Monday, April 17.

Board chair Paul Gordon opened bids from two engineering companies to provide working engineering drawings for the salt and sand shed to be built on the Prouty property. The project was approved by voters at town meeting. The $4,150 bid from Sellars Treybal Structural Engineers, PC was accepted.

Weston resident and Londonderry businessowner Tom Platt would like to raise up the old Post Office in downtown Londonderry to protect the building from future floods. A draft Request for Proposals for the project will be distributed.

According to FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the town must sponsor any projects, though costs incurred by the town will be reimbursed through the grant.

Select Board member George Mora and Denis Pinkernell were reappointed represent the town with the Windham Regional Commission.

Trevor Pickford was appointed to the Conservation Commission. Commission chair Irwin Kuperberg told the board that the commission manages town properties with timber sales and logging, for instance. Properties managed include the Prouty land, Truax property (near the Transfer Station), Memorial Park and others. The commission also provides education programs for the public and initiates invasive eradication programs. Kuperberg said the Conservation Commission also helps large land owners manage their properties.

From left, Brett LaRose and Rich Cogliano, of the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, speak about public alerts as new Select Board member Bob Forbes, in glasses, listens.

Brett LaRose, a Vermont Emergency Management support specialist, introduced VT Alert to the board. VTAlert.gov is a web-based system that provides a portal to disseminate public safety information. Information can be sent to the public through public broadcast to reach as many people as possible and through targeted messages to reach specific individuals. One mode of distribution is to have an emergency message “pinged” through a specific cell tower so anyone entering the region would automatically receive the message through their cell phones.

The capacity for wireless emergency alerts are built into cell phones, according to Rich Cogliano, also of the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Mighty Londonderry will provide a formal letter to the board requesting the town’s desire to be a submitting agency to the Vermont Alert System. It is likely the board will consider this option at its second meeting in May.

A smoking policy originally meant as an addition to the employee personnel policy was expanded by board member Mora to include all town residents and visitors. This will be posted in town for public comment before it is considered by the board for adoption. You can read the draft policy here.

Londonderry resident Wendy Heuer was granted an itinerant vendor license so she can set up a vending trailer in town during the warmer months. She will serve “seasonal fare” such as ice cream and soft serve along Route 100.

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