Andover board OKs energy section for Town Plan Car sales proposal stymies Route 11 business project

Joe Fromberger presented the Enhanced Energy Plan to the Andover Select Board.Telegraph file photo.

By Neil B. Thorley
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Andover Select Board adopted an Enhanced Energy Plan presented by Joe Fromberger, who sits on the Andover Zoning Board of Adjustment, during Monday’s meeting.

The Enhanced Energy Plan now becomes part of the Andover Town Plan, which still has to be approved by the voters. Fromberger said he hoped that the voters can approve the plan before the end of the year.

This would give the town more say with the state Public Utility Commission over renewable energy projects proposed proposed within its borders.

The plan affirms the town’s commitment to using renewable resources, to working toward meeting state targets and to work with regional and state bodies to develop renewable energy infrastructure.

In 2016, the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan affirmed the statutory goal of 25 percent renewables by the year 2025 and expanded the state’s overall goal to 90 percent renewables by 2050.

The town of Andover currently only produces 2.9 percent of its annual energy usage from renewable sources, specifically roof-mounted solar panels.

Under Vermont State law (30 V.S.A. § 248), the state Public Utility Commission has absolute control over the construction of energy infrastructure, including large-scale renewable power generators such as solar farms and wind turbines. However, when a town has adopted an energy plan, the commission is required to “give substantial deference” to that plan.

The Andover plan specifically encourages the construction of ground-mounted solar panels and limited use of residential-scale wind turbines, while prohibiting utility- and commercial-scale wind turbines.

The combined use of solar and small-scale wind power will allow Andover to meet the state “target of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, while at the same time preserv(ing) the aesthetics or scenic, natural beauty of the area,” the energy plan states.

Car sales sought in Route 11 station proposal

The Select Board is also looking for a way to allow the now closed B&B Repair Services on Route 11 to reopen to include small-scale used car sales.

Butch and Beverly Jelley, who owned the shop, are hoping to lease the building to their son, Charlie Abbott, who with his partner Sean Johnson, would like to locate their new venture, The Garage LLC, on site.

They plan to reopen the business to repair and service automobiles, as well as sell used cars on a small scale. According to Butch Jelley, the new business is “going to do the same thing we did down there … for 30 years.”

While reopening the station as a repair garage would be a simple process, the sale of used cars complicates the situation. To sell more than 12 cars per year, The Garage has to be licensed by the state. But before the state will approve their application, they must get approval from the town.

The town has one zone — Residential-1 — with a number of conditional uses allowed. Unfortunately for The Garage, auto sales are not among those conditional uses.

However, according to Fromberger, the town has one zone – Residential-1 — with a number of conditional uses allowed. Unfortunately for The Garage, auto sales are not among those conditional uses.

There are two possible ways to resolve the issue.

Fromberger, who sits on the Andover Planning Commission, suggested that if the Jelleys can prove “that somebody in (the Town Clerk’s) office signed a certification that Butch’s business selling cars …” is certified by the state, then this (select) board can decide that due to a longtime tradition,” it could possibly grandfather in the new business. is in compliance with Andover’s zoning regulations.

Should that fall through, he said, the Select Board could begin the process of amending the town’s conditional uses to allow auto sales.

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  1. Bill Bourque says:

    A number of years ago, I got approval from the town to operate a used car dealership (internet sales) out of my home on Popple Dungeon Road. The old B&B should be a no-brainer in comparison…

  2. Larry Semones says:

    The facility had been a garage, gas station, convenience store for decades. Couldn’t a variance be allowed to add a few used cars for sale? The facility/neighborhood would not be effected and a tax paying business could be opened.